My black shirt hadn't had the very top button in place for months.
It had come off and I'd left it in the top pocket promising myself I'd, actually, my wife (I have a terrible fear of all things sewing thanks to primary school home ec classes) would sew it back on some time.
So when the shirt came back from the Peninsula Hotel Shanghai's laundry service within two hours cleaned, pressed and with the button back in place, it was like having a new shirt.
Yes, I had a ridiculously large Art-Deco inspired apartment, replete with river and city views, dressing room, luxurious furnishings, his and hers basins in the bathroom, two toilets, a deep bath above which rested a control panel for the stereo/iPod dock in the lounge so I could listen to my favourite tunes and have a beer while soaking away Shanghai's grit... you get the picture.
I could even press a little button while bathing which told anyone coming to the front door to please stay away. Something that would be very useful at home.
However, even in the best hotels it's the small things that really make a difference - like the shirt button, the helpful chap who organised my train tickets, the young woman from Kazakhstan who so politely checked me in and was happy to talk about how she'd ended up in Shanghai, the lady who wrote Mandarin instructions for a taxi driver; places are nothing without good people.
- © Fairfax NZ News