Wednesday, October 26
Alarm goes off.
You must be kidding.
Alarm goes off.
Don’t make me hurt you.
Alarm goes off.
I VERY reluctantly get out of bed. Thankfully, unlike many of my colleagues, I awaken WITHOUT a hangover. Rookies.
Breakfast in the ballroom, listening to people try and reconstruct the missing portions of the previous night’s events in their bleary, alcohol addled brains. Like I said in the previous blog post: drunk people are fun to watch. Well, so are hungover people.
Morning session. The featured speaker is Lieutenant General Rick Lynch. As the Commanding General, US Army Installation Management Command he is responsible for making sure his troops and their families have the lodging the lodging they need. While he spoke to all the hotel brands in general, and the properties located on bases in particular, and though his primary topic was that of training and leadership, the recurring theme was “touching lives, and making a difference.”
This man who has served around the globe for 35 years, led troops in Iraq during the Gulf war, and is now mere weeks from retiring and attempting to grow what little hair he has left into a ponytail his wife of 30+ years may or may not let him keep, spoke eloquently about the lodging needs of the young men and women he refers to as his kids. He reminded the crowd that when a serviceman comes to one of our properties they are quite often in a transitional period while going from one “god-awful place to another.” He reminded everyone the families of soldiers have enough stress and strain in their lives, and when they check in they need to feel as secure, relaxed, and at ease as possible. He closed his speech by referencing the dates on a tombstone. “You have a start date, and an end date,” he said. “Between the two, there’s a dash. How are you living your dash?” Judging by the amount of people talking about his speech later in the day – and the following day, for that matter – it’s clear his words hit home with many.
Dinner was great, but confusing. As was the case with all the meals, there were several buffet stations spread throughout the enormous ballroom. It’s truly the best way to feed over 6,000 people, after all. However, I noticed after I sat down with my fried rice that others at the table had fish of some sort. It turns out there were 3 or 4 different options, and therefore not all the buffet stations were the same. This made me wonder what foods I may have missed out on during the first two days. Oh well, no sense dwelling on it now. Besides, there was entertainment to enjoy. There were three platforms spread out in the central area of the ballroom, and on each one were two musicians playing electric violins, violas, and cellos.
Sorry. Did I forget to mention they were hot? After dinner, everyone went upstairs for the main attraction of the night. Last year, Natasha Bedingfield was the featured performer. This year, IHG was able to get Ellen Degeneres and Sugarland, both of whom did a fantastic job. Country music isn’t my favorite genre of music, but even I have to say Sugarland was great.
Sadly, however, I had yet another day of meetings to look forward to, so when the show was over I made a bee line for my suite and crashed.
I’m just too old and tired to party. Sorry, Vegas.
To be continued…