Alpine update

A ski lift on the Grande Motte.

Another belated update, but again I have been working my (frequently-laundered) socks off. I’ve also enjoyed the company of the lovely Giuli from Turin once more – her last visit was in February. She popped over last weekend – a long weekend in Italy – to enjoy the freshly-opened Grand Montets slopes.

It’s always nice to host another couchsurfer, especially as it forces me to act a little more sociably! We went out for dinner two nights she was here. After not bothering last season, I finally tried the Sunday roast down at Monkey Bar in Chamonix Sud. A little pricey at €10 per plate, but the portions were a decent size and the quality of the food top notch. They even had proper mint sauce!

We of course enjoyed a visit to Bar’Dup and on the Monday night devoured chicken wings at MBC. The skiing was apparently well up to scratch, though the Sunday was incredibly busy with queues of up to 90 minutes at the lower lift. The Monday was apparently better with virtually nobody else on the slopes.

I’m fairly confident Giuli had a good time as she went to sleep both days when she came back after skiing before dinner. I must also thank her for the wine and the chocolates she brought over (both local specialities from where her parents live). Both are still unopened as I’ve barely been in the flat over the last week! I might keep them for Christmas.

Well, aside from that brief visit I’ve been a busy bunny.

The last time I left you, I was starting work on configuring a big bunch of PCs before they shipped to resorts. I finished that little job at 3:30am. Needless to say I was somewhat tired the next day, but couldn’t hang around as the weather was still rather ropey. The drive back to Chamonix from Tignes was… interesting. It was either snowing or raining the entire way depending on my altitude.

This caused a fair bit of “fun” on the roads, but it still beggars belief when you see how incapable some people appear to be when attempting to drive in the snow. Like the guy in the sporty Mercedes with his rear wheels (correctly) wrapped in chains… doing 15km/h. I was in a flipping Kangoo van with snow tyres – no chains – doing upwards of 30km/h on the same road.

Regardless, I made it back to base safe and sound as the PCs were making their way around the Alps. Of course, this then resulted in a gazillion phone calls as people tried to figure out how to plug them in, or that their internet connection didn’t work, or that they didn’t have the password to get into their resort manager account. The latter really teed me off as I’d spent a fair portion of that long night typing up these instructions and including passwords. These were sealed in envelopes on which were listed the equipment to be carried to site by each group of reps.

Only the idiotperson entrusted to hand them out didn’t bother. I found out that they’re still buried in his car somewhere.

As a result, two resorts were short of equipment as it was left lying in Tignes. A third had no PC at all as nobody told me their reps weren’t being trained in Tignes so there was nobody going that way to ferry it up. You know, you try your best…

Anyway, as the week progressed, the problem calls lessened until by the weekend (i.e. today) I had only three and all were very simple little queries.

In amongst all this, I had one night in our flagship hotel in Belle Plagne while I delivered more kit. I fixed another staff laptop (cost: one pint), had a drink bought for me by the Overseas Director, enjoyed a lovely free meal and got utterly wasted in a nearby bar.

Of course, I made full use of the swish room I had. Shower, bath, loo, flat-screen TV and comfy bed were all utilised to the full. The only thing I didn’t use was the DVD player, but I didn’t have anything to watch. Oh, and the wifi and cabled internet connections in the room were on the fritz, too. There’s a bone of contention between ourselves and the French electricity board about this. They’re claiming it was a lightning strike that fried several thousand Euros-worth of switches, while we reckon it was a serious spike on the mains.

Great place, though. Shame I doubt I’ll ever afford a holiday there, but I’m sure anyone who does will have a cracking time.

I drove two of the Chamonix staff back, one of whom had a rather dodgy tummy poor lass. Things have been hectic here as we have our first chalet guests arriving tomorrow and I’m on the airport run to show them how it’s all done. Which means an early rise. And on my birthday, too…

Yup, in around ten minutes local time I will “celebrate” getting even older. And still being none the wiser. Fortunately we’ll only be waiting for one flight so I should be safely ensconced in Bar’Dup for kickoff at 14:30 as we hopefully thrash Portsmouth. Don’t expect any coherent posts for at least 24 hours after that! My credit card is already behind the bar – I left it there last night.

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