so probably none of y’all noticed i haven’t blogged anything in 20 days — that’s because i’ve been holed up in Manhattan (again, better places to be stuck, so no complaints) on a work project since January 4. i’m flying home now but sadly, it looks like there’s a high probability i will be headed back in a week. (sad because either way i will be canceling my trip to Tbilisi next month after having to cancel a trip to the Philippines this month — alas, i knew my ‘work from anywhere’ luck would run out sooner or later.)
but i don’t think i’ve been away from home for such an extended period of time before — i think three weeks was my previous record, and even then it wasn’t all in one place. this time, it was all one hotel, pretty much sleep work sleep work. i think most people who travel to regularly client sites for work at least get to come home on the weekends, but alas, that was not an option for me, and i haven’t traveled so much for work in well over a decade (and even then, only for a handful of days at a time).
how did i manage to stay sane? luck, i guess, although i did learn some things along the way. i’d also be glad to take any suggestions and tips, too!
i only had about a day to make arrangements before heading out — i’d been to Manhattan many times before but either stayed at a friend’s place or just used HotelTonight. and as someone who doesn’t really stay in hotels, i wasn’t sure how to find the best deal (that wasn’t driven solely by price). i knew i wanted somewhere close to the client office (across the street from the Port Authority Bus Terminal) and i wanted somewhere that had kitchen facilities, if i could get it for the right price.
i settled on the Residence Inn Times Square. there were some cheaper options, but for the price point, i think i did pretty well.
sidebar: a quick review great location, breakfast on weekends is a hot mess in terms of everyone converging onto the third floor at once (but decent food), nice staff, but rooms showing much wear and in need of a refurbishment.
i don’t know if it was my Marriott Gold Status (which i only have via RewardsPlus) or because i was staying so long (“you’re practically moving in!”) — or both — but when i checked in, the front desk manager (lucky she was working that shift?) upgraded me to a corner room on a high floor, which was pretty good because i did appreciate the views and the extra space. also, be sure to take advantage of the services the hotel offers — luckily they explained quite a bit when i checked in. i got a hot plate and laundry hamper delivered, and took them up on their grocery shopping service where you make a list and they do the shopping for you at no extra charge and even put the groceries away.
sadly, though, despite the great Midtown location, i spent most of my not-at-work time well, at work from the hotel room 🙁 — so i was grateful for every little thing that made life easier.
Such a nice day out and I'm like in those commercials where you just look forlornly out a window. pic.twitter.com/Iisa4XsNAy
— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) January 25, 2015
also, some nice bonuses were the laundromat downstairs and The Candy Jar (which i emptied pretty much every other day):
Opened and sniffed until I found a not-mildewy-smelling one pic.twitter.com/kiOCXwK9fl
— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) January 17, 2015
God bless my favorite housekeeper who refilled my candy jar so much the lid won't close. pic.twitter.com/cp8p2jJU8g
— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) January 26, 2015
p.s. 27 nights came out to a bit less than $5400 total.
touches of home
i didn’t really expect bringing an old pair of slippers from home to be such a comfort. seriously, i might bring them on every trip from now on (especially since i don’t stay in places fancy enough to give you some). because i spent so much time inside, it was a comfort in more ways than one — and they pack so easily! p.s. these are from Ikea — cheap and most definitely not durable, but they get the job done and so comfy after hustling through midtown streets to get home and out of the cold!
and well, as a self-proclaimed Imelda, i needed my shoes. yes, they took up valuable room in my luggage, but man cannot live on one pair alone.
note that i bought two of these pairs while there (along with a ton of other clothes, thanks to post-holiday clearance sales and discovering i needed nice clothes for client meetings…).
thank goodness i chose a hotel with in-room kitchens. i was able to make simple food — and not have to leave the room during the blizzard that wasn’t.
i should also note that there was also, inexplicably, a slow cooker supplied, which i used as a humidifier on some of the drier days heh.
Y'all thought I was joking about the crock pot. Will update tomorrow morning on how well it works. pic.twitter.com/vqXcZ2eppe
— Jonathan Khoo (@jonk) January 8, 2015
and specifically related to NYC, i couldn’t have lived without Seamless (disclaimer: if you sign up via that link before mid-February, you and i both get $10 to use), an app you can use to place orders for pick up or delivery. so easy both for lunch and dinner, especially when you don’t have time to sift through reviews of places on Yelp or Foursquare.
having and making local friends
again, Twitter to the rescue. it was great to see people again and meet new Twitter friends — i unvirtualized at least three Twitter friends and met up again with several more. thanks to everyone for hanging out with me during my weird free time schedules! to those i missed this time around, next time!
so yeah, i might be back again in a week for two more weeks. while better than four weeks, i’ll definitely be bringing my slippers — anyone else have any more tips for making repetitious extended stays away from home bearable?