I left Zimbabwe on Saturday and didn't know I was in for quite a trip over the next 24 hours. First, British Airways, my least favorite airline in the world, decided that my ticket wasn't booked properly. Therefore, they allowed me only one bag (I had two) and charged me an exorbitant fee for excess weight. I have come up with a new travel slogan and I hope you will chant it and share it with your friends. It goes, "Stay a-way from B-A!" Rather catchy, don't you think?
My flights to Amsterdam and then London were fine. I got a business class upgrade on one and an aisle exit row on the other. When I got to Heathrow (why I fly into that madhouse I'll never know), I had to wait an hour for my ride, which was no problem. I knew the ladies were coming after church and there is always traffic. When they arrived, there was some confusion as to where we would meet. When I found them, a policeman was urging us to move and move quickly!
We then set out to go to the east side of London (Heathrow is on the west). Two hours later when we arrived at our destination, we discovered that I had left my small briefcase on the back of the luggage cart at Heathrow. So we piled back into the car for the return trip. I am delighted to report that the bag was there! We made our way back to the flat, coming in the door seven hours later than I had anticipated.
The next day, I took a Southeastern train into the city to attend a conference sponsored by The Management School London. Right before we pulled into the Charing Cross station, we crossed the Thames River and there was London, basking in sunshine. I could see Big Ben, the houses of Parliament, the London Eye and more. Suddenly I forgot about the turmoil of the previous day. I was in London on business--my own business!
Yesterday, I gave my presentation at the conference and my title was "Reputation: Is It Strictly Business?" The theme of the event was the UK's global reputation and I was asked to tie purpose into the theme. I was glad to comply. While many of the presenters where excellent, they tended to be a bit academic. I only had 30 minutes, so I came out smoking and I think I caught some off guard. They weren't expecting that after two days of fairly straightforward material and low-key presentations. I was pleased and left the event feeling happy, fulfilled and wanting more such opportunities.
Today I am back into London for some meetings and fun. I depart Sunday for Kenya and then head for home.