The Conference – Day One

Registration started at 9 am, but I went to get my four-shot venti vanilla latte from Starbucks around the corner first. We start the conference with lunch at noon. So I had time to look around incognito, (I was the one with the sunglasses…) and see what’s getting set up downstairs.

I also have time to muse on my dinner last night. I chose a place called Firefly in the Hotel Madera. (It’s one of those snazzy Kimpton makeovers that are popping up in all the big cities…). The restaurant had some buzz (I am an OpenTable addict, too) and was advertised as a place for regulars. Certainly it’s a nice place for the hotel guests and neighborhood residents to stop in, but the music was too loud for my taste for a neighborhood comfy-like-home kind of meal. The food was fabulous but the service a little lacking.

I certainly didn’t have to worry about eating alone. There we were, three singles lined up against the wall so all the parties and couples could shoot their pity at us… I don’t mind eating alone. In fact, sometimes I prefer it. It’s nice to find places in any large city, including my home town, where a single woman can eat at the bar, chat with a good looking bartender and dine leisurely with a glass of wine or a cocktail.

I unfortunately had to remind the waiter of what I had asked for at each step. However, the end of the meal put a smile on my face. I was about to make a statement with my tip or the lack thereof. I’m usually a very generous tipper, a friend of the working man and such…Maybe 10% and a comment to the host was in order instead of my usual 20%. But then they delivered the bill. The picture above is of a Bell jar, with holes punched in, for the fireflies to breathe, you see. Nice touch…

For more interesting restaurant recommendations and updates on the city of Washington, DC, take a look at the Economist’s City Guide. I find it very useful to check in here before returning to Paris, Mexico City, New York, etc. I can find out what art exhibits are going on at that moment and catch up on local news and issues. I like to know what’s going on in a city when visiting so I can talk knowledgeably to the Eritrean taxi drivers and Mexican waiters.

More comments about the conference later today. However, I noticed all the sponsors/vendors getting set up this morning. Sun Microsystems and HP Openview, two vendors with software to sell for compliance/governance purposes are here. Given the high level management type that I think will be the attendee at this conference, I am surprised they feel it’s a useful exercise to spend time and money trying to get them to talk about software. I’ll have to see how geeky these Chief Compliance Officers and Chief Risk Officers really are…

More later.