Opening session was very good. The usual exec presentations from Mike & Steve, a dance presentation from Alume (sp), a song on the “Power to Win” theme with the SWU house band (the MGM has a kickin’ sound system),a musical performance by Mobius 8 , and a motivational presentation from Jamie Clarke, a mountaineer from Calgary, Alberta Canada (a nice touch for a Canadian in the heart of the US). Jamie’s presentation was very good, taking shots at the execs, repeatedly commenting on the $50K(!) awards given to four of the top performers in 2005, while excusing everything on being doped up on pain killers for a broken leg. In between all the fun and jokes to told us about his involvement in three attempts on Everest. He explained what he learned from what some would call the two failed attempts and how the third successful summit attempt effected his life. The story of the second attempt was quite poignant when his team mate, only 160 yards, 40 minutes from the summit had to make the decision that he could not safely continue on and then, on the way down, almost gave up and came close to perishing on the side of the mountain. Only the love of his family via a mutli-hour $32K satellite phone call, kept him going and moving down until the rescue team could reach him.
Lunch was great even though is was a crowded long hike to the dining tents. Salad, salmon, vegetable salads, pasta, and lots of dessert (I had the chocolate pecan pie). Maybe all the walking is a good idea! Next is the Americas Geography session followed by the Americas Architects meeting and dinner back at the Venetian. The day is already feeling long and the $3 Starbucks coffle is going to have to help me along. Sitting still for a long time in a dimly lit room can be dangerous, especially after that lunch.