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Looking back

May 2, 2008

All right, I’ve just finished my first night of sleep back in my own bed in Athens, and I’ve gotta say, I’m not nearly as refreshed and/or rejuvenated as I’d hoped I’d be. Oh well, there’s always time for a nap this afternoon I guess.

I wanted to share a little about what we did at the conference since the last real update, so hold onto your hats, here we go:

Back on Tuesday we went to Aon’s reception at the House of Blues. It was packed! The opening act was a U2 cover band, so I went absolutely nuts. And Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, the headliner, was great too. Their lead singer looks like a shorter version of Will Ferrell, no joke. The slideshow above has all the pictures I took from it.

Then after we went to a morning session or two on Wednesday, a bunch of us skipped the afternoon sessions and headed to the San Diego Zoo. Now, I’m not usually a huge fan of zoos, but this one is pretty cool. It’s got lions, tigers, bears (insert witty comment here), pandas, polar bears, koalas, elephants, giraffes, and yada yada yada. The list goes on and on. This slideshow ^ first has a photo shoot with our coordinators Peggy and Fran. Without them, none of this opportunity would have been possible, so a huge shout-out to them!

After ordering some awesome pizza from Ciro’s Pizzeria on 6th and Market, Then we headed to the Conference Center for something called “Cirque Dreams.” For the record, I have no idea how anyone has the ability to do the tricks these people were doing. I can’t even really describe them all either, so just use your imagination. I couldn’t get any good pictures because of the lighting, however, so only a few pics in the slideshow are from there.

Instead of heading back to the hotel to pack like common sense would have said, we wrangled our way into an invite-only party hosted by Sedgwick CMS. It was at the Sweetwater Saloon in the Hard Rock Hotel and Lounge. More to come on that later. Jamie called just as we were walking in, so I had to enter after our whole party had already gotten in. Jonathan, a student at St. John’s, had the invite, and he had already gone inside. Here’s a transcript of how my conversation with the door guy went:

[guy in front of me gets rejected because he doesn’t have an invite; acts incredulous; pulls out multiple business cards stating he is some VP of some large corporation; door guy turns him around and directs him out of line]
Door Guy:
Who are you here with?
Me: I was with that group of kids who just got in here. I had to take a phone call so I couldn’t go in with them.
Door Guy: So you don’t have an invite. [statement, not question]
Me:
No, but one of the guys who just got in does.
Door Guy: Let me see your ID.
[checks it over; finds it satisfactory]
Door Guy:
You’ll have to talk to him. [points at Sedgwick executive taking up invites]
Exec:
Who are you and what are you doing here?
Me: I’m one of the college students attending the conf-
Exec: You said “college”?
[I nod hesitantly]
Exec: [
smiling] Then get your ass inside!

I felt so cool. And once inside, we realized that the whole bar was open. Not just beers, not just bottom-of-the-barrel well drinks, but Crown, Grey Goose, Belvedere and Chopin. I have no other words to say about that. When last call came (at 11:20, no less!!!), we headed outside to figure out what to do. We never did figure that out though. So we climbed palm trees and ran up stairs like Rocky. Check them out down here.

Then it was lights out. Until breakfast the next morning, where only a select few students actually made it. And that was that…

What an incredible, words-can’t-begin-to-describe weekend and week. I hate reality where you have to pay for drinks and food. I guess we were pretty spoiled and lucky…

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