(Time) Zoned Out From Pre-Drupa Globetrotting —Michelson
THIS BEING a Drupa year has been exciting from a new technology standpoint and good for earning frequent flyer miles. But a recent string of attending three separate pre-Drupa press events overseas—three weeks in a row—has done havoc to my biological clock and sleep patterns. Hosted by key industry suppliers to preview their Drupa product introductions, I made separate, week-long trips to Japan, England and Germany. I even could have gone to another event in Israel the fourth week, but that would have really been over the top.
I’m not whining, mind you. One of the best perks about my job over these many years has been the opportunity to travel to foreign lands, many that I never could have visited as a tourist on my own dime. I’ve made several business trips to Japan, England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, among others, and have been to Germany more times than I can count. South Africa, Israel, China and Hong Kong, as well.
But, as has been said by many a frequent flyer: Those who think that business travel is glamorous, don’t actually do it. Endless flight delays. Long security lines. Cramped planes spewing recycled air. Microwaved meals that taste like rubber.
You never know what mishaps may be encountered on a trip. Take the one to Germany last month. Upon our early morning arrival in Frankfurt, an airline official quickly boarded the plane to inform passengers that the airport baggage handlers had just gone on strike. We were given forms to fill out, and told that our suitcases would be delivered to the hotel. My American counterparts who flew different airlines had no problems getting their bags. But, as the next morning came, my suitcase did not.
Fearing I would have to wear the same casual clothes to the business-attire meeting that I had now worn two days, I asked the hotel front desk for directions to the nearest department store. Assuming that the men’s department might not carry tall men’s clothes, I could at the very least buy clean underwear. Off I headed. Upon my arrival, the sales clerk informed me that, in the interim, the hotel had called her store to tell me my bag had finally been delivered. How’s that for exemplary customer service? Would a U.S. hotel employee go to that same effort? I really doubt it.
Despite the one misadventure, these past three foreign jaunts were all for a good cause. Since relatively few Americans actually attend Drupa—undeniably the marquee graphic arts trade exhibition the world over—PRINTING IMPRESSIONS serves its readers as a key conduit of information regarding technology advancements shown there that will shape our industry for years to come. Even if you’re lucky enough to be among the throng of Drupa 2008 visitors, with 1,800+ exhibitors filling 1.1 million square feet of display space within 19 large halls, it’s impossible to see and take it all in.
I’ll be attending my sixth Drupa next month. But am planning to do carry-on bags this trip.
Mark T. Michelson