It’s Saturday, it’s Copenhagen airport and it’s another flight to South America. Actually it was a short flight to Frankfurt first, and then thirteen hours in Premium Economy to arrive Buenos Aires at 7am on a wet, cold, Sunday morning. You’ve got to love this life, or you would not do it!
Premium Economy is the class that businesses book their staff on if, (1) they don’t fully respect the commitment it takes to be away from home and travelling yet again over a weekend, and (2), they know they cannot afford to piss of their staff by insisting on thirteen hours in cattle class: Recruitment is more expensive than business class!
To be fair, Lufthansa Premium Economy is not too bad. The seats are wide and good leg room. Of course, a lie-flat seat would be preferable but that option is not available for the mere workers, only senior management who are oh-so more important than the hoi-polloi.
We usually book hotels for business trips, but this time my colleague and I thought it might be an interesting experience to try AirBnB. Okay, so you have to make it completely clear when you correspond with the property owner that you want two rooms and ideally two bathrooms – as we are only colleagues after all. We had ulterior motives to save some costs and save some of the precious department travel budget: The hotel we had used previously cost more for each room than this complete apartment did. Not that the company appreciates our experiment and the saving of of £600 .
I now know that Buenos Aires in May is cold, a fact we had not fully anticipated before our arrival, and it soon became apparent that there was no heating in the apartment. Actually that is not completely accurate as there was a box on the wall that purported to being a central heating controller, but it was not a very efficient system. It was very good at blowing air around the apartment, and good at making a lot of noise in the process: but heat, not so good.
I made the mistake of mailing the owner. I say mistake as she responded by asking if I had switched it on. ‘Yes’, I replied. She then asked if I had put the temperature up…..at this point I stopped corresponding.
The ‘French colonial’ style apartment was nice, but it needed some attention. My colleague’s room had a portion of the ceiling missing, and various bits of aging were apparent. It got worse as by the third fourth night I had to sleep with the light on. The fancy dimmer switch went down to almost off, but not quite. No point writing to the owner is she would ask if I turned the switch all the way around. I would also say that it would have been assumed that toilet tissue and soap would have been available so we did not have to go and find a grocery at 9am on Sunday morning. Not sure we will try the experiment again.
Beyond long flights, long meetings and ropey apartments there were highlights. The local coffee shops know how to do a good, long relaxing breakfast: Coffee, croissants and fresh orange juice is a good way to start any day. Of course ending with an huge, juicy steak is equally as satisfying. Visits to La Brigada and Don Julio saw to that aspect.
Finally on this trip, we also managed to get tickets for Teatro Colon for a selection of pieces by Erik Satie to mark what would have been his birthday. Would have liked to hear a full orchestra to appreciate the acoustics, but this small performance was pretty good nonetheless.
So, here I am now back in Frankfurt airport on my way to Sofia…….I only have to wait 5 hours in the lounge for my connection.