Inside ASE 1999 Toronto
Day One: The Arrival
Finally the day arrives!!! I awoke at 4:30AM Pacific Time so that I could make it to the San Francisco Airport in time to check in for a 8:00am flight. I got to airport parking, boarded the shuttle and make my way to the Air Canada ticket counter. Checked in and went to the gate. Made it in plenty of time.
The flight took off and was very smooth. Departed the gate at 8:02 and took off soon after. By the magic of time zones we arrived in Toronto at 3:55pm Eastern time. Flying eastward you sure do lose time!
I got off of the plane and nervously worked my way towards customs. Ive never traveled out of the US before (except that time I swam across the Rio Grande to Mexico, but that doesnt count) and have this horrible image of nurses waiting in line to give random arrivals not so gentle body cavity searches. I thought that was my fate when the clerk at the desk ran a red diagonal line across my Declaration Form and told me to step to the red line. Others were able to pass through without this ignominy. The area didnt look too friendly at this point. Sweating profusely, I head to counter when called, and expect to be told to say where I hid the drugs. Nothing of this sort happens, they just ask a few more questions about why Im in Canada. I guess I fit the "profile" and they had to question me closer.
After getting my bags I head out and board the Compaq chartered bus to the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. It is VERY nice. The first couple of pictures are of some of the woodwork in the lobby area. Compaq is footing the bill for the whole week, and all I have to cover are the incidentals. I check into the hotel and head over to the Compaq conference registration area. It looks like all of the Master ASEs are being put up at the Royal York, with the rest of the regular ASEs and other attendees are being distributed to other hotels in the Toronto area. I get my welcome packet, which consists of my badge, schedule, and a nice Compaq backpack filled full of goodies, such as a balsa wood plane, tax refund forms for non-citizens, and visitor guides. After a short rest I head downstairs for the opening event of the conference, the ASE Welcome Party.
And what a welcome it was!!! They had four ballrooms set aside, each with a different theme and food buffet. The pictures tell the story. It was incredible. Probably the neatest thing to me were the acrobats, who performed Cirque du Solile style manuvers. There were rings and linens hanging from the ceiling that the performers used. There were also folk bands, ice carvers, Irish jig dancers, and breakdancers. And the food was as varied as the entertainment. There was roast beef, Italian food, Chinese food, seafood, seventeen different kinds of dessert, and best of all, all the beer and wine you could drink. Its around this point my memory starts to fade <grin>
Henry Bennett, my partner in networking crime, had to take a later flight from San Francisco, and didnt arrive until 9pm. However, he made it in time for the last hour of the party. The free booze was shut off a little after 10, and thats when the party, for all intents and purposes, ended. By 10:15 the area was pretty much empty. We ran upstairs and caught the end of the Rangers-Blue Jays game on TV, then headed out to see the surrounding area. Unfortunately I didnt get any pictures because the batteries on the camera ran out. Ill be able to get some night shots on Tuesday or Wednesday, I promise. A block away from the hotel, we ran into Ed Hon. Those of you from Inacom, or those who checked out the pictures from last years conference in San Diego will recognize Ed. He caught a late flight out of Oakland and didnt arrive in Toronto until after 10pm. He missed the party and had to catch a bite to eat at a nearby diner. We made plans to all meet in the morning for breakfast.
Thats all for day one! Enjoy the photos. Hopefully they are a little quicker downloading than the pictures I did last year. Let me know how these come out on your browser!