Friday, January 7, 2022

Friday Smile: Peter Lewis on the Koala Bear


Friday Smile

Many of you remember Peter Lewis.

I first met him when he worked for MIT and oversaw their real estate investing program.

Peter was, if not the first, one of the first significant size U.S. institutional investors to start investing outside the U.S.


Sadly, Peter died on March 2, 2013 - way before 'his time.'  I just this week found an email Peter wrote me on November 6, 2005, about something I had written in this column.

I hope it brings a smile to your face...just like it did to mine!

Peter Lewis on the Koala Bear

Hi Steve,


It was good to see you at that conference, however brief it was.  I don't know whether you can use this in your "On the Road" feature, but perhaps you'll find it amusing.  I was totally exhausted when I had the following crazy thoughts:


At the end of an exhausting week that included two separate trips, both without avoiding direct flights, but including two conference panels, numerous meetings, and generally being on all the time, sometimes the simplest, nondescript things assume undeserved attention.


Such was the case when I spotted Koala Kare Center in an airport restroom. Punchy from lack of sleep, I thought about the product name and imagined the convenience if I had decided to travel with my pet koala and nature had called.


I don’t often take her on business trips.  She doesn’t like traveling if she’s not in the main cabin even though she's from down under. It’s both claustrophobic and cruel to place her in my carry-on, and my clothes don’t always arise in pristine condition. Her claws are even sharper than the last one inserted by counsel in a recent document draft and her communications via “bellowing” can make the nights unbearable.  Add to that the difficulty in finding hotel atria with eucalyptus trees and you get an idea of the added complications. On the other hand, few other real estate professionals travel with a koala and there is a certain power in the first impression. 


As a baby, she was certainly popular with all the Cub fans in Chicago.  And then there’s the convenience of her pouch to carry CDs and boarding passes! I may take her with me more often now that I know that airports truly care. That means stocking up on koala diapers which are difficult to find at your local Wal-Mart, which tends to favor pandas.  She can run as fast as a rabbit, which has led to some hare-raising experiences, and she sleeps for up to 19 hours a day, perfect behavior for many conferences and presentations.  But travel excites her, and she is probably looking forward to a future trip to a namesake designation like Kuala Lumpur.


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