OOTD: business trip to Albany Western Australia (Day 1)

Since the pandemic Australia has pretty much disintegrated as one country. Let’s not even talk about closure of the international borders: each State has erected its own opaque system whereby interstate Australians are not allowed to enter. While there is talk of Sydney opening its borders again to both interstate and international travellers, here in Western Australia the state Government is adamant its state borders remain closed.

State border closures to stop outsiders from coming into Western Australia has had a huge impact on local businesses. Again, let’s not even talk about closure of the international borders which stopped international students and tourists coming in. Closure of the interstate borders meant our usual access of cashed-up Melbournian and Sydney-siders has dried up. Which means one has to get creative doing business within Western Australia itself.

While there is talk of Sydney opening its borders again to both interstate and international travellers, here in Western Australia the state Government is adamant its state borders remain closed. With little prospect of opening up, we have decided to tap into domestic business opportunities within the state for the first time.

So a few weeks ago we headed up north to Port Hedland, a hot, dusty and unappealing mining town.

Judging by the deals we made over the 1 day trip, it was deemed a success. So the company decided to attempt to repeat that by now looking south. Why the south? Apparently data shows that the south west is experiencing an unexpected and unprecedented building boom.

So when my boss asked if I were keen to join him on the second business trip in weeks, this time a few days down south within the State to Albany, I jumped on the opportunity again and said yes. I’ve never been to Albany. Heck, I have no idea where Albany even is. But it can’t be worse than Port Hedland and a quick google shows there are wineries and national parks – so I gather it’s a bit like Margaret River. Given this business trip is involve overnight stays I am definitely looking forward to it, to do some dining in local restaurants, some sight-seeing, and shopping on the side. My boss planned to mix business with pleasure. We’d work tomorrow and Friday, and because we were staying over the weekend and we were obviously not working on the Saturday and Sunday, I will have the weekend in Albany being accomodated on company’s expense before continuing to work early next week. Yes boss, I am definitely in!

The choice of outfit for the first day of any business trip is one of the most important considerations for me when I travel on business. Not only must I be comfortable in it for the hours spent sitting in the airport, on the plane and on the road, but it must also look professional when I finally arrive at the destination for the meetings and clients. We had a meeting scheduled over dinner in Albany on the same evening – essentially a business dinner – so I decided to get dressed and fly in the same outfit I was going to wear to dinner in case we had delays to our journey and needed to head straight off to dinner.

So today, with this evening’s dinner schedule in mind, I decided to wear a lovely CUE satin Zip Front Sleeveless Jacquard Dress. I recall when I first bought the dress I wasn’t sure if I would like it. It was the only one left on the rack in that design and I thought it was one size too small: when I tried it on it fitted snugly and I thought the dress was a little too short. And there was also the front zip dilemma like I explained previously- prone to go out of fashion. But I fell in love with the cut and the blue floral motifs, so I bought it anyway.

Buying it initially with wearing it to the office in mind, it ended becoming one of my favourite go-to dresses, not merely for the office but for going out on dates, a night out, or the weekends.  I can’t explain why and how it ended becoming one of my favourite go-to dresses, for all its flaws there was something quite lovely about it. Maybe it’s in the details: the blue floral motifs, little collar details, tiny little word ‘CUE’ embossed on the zipper tab. Maybe it is the breezy flared hem. Maybe it’s the flattering cut. Maybe it’s the flirty front zip (which usually starts fully zipped up at the start of the night and become progressively more and more unzipped as the situation requires and as night progresses…). Who knows. But whatever it is about this dress, I fell in love.

A dash of light make-up, my favourite CUE Black Revere Collar Wool Blazer, a sensible pair of NineWest ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps, nude hosiery, and my usual earrings, pearl necklace and pearl bracelet set complete the elegant and professional look and I am ready to head off to the airport with my boss.

We got to the airport, and just as we were about to fly from Perth airport and I just noticed there was a news article of a Regional Express plane engine on fire not too long ago… yikes!

The Regional Express plane – and I must my first time flying Regional Express – is a small, cramped little turbo-prop of questionable reliability. It’s hard to stand up completely straight inside (the ceilings are low), and has an antiquated seating pattern of 1 seat on the left of the plane, and 2 on the right.

Snagging a left hand side window seat so that I don’t have to be seated next to anyone, I enjoyed the view of the Swan River as the little turbo-prop plane lifted off from Perth airport and headed south.

Looking behind me, I even got a glimpse of Perth CBD’s skyline in the afternoon sun.

Arriving in Albany Just over an hour plus later. We disembarked the plane on the tarmac and with the rest of the passengers into the airport’s arrival area. Albany airport is a charming little provincial airport – the arrival area is open, shared with passengers waiting to depart, with a tourist information booth on one end next to car hire booths. A luggage conveyor belt is at the end, under a logo of a whale and the words ‘Amazing Albany’.

I am surprised rental car hire seems popular at the airport – I can only guess it is due to a lack of public transport in town? In any case I am more surprised by the number of outsiders visiting Albany. Maybe it is true that the south west offers opportunities for boom and business.

We pick up the keys to the rental car and walked over to a carpark on our left outside the airport building. Things look even more promising as we stepped out of Albany airport: in the car park right outside was a $200,000 Range Rover SUV. And behind it a $140,000 Toyota Landcruiser. Maybe the south west is truly booming…

The rental car – a white non-descript something – was much cleaner than any other rental car I experienced. We loaded our luggage in the trunk of the car and got in, then I realised I forgot to pick up some tourist brochures – given we were staying over the weekend I was looking forward to some sight seeing. We did a loop back to the main car park in front of the airport.

I picked up some brochures and asked my boss to take a picture of me standing in front of Albany Airport to send to hubby and my parents – well let’s just say I don’t know what he did. Whatever he did he didn’t get me standing and smiling in front of Albany airport, but instead got a few grainy ones of me walking back to the car. I don’t know what he did, go figure. But given he is my boss, I couldn’t complaint.

We drove headed towards our accommodation. My boss had booked a 2 bedroom serviced apartment in a locality in Albany called Middleton Beach, which I see on the map is some distance away from the town centre. Middleton beach seemed like a really nice place. There is a large landscaped park, and our accommodation is to the right of the photograph. 

We found the place – called Dolphin Lodge – and checked in. Now this is when our accommodation arrangements get complicated: nothing to do with the serviced apartment, but everything to do with my boss.

My boss planned to mix business with pleasure. We’d work tomorrow and Friday, and because we were staying over the weekend and we were obviously not working on the Saturday and Sunday, my boss arranged for his wife and kids to fly into Albany Friday afternoon and they’d spend the weekend with him, and then he’d drop his wife and kids off Monday morning and we continued to work early next week.

Like every good tight arsed boss, to save money he had arranged for me to sleep in the same 2 bedroom serviced apartment as he was staying in tonight and tomorrow (Thursday) night, then have me moved to a studio from Friday and over the weekend, before moving me back into the 2 bedroom serviced apartment on Monday morning. So instead of having to pay for 2 separate apartments throughout our work trip in Albany he’d only pay for 2 when his wife and kids are in town.

As for the hire car, he’d rented just one for now and again like the serviced apartment, on Friday he’d drop me off at Albany airport to pick up a separate one for myself to use over the weekend and then on Monday I’d drop off the second hire car and meet him at the airport as he drops off his wife and kids. So instead of having to pay for 2 separate rental cars throughout our work trip in Albany, he’d only pay for 2 when his wife and kids are in town.

Sounds complicated? Yeah it took me a while to get it around my head too. It’s all about cost saving, according to him. So what it means for me a quite a bit of unpacking and packing and unpacking and packing again. I suppose business trip do sound more glamorous than they actually are…

We arrived at the accommodation and checked in, finding ourselves in a 2 bedroom apartment on the top floor of the building. I didn’t have much time to unpack – a quick touch up of my make-up and we headed off for dinner.

Dinner tonight, with a business client and my boss, was in a restaurant a short walk down the road towards the beach called the Three Anchors.

Heading back to the accommodation on foot after dinner in the slight drizzle (we walked to the restaurant and it started to rain after we arrived), my first impressions of the serviced apartment are as below. The boss had the larger bedroom which overlooked the road and I had the smaller one overlooking the internal courtyard. I unpack and within an hour concluded that Dolphin Lodge is a weird mix of good and bad… overall difficult to rate as the weird mix of good and bad are at both ends of the spectrum, so I have listed the good and bad points and it’s up to you to decide what you can put up with and what you cannot.

The good:

-Renovated and full kitchen including dishwasher, oven, full-sized refrigerator

-Renovated bathroom

-Premium toiletries including sewing kits and dental kits

The bad:

-Noisy: motel style building accommodation with noise from courtyard, neighbours (I can hear the conversation of others next door and from downstairs), central common area

-Dusty, dated bedrooms: smells old (in fact all my clothes had the old house smell after unpacking in the room)

-My allergies are triggered: Dusty, dated bedrooms definitely not for those with dust allergies – I even had to pop an antihistamine within an hour of arriving – not a good start!

-Despite full kitchen, there is no laundry (they have a shared laundry instead).

It’s getting on in the evening so it’s time for me to have a shower unwind and turn in, I’ll hopefully have more to write tomorrow!

Xoxo

Occasion: Business trip

Wearing:

Dress: CUE Zip Front Sleeveless Jacquard Dress

Blazer: CUE Black Revere Collar Wool Blazer

Belt: CUE

Pumps: NineWest ‘Mailin’ heeled point toe pumps

Hosiery: nude stay-up stockings from Target

Xoxo

Natalie

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