Monday, 18 September 2017

AIA Summit Convention 2017 - into the Land of the Rich and Famous

    This year AIA heads to the land of the rich and famous - Hollywood in Los Angeles, US of A. The annual convention is an incentive trip that celebrates the achievement of the top consultants in AIA. I was privileged to be part of this select group. The fully-sponsored trip included airfare and accommodation at the Loews Hollywood Hotel; as well as a hosted tour and a gala dinner. This year is the first time in many years I went without the wifey. Here are the highlights.
View of the famed Hollywood sign from the hotel. It was originally placed there
by a real estate company to advertise property in the area.
    One word of advice to would be travelers to LA; don't rely on the airport shuttle unless you have time to spare. My colleague and I waited almost an hour for our shuttle. What made it worse was that we were the last to be dropped off. A journey that would usually take 45min ended up taking 2hours. Uber shared with a friend or two would cost the same but you'd be travelling in much more comfort.
First dinner with SP Junxiong at the Cheesecake Factory,
compliments of the boss.
    The next day was a hosted tour to Long Beach and the Queen Mary. This legendary ship started life as a luxury liner and later saw action as a troop carrier during the Second World War. It holds the honour of playing a role in every theater of war and yet not losing a single man in combat. The city of Long Beach purchased it when it was decommissioned and it is now a hotel and tourist attraction.
Supposedly haunted corridors of the Queen Mary.
Mexican Food. This year AIA took the easy way out by giving each of us USD40 each for lunch.
The marina at Long Beach.
Dinner that night at Callenders with new friends. We hit it off right away.
Lots of jokes and letting down of hair. Thanks to Kevin and Marissa for introducing Perry and Amber.

     More fun and craziness after dinner at the LACMA Lights. It was 10pm in the night, yet there were still people taking photos (besides us of course). We even witness a proposal.
         The following day was a tour around greater LA sponsored by the district director. Bevely Hills, Santa Monica Beach and Pier, lunch at In-N-Out Burger, Venice Beach and Farmer's Market at the Grove. Then it was back to the hotel to prepare for AIA's gala dinner. Meanwhile I took the chance to wander along the stretch of Hollywood Boulevard and the Walk of Fame. Nothing much here. Nothing to buy. Just a whole stretch of souvenir shops and theaters (not even worth a pic).

Walking the red carpet.
    I finally rounded off the trip with a visit to Universal Studios, courtesy of Junxiong. It confirmed my belief that Paul and crazy rides don't go together.
Butterbeer anyone?

     It was a good chance to take a break and not think about work. However, it would've been much more enjoyable if I had the wifey and the little muchkin with me. Nevertheless, it was a good experience to travel alone (at the airport and plane at least). Thank you AIA. Thank you my faithful clients. Thank you wifey and lil muchkin. And most of all, Thank you Heavenly Father for this blessing.

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