I've just arrived at the Crowne Plaza NEC Birmingham, ready for a meeting with Paul Miller at Talis first thing tomorrow morning, followed by the SirsiDynix Executive Roadshow 2006.
Travelling to Birmingham is never straightforward — today, due to a broken down train, they had to cram two sets of passengers onto a single train.
The Crowne Plaza is officially located in the middle of nowhere, about a mile from the National Exhibition Centre. Just in case there's anyone reading this who's planning to arrive tomorrow via train — get off at Birmingham International, walk straight through the NEC (you'll see the occasional sign for the Plaza), and when you exit the NEC by the bus stops, you'll be able to see the Plaza in the distance. The entrance to the hotel is actually on the other side, so you'll need to skirt around the edge of the building.
I have a room with a view, but unfortunately it's a view of a dull car park…
…and what is it with hotels and light switches? I seem to remember it took Bryony and me about 10 minutes to figure out how to switch the lights on in our hotel room at CODI 2005, and it took me even longer today.
When I walked into the room, none of the light switches would work. So, I read the guest information booklet twice (standing by the window as the light of the day faded), but there were no tips in there. Hmmmmm – should I swallow my pride and ring up the reception desk?
"Hi – Room 149 here… I have a question for you… How do I turn the lights on?!?"
Eventually I noticed that there was a strange box, hidden away in the shadows on the wall near the door. It says "TESA" on it and, according to Google and the Acronym Attic, TESA can stand for:
- Texas Educational Secretaries Association
- Texas Elks State Association
- The Endangered Species Act
- Teacher Education Student Association
- Theater Environmental Situational Awareness
- Testicular Epididymal Sperm Aspiration
…not much help there, although Google Images has an amusing picture that seems to be someone gaffa taped to a wall. Sadly, I couldn't get the full sized version (http://www.pocsmadar.hu/miazmas/tesa.jpg) to load.
Anyway, on closer inspection, the box has a credit card sized slot in it… (gears begin to grind)… and my room door key is shaped like a credit card… eureka!