I seem to have finally beaten the jet lag. I slept from 11pm until my alarm went off at 6:15am this morning. Even the 3 missed calls on my cell didn’t wake me up. It was another early start today as we have a 7am breakfast with the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries from the UK. It was another very productive meeting & discussion which will hopefully have direct benefit for every member of ASSA (Actuarial Society of SA) who is also a member of the Institute & Faculty (my rough guess is that is probably about 60% of our fellow members). I was planning to go to a session after breakfast but I got an email from Paul that distracted me and we ended up sitting at the coffee shop in the lobby. Paul was eating and I was watching (not sure if that was his breakfast or his early morning snack). We did something we seldomly get to do in SA – discuss SA business for an hour or so uninterrupted. Coming to LA to do it was probably a little extravagant but it did help that we were out of the office with no one to distract us in any way.
We (ASSA) then had lunch organized with the Australians to discuss subjects of mutual interest. Unfortunately one of our delegation didn’t pitch up and so had to proceed without him. It was still a very productive discussion and again one that should bear fruit and value for our members in SA. I had the afternoon free as there was nothing I either wanted to attend or had even the remotest interest in. It did give me some time to work and clear emails though. I realized I have failed to mention anything about the weather. So far it has been relatively mild. Most days it is around 22-23 degrees C but today was overcast in the morning and probably slightly cooler than this. It had cleared up by the evening. It was ‘wear your pastel colored jeans today’ at the Guess event. I needed my sunglasses on for some of those jeans! Lime green was probably the most hideous I saw.
During the afternoon I was watching the traffic backup on the motorway (I can see the motorway from my hotel room). It is Memorial weekend in the USA and so everyone was heading out of LA in one direction or another. They were expecting 2.4m people to be leaving LA this weekend! We had the official convention dinner with buses departing from 6:45pm to go to the Hollywood Museum. The traffic had still not dissipated even at that time yet and so it took us about 35 minutes to get there. We had some time to wander around the museum before dinner. Not really my type of museum given I seldomly can remember the name of the movie let alone who were the actors in it. The whole 2nd floor of the museum was taken up with an exhibition on Marilyn Munroe (including the famous Playboy centerfold spread) – R rated! I suspect I spent the least time of anyone looking at the exhibits (Paul was also pretty disinterested but even he spent more time on them). They finally served dinner which was (in my view) rather bland/boring. A variety of lettuce leaves with (in my case) ¼ of a baby tomato (must be the recession effects on America) and two 1mm crumbles of cheese. That was followed by the main course of chicken breast with mashed potato (and asparagus which I don’t eat). I like bland food generally but this even was a stretch for me. The service was so bad that I only managed to get ½ glass of wine the whole way through my starter of leaves and main course of boring. Of course I don’t eat the desert but Paul tells me it was very good (chocolate cup with mousse inside). Paul then almost broke the chair he was sitting on (BMI issue again I would say). Of course he is again disputing my BMI and he now reckons he is finally lower than me. He probably weighed himself immediately after spending 3 days on a mountain bike and sleeping in a tent. What does he expect his weight to be after that. It make it a fair comparison I reckon I need to take off 5 kgs from my weight. Paul wanted to add 2 kgs on because he says people always lie (he never learns – been through this once before and all we discovered was that I overstated my weight and he understated his). Nuff said.
It was a pretty boring evening and so Paul and I were the first two people on the bus to get back to the hotel. We are probably also the two youngest people here (by around 20 years I would guess). Andrew Gladwin was the 3rd person on the bus (another South African). It seems these 70 year old American Actuaries really know how to throw a party! Marcus would have loved it. The bus trip took 25 minutes to get back and I am just finishing off this email and going straight to bed (it is now 11:45pm). I have another 6:45am breakfast tomorrow before I leave for the airport to catch my flight to Hong Kong. So good night (and for the most of you good morning).