Commuting Around Europe

So – I figure the best time to write about my most recent jaunt into Europe is while I’m fully regretting it.

I’m currently trying to write the documentation to support the work I did the other week.  And I hate writing documentation.  Even writing the kind of document which I would want to receive (ie: a list of specific stuff.  This was set to that.  This: 1.  This: 23.  This: 100.  Reading it: Perfect – all I need to know on a single page.  But writing it: what order do I put it in?  What’s the most logical tree structure?  Aaaarrgh!)  Sorry – mind is frazzled from trying to write my most hated of documentation – long wordy descriptions of what should be short one-liners – and with screenshots.  Oh – now you’ve got me started on screenshots.  I view screenshots as the vice of the lazy documenter, and the crutch of the incompetent reader.  Unfortunately – I’ve been specifically requested to include screenshots.  Hence my presumably imcomprehensible rambling about this shit that you certainly don’t care about.

Anyway – all this started with my trip to Madrid last time.  And then two weeks ago – another trip.  This time – a ridiculously early train to Paris.  Straight to the office, work until late.  Then to the hotel.  And my room has a balcony (ish) with a view of the Arc de Triomphe.  (And really, no offence, but where did the French borrow the nerve to build a monument to Triumph?)  But anyway – a rather long day – and that pretty much just set the scene.  Essentially a week of spending 16 hours a day with work colleagues – who aren’t even my own work colleagues, and for whom english is not their first language.  Which would normally be all fine – but with me having very little sleep already – it was just that slightly too tiring to cope with for an entire week.  Anyway – enough whinging.  First day ended with some bieres and what-not.  And the next few days – long days in a small office in suburban Paris – miles away from anywhere – then back into central Paris to drop off bags, and then head to random places for dinner.  Who has a few days in Paris – so decides to travel all the way across town to a burger restaurant?  But I managed to escape eating a burger – and had steak tartare instead.  All good.  And crepes.  And I saw the Eiffel Tower, and Notre Dame, and things like that.  I would nearly cross Paris off The List – except I was too tired to enjoy any of it – and I didn’t see the Louvre.

Oh – and I managed to watch some of the opening rugby matches – streaming over internet.  A lot of my screenshots (grumble grumble whinge whinge) – are great – each showing two monitors, one full of nerd-action, the other with a snapshot of the morning’s rugby.  And the other light-hearted aspect which will hopefully counter-balance the above crazy ramblings – was the exchange of language between myself and my spanish workmates.  I taught them the word “cleavage” – (by special request – with meaning conveyed with a lot of hand gestures and imitation) – while they attempted to teach me – well, some terrible terrible phrases.  Which I was too tired to remember – sadly.  I remember what they meant – and I just don’t know what to think about a culture which would say things like that.

But finally – it was Monday – with a lovely 6am flight to Madrid.  Where I headed to my hotel, thinking I would just be able to leave my suitcase there, and head to the office – and check-in later.  But no – they let me check in at 9am or so – which allowed me to have a shower and head to the office.  Which shouldn’t have brought me so much joy – but I’m pretty sure I would have fallen asleep at the desk otherwise.  But yes – two more days in Madrid – this time out in the suburbs – and then finally back to London.  On a 5am flight – landing at London City airport – just in time for a taxi straight to my ‘usual’ client – and get in at 10am, in order to help a vendor who’s come in especially for the first big piece of work on my current project.  And yeah – I wasn’t particularly “on the ball” that day.

But that’s what you get when you’re some kind of jet-setting business traveller like myself, I guess.

Oh – and did I mention that immediately after work on my day of return – I then headed off to my first fencing lesson?  Luckily we didn’t get given any solid time with epees, foils, sabres, or the such on that night.  But I made up for it the next week – when I knew that we would be handed our first swords – by having a few wines beforehand.  This behaviour was correctly summed up with the comment “You’re a retard”.  It wasn’t my fault – there were work drinks to welcome/farewell somebody visiting from India.  Who doesn’t drink.

Hmm?  Yes – I’m attending fencing lessons.  En guarde!

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