Saturday, May 5, 2007

Day One: Palm Pressing

I got up early this morning and flew out after breakfast in an attempt to get out to Omaha early this year with some of my Friday still in tact. I arrived in the afternoon, conveniently just ten minutes before my friend Patrick. We shared a rental car and dropped our stuff off at the hotel. We both had rooms at the Super8. It left something to be desired. It felt a little grungy to me, and the carpet was being torn up, with a note explaining that they were in the midst of replacing it. There was also a missing person notice on the door and a rattrap hidden to the side. However, it was only a mile from the airport and a mile from the Qwest center, and it was really cheap. The same management that forgot to have the carpet done in time for their biggest weekend of the year also forgot to raise rates for their biggest weekend of the year. And besides, compared to my friend Jim’s hotel last year it was a palace. The reception desk at his Motel 6 was behind bulletproof glass. I would have taken a picture of that, but my camera would have disappeared before I could press the button.

We thought about catching a nap, but there was no time. We had to head out to the Yellow BRKers party. It had a great turnout.
It was organized by Shai Dardashti, and Mohnish Pabrai also showed up for awhile.

After this, a lot of the Motley Fool guys and I headed out to Stokes Steakhouse for dinner. An original reservation for five that turned into six ended up being more than twice that number. The steak was amazing. You figure it would be good since we're in Omaha, but even so, it surpassed all expectations. I had an off-the-menu whiskey bone-in that almost melted.

After this, it was off to the after-party at the Value Investor Insight reception. I ran into Whitney Tilson there, and I got to say hello.

Talking to Whitney (center) is like being in the Twighlight Zone. His life in strangely similar to my own, only it operates on a much higher plane. He appears in books, articles, and TV shows like I do, only he's featured in them instead of just making an appearance. He also spent time in Tanzania (of all places), but for three years instead of one month. He also wrote for The Fool like I did. He is also on the board for a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where we touch down for a bit on our way to Kilimanjaro. He also went to Harvard, but to both the College and the Business School. He also manages money for clients like I do, only with $170 million. He's also a big Warren Buffett fan and ardent student of value investing. He's like the future, more accomplished version of me. I'm not sure why I didn't call ahead of time to coordinate outfits.

About the time that night turned into morning, Pat and I decided we had better get back to the hotel since we would be getting up early for the meeting. After checking Berkshire's earnings report which had just come out, I got to bed at 1:45 am.

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