a unique perspective on this crazy world

Posts tagged ‘technology’

a hotel for narcissists ;)

I didn’t realize when I booked it that it was actually pronounced “ME”!  It’s the latest spot for urban trendsetters.  ME London – a new outpost of the über-stylish arm of the Melia chain.  I read about it on a recent airplane and was intrigued.


Five years ago I stayed at the first ME in Madrid.  How I met Javier and got a tour of Madrid with a local guide and one of my all-time greatest travel stories 😉  The rooftop bar at the ME in Madrid is more exciting than the rooftop bar at the ME London but I mostly stayed there so that I didn’t have to get past the velvet rope.


my room in the sexy cave

my room in the sexy cave

It worked!  And ME hotels apparently inspire memorable travel experiences.  There is an impressive view over the Thames from the top of the hotel.  I can’t show you a photo though because, as I was discretely trying to sneak a tourist snap, a very attractive gentleman in a suit caught me.

“Don’t do it.  You’ll spoil it.  Just drink it in so you can remember it.”

I put my phone in my purse and looked at him.  “Fair enough.”  I was intrigued…

a snap before I met Patrick...

a snap before I met Patrick…

It’s hard to resist an Irish accent 😉  So I let Patrick call the shots for the rest of the evening.  I learned about the real current state of the economy of Ireland and what it was like to grow up in Belfast.  Belfast is already on the list – and he just convinced me it likely needs to move up!

To date, I’ve only been to Dublin – and never with a really fun-loving companion.  So I have this sense of it as a place where a love of music and a talent for words combines with an irresistible accent in utero, such that the Irish really give the Latinos some serious competition 🙂

Perhaps it is the Irish in me that reveres music so much.  When someone introduces himself as a musician who dabbles in the law as a sideline, I need to know more.  And am happy to engage in a debate as to whether music is the most important art form.

I think it likely is.  It has always been my substitute for therapy.  And you can engage in the music of a foreign culture without understanding the language.  It’s a true lingua franca.

I live in a beautiful city – but it’s full of jocks.  If you want to debate the best mountain bike, the best run at Whistler or whether yoga is better than Pilates, no problem finding tons of candidates.  But a philosophical discussion with an intelligent man sporting a sexy accent…

Why do you think I run to Europe every chance I get? 😉  Patrick and I spent hours in fascinating conversation but the most memorable concept was the important discussion everyone should be having in the 21st century.  Am I paying attention?  Am I experiencing the moment?  Is it more important to me to experience the moment than to capture it on an Instagram filter?

I love technology and have been an early adopter of all the stages.  I see how it can enhance our lives.  But I have also seen how it can disengage us from any proper version of life.

“the Patrick moment” was a great 21st century life lesson for me.  Will I choose to engage in conversation with the gorgeous Irishman – or will I blow him off so I can get a great shot of the Thames on my smartphone?

I made the right choice 😉

When you are in the senior’s home, you will remember listening to “One” (U2) on a balcony in East London with a boy from Belfast drinking Jamaican beer.  After you’ve already sampled Leonard Cohen and Neil Young.  Hey, I know One Direction has a lot of fans.  But I still get a lump in my throat when I hear “Biko” – or “Sunday, Bloody Sunday”.  Like when you meet a boy and spot books about poetry and philosophy on his nightstand…

There is no guarantee you will end up in a fascinating conversation with a charming Irishman (wearing green might help – it worked for me 😉  It’s also good to look up and make eye contact with strangers 😉

Even if the hotel doesn’t provide any unexpected benefits, it is in a great location.  You will be able to wander

the sexy cave :)

the sexy cave 🙂

through English history on foot.  There is an Italian restaurant and a steakhouse in addition to the rooftop bar.  The rooms are gigantic by London standards.

And wandering the halls will make you feel like you have wandered onto a movie set.  Bring heels or a good suit and soak up the atmosphere of the sexy Spanish cave you have meandered into 😉


Berlin is not Stuttgart!

So says my Time Out guide to Berlin.  Poor Stuttgart… it’s not so bad.  And Germans are Germans no matter where you go 🙂  Well, Helmut Kohl did declare that Germany was “not a land of immigration.”  If you do not speak German perfectly, they will look at you like you are speaking Swahili.  My Swahili definitely gets a better response 🙂

But my German is not all “weg”.  Last night I managed to order dinner without speaking any English until it was time for the “Rechnung”(bill).  The server was very pleasant and when he finally understood and pronounced the word, I realized – ah, my “ch” was off… spoken like a wimpy North American, not a true Deutsch.

This morning was more entertaining.  Ironically, I am here in the land of technology and I have an iMac in my room… but nothing works!  The hotel’s technology offerings are a disaster.  In Paris and Istanbul, it was seamless!  Oh, but would the Germans hate to hear that!

Getting on-line to post this blog was quite the ordeal.  The connection parameters are far too complicated, they are not intuitive and there are no instructions in the room – or even on the iMac.

So I was finally forced to call the front desk… we had the kind of classic argument you can only really have with a German… I was trying to get the password right… she kept saying ‘’i’’ like easy… I kept saying, “that doesn’t make sense in English.”  But she just thought I was a stupid foreigner who didn’t know English very well.  Luckily, I speak quite a lot of German and “i” sounds like “e” auf Deutsch so I tried it when the “i” didn’t work – and I am on-line!

I learned long ago that you have to be patient with the Germans – and leave your ego at home.  Most of them have egos for two so you can use some of their spare capacity.  I guess that’s what happens when people tell you are “the master race”.  But, once you get past the frosty exterior, most of them are wonderful people with a wicked sense of humour.

I just smile as they diss my Deutsch and we swap over to English.  I come from a country that prides itself on immigration so I enjoy listening to butchered English and trying to see if I can figure it out.

It is practically impossible for me to not be able to figure it out, no matter how bad it is… and here, auf Deutschland, long ago I learned how to speak a pigeon patois form of Englisch complete with a Deutsch accent.  It’s my little secret – they all think their English is so great because they sound just like me… but I am just messing with them 😉

Other than the technology, the hotel is very cool and pictures will be forthcoming…  It is true that Berlin is not Stuttgart and can’t wait to get outside and explore.  I am in the former East Berlin, in Mitte… last time I was here it was the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.  And this was the neighborhood to be in… we’ll see what has changed in three years.  Ich bin nicht ein Berliner aber Ich liebe Berlin…

We will go back and catch up on the stories from Istanbul… where everyone was so supportive of my butchered Turkish… 😉


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