Saturday, 19 May 2007

La extravaganza... if only to the end...

We left for Melbourne at 1.30pm. Our manager was having a spew on why he was given Economy class rather than Business (he's still going on about until NOW). Apparently, it was a mistake done by the secretary. We think that it was a cutback so that we two seniors could go as well.

Qantas domestic flights are actually quite good. The food served is the same as international flights. We didn't have personal TV screens though. Watched Man of the Year, starring Robin Williams and Christopher Walken. I find it really good. It's about a comedian talk show host who was asked to run for president. It's actually a thriller... but it was also funny because there were lots of stand-up comic type conversations exchanged.

Arrived at The Westin, Melbourne at 8pm. Feast your eyes on my room...

It even had working desk... and they were music playing in the bathroom! The showers come down from the ceiling... I also noticed that throughout my stay, they made up the room a few times a day!
When the concierge came to bring in my luggage, I wasn't sure whether to tip him or not. But he left before I could do so anyway.

Had dinner at Di Mattinas, an Italian restaurant on Lygon Street. Lygon Street is actually full of Italian eat-outs with a few French, Indian, Thai, Lebanese and Chinese. Too bad it was raining... otherwise I would have enjoyed the walk.

We had drinks at a pub called Transport at Federation Square after that. Quite nice... but we noticed that the crowd started getting bigger as we were about leave, which was around midnight. They were dressed in business suits too! Don't these people need to work the next day?

Woke up the next morning for a run around the botanical gardens. I stuffed up the runners' map recommended by the hotel. But I had a good run anyway. Did 4 rounds, clocked about 46 minutes in total. It was along the Yarra River and the Rod Laver Arena was close by too.

Had buffet breakfast with manager and partner. I just love the idea of charging everything from our stay to the corporate credit card!

The course after that was unsurprisingly a write-off... could barely stay awake. Hope I wasn't giving too bad an impression to the other KPMG offices.

We had dinner organized for us at the Meat and Wine Co on Southbank, the other side of the Yarra River. I find the steak really good but service was a bit slow. Maybe it was meant for us to socialize. Here was where everyone started letting their hair down. It was funny to see some high-up people like Directors and Partners getting so drunk and talking incoherently.

A few of us kicked on after that... we went to the Crown casino. It's quite big, but I personally like the Sydney one better. Had some beer and someone treated everyone Yega-bombs (Red Bull and a shot of Yegameister). I was quite tired already, I walked back to the hotel while the rest stayed. Apparently, they went to some gentlemen's club.

Had my 5 hours of sleep... and woke up for a morning swim... it was a 2 lane pool, distance was slightly less than 25m. I swam for about an hour.

Had buffet breakfast again (thanks to the corporate card :P) Could see those who were out last night, staggering in... trying to get something to eat in the last minute before the course starts.

No prizes for anyone who could guess how attentive I was on the second course session. Some of it are actually quite useful. But some bits I find are more relevant for managers and above. As they were talking about strategizing for the superannuation services we provide moving forward. Can't see myself giving much contribution there.

We left for the Melbourne airport at 4.15pm. It was there we were told that our flight would be delayed for about an hour. Good thing our manager and partner were both Qantas club members... they can bring a guest each into the lounge. So I propped up my laptop on wireless... patronized the free drinks and hot food.

It was from here when hell broke loose... upon arriving on our delayed boarding time, we were told that the enginneers wereworking on the delay caused by hydrolic leakage and the flight would be delayed another 30 minutes.

And it kept snowballing after that... every 30 minutes, we would get an announcement that the flight would be delayed even more. We were getting hungry... the shops in the airport were all closed, the lounge stopped serving hot food. We eventually got onto the plane at 10.35pm (original departure was 7.30pm). On the plane, there was a further delay because someone drank too much during his wait... was asked to leave the plane and his luggage had to be taken off. We took off at 11.30pm.

We had personal TV screens this time and could choose our movies. I watched Stranger Than Fiction starring Will Ferrel and Emma Thompson. It was about a regimented tax agent who suddenly found out that his life is being narrated and his narrator was about to kill him. I liked this movie too.

We arrived at Perth airport at 12.30am (Perth time) but was further delayed due to bad weather. Finally landed at 1am. I got home at 2am and crazily enough I went for a run the next morning.

I so need to sleep right now...

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