After counting all the sleeps till the conference, the day had finally arrived - though it didnt seem like it. It was still pitch dark when I got up. 5am, ugh. I had only had about 4 hours sleep, having almost frozen to death at the drive-in the previous night. But nothing could damper my mood. This was my first time at the annual conference for the bank and from what I had heard from previous attendees, this was a must for all who love to party and get to know people from the other divisions.
So I dragged my sorry ass to the bath and finished packing before my two colleagues arrived at my house. They arrived early, so I had to rush out, and in my madness, I forgot to pack enough jerseys (hence me sick with flu right now). After 2 hours on the road, we got there just after 8:30am and went for breakfast at Wimpy since the conference only started at 10.
When we were done we had more coffee and pastries in the ballroom next to the Superbowl (well, the boys did, the thought of more food made me nauseous) and then collected our name tags outside the Superbowl. By the time we entered most of the tables at the back were taken so we had to settle for the ones right in front (so no chance of me catching a few zzzz's!).
The bank's choir kicked off the proceedings with their rendition of "You're the Voice". It was so moving I was almost in tears, thank goodness it was dark. The MC was our economist who kept us highly entertained with his witty remarks. Its customary for all newbies to stand up and be noticed, so yours truly had to stand up together with roughly 100 more people. Nice to know that I wasnt alone. Then each division got their chance on stage to present their achievements.
I was literally blown away by the talents that some of our colleagues possess. Most divisions, instead of doing a live performance on stage, filmed a short video about their business which was shown on the big screens. Some did both, which also really worked well. It made me regret not having taken part in these performances when asked for volunteers about a month ago. Note to self: take part next year! Some of the most memorable shows were: a radio show with Darren "Wackhead Simpson" (yes, we get to hire actors and celebrities too), a talk show with Johan van der Walt (hilarious! I almost pissed myself laughing!), our division did a "Mythbusters" episode (really impressive, one of our bosses looked almost like one of them!) and the best one - a short skit of the Rocky Horror Picture Show (kinky, sexy, very very professional!).
And there were lots more, plus with several awards being given out to the dealmakers of the year, this took us to almost 18:00. What a long day! Of course, we had two breaks in between, one for lunch and one for tea, during which we caught up with old friends, posed for pics, ate, got lozenges (for me, flu was already on the way), sorted out roomates since word on the street was that I was sleeping alone in the palace (not to worry, I managed to avoid roomates, heheheh).
As soon as it was over, I raced to the palace bus stop since it was too far to walk there. It seemed like forever, but eventually the bus arrived. The drive there seemed just as long, I think the driver took us on a tour of the whole of Sun City. By the time we got to the palace it was pitch dark. We all checked in and went to our respective rooms. I felt like I was living in a dream. The palace is really gorgeous, and if I had had more time, I would have walked around a bit more. As I got to my room, the maid was still busy there so I waited outside and made a couple of phone calls. I was definitely not sharing with anyone, since my bed was a huge king-size bed, unless, of course, he was male and gorgeous, hahaha!
I only had about 2 hours to get ready so I rushed and sulked a bit cause I couldnt really enjoy the room for a bit longer. A nap before the party would have been pure bliss. Just before 8, I ran out the room and prayed that there was still a bus there to take me back to the Superbowl. Just as I got outside, a very full bus was leaving. Damn. Luckily I wasnt the only one left behind , some of my colleagues were late too, and we were promised that another bus would come. And sure enough, not even 5 minutes later another bus drove up and took us to our destination.
I dont know why I rushed, because we were made to wait over 20 minutes outside the Superbowl while they got everything ready inside. I was miffed but soon got over it as we were led inside and sat at our respective tables. Drinking soon got under way, but I made damn sure not to get too pissed so as not to make my name gat at this prestigious event. Unfortunately, after half a bottle of wine, I had a heart to heart with my boss, and told him that I feel neglected by him. LOL! Of course, he thinks its funny, and is still teasing me about it. He will never forget.
After dinner and a few speeches, we were entertained by one of our opera singers (lots of talent here in the bank!) and then the highlight of the evening: Mr Johnny Clegg! I was really impressed by his performance. Just about every person, black, white, Indian, coloured, female, male, boss, CEO, plebs, was on the dancefloor jamming to the music. Amazing culture!
Then it was the DJ's turn. Since I wasnt too drunk to not care what music was being played, I danced to a few songs, showed my moves then mingled with my colleagues and accompanied them for several smoke breaks. I wish I had taken my jacket when I was outside, because Im really paying dearly for it now!
Eventually I decided that I wanted to enjoy the benefit of staying at the palace (I doubt I will get another chance anytime soon) so I sneaked out without anyone noticing and caught a ride to the palace. After a calming bath, I lay on the luxurious bed and fell asleep. Only to wake up a few minutes later shivering like crazy. I had forgotten to take out the duvet from the wardrobe. But I couldnt force myself to get out of bed. I'd rather just lie there and freeze - another dumbass reason for me being sick today.
Before I knew it my alarm went off and so it was time to get ready to leave. I showered, packed and raced to breakfast. Unfortunately, after a heavy night, breakfast is far from my mind so I ate as much as I could force myself to eat. I didnt have much time to waffle so after a few bites I got my stuff from my room, checked out and was picked up by my "drivers". We left at 9am as scheduled and got home just after 11. I was tired, damn tired. I must have gotten a total of 5 hours sleep that whole weekend, but I wasnt able to catch up on some sleep that Sunday.
After a braai at my aunts, Weasel and I caught up with Ferdi, Shawn and Basti in Sandton to see the Renault F1 cars. Wow, those cars can really make a noise! Sandton was freezing, full of people and it was uncomfortable to stand against a fence, but it was all worth it to see these cars speed on our roads. And what a hot stuk Giancarlo Fisichella is!! Yum!!!
So I was buggered, really buggered yesterday morning, and things are not looking up today either. But it was all really really worth it. I cant wait for the conference next year!