Confession Time My
little journey on MyPE has certainly dished up a number of firsts for
me. Among them are The Loss of my Casino Virginity, My First Reflexology Treatment, My First Aromatherapy Treatment and
NOW my first visit to Casa Bianco (formerly Mauro’s).

The occasion – a networking evening sponsored by Rio Tinto Alcan for
members. Accompanied by the Longhair we set off, sans the brats, for an
evening (or part thereof) of mirth and merriment.

The most daunting thing about these types of gatherings is that you
normally do not know a soul other than ‘mine host’ and it takes a while
to get to ‘network’. First up on the greetings list were ‘mine host’,
young Odwa, who is relinquishing his post as PERCCI head honcho at the
end of May and still refuses to let me know what he will be doing
thereafter. In fact this time he said that the media (are you listening
Bob and Brian?) should help him get the word out that he is in the
market for a stellar job with a stratospheric paycheck. I thought of
offering him a part time job selling ads on MyPE but don’t think anyone
can keep up with Janine.

Also trying to Get Odwa to spill the beans was Bob,
The Herald’s Mr Business and Weekend Post Brian
who still refuses to come sailing – something about water and him not
mixing. Well, you cleaned up pretty good after your marriage, Brian, so
I don’t think that water is the problem.

Now the path to my Longhair’s heart is a pretty simple one – Sushi and
Ice Cold Beer. The Sushi Chef took a bit of flak from the Longhair as
she was champing at the bit to sample his epicurean fishy delights, but
the stoic Sushi Chef was a credit to his Asian ancestry and not taking
any nonsense until after the speeches.

Feeling at a bit of a loose end the Longhair corralled the first person
past us and engaged Duanne in polite conversation. Imagine the feeling
you would have if you attend a Perlemoen Divers Networking Session and
the first person you grab to speak to is the SAPS Head of the Anti
Poaching Unit. I imagine that this is how a few guys would have felt if
they had done so and discovered that Duanne is THE RECEIVER – he tells
me that that big white Linkside house is no longer the abode of The
Receiver and has been taken back into ‘stock’ by the Public Works
Department, pity, I think he deserves that perk as the change in SARS
has been immense.

‘Mine Paying Host’, Lesley, presented Odwa with a going away present
and brought the PERCCI members up to speed with how Rio Tinto Alcan
fits into the picture with regards to Coega and Port Elizabeth. The
smelter at Coega will be the 24th modern smelter project bringing the
total number of Rio Tinto Alcan smelters to 51 worldwide.

Then it was Sushi time and the hard work that the Longhair had put into
befriending our mascaraed waiter certainly paid off as we were treated
with treat after treat – good lesson here for amateur networkers; often
it is the ‘little people’ who have the most power. And, of course if
the ‘big people’ see you being treated well by the ‘little people’ they
think that you are worth talking to. “It is all smoke and mirrors dear
boy, smoke and mirrors.”

Had a quick chat to Gary
who, I am sure, is pleased that Rio Tinto Alcan intend coming back to
Port Elizabeth and will be needing lots of accommodation once again.

Felt myself puffing with pride when ‘Mine Paying Host’, Lesley, thanked
me for putting together the MyPE
as he says he referred all of
the Rio Tinto Alcan employees to it before they settled in Port
Elizabeth. Lesley has had an interesting journey in life, from
Kwazul-Natal, to France and other parts of the world such as Canada and
Ghana and has been based in Port Elizabeth since 1999. He is quite
proud of the 25 hectares of spekboom that his company has planted in
the Baviaanskloof area and speaks of another 50 hectares to come.

The Longhair then expressed her concerns about certain office furniture
to Lwandile
– we will wait and see if something comes of that.

With the evening winding down we popped onto the balcony and made plans
to buy McArthur’s baths
as soon as our ship had come in. I can just see our main bedroom in the
area where the new cocktail bar is, billowing white curtains, and a
couple of white bull terriers running around the property. Then just a
short jump over the wall to the beach and a launch to take us out to
our yacht for a sail in the bay.

On our way out we met Ann
who expressed interest in advertising on MyPE (the power of networking
boys and girls!) and her friend reminded me of an article that I had
put up on MyPE for her. What made her remember MyPE was the simplest
thing; After posting the article I let her know and gave her the url’s.
Another lesson for business people everywhere; Good relationships are
built on the smallest things. I couldn’t talk too long to Ann,
unfortunately, as I had my brain turned by Alan
and Dalen
– old mates by virtue of breaking bread together over breakfast.

What a great evening for the Longhair and I, we even forgave the car
guards for being tipsy and smelling suspiciously like ammonia.

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