So, I left estherchaya at home, sick, while I gallivanted off to a Carribean paradise. There's a hotel down here that does Passover...so perhaps the next time I'm here, it'll be with Karen and without the fraternity. Then perhaps people won't have me on their fecal roster. Perhaps. 8^)
I left disjointed, without everything I needed, and without enough sleep. I caught some z's on the plane, and got in to Aruba (after changing planes in Charlotte) around 3pm. Aruba is on the same timezone as the US Eastern Seaboard, during Daylight Savings time. Since it's so close to the equator, it's not necessary to accomodate for DST, and Aruba doesn't do any such madness. It's 11am here, it's 11am at home.
I made it to the hotel, missed registering for the convention, but got into my room and changed. We had a casual cocktail reception, then our memorial service. In addition to a dozen other members, three of our Past Presidents died this last year, and it wasn't a happy experience all around. Then we went up for dinner...or, everyone else had dinner and I had a kosher MRE. Mmm, tasty. I more or less brought enough food, so from this point on if I mention there was a meal, you can read that I ate appropriate food, not the nonkosher stuff the hotel kitchen served up.
At dinner, the Meritorious Award was given. Lou Flacks received the award this year, and was well deserving of it. After dinner, I was wiped. I went up to my room and crashed, although a number of people went out and made more of their evening.
Thursday morning I joined people for breakfast, and then we had our first business meeting. My presence as National Assistant Secretary at the business meetings was purely perfunctory...my work for the fraternity does not interact with the meetings. In other words, I held down a chair and attempted to look useful. The first meeting went well, and shortly thereafter I was shanghaied for two committees. Deciding an award for an undergraduate was easy; there was only one applicant. Then we had the pleasure of hashing out the yearly Resolutions committee meeting. That took some time, as there was a lot to accomplish. Luckily, everyone was interested in being productive, and it all went smoothly. That evening was a bus tour of part of the island and then dinner. The bus tour led along the west shore, to the northernmost point on the island. We saw the California Lighthouse, and the rest of the fraternity enjoyed a wine and cheese snack before dinner. After dinner, there was no consensus on other evening plans (some folks went to the casino, some went to clubs, and some had other ideas) so I decided it was a good night to go for a swim. I joined some of the younger members in the ocean (it was cold) and then hit the hot tub for a while (it wasn't that hot, so wasn't that dangerous to be in for long periods of time).
Friday was a free day. After breakfast, I went to downtown Orangestad for a shopping excursion. I also wanted to make sure I had enough food to make it through Shabbat and the rest of my trip, so I located a supermarket and picked up a few more odds and ends. I relaxed on the beach for a bit (under a canopy...I didn't want to repeat the sunburn of the last trip) and then headed upstairs to prepare for Shabbat.
Lou had told me where to find two Chabadniks that were on the island. I joined them for dinner and davening, and we hijacked the convention Hospitality suite for the purpose of dinner and services. We didn't get a minyan, but we had a lovely time. It was a good time, and I'll expand on it later in another post. I got to bed after midnight, and slept well thanks to sufficient schnapps.
Saturday morning was our second business meeting. I had breakfast in my room, davened services, and only got to the business meeting about a half hour late. They had already gone through all the perfunctory resolutions (e.g. "Thanks to the Convention Chairperson for a wonderful convention. Thanks to all the officers for an excellent fraternal year. Etc.) and were working on the real business. The meeting ran until about 12:30. I went back up to my floor, stopped in at my room, and then hung out with the Chabadniks for a couple of hours. Then I got myself a nice nap to compensate for any leftover sleep deficit. I woke up in the late afternoon, changed, and went downstairs for the Installation Banquet cocktail reception and dinner. The dinner was status quo...I was on the dais, and sitting at the end next to the band. In other words, I had no one to talk to and couldn't hear them anyway. I didn't stay in my seat all that much...I wandered around some and chatted with others, and enjoyed watching people have fun. They pulled out all the stops this banquet...there was a liqeur cart that visited each table, and dessert (which I could not sample, darnit) was Baked Alaska. After the banquet, I went out with a bunch of folks to a club. One club trip a year is good for me...reminds me of why I don't go more often. 8^) It was good to get out of the hotel and be social in a nonfraternity setting. After returning, we hit the pool and the hot tub again. I got to bed about 4am, and was up again at 8:30am.
This morning was the closeout meeting...the new National President assigned the rest of his committee chairs and assignments. I have a list of about 6 things I need to work on when I get home. After the closeout meeting, I found out that a bunch of folks that are still here are going to do an ATV ride this afternoon. I'm going to join them...I didn't do anything like that the last time I was here, and it'll be good to do some more tourist stuff while I have the opportunity. I'll get lunch before I go, dinner when I come back, and I'm not sure what the evening holds. Tomorrow morning will probably be the beach for a little while. Checkout's at noon, my plane flight is at 4pm, and if lucky, I'll be home before midnight.
This is my first time online since Tuesday. I'll catch up with everything else when I get home.