More meetings, more food, more

More meetings, more food, more sessions talking shop in the bar. Anyone who thinks I’m having an easy leisurely time over here is mistaken.
At least today is the last day of the symposium in which I will be taking part. I depart here tomorrow afternoon (so don’t have to get out of bed too early), although I hear that the flight is overbooked – I had a nerve-wracking situation on the outward journey when I thought I might get bumped, and I don’t want that again. Then it’ll be travelling through the night back to the UK.
Today’s objectives are to meet with two important growers, one of whom is a European (I’m sure there is an easier way we could do this!), and to take in two seminars that I hope will be useful. Otherwise, it is a case of full-on "schmoozing" and also helping out a little with my hosts’ booth as I am familiar with a number of the plants that they are promoting.

Today is a rest day

Today is a rest day on the trade show here, when the delegates can either go on an organised tour, or can do their own thing. Since none of the crowd I’m with fancied the tour, we’re thinking of exploring the Old Town of Sacramento and maybe heading out of the city to one of the local wineries. I suspect we will talk shop a lot, so even though we may not be around the "booths" in the trade show or "schmoozing", we won’t be switched off entirely. This evening, there is a barbeque in the park opposite the hotel and convention centre for the delegates and participants, so we will be going to that in order to network some more and also to make the most of the free food.
Speaking of free food, the guys I’m with insist on paying for everything. Whilst that is very nice, it is becoming embarrassing. I know that they feel that my new business needs a hand and a little help, but they won’t even let me pay for dinner to let me show my appreciation for the help they have given me.

Last night’s meetings were fruitful

Last night’s meetings were fruitful and useful. Today’s trade show and meetings were also fruitful and useful. I think I can safely say that I have more than justified the cost of this journey already in terms of old acquaintances renewed, new contacts made and plants seen and discussed. Plus knowledge and experience gained. It’s been very useful, and I have another couple of days to go yet.
Alcohol and food intake – v v v bad.

Busy busy. Been working hard

Busy busy. Been working hard today, including doing a fair stint of the drive from Santa Barbara to Sacramento (took seven hours and I did around 3 hours of that). Gotta go shower now before heading down to a meeting. Later!
Oh and Bob Hope, RIP. At last. And Nasser Hussein’s career, RIP, sadly. Plus Sussex’s chances of winning the cricket County Championship, RIP too.

Urrf. I’d forgotten that there

Urrf. I’d forgotten that there is a good reason why obesity is a problem in the US – portion sizes. Huuuge food today, plus a trip up to a nursery about 60 miles north of here to see some plants.
Nothing else to report, other than watching hummingbirds in the flowers and vultures circling overhead. Sunshine, clear skies, 28 Celsius. A hard life.
Up at 6am tomorrow (that’s 2pm in the UK) ready for the seven hour drive north to Sacramento.

Arrived. Went for meal. Came

Arrived. Went for meal. Came back to Geoff and Maureen’s. Drank whisky. Talked. went to bed around 12.30am. That’s 8.30am BST – around 26 hours after I got out of bed.
This morning, I’m awake on time, feeling a bit tired, but ok. And the internet connection seems to work fine, so big up to net2roam.

(written last night, about 6.30PST)

(written last night, about 6.30PST)
I’m currently sitting in San Francisco International Airport, looking out towards the bay and watching the fog roll in. It makes for a spectacular sight with the shiny United and American planes reflecting the low sun.
The airport itself is the usual sprawling concrete monstrosity, although it has some interesting concrete forms that appeal to me (but not photographed, as I was too busy hauling luggage) and a goodly number of good quality art installations throughout.
As usual, when travelling I keep a notebook and pen handy so that I can scribble down any thoughts and observations that may occur to me along the way (this is the first time I’ve ever been able to do that with a keyboard on my lap, and it is a very pleasurable experience. All I need to do now is get this thing WiFi enabled, although I see no evidence of WiFi facilities here). Here are the notes I have made so far today (bear in mind that my body currently thinks it is 2.30am, so please excuse any delirium):

  • three girls smoking on train
  • seafood
  • tired check-in – June
  • comedy bus driver
  • eye candy
  • 26 is twice 13
  • nearly bumped
  • overly made-up stewardess
  • wedding party
  • wrong seat! 34/35
  • you notice the extra inch
  • lady from San Fran – son in Georgia
  • the Dutch Red Wine Incident
  • Peet’s Coffee and Tea
  • art in San Fran Int.
  • fog on the bay

I’ll gladly expand on any of these on request, dear reader.
Also in my notebook is a longer ramble scrawled somewhere over Greenland:

As I sit here, in seat 34D of flight UA931 to San Fran, I realize I am gently falling in love with life. It may be the two generous G&Ts ("I’ll give you two to keep you going"), or the very good book that I’m reading that forces me, unwillingly, to laugh out loud in the middle of economy class. But more likely it is the realization that I have embarked on an exciting and challenging new career that affords me the opportunity to travel the world, meet people developing the most amazing new plants (something that will always, always, be a passion for me, something I get a kick out of) and visit, albeit often briefly, places, gardens and nurseries that I would never have had the opportunity to see in my old life.
Life is very nearly complete. There is still something missing, and those that have been reading grayblog for a long time will know what that is. I do miss that thing. But life is great without it, on my own account. That’s a Good Thing.
In spite of that absence, life is still extraordinarily good. I’m enjoying it. I have the potential to earn a very good living from it. More importantly, it’s going to be fun along the way.

I’m 32. I think I’ve finally made it.

Did I mention that the drinks are free on United? Bzzzzzzzzz.
I’ll try and sober up and be more coherent and less drippy. I promise.

I’ve just spent the evening

I’ve just spent the evening persuading my laptop to connect to the net via the internal modem. After much swearing and reference to redundant technology, I’ve found the cause of the problem to be a new cable I purchased in Dixons. guh.
Thanks to Dad driving a 20 mile round trip to deliver a cable adapter, I should now be able to hook up whilst I’m in the States. If not, then it’ll be quiet here for the next week.
Thanks also to Marcia for being logical and reminding me to check the simple things.