Good Energy

The guys at Good Energy have been really supportive and excited about the expedition, so much so that they have made a contribution which allows me to keep the blog regularly updated during the expedition, so they and everyone else can follow the journey. Good Energy supplies 100% renewable electricity sourced from wind, water, sun and sustainable biomass. CO2 from coal-fired electricity generation is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Switch your electricity supply to Good Energy using this link and not only will you be supporting the pioneering community of independent green generators, but for every sign up they get they’ll make another donation to help get the bus around the world. It helps you cut your personal CO2 emissions, helps them grow a great business, and helps me get round the world.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Five Star Experience

When I was a tour guide I was perpetually jumping on and off planes. I fantasised that I was a travelling business man, occasionally getting an upgrade to business class and even more occasionally staying in a nice hotel. I dreamed that my company, instead of being a tight fisted tour operator, was a multinational sending me for important meetings, to be had in half whispered voices over gin and tonics in hotel lobbies.

Just recently Vinesh of Fathopes Biodiesel invited us to stay at the five star G-Tower Hotel while we were in KL, and as the hotel director, Melissa, gave us a “room orientation” explaining all the hi-tech features that made this tailored to the business user, I started rekindling those fantasies of being business man away from home.

The hotel is “green” she tells me, the hot tap water is warmed by the air conditioners’ waste heat, the terrace decking is made of rice husks, and it has fibre optic internet cable, saving on copper. There are lots more slightly lacklustre but well intentioned green initiatives which are enough to catapult this into the position of the greenest hotel in KL.

Sustainability is a radically new concept in oil-rich Malaysia, and everywhere the truck goes it’s met with enthusiastic curiosity. We are invited to park in front of the lobby of the hotel, despite the vent from the compost toilet being fully engaged in blowing out an atrocious movement from a few days back. Their reverence doesn’t wane as we lollop in our flipflops through reception and the concierge asks us all about the oil conversion system without coughing as the idling exhaust engulfs him.

I’ve never felt more like a hippy, and because I’m so out of place, I enjoy the hospitality and attention all the more. In the room I play with the telly, test the shower, fiddle with the stereo, sniff the mint shampoo and accidentally call room service when I sit on the phone.

A toilet TV has been installed so business travellers don’t need to miss a second of CNBC, but by the time I discover it I don’t have the enthusiasm to try it out. The next day my feelings about the hotel have darkened to match the stained reclaimed hardwood interior.

It’s not home. My home is in the parking lot downstairs. The aircon has given me a cold, and all the soft towels, mini-bar peanuts and sky-rise infinity swimming pools can’t make up for the fact that I’d prefer to be in my truck parked up in the Perdana Lake Gardens of KL, surrounded by the Orchid and Butterfly parks.

Overnight my envy at the first class business traveller has evaporated. Their beleaguered lonely faces at breakfast say it all. No longer does fawning staff, delightfully wrapped salmon vol-au-vents, or fresh bathrobes come close to compensating them for the fact they aren’t at home either.

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