Day 4 of RTW in 11 days
May 25, 2012

No PG rating today but some action movie stuff included today.  I managed to make it through to 2:30am this morning before I woke up so things are slowly improving.   Once again I was woken by my vibrating cellphone (it was the bank this time – Helen buying something as per usual).  A few minutes later and it was vibrating again – a number I didn’t recognize and it turned out to be the bank (I didn’t answer but they called Cecilia straight afterwards).  I managed to fall back to sleep again until 4am and then was awaken by another text from a SA client thanking me for the way the UK office treated him (they were hosting him).  Managed to go back to sleep again but at 5am I was wide awake and so got up and cleared the 55 work emails that had come through while I was sleeping.

It was an early start this morning as we had arranged to meet up with the leadership of one of the American Actuarial Associations (they have 6 in total).  We had breakfast with them at 7am.  The meeting over breakfast went extremely well and far exceeded our expectations.  They were also very nice people and clearly want to try and work closer with us.  A great start to the day and I was hoping that the rest of the day would continue in that vain.  I then had my first official committee meeting that I was a member of (the Professionalism committee).  It was a 4 hour affair and it was actually quite productive and well run.  Might have something to do with the fact that the chairman is a South African!  It did give me some thoughts about things we can do in SA.  Just as I wasn’t paying attention (and replying to a work email on my blackberry), the chairman kindly asked me to comment on an issue.  Not only had I not been listening but I only got the bit when he said “Peter Temple might like to comment on that.”  I am not sure if he did it intentionally because he saw I was on my blackberry or whether it was just timing (my suspicion is the former) but I think I commented on the right thing and everyone seemed accepting of my comments (or they were just being polite).  I was much more careful though after that when I looked at my blackberry.  The guy next to me (from Holland) was playing cards on his iPhone (with the shuffling sound on) and he got away with it throughout the whole meeting!

I skipped lunch because I had a large breakfast and need to maintain my athletic physique.  I don’t want my body to end up with Paul’s BMI.  After lunch was the President’s Forum and while I am not President yet I am allowed to backbench in the meeting.  It really was just a series of presentations.  The first one was from a professor from Wharton.  I thought it would be good but he actually didn’t really say anything I didn’t know already (and hadn’t been practicing for 10 years already at Gen Re).  I was quite surprised that everyone else thought what he was saying was groundbreaking.  He talked on managing risk and unexacting the unlikely.  Not really earth shattering stuff.  His best line was “It is a great being a pessimist because your expectations are always exceeded”.  I looked at the other 2 presentations while he was speaking and concluded that I wasn’t going to learn anything new from them either so I did a ’Themba’ and ditched the meeting at the tea break.  Paul went to the education meeting and he did the same thing at the tea break.

This evening I had arranged to have dinner with my sister, brother-in-law and niece.  My niece is graduating this week so my sister & brother-in-law were here for that.  My brother-in-law is also in fact graduating from another California based college (he is getting his masters) so it was good timing to see them all.  Only my niece actually lives in LA.  She decided that we should go to Little Tokyo for dinner to a restaurant called oomasa (I didn’t forget to make the o big, it is meant to be small).  I agreed to meet them their.  When I went down to take a cab, all the Guess delegates were waiting in reception to take buses to wherever they were going.  Of course they were dressed up ’to the nines’ (whatever that means) and I had to (slowly) weave my way through them.  Marcus would describe them as ‘beautiful people’.  Even the cab driver was intrigued and asked me if I knew them!  I gave the driver the address (he was Asian) and he told me that he didn’t know it.  How can an Asian cab driver not know where Little Tokyo is?!  I suggest that maybe he use the GPS that was attached to the windscreen in front of him.  Fortunately he took up that idea and we got there relatively easily.

I got there about 20 minutes before my family arrived so I planned to walk around and see what I could see.  However, before I go even a few steps down the road came a LAPD car chasing after a guy on bicycle.  He then cut off the bike, jumped out and jumped on the ‘American American gentlemen’ and proceeded to handcuff and arrest him.  During the process the gentlemen tried to palm off a package to another lady who the LAPD cop also then arrested.  The security guards from Little Tokyo also then got involved (they were Latin American) and they started yelling at the cop and telling him off for arresting the guy.  Then other people from the shops were coming out and giving their opinion on the matter.  Here I stood pretty amused.  I don’t think I have ever seen anyone arrested in SA and here I see it happen in downtown LA.  Dangerous place based on my experience.  The cop was still there with his two handcuffed suspects (only suspects because you’re innocent until proven guilty – I know my law) when my family arrived.  I think he was waiting for backup which was taking quite some time to arrive (especially since the LAPD office was only about 500 yards up the road).

We went into oomasa for dinner.  As you might have guessed it is a Japanese restaurant and so I headed for the sushi.  It was a nice meal and we had a good time catching up on various bits of family news.  (@Helen – I will fill you in when I get home – I don’t want to consume everyone’s time with all the details.)  The meal also cost us a fraction of what Paul and I paid the first night and I got a lot more sushi tonight.  But then the venue was much more high risk!  Fortunately they offered to take me back to the hotel (I had visions of wandering the deserted downtown streets looking for a taxi and getting mugged by one of the gentlemen’s friends).  And as it is now 11pm I think I might have beaten the jet lag problem.  Off to bed now so that I can get up early again tomorrow for another full day!

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