Sunday, June 25, 2006

Conquered by Technology, The Moko Turns to Pills


Three days ago I went to Madrid for work, and my flight was so late that I had to head from Barajas straight to a dinner with colleagues. No big deal, except that dinner in Spain goes so long that it nearly overlaps with breakfast.

I entered my hotel around 2 a.m. Next to the reception, a Japanese girl was karaoke-ing “The Girl from Ipanema,” and men in suits started twirling about me all Broadway musical-like. It turned out they just wanted to take my suitcase and push me towards the front desk, where a woman was waiting to ask me which floor I wanted to stay on. This was actually kind of fun because each floor of Puerta de America has been done by a different designer, and has a completely different look.

The much-coveted Zaha Hadid floor was all booked, so I settled for the all-white floor number 7. And it really was all white. Like, so white that I couldn’t find the buttons to close the curtains, or the night drapes (white), or the awning (white), or the trash can (yep, white) in the bathroom.

Let’s remember that it was 2 a.m., I had been up since 6 a.m., and needed to be up again in four hours. So of course I started crying, because that’s what normal people in a crisis situation like this do. I called the reception desk and through tears told them that my toldo (awning) was so blanco that I couldn’t tell if it was closed or shut, but that I was sure the button was a mierda that needed to be fixed.

I ended up calling three times, and each time the same pimply-faced 20-year-old was sent to my room to explain the latest in button technology (read: “please, Miss, just try pushing the button in the opposite direction if you want the curtain to go in the opposite direction”). The irony of all of this was that this cutting-edge tech was totally lost on me--the person who would be briefing journalists in a few hours about the latest in cutting-edge tech.

After the third intervention, I finally got what the buttons were about, closed my curtains and awning, and put myself into bed. It was then that I spotted some fantastic candies whose pill-like shape recalled Mike&Ikes but which tasted like watermelon Jolly Ranchers. And, And: THEY WEREN’T WHITE!!!! I popped them both and had a long, technology-less sleep.

Which brings us to the moral of the story: sugar, despite its suspicious color, solves everything.

P.S. The rest of my stay passed without incident except for when I checked out and the receptionist tried to charge me for taking something from the mini-bar. “Impossible!” I yelled. “I couldn’t even find your damn mini-bar it was so white!”

I wasn’t charged.

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