bentangle

Tag: hotels

Travelogue – Homesick

by on Jun.18, 2010, under career, family

I’m tired.  It isn’t jet lag or a hangover or lack of sleep.  I’m just tired – tired of sleeping in foreign beds, tired of being in unfamiliar terrain, tired of feeling like I’m connected to my normal life by a long tether.  I’m ready to pull that tether and reel myself home; ready to go back to dealing with chores, crazy Kamikaze children, and chicken little-esque panics over issues that take moments to right (I’m not specifying which front that comes from for fear of incrimination) – ready to re-immerse myself in my familiar routines and environs.

In truth this week has been going relatively smoothly.  The training course has been informative and useful.  My colleague has been much more tolerant and tolerable than I would have expected in such close quarters (though apparently he has been spending half of most nights beating me with fancy pillows to stifle my snoring).  We managed to catch a couple shows while in NYC … ok movies – we saw A-Team and Get Him to the Greek.  The former was surprisingly well conceived given the premise, and the latter was ridiculously funny (though they put some of the funniest bits in the trailers which sort of ruins them).  Besides that and the happy hour earlier in the week, we played our time here pretty low key, which I was perfectly happy with.

I can say with confidence that I will never stay at the hotel in which we stayed this week ever again.  The room, with 2 bed rather than one, was about half the square footage of the place I stayed in while in San Francisco and it cost almost twice as much.  The room service pricing was nuts and the service itself spotty.  Their menu is completely in Italian (since the cuisine is as such), but if you read them the Italian names for the dishes, they are confused – they only recognize them by the English descriptions.  They charge $3 for an 8 oz. soda and no food item is less than $10.  And they will forget to ask appropriate questions regarding ordered items as well as forget to bring some of them (though I assume that we were charged for them anyway).  While I avoided as much as possible eating food at the hotel in San Fran, when I did the service at least was comparable to what I’d expect of such a hotel.

Anyway, as I said before – I’m tired.  I’m tired of sitting in training sessions (there is only so much sitting still and listening one can do).  I’m ready to take that quiet, smooth train-ride home.  I’m glad that my company was willing to send me globe-trotting in the name of education and networking (though I feel I haven’t been very successful at the latter), but I’m ready not to travel for work again for at least a few months.  I’m ready to stop living out of a suitcase and go back to living out of laundry baskets.  I’m ready to be able to consider going places more than a few blocks or a transit line away.  I’m ready to drive my car again.  I’m ready to stop carrying bags everywhere and instead go back to carrying children everywhere.  I’m ready to have access to a refrigerator and a microwave and a toaster and a stove, none of which have motion-sensored food that I need to eat with plastic utensils.  The journey was good, but I’m ready to be at the end of it.

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First Stop – Achiness and Lack of Sleep

by on Jun.08, 2010, under career, The World

It’s 5:30 AM as I sit in a quiet, dark hotel room, an expanse of street and headlights that make up downtown San Francisco are just outside the nearby window. I’m tired and blearily studying the In-Room amenities list to see if the coffee provided is as overpriced as everything else (it seems the coffee and tea are complimentary – surprising since a bottle of orange juice is priced at $5). I’m up only because I’m accustomed to being up at this hour – at least the east coast equivalent to this hour. If it weren’t so hazy outside, I might be able to enjoy the sunrise over the bay.  I guess I’ll have to settle with watching the hazy gradually become a brighter shade of blue-gray.

Yesterday was a long arduous day of alternately sitting and walking.  I realize that most days consist of much of the same, but typically the seating is more comfortable and the walking is more leisurely and involves less baggage.  It started with the usual sitting on the couch with the kids eating breakfast while the watched a show while my brain and my wife’s body slowly came to grips with being awake.  But rather than the usual sitting in the car and driving to work, the next part of my day was the inception of a 12-hour travel marathon.  It started with a short drive to the train station (I could have walked, but the kids wanted to see me off) that carried me downtown to the Philadelphia Airport.  Next was walking through the airport to Terminal E for my Southwest flight – I don’t know when the finished the construction, but the new security setup is pretty nice.  Then some sitting in the terminal (I was pretty early) followed by a short walk into the plane and then a long sit in a somewhat narrow seat (if only my company would spring for first class).  I had a layover in Chicago – given the current tensions with the Stanley Cup, I’m glad I didn’t have to disembark.  Though I should have stood for more of the wait and maybe freshed my deodorant for the longer leg to follow.  Given that my flight left at 2 and was scheduled to land at quarter to 7 – even though I knew there were really 3 more hours hidden in there – it didn’t seem like the flight should have felt as long as it did.  Luckily I kept myself entertained with music, books, an episode of Doctor Who on my laptop, and occasionally snapping pictures of the landscape below on my iPhone (I may post some later if any of them turned out).

Finally we land and I am happy to walk with my luggage to the AirTrain and then stand and wait for the BART line to come and carry me on the final leg of my journey.  I arrive in the downtown around 8 PM and have a short walk of about 4 blocks to the hotel.  I am solicited once along the way by an upbeat guy looking for a quarter to make his fare – I oblige him and he is very grateful.  But ultimately I arrive at my destination.

After a very pleasant check-in process and a very fast elevator ride, I find myself in a room that is the antithesis of how I feel.  While I am rough, disheveled, and feeling grungy and weary from my travels, this room is pristine and elegant and seems like it should belong to someone much better dressed than I.  After unpacking my small suitcase of its semi-wrinkled berth into the dresser that seems more fashionable than anything I brought to wear and enjoying various means of winding down (a little HDTV, a little catching up on web browsing, and then a stretch of reading while listening to my tunes on the iHome station next to the bed), I finally decide to call it a night and melt into the luxurious sheets and pillows included with the king-sized bed in my suite.

It is now 6 AM and the dark blue haze has given way to a bright gray haze outside my window.  As I sit here on the top floor of this hotel for which I’m glad my company will be footing the bill, the enjoyment of my surroundings and situation are somewhat muted by the fatigue of the previous day’s travels and a shorter night of sleep than I would have preferred.  But I’m optimistic that between the complimentary coffee and a stint in the very fancy-looking shower, much of this fatigue will wash away.

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