Monday, August 3, 2009

{ down to work }

After my couple of days wandering Barcelona, the reason for my being there came to pass. Saturday morning was our conference but really it's a morning of entertainment, there's little to no work to be done.

I've mentioned previously that in the lead up to Global there's lots of debate about who would be the guest speaker at the conference. We've had Lance Armstrong and Bob Geldoff in recent years but it is really all guess work beforehand as it's all kept top secret. During the festivities some flamenco dancers came out on stage and I was thinking, nice a bit of the local culture but from behind them appeared someone in a cape and jeans - weird! Well, it was actually the entrance for the Virgin Group head honcho Sir Richard Branson.

Small selection of the 1500 or so of us

He had a pretty responsive crowd with travel agents filling the room, but even so I was a little surprised to hear some notes of nervousness in his voice. It was an interesting chat but in that setting he's not the most charismatic orator (not that I would even get in front of a group of 100 let along 1500, I do keep it in perspective!).

The highlight for me was the emcee. In the past it's been staff that have done it but this year we got a professional, and what a professional - Lenny Henry. He was awesome! So funny and brilliant at keeping things moving and interesting.

Sorry about the poor photo, my little camera doesn't do indoors at a distance!

We finished up at the convention centre at about midday (told you it wasn't an exactly taxing conference!) and I headed into town with a group to hit Zara. There are so many outlets it's just insane. I came out of one store, walked past 3 shops and there was another Zara outlet! The specials in all shops were brilliant, none of this 30% or 40% we get here in Australia, most was at least 50% off with many shops 75% off. How can you say no to a $6, good quality, t-shirt?

We had a lunch of tapas, paella and sangria for lunch - yum!

Back for a nap and quick change before the formalities of the evening Ball. Lenny Henry hosted again which was a godsend because we needed something to lighten the 4 hours (yes 4 hours) of awards! It got pretty tedious, I have to admit.

Entertainment was another pre-Ball conversation point. Previously we've had Jet, Shaggy, Ronan Keating - very eclectic and some hits and some misses. A number of people had been scouring online for what bands were in or around Spain that week and there was some serious odds on the Kaiser Chiefs and Snow Patrol, either of which I would have been very happy with, so there was a general huh? when the stage was revealed. It took some working out before we discovered it was DJ's Groove Armada. Kind of went over my head, I'd heard of them but had to do some internet searching on my return to find out who they were - whoops. Sorry for the Groove Armada fans out there that are just embarrassed for me not knowing them!

Yes, we were sat behind South Africa!

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