In New York!
Ok, picture was taken back in office; mf poses :)
By the time I got to NY, the advance team had already been there for a week and quite washed out; they sent emails at unearthly hours. Hadn't hit me yet that the rest of us would suffer the same fate.. Lots of things cropped up, starting from arrival; our meet-&-greet didn't show up. That was only the beginning of ground transport woes..
The first day after arrival was benign. Then the rest of the week just went by in quite a blur.. I forgot what I did on some days.. And being late in recording this was only part reason!
I was supposed to be doing logistics for staff and crew, excluding the events company staff. One day quite early in the week, I went on a recce trip to Queens where we rented a kitchen for our hawkers to prepare food. Took the train there and a cab back - the train was cheaper and jam-free but the 20min walk from the hotel to the right platform might result in a few stray cats, so we stuck to coach arrangements. Gratefully, Makansutra organised the hawkers such that they had no problems at all with the coach. Can't say the same for other groups though; some people kept having trouble with ground transport!
Throughout the whole ground transport ordeal, I was glad for DC's company and guidance. A few times, she and I had to go to the hotel where our partners were staying (we stayed at different places; can't remember why) to make sure they arrived and got checked in. She dealt with the divas while I liaised with the coach company and our travel agent in Singapore. There were so many people with different transport requirements!!! At night, I wasn't doing my papers as I had hoped.. Had to deal with a lot of excel files with a lot of names and flight details and arrival dates and room-sharing details that didn't tally *.*
When our freight arrived after some customs issues, we unpacked those boxes and started packing 5,000 goodie bags.. 5,000!
There were tens of such boxes..
It took all 11 of us, some 10 from the event company, and some 10 volunteers three hours of madness.. Some of us never passed over the chance for a Kodak moment..
That's me, long hair over face :p
After just one hour, I decided while I would love to do some brainless job sometimes, I just couldn't do this kind of brainless job - the packing was driving me mad – crazy and angry!
In fact, I wasn't the only one going mad. AA kept repeating "It has been a great honour working with you.." - cranky!! Emotions were also high with the mounting stress as the event drew nearer and as unexpected events kept unfolding. Friday was very bad for me; at some point I seriously felt like crying =( That night, I made a trunk call for some much needed TLC at 6am when I crawled into bed.. Slept for only one hour before I had to wake for the real thing.
But we had some 苦中作乐 time as well..
E.g. 1: Playing with goodie bag items
E.g. 2: Eating instant noodles
We were all in our orange "uniforms". I had once jokingly said I looked better in the sweater teamed with just underwear but I walked out with exercise pants in the end :p
The setup involved everyone moving the registration stuff from storage to the terrace... At one point, one of the hired hands asked TO: Are you paid by the hour too? :p
DC and LH
Queues started as early as 10am (I think, cos I was dashing about) although the registration was supposed to start at only 10.30am.
The queues for the food were overwhelming - chwee kueh and chicken rice were the first to sell out.
Yummy sambal... But we only had a few mouthfuls of leftover carrot cake at the end of the day...
The Wollman Rink in Central Park, and that's the stage behind..
I had no defined role as I was on standby for any issue on ground transport. And man, were there issues! Some people couldn't walk a few steps to the coach parked at another building exit (of an apparently not-so-idiot-proof square building) so the driver had to turn round and round given New York streets to reach them, with me remote controlling both parties - the people and transport company that used radio to reach driver. Time loss = one freaking hour.
Despite the delay, was glad that the concert managed to open at about 1pm. The audience seemed to be having great fun despite the heat - it was raining all the way until a couple of days before when we started setting up the place. In his opening address, the Man said we brought SG weather to NY :) Oh, TO and I were Vanna Whites - we carried lucky draw boxes :p
After my brief appearance on stage, I started my long journey to transport 200-300 goodie bags to the dinner venue - NYPL. It was a really painful process; I had been trying to do that since about 11am but couldn't find anyone to help. The two hired hands were hopelessly lazy, showing me black face all the time, especially the older and lazier one. We got two waiting staff to help carry the second batch and they were so charmingly helpful despite the weight and distance, and they were supposed to be dealing with food, not goods.. Attitudes, my friends, attitude..
Got back from the library in time in the van to fetch the Boss and the group doing reception at NYPL cos the day event was over. So I didn't get to watch the concert but saw from webcast later that people were swaying to the songs, ahhh...
The rest of us picked up some loose ends and left the park for good. But not before another group shot :p
No point getting a cab and getting stuck in NY traffic so we walked back to the hotel with just enough time to change for dinner. In the van, bosses said they met a couple who said they knew me. Turned out to be the old couple SF and I met in Boston last year. So I found them during cocktails and had a chat with them..
Somehow was plucked from my assigned table to sit at RQ's table. Was dreading the pressure to "mingle" but it turned out to be quite fun - had some mutual friends with some people at the table as they were quite young :) And one of them was from my sec school!
Had to help out at the reception halfway through dinner. Chatted with the people there. The events guys were quite dazed by then and they were saying that this was the most siong event ever! I could hardly agree more..
Went back into the hall when the concert started. It started late!! Cos they didn't want to start until all dishes had all been served, and all lights must go, etc etc.. By the time it finished, it was so late! In fact, a few guests had filed out before the concert ended.
We cleared the library pretty quickly and had a debrief (or two?) in the hotel. Said I would never be a tour guide; had enough of divas who couldn't handle transport and hotel!!
The next day, had to attend a thank-you lunch for our volunteers, during which LY seemed especially “friendly” with RQ! Haha! So we got her to ask him if we could leave lunch earlier - and we did! LY, LH and TO went shopping while I carted myself to the Met where I roamed for two hours. Bought a poster - Spring - to hang in my room =)
There was a Greek parade along 5th Ave, for Greek independence day, which was delayed due to the rains in March/April.
Talked to a few Greeks and they were so friendly! Struck me that they might be born in the US and have an American accent but they still had deep ties with their country.
It was a lovely day so I walked 40 blocks (!) to the hotel, checked out the ladies' shopping kills and showered before leaving for the airport. Bought myself a man's scent - yes, for me! :p Did some inflight shopping too - blusher..
Was so tired I was suffering fatigue for the next few weeks.. Didn't help that we had to table papers at the meeting quite immediately after Sg Day.. Second bout of stress that made me feel like crying - twice in two weeks! I've never been so freaked out in my 3.5 years of working.. Seriously hope that this won't happen again, and if it does, that I have learnt to deal with it better..