Sunday, July 10, 2011

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

This is a true event: Last night, while I was checking in, the ceiling in the lobby crashed down! Luckily, I was unhurt however the other hotel guest who was being attended to suffered a few hits (by falling debris) to his arm and head. Fortunately, he was not hurt badly and he looked more in shock than in pain. The hotel’s front-desk staff was stunned and I suspected it was the first time this ever happened to them. The desk that separated staff from guests became a protective barrier for them.

I had the presence of mind to move out of the way when I became aware of some unusual creaking sounds and the subsequent shadowy ‘drop’ from the corner of my eye. I believed that my intuition and instinct kicked in, for I took a large step away from the ‘drop zone’. The closest thing I can describe my split-second observation was: It felt like the moment the giant chandelier from a production of ‘Phantom of the Opera’ swung over the audience’s head.  One hotel guest I spoke to told me that he would have been hit if he had lingered on; he left two minutes before the ceiling collapsed – the faux ceiling made of poly-board included stones and cement. I took photographs as my evidence on my mobile-phone; so did the mildly injured hotel guest (for insurance or a lawsuit?). The hotel security guard ushered two hotel cleaners to briskly sweep up the mess into dust-pans and into black thrash-bags. A crowd of guest grew when I checked in and got my room keys; the whole in the ceiling was obvious and a sight for sore eyes.

Leadership Lesson: How often do you engage your awareness about your surroundings? How much of your intuition is switched on when you are travelling? How instinctive are you when danger lurks?
I am five hours behind my usual body-clock; I hope to post on-time since I’ll be working today and tomorrow. For the next few weeks, my Saturdays will be spent on work projects so training will be re-scheduled. I just signed up for a new long-distance triathlon, and so my triathlon-specific training will resume after a short season of purely running. My body feels stronger after Ironman Lanzarote in May. I watched on the BBC News channel that Barcelona is swamped with tourists and the ‘local feel’ has been perceived to be diluted. I agree, because on my last trip I met more international tourists than I spoke to locals. That is the price of mobility, cheap airfares, and the urgency to travel far and wide. According to Friedman, the world is getting flatter, hotter and crowded. He may be right.

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