Setting out to go around the USA and Canada for six weeks, most of the time on your own, is a great adventure. The first part of this event was to get from Perth, Western Australia to Los Angeles and then to meet Pauline in New York for a couple of days. From there, we had to come home to Toronto where I would stay for a week with her and my son, Colin. He actually took a week off work to hang out with me – how cool is that!
The Perth to LA leg had the beginnings of a big adventure – when I missed my first flight out of Australia which I blogged earlier . Thanks to Qantas, the LA arrival was not only on time, but even a few minutes early.
At LAX, I took a shuttle out to The Ayres Hotel in Hawthorne near Manhattan Beach. Easy – except the shuttle went around Tom Bradley Airport at least three times until we had five passengers and then we took off. I was first on the shuttle and second last off. The Ayres Hotel looked exactly like its pictures; another passenger told me a little about it and I got to the reservation desk around 10:00am. Bit early for a 3:00pm check-in, but there was little option. The desk clerk says “the computer says ‘No!’ We have no reservation for you.” Beg your pardon, sir? No reservation?
I took my notebook out of its case, fired it up on the desk and found the confirmation. “Well, ” he says “I guess we had better find you a room.” My printing had arrived, delivered direct from Vista print and Linda Hollander, the organizer of Women’s Small Business Expo had been given it by the hotel staff, they assuming that everything coming in was for her. She brought it out for me and I went to my beautiful room. How good was this – early check-in instead of having to hang around for three or four hours and meeting the conference organizer early.
Later that evening, I had dinner in the bar; the food was excellent, the beer very good and I was very relaxed about setting up at 6:00am the next day for the expo. Except I had no idea how my showcase table would look. Around 1:00am (local time) I suddenly woke up, had brilliant idea of how to put it together A Little Ingenuity in LA and then worked for the rest of the night. So by the time I got to set up at the Expo at 6:00am – I had already been up since the middle of the night. An afternoon nap, the day before, had definitely not been a good idea.
The whole Expo was excellent; I was very happy with the display I put together and packing up that night didn’t take too long. After that, it was down to the Matisse Restaurant for an after work drink, dinner and to spend some time networking with any of the ladies who were still there (hopefully) from the Expo. I spent some very profitable networking time talking with Robbie Motter, Sheila A Caruso and Evelyn Gray. These ladies gave me so many names and contacts to catch up while I was in the US. I got to bed about 1:45am – a full twenty four hour, on the go day.
I spent part of the next morning trying to buy a mobile phone – but it was all too hard. So, I decided to stick to Skype. Maybe I will change my mind later. Met a LinkedIn friend, Todd, for lunch and we had a long talk about his plans for the new book he has written and how I might be able to help him through my network. He is sending me a copy by email and I will check it out when I get to Toronto.
Packed my suitcase later that night, while I watched the Royal Wedding (yes, had another afternoon nap and got to eat around 10:00pm again) so, I was up from just after midnight until I left the hotel to catch my 8:10am flight for New York. During the evening, I took
the time to write 12 or so “Merci” cards for some of the women who had given me great advice and friendship during the Expo. The cab driver wasn’t too sure of the Qantas departure terminal at Tom Bradley International Airport but I had already checked the flight (Q107 for NY) was on time and had no trouble getting myself and my luggage through check in. The Qantas desk was virtually deserted at that time of the day in LA but the plane was actually full, once we left for New York. The entertainment system was not working – but I wasn’t too worried. NY is only about a four hour flight from LA and the Australian cabin crew were fine.
Pauline had told me to grab a Yellow Cab – flat fare, $US45.00 plus a tip (about 20%). I went with a shuttle – $US19.00 plus a tip. My Hotel was right alongside the World Trade Centre site World Trade Hotel – Club Quarters
Pauline was checking in first and had sent me an email (at about 5:30am) to meet her that evening uptown at a very swish restaurant for dinner at 9:00pm after drinks at The Plaza around 8:30pm. Sounded very nice – very New York.
The traffic was horrendous – even the shuttle driver said it was bad for a Friday night in New York. I was the last to be dropped off. He had no idea how to get to 140 Washington Street, because there are road closures everywhere while the new Memorials and buildings are going up on the old WTC sites. I arrived, after many detours and map readings, about 8:30am. No Pauline!
She only had a short flight down from Toronto to New York and had been leaving about 3:30 in the afternoon. No Pauline! Me, with no phone. Skype NOT working on my notebook, even though we checked it before I left Australia. Out comes the notebook – again. I fired it up – no more emails. Couldn’t check in without her. No mention of me as her guest. I found her cell phone number and amazingly, Google offered me FREE calls in the US because I have a Gmail account. Phoned her cell; left a message. Still none the wiser and started to really worry about what might have happened to her.
By now it was 9:00pm and the Hotel phoned the restaurant. Sorry, that party has not arrived. I shot off a quick email to Colin, and Warren and Lisa at home because they may have been able to phone her, to say I had lost Pauline in New York. Colin’s cell phone was off, so my Google phone was of no help anyway. Barely had the emails gone, when she arrived.
There had been a shooting in the tunnel her shuttle driver would have taken from the airport (no, she didn’t take a cab either). All the traffic was diverted – she had taken over six hours to complete the trip from Toronto to the NY hotel.
A quick email to say she was found; we checked in, dropped our luggage and repaired to the lounge on the 20th floor for a good strong drink. Then some food, a shower, a good sleep and we were ready to hit New York!