THIS WAS A very big occasion for me. Firstly, I had not travelled overseas
(other than to Sydney) for nearly 30 years and secondly, it was the very first time I would
be meeting the FIAP Directory Board members in my new role as PSNZ FIAP Liaison Officer for New Zealand.
But before I continue, I would like to acknowledge the work and support that Brian Cudby EFIAP Hon FPSNZ FPSNZ ESFIAP Hon FIAP has put in over
the 16 years he has been FIAP Liaison Officer for New Zealand. The first time I met Brian was when I was applying for my AFIAP.
Brian was so helpful and supportive of me and others, advising and guiding us through our distinctions over the last 16 years.
Brian has served both the Photographic Society of New Zealand and FIAP with dedication ลาวสามัคคี
and distinction, acknowledged at the last PSNZ convention when he was awarded Hon FPSNZ.
FIAP have also acknowledged Brian’s service by awarding him the Hon FIAP at the meeting in China.
This is the highest award FIAP can bestow on any member with
an ESFIAP and it was an honour to be there to see it awarded to him.
I wish you well in your retirement Brian. I have big shoes to fill! After a short flight up to Auckland, four of us started our 12-hour flight to Shanghai.
We waited for six hours to take the next flight to Beijing and I appreciated that time as we needed all of it to get through queues of people and multiple check stations.
I’ve never seen so many people in one spot. ‘Patience is a virtue.’
The planning and organization of this whole event was exceptional, right from the first day when we were given a bus number
and a room key followed by a printed booklet containing everybody’s name and room number for every hotel for the entire trip.
We were welcomed at every stop with rows of beautifully presented staff and hordes of photographers photographing us, just as we photographed them.
There were 12 buses travelling in convoy everywhere, with police escort and government officers leading the way.
It was amazing to be in a bus travelling along with traffic officials stopping all traffic for us at major intersections.
Our bus driver knew how to honk his horn to let it be known this was a convoy and to get out of our way. I felt like royalty sitting there in the front seat.
It was often through the bus window that I would catch a glimpse of everyday people going about their lives.
One of these was the man on his little bike/trailer who had a young child on the front seat with him and ‘mum and the groceries’ in the back tray which was not much bigger than a wheelbarrow in size!
Or the man with the bike loaded so high with hay you couldn’t see him, all just “tootling” down the three-lane motorway along with the cars and buses.
There was many a time that I shut my eyes as our bus got so close to these bikes.
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