Notes From the Road

In Campinas, a suburb of São Paulo Brazil. Will speak soon. 5 pm as I write. Audio/Visual at 6:15 pm. All important. Always. Bad A/V, bad speech. Period. Crews are good, bad, indifferent (just like anything else). Crossing my fingers for good. Arriving a little early, because I have some special requests (fonts, etc); maybe tough to deal with in Portuguese. Good news: I’ve got a full-time interpreter for these two days. Better news: He gives me lots of space; some try to justify their fees by checking to see if things are okay … about every five minutes, or so it feels. I NEED SPACE. ALWAYS. (Am also lonely as hell when 6K miles from home. Go figure. Life is contradictions, as someone/s wise probably said 3,000 years ago.)

Speech from 8:20 pm to 10:20 pm. Welcome to: Latin time!! (Wow, does it—the timing—feel odd.) Ah, the little matter of the speech. Planned on a “tailored generic.” Then—it always happens—I boarded the first leg, Boston to Miami, flight, and I decided to do something … Completely Different. (Or at least a bit different.) Used to do a 1-hour L50 (Leadership50) speech to much acclaim—always. (No kidding.) Haven’t fixed it in two years. Spent whole BOS-MIA flight on it, and part of MIA-GRU/São Paulo as well. (Plus half of today. Damn. So much for minimum prep time.)

Finished a great spy novel, At Risk by Stella Rimington, former head (first woman head) of Britain’s MI5. (FYI: James Bond was an MI6 guy.) Then I needed sleep. Most of my friends take sleeping pills; I don’t; I’m so damned afraid of being groggy for a day. But this time I did try 2 Bayer PMs, or whatever they’re called. Worked brilliantly. (Also in BOS bought a $14.95 neck pillow—also worked brilliantly. (Oh, the things still to learn at 62+ after 3 million miles of flying.)

Screw-up at airport re pickup. When that happens in Brazil, with a 1.5 hour ride ahead, and taxis not exactly reliable, it’s a nightmare. Abbey talked me down, after I woke her up pre-dawn on a Sunday. (Thanks!!!!) And lo and behold, I found the blessed ride. My cell phone not working in GRU, which added to the pain—had to go to one of those airport phone company places where you queue up for a booth.

Hotel just fine+. (My standards are insanely high—mostly thanks to the 4Seasons.) My big three were in place: windows that open, easy DSL connection, one-hour pressing. (And hyper-clean sheets/bathroom. I guess that makes four.) Didn’t need the pressing, because I stopped being so cheap, and recently bought a very good suit or two, which shake out brilliantly. (Hurray.)

As I said, today mostly devoted to presentation prep—I also turned tonight’s speech into a Special Presentation, which “we” (Cathy) are posting. My breaks were walks. And more walks. Ended up doing three Power Walk segments and logging about 7 or 8 miles, pretty good for walking. Have a 112-day streak going, which is pretty good. (Going to Australia soon, and an entire day evaporates thx to International Dateline—does that count as a streak buster?) São Paulo is a little tough, security-wise, but Campinas looked pretty good to me, so I went on my Merry Way. Did notice that every hotel had barbed wire on an outer wall. Hmmm. Also hotel security was, I think, keeping a bit of an eye on me—and at one point offered me a ride. As I said, hmmm.

Hey, gotta go to that A/V check.

NB: My Mom would have been 96 today; on my mind constantly.

NB2: I know “all this” should be old hat by now, but I’m still struck by the fact that I was presenting in Dubai this time last week!

Tom Peters posted this on September 26, 2005, in Tom's Travels.
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