I am grateful for friends and Google is my friend

I am presently up in Whistler, the world renowned resort. I am not resorting, I am working here, doing surprise prevention for a course that we (at work) run every year. Being ever equal parts neurotic, intuitive and clear sighted makes me very good at surprise prevention. Being also ever well-behaved and good at dealing with surprises when they happen makes me a good on-site person.

Tuesday we were traveling: it snowed in Vancouver on Tuesday morning, a lot, six inches. In Vancouver the least bit of snow on the ground results in the city grinding to a halt. My great friend Rob H and I had scheduled to meet at the bus station at 7:30 a.m. to catch the 8 a.m. bus, so I called a taxi at 6:45 a.m. The bus depot is less than 5 taxi minutes away from thisCastle, so, even with the snow, 45 minutes should have been enough time, but apparently it wasn’t. Even though I was first on the list in my section, I waited and waited and waited outside and no taxi appeared. I called the taxi company again, but the line was continually busy, busy, busy. I also called the other taxi companies, but their lines were continually busy, busy, busy too. Being ever pessimistic, I started to panic.

There shouldn’t really have been a big time panic, because, being ever overly cautious, I had planned to take the bus before the bus before the bus that would get me there on time for the pre-con meeting, but I panicked anyway. The snow was still falling, and it didn’t look to me like it was going to stop. Being ever melodramatic I didn’t think that I would ever get to the bus depot, so being ever practical I decided to so something useful while I was waiting, and shoveled the walk. Six inches of wet snow is heavy, it was hard work.

Even though traffic was moving fairly normally on Hastings Street I had only seen two taxis drive by in the entire time that I’d been out there, which is not normal. I called the cab companies, but they were ever busy, so I started to approach people on the street, offering to give them twenty dollars to take me and my suitcase to the bus depot. The first person I asked was cleaning snow off his car with a piece of junkmail, and he mumbled, "I don’t have any money." I tried to explain that I would give him money, but my Cantonese wasn’t good enough, his English wasn’t good enough, and he didn’t (or wouldn’t) understand.  He said he had to go to work in Richmond by 8:30 and he drove away without me. I understand that in our neighbourhood it might not be a good idea to involve yourself with strangers in distress, but really – he was on his way to work in RIchmond, and it wasn’t out of his way to take me to the bus depot. Really.

The second person I asked was Vin, the owner of U2, the 9 – 5 grocery store across the street. In a neighbourhood full of grocery stores that are open 20 hours per day, I don’t know how U2 survives. Vin is a small Vietnamese man who dotes on his family. I always enjoy watching him deal with his children, especially his son. Vin couldn’t help me because he was on his way home to pick up his daughter and take her to school which was in the opposite direction from the bus depot.

After Vin refused my request, the panic started to set in seriously – it was 8:30 a.m., I had missed the first planned bus and was aiming for the 9:45 a.m. bus, but there was no sign of my taxi. I had been waiting more than an hour and a half, so I did what I never want to do: I called a friend who is between jobs and asked for help. She came to my rescue and drove me to the bus depot getting me there with twenty minutes to spare. I gave her a chocolate bar and $50 for helping me.

The bus ride wasn’t exciting (this is a very good thing), and we made it up here with plenty of time to spare. I have stayed here, at the Chateau, several times (all for work), and each time I have been disappointed by the lack of cleanliness of the rooms. The surrounds are grand, but grungy.

Our meetings are in Frontenac A and B, two of the main conference rooms here. I sit outside of the rooms at a table, and I have to entertain myself. This is not so easy to do without a functional internet connection.

Since arriving, I’ve been having problems connecting my computer to the wireless hub here; the message from the computer was that the radio was set to off in the Bios setup and I didn’t know what that meant. I tried and tried and tried again, but nothing was working for me. At the point when the computer started cycling through the several windows that I had open, flashing one second each, I gave up and started walking around a bit.

In Frontenac C, the third conference room, was a noisy party. Four hundred or so mostly younger-than-middle-aged, mostly Asian, mostly male people in winter resort gear. They are many more than our one hundred and twenty, and they are having way more fun than we are. They have at least seven security guards with them, five in uniform and at least two in plain clothes. I actually didn’t know who or what they were, until I went over there to see why they were making so much noise.

When I saw their signage: Google Northwest Ski Party, I thought of the computer issues I was having. I approached and the two plain clothes security guys near the door questioned me. I explained my computer issue, and one of them said, I know how to do this, and came with me and showed me the switch to turn the wireless transponder back on. He didn’t know what was with the cycling and flashing windows, but that was easy.

I asked my hero what he did with Google and he told me that he was the head of security in Mountain View California. Gee, at Google even the security people are handy with computers.

~ by thiscassandra on Thursday 31 January 2008.

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