She read the email cautiously.
"Looks like our strategic planning meeting might be wet - the Coachella Valley is on flood watch."
She laughed it off.
Her boyfriend told her, "Those flood watches, they never actually result in floods."***
They began the drive later than expected and got caught in some of LA's finest traffic. But surely the best moment was the torrential downpour halfway into the trip, where she couldn't drive faster than 20 miles per hour on the highway. Thankfully, it broke up shortly thereafter, and just maintained a gloomy drizzle all the way to the resort.***
The catering manager spoke in hushed tones, "I swear we only have 5 rainy days a year. But last night the thunderstorm was worse than anything I'd ever seen." She had a sinking feeling.***
Shortly after the meeting started, so did the next downpour. People entered the conference room completely soaked. Someone had trouble checking in, a lost reservation, and she ran over to help. By the time she reached the front desk, the main reception area was leaking like a sieve, and she was soaked head to toe.
As she walked back to the meeting room with an umbrella, she noticed that at least her meeting rooms were on the uphill side of the area - the giftshop had clearly taken quite a beating being on the slightly downhill side of the veranda.***
The bellman escorted her to her room, a room not unlike her own studio, only gracionsly decorated. A huge king size bed, a couch, inviting broadband access, a fire place, a big screen TV and a shower that could fit 12 brought delight to her. She refreshed herself for dinner with the group and headed out.
After a fine steak dinner, she and her friends journied out to the local liquor store to pick out some tasty beverages. After a horrendous rainy day, the sky appeared clear and the group decided that a little time at one of the villa's many jacuzzis was in order.***
Walking back to her room she couldn't remember when she'd had such a fun night out with people she barely knew. The air smelled cool and damp and the resort was lit with white lights (of the Christmas variety). It was beautiful. She climbed the stairs to her Starlight Villa, and placed her key in the gate outside her room door.
She tried again.
In a flash of inspiration she realized that she had her cell phone on her, and the hotel's number on her keycard. She called, and was placed on hold. After 5 minutes and a few raindrops, someone answered. A security guard was on his way.
He arrived to find her huddled in the corner, trying to avoid the raindrops as they came faster. She was tiny beneath her green sweatshirt hood. He tried the lock with the master key.
He mumbled something about powering the door open and disappeared.
It rained a bit more steadily.
He arrived with a device that he fiddled with for 3 or 4 minutes while she patiently held the maglite for him.
He left again.
When he returned he had a mite sprightlier young lad with him, a ladder and an umbrella for her. The lad took the gate in one bound (ok hoisted himself over ungracefully) and let her in.
The lightening and thunder started, and the rain poured down.
After trying to obtain some promise for improvement the next day (to avoid a repeat scenario) she took a gloriously hot shower in the cavernous bathroom and settled down to a fire in her fireplace, the sound of the pounding rain, and her broadband.
Maybe travelling for business is ok sometimes.