Tuesday, July 30, 2013

RWA13 Atlanta—traveling

I live in the D.C. area, so I have a choice of at least three airports whenever I travel by plane. Each one—BWI, National, and Dulles—have their pros and cons, but my favorite is Dulles. This is mostly because Mr. M works in that neck of the woods, so he’s usually willing to drop me at that airport on his way to the office. (Though he did very kindly take me to National when I was flying to Kansas City for RT…he’s a keeper!) And since he's on his way to work, I usually take a morning flight, a safer bet in this area in the summer anyway. We are prone to afternoon thunderstorms.

The RWA conference doesn’t really begin until the Literacy Signing Wednesday evening, but I always come in the day before, partly to avoid a mad scramble to get to the signing on time, but mostly to attend the beau monde mini-conference which begins bright and early Wednesday morning. I like coming in before the crowds. I like collecting my registration materials and getting the lay of the land before things get crazy. But I don’t much like eating by myself, so I asked around before I left home to see if anyone I knew was also coming in on Tuesday. I assembled a lovely group: my roomie Teresa Bodwell, Nancy Herkness, Elizabeth Hoyt, and Wendy La Capra. I didn’t manage to get a shot of all of us, but here I am with Terry on my left and Nancy on my right.

RWA terry and nancy

I emailed people to find out when they were arriving, and Elizabeth said her plane got in about a half hour after mine, so I said I’d wait for her…except when I got to Atlanta, I didn’t see her flight number on the arrival board. I asked some friendly airport volunteers, and they couldn’t find her flight either. So I called her—and she answered! Yes, she was in the airport—her home airport. She’d given me her departure, not her arrival time. Needless to say, I decided not to wait for her.

Elizabeth had suggested we share a cab, but now that I was on my own, I went with what would have been my first choice: MARTA, the Atlanta subway system. I’ve ridden MARTA a few times and I like it, but I’ve noticed that there is usually someone on the train looking for handouts. I was thinking about why this might be, since I don’t see that behavior on D.C.’s Metro. At first I thought it must be because Metro is so much more expensive, but then I remembered Boston’s "T" has the same low fare as MARTA. In fact, I’ve ridden subways in lots of large US cities—Boston, Chicago, D.C., L.A., New York, and San Francisco—as well as the London tube, and I don’t remember seeing folks panhandling on any of those trains. I also noticed when I ventured out of the hotel in Atlanta, I had people—some quite well-spoken—come up to me and ask for money--again, something I'm not used to. I’m not sure what to make of all that—someone said the hotel was quite near a homeless shelter, so perhaps that was part of it—but I was surprised by it. 

My room was on the 37th floor. Here’s the view from the window:

RWA view from room

The hotel had glass elevators. I’m a huge fan of glass elevators, though I know not everyone is. Mr. M is not. And I imagine one poor woman I met in the elevator wasn’t. She was going up with a bellman and one of those big rolling things that you can hang clothes on. She’d almost climbed into the rolling thing and was hiding her head with a folder or pad of paper. I hope she discovered there was one non-glass elevator. I was always disappointed when I had to take that one, but I can see why it might be a good option for some folks. Here’s a view of the elevator from the Pulse Loft, the restaurants where the RITA and Golden Heart reception was held later in the week.

RWA hotel

I think it looks a bit like a spine and ribcage. When I posted it on Facebook, a few friends said it reminded them of the movie Alien.

No comments:

Post a Comment