Or Going To The Scary Heights
From every conference the general idea is that there should be at least one thing – an idea, concept, inspiration or skill – that an attendee can take away with them. The general consensus from the conference we were forced to attend on Thursday and Friday was, how could a conference organised by educators be so bad? Totally useless. Most of the presenters, while articulate and often witty, appeared to have no point to their presentations. What was the message?
On the positive, we had some fun. Minerva and I got to hang out for two days and laugh. In fact, she had me laughing so much at one stage I developed a coughing attack. We had to sit in stadium seating and by the time we entered our designated centre had to sit third row from the back. The presenters were just specks on the stage. We felt like we were in the naughty kids rows and so it brought the worst out in us.
A couple of colleagues in the row in front of us, played hangman, and other games with the pen and notepad that was in our gift bag. The other gift was a stress ball from a health fund – a large tooth!
After the conference we were walking across the overhead footbridge between the convention centre and the hotel ,where we had stayed overnight, when the foot bridge started to sway. It is a wide cement bridge that crosses over double lanes of highway traffic, so its not some flimsy construction. Our guess is that with the huge numbers of people on the bridge our movement created some kind of resonance and the motion caused the bridge to sway.
It swayed so much that it became impossible to walk without clinging with both hands onto the railings. Even then it was nearly impossible to proceed, but we were so worried about the safety of the footbridge that we hurried along the best we could.
I had flashes of memory of that footbridge that collapsed in Israel a few years ago and a number of Jewish pilgrims, many from Australia were killed. Minerva told me this morning that she had a nightmare about it last night.
I have emailed the hotel and the convention centre to inform them of the incident. I asked if safety checks had been undertaken recently, and suggested that a sign should be erected warning people to limit numbers on the bridge. A traumatic end to the conference – it certainly wasn’t a conference worth dying for!