We were greeted by friendly looking security guards who directed us to the appropriate desks for registration. Having pre-registered online, the process was quick and efficient. I then picked up a bag of literature, free pens and a very impressive glossy brochure. I was enjoying spending time looking at books and talking to representatives of the publishing houses when my colleagues arrived and urged me into the main hall which was filling up fast. So fast, in fact, that the only available seats were right at the front of the auditorium. We took our places and arranged our papers and bags and sat with notebooks and pens at the ready. We were, however, soon moved on, being told that the seats, despite not being marked as such, were, in fact, reserved for dignitaries! We were shown to the cheap seats upstairs, not nearly as comfortable and without the convenient writing desk in front of them. At least we were early enough not to be condemned to the ubiquitous small red plastic stools which were hastily being arranged on the peripharies of the room!
|'Crackerjack' - childrens' TV show|
That said, the day was very successful. I made a couple of poor choices of sessions to attend, but, fortunately, my colleagues made better selections, so they were able to fill me in on what I'd missed. Between sessions, there was an opportunity to chat to some of the other 2,000 attendees, browse the wide selection of books on display, talk to presenters and publishers, or partake of the very generous variety of food and drink on offer.
As the day drew to a close, there was a raffle draw which followed a similar drawn-out pattern to the early morning presentations and then a mad scramble to acquire a certificate of attendance.
As we emerged into the bright sunshine and heat of a Saigon afternoon, I felt it had been a worthwhile way to spend a Saturday and I'm already looking forward to next year's conference!