I told Halle Berry where to go during a programming gig in LA

Five-star techies share stories of working from the lap of luxury

On Call On Call is on vacation this week, so it seems appropriate to share a couple of the stories sent our way after our recent tale of a support contract that saw a techie required to spend a weekend in a $5,000/night hotel suite.

Let's start with a reader we'll Regomize as "Terry" who once wrote a book about a so-hot-right-then programming language, and soon found himself in demand to put his expertise into action. One inquiry came from a Los Angeles-based company that had "some serious issues with code that they'd had written by a previous contractor."

Could Terry move to LA for a few weeks to sort it out? To sweeten the deal, the client would provide a hotel suite in Marina Del Rey – a wealthy district of the city famed for … you guessed it … its marina, which hosts over 5,000 vessels, and for attracting wealthy inhabitants who find the coastal locale a nicer spot than Hollywood and surrounds.

Terry sorted out his current engagement and headed west.

"The suite was fantastic," he told On Call. "I have no idea how much it cost, but it was more like a small flat than a hotel, with its own kitchen plus an amazing Olympic-sized swimming pool about twenty yards from the door." For much of the time, dozens of up-and-coming folks and aspiring stars were lazing around it.

Terry got chatting to one of them, who asked what he did for a living. After explaining he was a developer, Terry's new acquaintance – who will remain unnamed – asked if he could hack into her spouse's email. For the record, he doesn't state whether or not he complied. We can only hope he declined.

The gig kept Terry busy, but his weekends were his own and he occupied them with "a lot of dining out and playing on the beach and in the parks."

He even met a few movie stars.

"Some of them I took to instantly, others quite the reverse I'm afraid."

And then there was the time a green Mini stopped, and the driver asked Terry for directions.

"I had no idea where it was she was going but I was completely dazzled by the most incredibly beautiful person I'd ever met," Terry told On Call.

Which is how he met Halle Berry.

A jacuzzi with views!

Now let's meet a reader we'll called "Matty" who once worked for a Scandinavian business and was asked to fly to Singapore to fix a network problem plaguing a factory.

"This happened on very short notice and the only hotel the company travel agents could find for me was the 35-storey tower very close to the waterfront with an unimpeded view out over the ocean."

Matty trudged into the hotel lobby after a fourteen-hour travel odyssey and was met by a very friendly receptionist who greeted him by name and delivered the news he had been upgraded to a nicer room.

"It was a five-room suite next door to the boardroom on the 34th floor," Matty told On Call. "It even had retractable blinds on the glass front of the bathroom, so that you could enjoy the ocean view from the jacuzzi!"

That looked tantalizing … and tantalizingly out of reach.

"Over the next five days I had to work 14 to 16 hours every day to fix the network," Matty lamented to On Call. "That left me zero time to enjoy the facilities. I just crashed into bed each night and was woken by the alarm about seven hours later."

"It would have been nice if upgrades like that could coincide with a workload that made it possible to enjoy it," he told On Call.

Speaking of enjoying nice places, please help to make On Call's holiday memorable by ensuring your correspondent returns from his break with a bulging mailbag of submissions to sift!

We'd love more tales of being required to live in luxury, and celebrity spotting stories always sell! So click here to send On Call an email and we may tell your story in this slot on a future Friday. ®

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