Has it really been two weeks since I posted something on my blog? Where does the time go? What have I been doing? Oh, that’s right, I’ve been in Sydney!
The HammondCare Risky Business 2 Dementia Conference was held in Sydney at the Hilton a week and a bit ago. My colleague and I went with our CEO to man a stand for our organisation, attend lectures and presentations, and eat. A lot. Ok, so the eating part wasn’t actually an official requirement of the trip but we made sure we did plenty of it anyway 🙂 The conference was very well catered, let’s just say. It was a bit torturous actually. Cake and biscuits and FOOD everywhere. At every break. And it was gorgeous food too – not just the usual old packet of Family Assorted biscuits and coffee in polystyrene cups, oh no. We are talking miniature lemon meringue tarts and macarons, turkish delight squares and little tiny cups made out of chocolate filled with pistachio mousse. Drool. I tried to be good, but it was hard. The lunch service was a huge buffet affair with hot and cold dishes of extremely high quality. People pigged out.
But we weren’t there to eat. Not officially, as I said, anyway. We were there to promote the Alzheimer’s Disease International Conference which is being held here in Perth next year, as well as promoting a new communication app our organisation currently has in production (and will be launched at the conference next year). We talked to carers and family members of people with dementia, we handed out brochures by the score and information on services and education. We answered questions and gave advice. We attended lectures on the various aspects of dementia and dementia care. It was hectic and full-on but we enjoyed it and learnt a lot.
The Hilton was a lovely hotel to stay at (and certainly not something I would ordinarily be able to afford!) and the buffet breakfasts were…oh, I am talking about food again… Well, they were yummy and vast and just so decadent when you are used to your bowl of Cheerios in the morning. I had a very nice room (with a TV in the shower! I watched MasterChef while washing my hair – awesome!) with a great view of the city.
I sat in my window (they had window seats!) and looked out at the city and watched people in the high-rise buildings next door. I snuggled up in the complimentary bath robe, with my complimentary slippers and relaxed on the king size bed. SO nice! Not something I get to do very often (or ever!). I was in charge of looking after our robotic seal Paro and he stayed with me in my room as he is very expensive and we couldn’t just leave him at our stand overnight. Paro is a therapy pet for people with dementia. Everybody loves him and he is a big drawcard when we’re at a public event. People can’t resist a baby seal (even a robotic one!).
Though the days were very busy, we did get our evenings free. One night my co-worker and I visited The Rocks where we had a nice stroll around and got to see the Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. Both very beautiful all lit up at night. Wish we had had time to go and actually see them up close and made even climb the Bridge, but we made do with taking a few touristy snaps while we walked around and chose somewhere for dinner. It is a very busy area of Sydney and there were lots of people about as well as boats and ferries.
We chose a charming little cafe/pizzeria by the water, The EastBank Cafe. Though we were outside and near the water, it wasn’t too cold and the cafe had plenty of heaters to keep away the chill. I ordered a yummy roast beetroot and feta salad and my colleague got a gourmet pizza. Such delicious food (again!). In fact I don’t think we had a single bad meal the whole time we were there. I also had a virgin raspberry mint mojito (very nice!) and we treated ourselves to an ice-cream on the walk back home. A really nice evening and I’m glad we at least got to see a little bit of Sydney, even if it was at night.
I managed the flights to and from Sydney really well. I don’t know what I was worried about. I didn’t get anxious at all and almost enjoyed the trips. The flight back to Perth is always longer (due to headwinds etc) so that was a little less comfortable but still ok. The food on the plane was not very good (is plane food ever good?) but as long as they keep the cups of tea coming, I didn’t care! I don’t understand why it is so hard to make decent vegetarian food for the airlines though. I mean, they served me Nasi Goreng for breakfast! Anyway, first world problems…
When I got home I had a nice surprise waiting for me : an awesome box of beading goodies from my far-away-friend Dianne in the U.S. She had packaged up a bunch of beads and beading supplies, as well as glitters and ring blanks. So cool! I was so happy! It was such a great surprise. Gotta think of something to get her in return now (so watch out Dianne!)… Dianne’s blog has lots of great crafty ideas, recipes and interesting stuff to look at. She puts me to shame with her regular posts and great content.
So it’s back to a “normal” life again. I’ve still got my suitcase sitting there, half-unpacked, and my notes and other conference bits and pieces to sort out. You will be pleased to know that I have actually cleaned and tidied my house so it is fit for human habitation (it was getting a bit dire). I just haven’t had time to spend a decent few hours getting it done, but I feel so much better now that things are tidy and clutter-free. Well, at least in the front rooms…the back rooms are another story (I mean, I had to put all the junk somewhere, right?). I have had a friend staying with me while she sorts out some marriage issues and I think having someone else here really gave me the motivation I needed to tidy up.
The weather is stormy and grim today and I would rather stay indoors and stay warm and dry, but I am heading out to a friend’s place for an afternoon of Tarantino films, friends and food (God, food is such a theme with me!). I’m making Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls as they are easy and fairly low in fat etc. I’ve started back on Weight Watchers again so I need to be good and not pig out. What I would really like is a bowl full of cookies and maybe some ice-cream. But that ain’t gonna happen!
Hope your week ahead is a happy one 🙂