IMR: 2000: November: 10 — Friday, 10:48 p.m. Singapore Time
Sir Henry Keppel II, Grand Hyatt Hotel, Singapore

It's not uncommon at our meetings for staff to go 72 hours without seeing daylight.
There won't be much more to my life for the next couple of days besides meetings, minutes, agendas, luncheons, dinners, speakers, photo taking, press release editing, and document copying, collating and stapling. This apart from my official duties as on-site office manager and technical support, keeping the registration desk in order and keeping the six computers we rented humming.

Oh, and a presentation of the website before the entirety of our international leadership on Sunday morning. Yikes.

At least I've had weeks to prepare, rather than the trial-by-fire pony show I had to put on at our meeting in L.A. two years ago. But on the other hand, the site had only 60 pages then. It has 1,517 pages now.

Tonight was the first of five formal functions, an opening gala dinner at the Four Seasons Hotel up the street. (I left early to get back to work, and because my stomach couldn't take the standard ritual of watching other people eat.) Yes, a different hotel from the one hosting the rest of our events, because this hotel — the Grand Hyatt Singapore — didn't have an available room big enough.

This hotel, for its reputation, has been a bit of a disappointment. Half the things we made arrangements for months ago were completely forgotten — the staff literally had to go across town to a stationery store to pick up some required supplies. And its many meeting rooms are only rarely used for meetings.

Why, for example, did they not have a ballroom for our opening function? Because tonight, apparently, every room in the wing is booked by a wedding. At the moment, guys in tuxedos and girls in strapless gowns are milling about everywhere, and the walls are throbbing with early 90s hip hop and cheesy Boys II Men love ballads. A strange setting indeed in which to be drafting policy statements on APEC.

Tomorrow, the room next door will host a makeshift thrift shop selling dresses and accessories, while upstairs, a banquet hall will be transformed into an off-season love-themed haunted house of some sort. And on Sunday, the room across the hall will be the site of an Indian rug auction.

And the floor captains and well-dressed staff whose job it is to stand around and point the way? The two times I've asked directions to a room in the hotel, they answered, "Sorry, I don't know." I actually asked the second one, "You work here, right?"

On the other hand, in the limited contact we've had with the Four Seasons staff in arranging our one dinner, they've exuded nothing but class.

Sharon was right. Site visits are not a luxury. They're a neccessity.

Oop. Well-fed folks are trickling in. Time to get back to work.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 12 November 2000 · Last Modified: 13 November 2000