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IGF: The good, the bad and the psycho cleaners

If you want to get on in Athens, steal a waiter uniform

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Stephen Spielberg's Duel in a Greek hotel room

I should mention here by the way that I have somehow ended up in a long-distance battle of wills with my hotel’s cleaner. It all started when I got back to my hotel room, on Saturday, and found that I didn’t have the two large towels (I only really need one, but that was one more than I had).

I went to reception and asked if I could have two towels. I should have known something was up when all he was interested in was the room number. No promise the deliver them but he made sure he had the right hotel room. The towels never showed. I dried with the small hand-towels and decided to let it go. But the next day, although the big towels were there - the bath mat had gone.

I had a strange sense at the time that there was something funny going on here, but I put it down to paranoia. Until the next night. The towels were there - all of them. Except when I went to dry myself after a shower in the morning, I discovered that the big towels are in fact hand towels, hanging to look like big towels. Now, what cleaner accidentally puts small towels on a rail that they have stick big towels on for months?

Still not convinced? At the same time I first mentioned that I didn’t have any large towels, I complained that I couldn’t open the glass doors to the balcony - I needed fresh air. The night before I had literally attacked the catch with a knife in a fruitless effort to get an the chair outside with a nice view of the hills in the cool night air. Couldn’t get it open.

The next night, I try again. Nothing. And I wasn’t pussy-footing about. I systematically tried every combination of locks and pulls and they all failed. Brute force nearly saw me put my hand through the glass. And then I noticed... the chairs and table on the balcony had been rearranged. They had been in the middle on the balcony, now they were pushed up against the left wall.

I’m not sure how to say this but: a psycho Greek cleaner is playing mind games with me! And believe me, after 12 hours in a conference centre talking about Internet governance, that is not a comforting prospect. God only knows what I will discover tonight. I am taking some protection.

Wired and wild

I got it! I finally got a wired connection up the front for the official blog watcher. It has taken three days, conversations with the organisers of the conference - both United Nations and Greek - a discussion with the hotel’s conference manager, three arguments with Greek technicians, two arguments with Greek TV (sitting on a far Ethernet exchange) but finally it was Patrick Foltstrom - the man from Cisco who rebuilt the hotel’s entire wireless network and so earned the respect of the Greek technicians who finally did it.

I was told flat-out that there was no way I could get an Ethernet cable for the 10th time. I took the engineer to Patrick. “If there is one person in this room that needs to have access to the Internet it is the person who is watching the blogs online - he is this man.” I came back from lunch - and there it was. I have never been so happy to see a Cat5 in my life. ®

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