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AUTHOR'S NOTE: There will likely be many accounts detailing the question and answer session at the 2005 annual meeting. I thought I would offer a more personal angle to the entire weekend, complete with pictures so that those who were unable to attend this year can live vicariously through me if they are so inclined. I may discuss the actual meeting and Q&A session in more detail on another thread if there hasn't been enough coverage, but that is unlikely. If you are just looking for Buffett/Munger meeting comments, you may consider this to be a waste of time.

There and Back Again
Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

--DAY 1-- Arrival in Omaha


I'm walking through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, and the smile cannot be wiped from my face. I joke with myself and picture a young Muslim on his way to Mecca. I'm only 23 years old, but this trip has been 12 years in the making. Ever since my grandfather gave an 11 year old boy his first copy of the Forbes 400, I have had an unhealthy obsession with all things Berkshire.

I head to my seat in the back of the plane, taking special care to scowl at the people in the front and middle who did not wait for their section to be called. I hear a young girl ask her daddy if “that's a boy or a girl?” I quickly glance her way, and to my satisfaction she was not looking at me when the question was asked. As I take my seat, I say a quick prayer to Jesus, Buddha, Allah, and Warren that I will be a statistical anomaly and not be seated next to one of the 60% of Americans diagnosed as obese. One of them answers my prayers, and my faith is rewarded with an empty middle seat.

In Houston, the restroom doors had been removed from their hinges for repainting, which provided a pleasant surprise when walking past the women's restroom. That surprise was quickly negated however when I found out that although my 29 minute flight from Austin to Houston was on a comfortably sized airliner, the 2 hour flight to Omaha was on little more than a puddle jumper with 2 hair dryers on either side. I'm forced to take my reasonably sized carryon back to the terminal to be stowed underneath the plane – or perhaps strapped to the wing. On my way up, a middle aged man asks me to grab him a blanket, and I ask if he would like a parachute as well. He laughs, but it's clear my joke has made the less experienced flyers uncomfortable. During the flight, the two drunkards next to me postulate the plane cost “two billion dollars,” and that the wing tips were bent up because of “narrow hangar doors.” I land at 11:30pm. Unfortunately, I am in too late to attend the opening night at the Borsheim's cocktail party, so I had to my hotel for a few hours of sleep.
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