GoldFyre (notnormal23224) wrote,

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Business Trip to Charlotte, NC

Well I spent the last week in Charlotte, NC at my jobs headquarters for a geeky training course using Microsoft's SMS software. I drove down on Sunday in the requisite rental car (required by my jobs insurance for some reason) and even though I took interstates all the way, the 5 hour journey still took me 7 (lost track of rest stops). I grew to hate Kias, the cigarette lighter can't be used to charge phones and laptops, complete epic fail, that meant no GPS, I had to turn it on and off whenever I neared the next major switch off mentioned by it on the previous power cycle, and that meant no listening to my preset of tunes I had stored in it.
I arrived exhausted Sunday night at the Drury Inn in Charlotte, let them know ahead of time I was still coming and would be a bit late, (got there at 5:30PM). Was initially encouraged by the wonderful posting of how many customer service awards they've won, that was quickly dashed by their computer systems being down and they were unable to give me a room for over 45 Minutes, oh and the WiFi was out too along with the computer systems, So I had to sit around in the lobby for that time eating the free popcorn and soda (one perk) and watching the lobbies HDTV with all my luggage until they got it working again. Of course they didn't bother to tell me when that was I had to find out by watching someone else walk in and get a room key, they were rapidly loosing points in my book fast. The room was nice when I got to it but it had a TV that almost could have been older than me (well it had a remote so maybe it was half my age, only about 21+ years old) the tube was very fuzzy), ah well when the Internet came back up I went to watching my home's cable on my laptop streamed over the net (I would use the term slingboxed but I'm using a Pinnacle box to do it), and even that looked vastly superior to the larger TV screen. There was a mini fridge and microwave hidden in the TV cabinet too. I was good the first day on the corporate card by eating a lunch at Bojangles on the road, and dinner of Salmon at TGIF Fridays (great salmon!). Breakfast was at the hotel for free the next morning, they cook up eggs, sausage, biscuits, French toast, and have waffle mix and a waffle iron for fresh waffles, for free (they gain a point of respect for that).
My job's head quarters is huge (as in the office complex is second only to the Pentagon in size huge), which led to the most interesting challenges of the week, parking. There were times when it felt I parked in another state. The first 2 days I got away with parking in a visitors spot (next to a car that I could swear someone was living in) but I got a nice note from security telling me that was a no-no ("Ve Vill boot Da car next time Ve see it here, have a nice day") and the next day I parked someplace in Virginia and walked back to the building I was in (hey they have a real park in the parking lot!). That adventure earned me a nail in my tire while passing some street work in the lot, had AAA put on the donut, and Enterprise arranged for Firestone to fix it the next morning (so much for sleeping in). My Boss arrived at the hotel for a meeting on Thursday and wanted to have breakfast together, I gave her the bad news when she paged me as I was waiting for the Firestone folks to fix my tire. McDonald's got to see the corporate card that morning. The next few days worked out a bit better (coming in early helps) but beware if you have to leave for any reason you are stalked for your parking space (note despite having real name brand fast food places in their food court, none of them take the corporate card so you have to leave the campus for a free company lunch).
Lunches the first second and fourth full days in Charlotte were at Red Robins, My doctor would shoot me for day one which was a coronary on a bun day (Royal Red Robin burger, Bacon, eggs, and a half pound of beef, hold on a sec must perform CPR for just thinking about it), On the third and fifth days I ate at Cheddar's a bit down the road but they had good food. Dinners were at Applebee's on day 1 (Salmon again, TGIF's was better), Texas Land and Cattle day 2 (Ooooh steak, loaded potato, and Lobster tails! I love you corporate card with $60/day food allowance), Day 3 was Dinner at a Japanese restaurant Nakatos (edit I mixed up the name) (Prawns and Scallops, cooked in front of me, came in at under $1 of the food budget that day). On the way home I got a sit down meal at a decent but forgettable Chinese restaurant (shrimp and scallops, was OK but made me miss Nakatos) in some northern, NC town. Made friends with a kitty at a rest stop (wouldn't let me pet her but would hang around and let me get pictures of her, only one came out good although one of the bad ones was worth saving anyway due to the cool effect it had. I made it home by 12:30AM Saturday and returned the Kia sucktra at 10 that day.

Tags: business travel, corporate funded meals, driving
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