Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Washington, DC

In town to help re-open the Park Hyatt Washington. Flight delayed due to rain at ORD... funny how a 3 hour delay seems like no big deal as long as you travel domestically... even if I were flying to California, it still would be shorter than most international trips...

Always surprised every time I come here, which isn't often. It is a pretty city with so many things to do, yet I never take advantage. This year my H.S. reunion is here (20th, no less!) and it will be at the Grand Hyatt. I stay there tomorrow night... city is sold out, so my first night is in Crystal City - not exciting at all.

Weather incredible, I hope I get a chance to enjoy it. Probably not tomorrow however - I have an 8am conference call, a 9.30 meeting, then a 12pm conference call and more work the rest of the day, dinner at 7.30 and a conference call to India at 10pm. I'll be pooped...

Ciao for now... (p.s. watched American Idol for the first time last night, that girl Paris is quite a singer!)

Friday, March 03, 2006

Cancun – post Hurricane Wilma - photos

What an interesting journey.

A trip to Cancun to revise the pricing for one of our two hotels in Cancun, and I must admit, I was fascinated with what a “disaster zone” might look like. I had heard the news reports that much had been cleaned up; however, when I tried to book a room, I could find few hotels and the rates were high. This was an indication to me that things weren’t auite back to normal yet. Boy was I right.

From the airport, you couldn’t tell – even leaving it, it was perfectly clean and manicured, as always. However, a few kilometers in and you could see many of the trees stripped of their colour, many simply with their tops removed. About 10 kilometers in, the road rides a levee of sorts; on the lagoon side the edge was filled with toppled, naked trees.

The Hilton is the first hotel at the edge of the hotel zone, and immediately one can see the sign and patches of paint stripped, the glass roof gone and many windows boarded up. As you enter the hotel zone, you continue to see such damage, interspersed with completely rebuilt hotels (Fiesta Americana, Le Meridien) next to hotels that had been really badly hit (the Aqua, which was completely torn apart; the Gran Melia, whose glass domes – four of five – were completely gone; the Sheraton, which was literally leveled, now just a sign and bare grass with specks of rubble).

The Hyatt Cancun Caribe managed relatively well considering; “average” damage. The Hyatt Regency was torn apart, now stripped bare even of its doors by the insurance company. Nothing left but a skeleton.

I think the most amazing scenes were those of the Gran Melia – it is such a large hotel, to see such damage was astounding – and the edge of the Hyatt Cancun Caribe one could look in at a room from the beach and the iron rivets inside the concrete were literally bent up. I could look straight into a room from the beach, nothing left, no wall or windows.

Wow, the power of a hurricane!
But in all this damage, the people were keeping the places as clean as possible and working hard to restore…