Yes, last weekend was my very first ever Loeries experience. Shocker, I know. Wrong place, wrong time for the past decade, really. Here are answers to the FAQs I’ve been asked this week: No, it wasn’t easy. No, we did not party. Yes, we’re still a little sleep-deprived and yes, the Durban humidity was there alright, especially as it was a drizzly Winter’s day when we left Cape Town. But pictures tell the tale much better than words do, so scroll on through some of the highlights…
Thursday, 13 August 2015: Cape Town International to King Shaka, KZN
It was cold. It was wet. It was early. I had a Wimpy coffee and some plane-spotting time while waiting for my colleagues to arrive…
View out the window just before take-off…
Landed! Team a little shellshocked from the Durban heat that hit us full force. Wonderful people, all.
First thing after baggage claim – my colleague was the only one with a bag that mysteriously didn’t make it on the plane – we headed off to the Durban ICC to pick up our registration packs. They weren’t ready yet and we could only check in to our accommodation in an hour, so we browsed the expo stalls. The Star Wars theme was strong. Knighted by Yoda, I was.
Our home/office for the next few days, the Belaire Suites. We had rooms on the 10th floor. And room entry cards that deactivated themselves each time they passed a cell phone. Fun, at 1am.
Finally checked in, we went down to the restaurant for food – our one and only team meal together in Durban. Sob. Lovely setting.
I had the chicken pumpkin pie with veggies and chips. Too delicious for words!
Beautiful purple blooms near reception at the Maharani Hotel, later that evening. It’s the far end of the curved Elangeni hotel.
Pretty mosaic in the Maharani lift. I took enough trips up to the Sky Bar on the 31st floor, where the Smarties Awards were held, and back down to the reception area, where our photographer was set up and my interviewees kept disappearing, to snap this. Probably my 6th trip up. Alone. In heels.
Friday, 14 August 2015: Sunrise, seminar and slogging at the YFM party
Friday was set to be a longgggg day, after the longgggg day of Thursday travel, admin and covering the Smarties Awards that evening. This was the view out our window at around 6.30am…
Morning coffee, hotel room-style. Loved the triangular milk boxies, enough for a cuppa each.
Zen breakfast setting at Belaire Suites. Bonsais and little birdies pecking at leftovers on the plates.
We headed back to the ICC and received our media packs, complete with each event’s arm bands – some had to stay on the entire trip. Mine didn’t all make it.
Morning tea at the DSTV Seminar of creativity featured Chewbacca cupcakes, but I refused to chew on Chewy.
I had a golden C3PO with my coffee, between running up to the media room to check all was going OK with the video interviews we’d scheduled and back down to capture the seminar.
Afternoon tea? Magnum ice creams you could self-decorate at the pop-up store. Mine featured crushed caramelised cashews, Astros and caramel nibs.
My favourite pic. Meant to be a mirror selfie but you can see none of us knew where to look, other than our official photographer. He’s got skills.
Snapped by the Gallo photographer while covering the YFM party at Hashtag nightclub. We left around midnight, if memory serves, and paid R60 for a 4-minute taxi cab trip.
Saturday, 15 August 2015: Waffles, windy weather and ruthless writing
Saturday dawned warm and bright. I opted for a plate of waffles, doused them in cream and Nutella and filled the rest of the plate with crispy bacon. Good thing I did, as that’s the only solid food that went down my gullet for about 24 hours…
Saturday morning in Durban. Positively delightful if you’re not frantically fixing captions, downloading images and uploading articles.
Proof I made it onto the beach briefly on Saturday morning – the wind was blowing strong enough for us to feel like we were back home. My fly-away hair is testament to this.
The Durban pier reminds you where you are, with banners stating ‘Durban’ dotted throughout. Helpful.
Seated as media in the far back row of the ICC on Saturday night, ready to tweet up a storm.
Sunday, 16 August 2015: Working the red carpet
Sunday sunrise. Calm and peachy.
Sunlight glinting through a Natal palm as we took in the ‘I heart Durban’ market on the beachfront on Sunday morning, as part of Loeries Creative Week…
So cute! My favourite finds at the market.
Some of team Biz on the red carpet. This was more of a test shot for our photographer, Jon Meinking of @ishotimagesza – follow him on Twitter and Insta – next time we’ll make time for group photos!
See? Working girls. You may have seen us standing at the end of the red carpet, asking for your name and company – yes, I asked rapper AKA for his company name. Blush. Then we sat in the three hour-long award show and tweeted out the big wins while typing up an overview of the night’s big themes.
Monday, 17 August 2015: Farewell KZN, hello CT!
This was around 2am on Monday. We’d stopped off for pies at a 24-hour bakery and were set to work through…
Monday breakfast. A heart in my coffee and a cereal/berries/nuts/oats mix in my bowl a few hours after the previous pic was taken.
The pretty birthday carnations Mum received from a neighbour. We popped in on Monday eve on my return to CT.
There were fun moments, and delicious moments, and moments of pure hilarity. I wouldn’t have made it without the rest of the team – thanks for making Loeries 2015 something to look back on fondly.