Last week I was in Bahrain at a leadership conference for Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) for 4 days – well the conference was 1.5 days. I am proud to be a board member of the Brisbane Chapter of EO. The Brisbane chapter is one of the fastest growing chapters in the world. In Bahrain we had 350 EO leaders from around the world gather to learn and share experiences. I had never been to Bahrain before so I was looking forward to it.
I flew over on Etihad business class which was ontime, pleasant, flat bed seat but nothing real remarkable. By the time we got to the Hotel – 21 hours after leaving Brisbane – it was 10am local time. So off to a massage at 10:30 and then hit the golf course for a 1:30pm tee off at the Royal Golf Club Bahrain. It was very weird playing golf with oil pipes running past the fairways and oil pumps actually pumping oil when you are playing. The course also had the worlds biggest bunkers! I shot 82 off the stick which included 3 birdies so I was happy with that. I won the day and the money!
We pushed through the jetlag as acclimatized to local time. That night I met up with some other EOers and had dinner and few drinks.
My mate Matt and I were able to book a charter boat and “dive guide” to go pearl diving with scuba gear on. By the time we had gotten to our destination (30 minutes off shore) we had seen dolphins, sting ray, a US Aircraft carrier and countless oil tankers. It was an awesome experience hunting for pearls. They grow in wild oysters so we were literally hunting on the ocean bed for them. We caught about 100 oysters, shucked them and got absolutely zero pearls. I have a feeling we went to the wrong spot – particularly when our guide told us afterwards that this was the first time she had been pearl diving!
We got to see a bit of the architecture which is just amazing. I suppose when money is no object you can build what you want.
We got back to base just in time for the conference to start at around 3pm. The conference was at the Bahrain International Circuit – home of F1 in Bahrain. After the opening sessions we had a cocktail party / dinner then “after hours” – which means a drink (or 5) at the bar.
Started the day with a photo on the start / finish line of the grand prix circuit. You don’t get to do that every day. Then it was into conference all day and then finishing with a gala dinner in the National Museum of Bahrain. We were the 3rd ever group to have a function there – very cool. Conference over. More “after hours” and little sleep.
Because of the riots a few months back the police station themselves (just before dusk) at every intersection and roundabout with massive SWAT type 4WD vehicles. That didn’t stop a fire bomb going off in front of some friends of mine in a taxi as they came back from the night club.
Decided to play another round of golf in the searing heat and howling wind. We were in the middle of a sand storm that had blown in from Saudi Arabia. Not at all pleasant – we gave up after 9 holes. That afternoon a bunch of us went go kart racing at the F1 track. As you’d expect I won the day and the money – bit of a pattern going on here! I am not sure that my very tall German friends appreciated been beaten by an Aussie!
We were about to head back to the hotel when we were able to talk our way into the neighbouring drag racing track. The security guard with the big gun was not that helpful but when one of our shuttle busses turned up we had some leverage to get in. This thing was amazing. It did 0-100km in 1.6 seconds. 1050 BHP and covered the 1/4 mile in 8 seconds reaching 250km at the end. It felt like your eyes were put in the back of your head as it accelerated. It was a 3 seater special with the driver at the front and then 2 passengers. They are planning a proper F1 car with 2 seats so you can experience real F1. Might have to go back for that one.
After 2 hours sleep it was wake up, limo to the airport and then fly Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Singapore, Brisbane – another 20 hours or so to get home. Awesome trip. Full on but very enjoyable – and the conference was worthwhile as well. Enjoy the photo’s.