It has been quite a whirlwind trip so far. I have barely even turned on my computer since we left Sacramento. It is pretty refreshing to be doing something other than sitting on the Macbook Pro all day.
Allen and I left Sacramento on a 9:00 am flight to Philadelphia where we met up with Tina, and had ourselves a good ole Philly Cheese steak in the airport. we changed some dollars into Euros, and then hopped on a plane heading to Brussels.
Since the economy has turned, there is not a lot of money in budgets to fly business class. or sometimes even on your preferred airline. So, this trip we flew US Airways in coach. As I walked down the aisle, I saw a family sitting in the row behind us with two small children. Not so small that they couldn't behave mind you, but small nonetheless.
It all started almost immediately. The kicking of the back of our seats, the kids would take down the table tray attached to our seats and pound it with their hands, and the parents just let them do whatever they wanted.
We took off, and I thought for sure it would settle down. I was so wrong.
To make a very long story short, these kids kicked, yelled, pounded, and pretty much disturbed everyone around us, for 6 hours and 51 minutes. It was truly awful.
I decided that I am going to have a platoon of kids, and as they grow up, I am going to train them like navy seals. Their entire lives are going to be based around tracking this family down, following them and flying in the seats behind them every time they fly and making them as miserable as they made us on this flight.
They will meet each other before every flight and say things like "we take this flight to kick their seats and avenge our father"
This will go on for many generations and build to a point that they will have the Steve LaRose World Avenger Organization.
I now have that off my chest. (not entirely though)
We arrived in Brussels, and grabbed our luggage, thankfully no problems there, and the driver was also there to meet us. About an hour later, we were pulling into Antwerp, which has turned out to be a very cozy little city filled with outdoor cafes, and beautiful architecture. I met Rick and we walked around and shot some pictures. The weather hasn't been super great, but it has been warm.
We had a nice dinner at an Italian restaurant called Da Giovanni, and went to bed around 11:00 pm. I slept like a baby. It was wonderful sleep. The kind of sleep that when you wake up, you are surprised at how deep you slept.
Here are a few photos from the first day's walk around town. I have more, but haven't had a chance to process them yet.
Thursday we spent the entire day setting up the ballroom. which is a very large room. The story has been told to us that the building that the hotel is in, was a department store many years ago, and the Ballroom was the Toy department. It is a very pretty room, however it is pretty cavernous and makes my job as the audio guy very difficult.
We finished the set up and were waiting around for presenters to show up and rehearse their presentations. About 9:00 pm, it started to rain, and you could hear it landing on the tin roof that covered the ballroom. We decided to call it a night, and Andrea, went back stage to look for something. She came out kinda frantic, and called Horst over to the backstage area.
Horst came out front a few minutes later and told me that we had a waterfall backstage.
Horst and I joke a lot. I mean a WHOLE lot. We take the job seriously, but we have a ton of fun while we are doing it. I decided to walk back stage and see what Horst was talking about, and as I was walking that direction, I saw frantic hotel staff running towards the area. Then I saw a hotel guy running as he was pushing a dumpster sized bin towards the area. Uh oh.. that can't be good.
As I got closer, about 75 feet away, I could hear what sounded like a rushing river of water. It was incredibly loud and it was pouring out of the wall right next to the hotel's electrical panel, which, by the way, is feeding electricity to our entire show. Andrea was standing on her tip toes on the dumpster, with a roll of Gaffers tape on her arm, covered in the torrent of water that was pouring out of the wall. She was putting up plastic to divert the flow of water into the dumpster and basically saving the day. The hotel staff were trying to help, but she was the supergirl of the day.
In the middle of the mayhem, I just had to capture a little bit of it on video. Click below to see the newest water feature at the Hilton Antwerp.