Looking for new buildings – A day in the life of Clara our expansion manager

Clara - Equity Point's Area Manager - Expansion

Dear Friends,

I’ve felt the need to explain my Italian adventure. I leave my home in Barcelona a bit scared, because my flight company is totally unknown to me. They don’t even have a website, you cannot check in online and no one has ever heard of them. Surprisingly we leave on time, the male flight attendants are extremely cute, and we are offered orange juice and cookies for free. I feel lucky.

In the plane, I run into a friend of my best friend and he asks to take me out for dinner once we land in the beautiful Italian city because he is there all alone. I’m quite smart and I find the way to escape from that dinner. I feel lucky. I arrive at the hotel and they inform me that tonight is the only day in the year that the museums are open at night and the entrance is free. So I just throw my things in the room and I leave immediately. I buy myself a portion of pizza for dinner and I head to some of the most beautiful museums not only in Italy but in the world. I’ve promised my colleague Maria that I will buy some pasta for her. Her kids love the huge macaroni that you can buy in Italy so I’ve bought macaroni compulsively. I feel lucky. I get back to the hotel around 2AM, tired but happy. When I get in the bathroom I realize that the shower and WC are at the same place. Uhmmmmmmm! As I feel lucky I think that with some planning in the morning, first WC and then shower, I’ll be able to do everything without a problem, after all… I’m feeling lucky.

I get up after a warm night and I realize that almost all the mosquitoes in town have bitten me. I’ve got more than 10 emails from the people I have to meet, asking to change our meeting point. Finally I understand where I have to go, and leave. I knew that there would be quite a lot of people, but I didn’t expect a Football team. When I get there, 13 people are waiting for me. At some points we are only 11 because I think that 2 of them are sentimentally involved and disappear from now and then. The gentlemen are wearing extremely expensive suits shirts with their names embroidered and cuff links. Leather shoes with squared ends. The ladies are wearing short skirts and 20 cm high heels. All of them dressed as if we were going to a wedding. The temperature is around 35C and I’m sweating like a pig. I’m well dressed, with my white trousers, and green ballerina shoes but I’m not definitely dressed to go to a wedding. All the Italians, ladies and gentlemen, are wearing huge sunglasses. It reminds me of the glasses that my uncle used to wear when he had to weld metal. If I put on my aviator-style Ray Bans, I will definitely not be cool enough. We visit two buildings. In one of them there are some ancient ruins and all I ask is if we could cover the remains with a glass and put some bunk beds on top. In the other building there is a rose window with some fascist motifs represented. Weird. They try to confuse me with the surfaces of the buildings, the prices, commissions, etc. I get over all this quite well but I’m tired. I don’t feel lucky anymore. However both buildings are nice and the visit is worth it.

They take me to a small restaurant. The owner is a childhood friend of the cousin’s wife of one of the 13 guys that is in the meeting. The intention of the lunch is to continue talking about business. It reminds me of a Fellini film. All of them are talking in a very high voice, discussing, fitting and laughing. Every time I try to start talking about the buildings the waiter comes in and tells us all a dirty joke. My boss sends me a text message to ask me how it is going and I don’t give much detail. My mother language is Catalan. The meeting is in Italian and I can almost understand everything but I need to stay focussed at all times. I’ve got a headache. My well known “angry face” is starting to show. They all drink wine, beer, calvados and whisky. The “mama” from the restaurant comes in shouting that she’s had enough of us, that it is very late, and she kicks us all out. They ask me if they can take me to the airport but as they are all drunk I say that I prefer to go there on my own. My taxi driver is a young woman full of tattoos and eating chewing gum. She is speaking on the phone very loudly and drives in a very aggressive way. I arrive at the airport wanting to puke. My flight back is with Alitalia. Alitalia doesn’t allow you the check-in online from certain airports so there I am at the counter with my bag and two handbags full of huge macaroni. I’m not lucky anymore. My bag weights 8kg and I’m only allowed to have 5 kg and they make me check my luggage. Now I want to cry. As the airport is small there are no gangways to board the plane, so they make us jump into a bus where they then make us wait for more than half an hour because the plane is not quite ready. We are now at 37C. I don’t want to puke anymore, I just have a cold sweat. We land in Rome because this is my stopover enroute to Barcelona. They don’t have gangways there either so they load us onto another bus, which then takes us to the wrong terminal. I’m still carrying the two bags of macaroni. I have to run across the whole airport to be at my gate to Barcelona almost late, but just on time. This time, there is a gangway. Hurrah! Luck is with me again. The gangway is a “fake gangway”. It takes you to a staircase that leads you to a bus that is waiting. If this continues, my macaroni will arrive all broken.

I get on the plane; it looks like a new machine and is not full so I think to myself: you’ll be able to sleep a bit! While we are taking off, the emergency masks from the rows in front of me fall out. The Japanese lady sitting in that row screams so badly that she makes her daughter cry. 4 o 5 other passengers get up completely pale and scared. I don’t know why, but the situation is rather comic to me. The male flight attendant puts on a yellow jacket and with a screwdriver, blocks the masks mechanism and swears that no mask will fall out again. The Japanese lady is still crying and asks what happened, if there is a real emergency and if she needs the mask. Finally, the crew decides to land again and make us disembark once more from the plane onto a bus. They keep us waiting in the bus for another half hour before finally allowing us to go to re-board the plane. I’m still carrying the macaroni. As we’ve lost our Slot for departure, they make us wait in the plane another half hour. I want to cry. We should already be in Barcelona and we are still in Rome. When I land at Barcelona airport it is past midnight. All the gangways are closed so they make us take another bus to the terminal. I’m looking for a trash bin to throw the macaroni away. Luckily my bag is already out when I arrive at the baggage claim. I get into a Taxi to go home but the driver doesn’t know where my street is (even though it is right in the city centre).

My theory is that if one day your luck is with you, the following day you’ll pay dearly.

Sometimes I wonder why my friends don’t understand when I tell them that travelling a lot is not always cool.

Clara

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