The banking life demands one spends half one's time on the road so the experience must at least be bearable. Staying at five star hotels is an obvious must — so is business lounge access. Flying economy is an insult. And there shall be no public transport involved in any part of the journey.
We are spoiled but I thought we justified it. Until recently, when an ex-colleague, now living back in London, paid me a surprise visit at the Captain's Bar.
He was supposed to speak at a capital markets summit in Beijing, only to be turned away by customs on arrival — the berk had shown up without a visa.
He was rerouted to Hong Kong, and specifically the bar stool next to mine, while some poor minion of his back home was sent scurrying off at midnight to sort him out with an emergency visa.
I thought he would be embarrassed by his rookie mistake. But instead, he was indignant and claimed the Chinese were in the wrong.
Opening his passport, he read to me from the inscription on the inside cover. “Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.”
Whether the translation into mandarin was incorrect or more likely ignored seemed to be the only remaining question.