Interviews, Presentations and Tours – Oh My!

11 Nov

Today I wake up ready for a day of more interviews, a presentation and a city tour. Due to various changes in schedules of the people I’m supposed to meet with, the timing for today has changed and my driver is due to pick me up a half-hour later than originally scheduled (I hope it’s Abu!). I get dressed (more daring today in a red top), grab my iPad and head down to the amazing, international breakfast buffet. Eggs, fish, pastries and a bunch of stuff that, although they have cards identifying them, I still have no idea what they are. Being the adrenaline junkie that I am, I go for the mystery foods. I ignore my iPad and pick-up a copy of the Kuwait Times. After a few minutes I look up from the newspaper at the twenty-three other people in the dining room and take note that I am the only woman in  there. It’s clearly a business hotel and, working on cruise ships, I’m accustomed to being the only woman in a meeting. Still, it’s funny how I still notice this. I wonder if men notice these things.

I’m enjoying a relaxing breakfast when the Dining Room Manager approaches me and tells me my car is waiting downstairs for me. What? Uh, perhaps he didn’t get the memo about the time change. And then

Chauffeur

Not Abu

paranoia sets in and I think, perhaps I got the time wrong. Crap. I ask the Manager to let my driver know that I will be downstairs in ten minutes. Acting very calm with a Madonna like ‘they will have to wait for me’ attitude, I high-tail it to my room to collect my bag and thumb drive with my presentation on it. On the way up to my room I am secretly excited (and a little troubled) that the powers that be seem to know where I am even when I’m not in my hotel room. I grab my stuff, touch-up my lipstick and am off

In the lobby I see a familiar face – it’s Abu! He seems to know he’s early. We make pleasant conversation on the twenty-minute ride to the office. He asks me about my mall experience (seriously, the mall is where it all happens) and we say goodbye as I won’t be seeing him again. As I’ve arrived early and my contact isn’t available yet, I walk over to Starbucks – yes, the one on the grounds of the office complex. Ten minutes later I’m back in the waiting room drinking my latte and watching the eclectic mix of people applying for jobs, waiting for meetings or, perhaps waiting for passengers to drive around (Abu would never cheat on me). Before long Cheryl, my contact, steps out the magic door to call me in.

We head over to Sam’s office and run into him on the way. Cheryl hands me off to him and he and I change directions to join Laurent in another meeting room. Laurent is a good-looking Frenchman (I’m honestly not sure I’ve ever met an ugly Frenchman. What is it with that accent?) who is part of the creative team I would be working with. So here in this meeting room in Kuwait sits an Englishman, a Frenchman and an American woman. Suddenly my life seems nearly as glamorous as everybody thinks it is.

Cell Phone ReceptionThis is the meeting in which I am supposed to give the presentation which I had prepared for my Skype  call with Sam a couple of months earlier. As I was still on the ship at the time, and the very expensive internet had typically, gone down, I ended up holding my iPhone up to my porthole in order to use that to tether enough for an internet connection. In the end we had no video but, as I had e-mailed my Power Point presentation, we talked it through. It felt very similar to the 1970’s when you put one hand on the rabbit-ear antennae while standing on one foot and holding up the other hand with a finger pointed to the sky in order to watch a Saturday morning cartoon.

First Sam and Laurent do a presentation for me, which I find incredibly interesting and gets me very excited about the job as it is the perfect combination of business and creativity. Kind of quirky, not unlike myself. Next, I begin my presentation. Within five minutes, I see Cheryl lurking about outside. It turns out that the person who is supposed to do my city tour wasn’t contacted about today’s change in schedule and is, not so patiently, waiting in the lobby. Sam and Laurent let me know that, as they’ve already seen the presentation I had sent, we can conclude this part of the day and I head off to meet my tour guide.

In the lobby of the office complex I meet Karen. I apologize for my tardiness (truly not my fault) and we head off to discover Kuwait City. Karen is from Scotland and is married to the head of one of the divisions of franchises within the company I am interviewing with. Our first stop is an apartment building. If I’m going to live here it’s nice to know what my home life might be like. The newly built apartment is lovely. Very similar to a higher-end apartment in America yet almost all apartments here include housekeeping. Unlike an apartment in Phoenix, this one will run 525 Dinar per month which comes out to about $1800 per month (yup, I’m definitely going to need more money). Karen and I get back into the car and she offers to take me to the grocery store (women understand). The grocery store is impressive. The fresh fish look amazing, the fruits are colorful (although some are unidentifiable) and they seem to have everything Wine that you could possibly need. Everything, that is, unless you need a drink. Yup, alcohol is illegal here (uh, I need a drink). Oh, and pork. There’s also no pork in this country (I’m guessing cooking a meal of pork with wine sauce or beer and bratwurst could get me thrown in jail). Another different part of grocery shopping is that you don’t carry your own bags out. You pull your car up to the entrance and there is someone to load it into your trunk. A girl could get spoiled here.

Next we head to Salmiya, the area of Kuwait where Karen lives and, if I move here, I would want to also. It’s a nice residential area with shopping areas and the ocean close by. I ask if the beaches are public and Karen tells me that they are but, if I were to use a public beach, I must wear clothing that covers my knees and shoulders (hhhmmm, I guess that might save on the sunscreen). We stop at the Beach Club. As the majority of Kuwaiti residents are expats, these are the places where you can find most of them. Here you’ll find a gym (yay, yoga classes!), a spa, tennis, squash, five outdoor pools, one indoor pool, water sports and a beach. Here you can wear a bathing suit that won’t cause you to be sucked down by the weight of ten pounds of clothing. This is a must have if you’re a westerner living in Kuwait and all for the budget price of 650 Dinar, about US $2300 (really, I’m going to need more money). They offer family rates and, if you’re a family or a married couple, you get free access to the club for one nanny! And you can get you second nanny in for only 125 Dinar (seriously, who has two nannies?).

After a lovely lunch where Karen keeps running into people she knows (this feels a lot like New York) we head back to the hotel. I thank Karen for a great afternoon and head up to my room to pack the few belongings I have with me (yet I still manage to forget my toiletry bag) and lay down for a nap. I enjoy a quiet dinner in the hotel dining room ($50 without any wine. Really?), go down to meet my car for my midnight flight.

Next, join me as I Fly By Night . . . and Day on the long journey home and hear the decision. . .

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One Response to “Interviews, Presentations and Tours – Oh My!”

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  1. I Shop, Therefore I Am | My Own Adventure - November 9, 2013

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