|The centerpiece of our hotel's breakfast buffet|
Honestly, I never learn. Every year I come to this meeting thinking that I'll have plenty of time to keep up with email, read books, and update my blog with all the exciting new food experiences I'm having in whatever city I'm visiting. And every year I end up averaging about five hours of sleep a night, barely getting outside the conference venue, and failing to even take pictures of my food experiences, let alone write them up. But as I pause for breath halfway through the last day, I do have a few items of note bobbing up from the morass of impressions, flavors, and conversations of the last four days:
- New Zealand has some truly amazing cheeses. And wines.
- I seem to be developing a taste for whiskey. Particularly this one.
- Similar to its nearest large neighbor, Australia, New Zealand has a distinctive ecosystem, and more than 80% of its flora and fauna are found nowhere else on earth. I have taken a strong liking to the Pōhutukawa tree, which is apparently even more beautiful when it flowers at Christmastime.
- If I lived in Auckland, I would have very strong calf muscles from walking up (and down!) the many and steep hills.
- As my long exile from living by the sea continues, I am even more drawn to a city that seems to have ocean in every direction.
- One of my colleagues (and friends) told a meeting comprising about 30 of my coworkers about this blog yesterday. So if you're visiting for the first time as a result, welcome! I promise I haven't revealed any organizational or personal dramas here (yet).
And that's about it for now, until my head is a bit clearer of strategic planning proposals, meeting action points, and the aftermath of tonight's farewell party.