A smashing exit: Things not to do in the Middle East.

smirnoff21bottleMyself, my wife and our two sons spent the first two months calling the Hilton home.   It was also the companies head office for when staff weren’t working in schools, for meetings and for all administration activities.

From what I can remember it must have been a weekend when the phone rang and we were informed that we were finally relocating to our company accommodation, accommodation that was to turn out to be our home for the next three years.    The problem with the phone call however was the notice being provided.    We were aware that the accommodation was becoming available soon however we had no details as to when “soon” actually was and therefore everything continued had normal.  The Hilton had continued to be home.

The phone call changed all that as we were pleasantly informed that our apartment was ready and that we should check out of the hotel.    We were to check out by noon.    The issue being that the phone call came at around 10am giving only two hours to get ready to relocate.

Now you wouldn’t think you would have much to relocate from a hotel room however it is amazing what you pick up after two months living in a hotel especially where two children are involved.    And so that morning we set about the manic task of gathering all our belongings from the two hotel rooms we inhabited ready to move.

It was slightly before noon when the knock at the door came as the concierge made himself available to assist in the relocation, at least to the foyer of the hotel if not beyond.    It was like a reverse game of Jenga loading up his trolley when the various bags and items we had, carefully balancing each new item in the hope it wouldn’t fall off the trolley and break.    Upon getting almost everything on the trolley, we picked up the remaining items and made our way to the elevator, where we then travelled down to the foyer.   It was as we crossed the middle of the hotel foyer that the Jenga tower failed.   The one bag we didn’t want to fall to the floor, did just that and fell to the floor with a smash.

And there we were stood in the middle of the Hilton as a smashed bottle of vodka spread its contents across the floor.   Panic does not do justice for the way I felt.    I suspect the concierge may also have felt panic, albeit paired with a quicker reaction time.   Before I knew anything about it he has started to mop up the liquid and glass with the first thing that came to hand, my wife’s Chinese dragon embroidered bath robe.

Thankfully no one made comment as to what had happened.   I am not sure if that was due to the concierges quick actions or due to the busy or quiet foyer;  I can’t remember which it was.   The moral of the story is make sure you decide to carry the alcohol personally as opposed to relying on someone else when moving through the foyer in a middle eastern country.


Author: Gary Henderson

Gary Henderson is currently the Director of IT in an Independent school in the UK. Prior to this he worked as the Head of Learning Technologies working with public and private schools across the Middle East. This includes leading the planning and development of IT within a number of new schools opening in the UAE. As a trained teacher with over 15 years working in education his experience includes UK state secondary schools, further education and higher education, as well as experience of various international schools teaching various curricula. This has led him to present at a number of educational conferences in the UK and Middle East.

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