Friday, October 20, 2006

Logbook: Learning Curve

Learningcurve2Today was a great day on the very steep learning curve that is The Voyage! First thing this morning, I decided to make my travel arrangements to Mexico City. I went to get some help contacting a bus company from the hotel’s concierge, but her Spanish was so rapid-fire that I couldn’t make any sense of it. Since I can read Spanish much better than I can understand it, I decided to try to book my bus trip on-line. From previous research, I knew that Senda has excellent “executive” buses, so I went to their website and was feeling very proud of myself for making great progress with the booking process when I ran into some language I couldn’t figure out. Undaunted, I grabbed my Mac, went back down to the concierge, logged onto the hotel’s wi-fi and got her help with completing my booking. Success!

Then, just as we finished, I was thrilled to get a video Skype call from my good friend Mark. I wish you could have seen the look on the concierge’s face when Mark’s image came up on my screen and we started talking! Anyway, I thanked her for her help and proceeded to have a wonderful wireless chat with Mark while walking around the hotel lobby and showing him all that there is to see. I have always liked Skype, but being able to see and talk with friends from anywhere in the world -- for free! -- makes me just love it!

With a sense of victory and glee, I went back to my room and was finishing up some emails when one of my RSS news feeds offered a link about a thing called Kidzania that has just opened in Japan. It looked very interesting, so I followed the links to the company’s web page and found out that one of three Kidzania’s in the world is right here in Monterrey! I almost couldn’t believe it, but it was true! Seeing this as an omen, I copied a map to the place onto my PDA, grabbed my camera, went back downstairs and showed the map to the guy at the door. Within minutes I was in a taxi, then standing in front of Kidzania Monterrey. (For the moment, what you need to know is that Kidzania is a kind of “commerce-based theme park” for kids. Instead of rides and the like, kids get to do little jobs, earn “Kidzos” -- the internal money -- and then spend it on things and activities they like.)

Learningcurve1I tried to buy a ticket to get into the place but was refused because I was a guy without kids wanting to get into an establishment for kids. I appreciated this security, but I still wanted to get inside! So, I handed the attendant one of my cards and said “internet journalist.” She said, “uno momento” and in moments I was escorted up to an office where my card was given to a woman in a cubicle. She did something on her computer -- which I later learned was check my website -- and came out to meet me. Her name is Ana Gabriela, and for the next 90 minutes I had a personal guided tour of the facility! I took a ton of video of this truly remarkable business and will look forward to sharing a Report as soon as I can edit it. Until then, I can only say that it has been a long, long time since I have been so impressed with a business model or with a representative like Ana Gabriela. If I could, I would buy the company.

Anyway, though it may not sound like much, my day was full of “living by my wits” and a lot of learning. Making travel arrangements on-line in Spanish, having a video conference in the lobby, the serendipitous discovery of an amazing local business, using my credentials to open an otherwise closed door and capturing tons of video for what I know will be a great Report has made this one of the best days I’ve had in a while. I am happily exhausted, ready for my celebratory dram of Scotch and looking forward to a good meal and a good night’s sleep in anticipation of whatever tomorrow has to offer on The Voyage of Macgellan!

No comments: