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Monday, July 20, 2009

My first conference! Blog 1 of 5

WARNING! May contain moments of lapsed memory, proof of conference head, and symptoms of chocolate withdrawal. Reader discretion advised.

I’m going to attempt to blog about my trip to Washington, DC this past week. I went there to attend the Romance Writers of America’s national conference, and I must say the experience was well worth it. First up, I got a terrific deal on the flight, and then I finaled in Daphne, a contest showcasing excellence in mystery and suspense. How cool is that? It was accompanied by a Death by Chocolate party. Well, if you can’t die peacefully in your sleep at age 100, death by chocolate would be a great alternative.

I arrived unable to meet up with a friend to catch a shuttle to the hotel, but decided to brave the subway. How hard can it be?

I’m proud to say it wasn’t hard at all. The biggest problem was trying to figure out the vending machine that spits out subway tickets if you manage to decode the instructions. Just as I was feeling a bit like Tom Hanks on an adventure to save humanity, a very nice couple walked up and offered me a pair of tickets, good anytime until Thursday. I snatched them out of their hands in a flash, and was off. I actually met up with some fellow writers and we traveled to the hotel together. I’d begun my conference!

You see, I went there for the schmoozing. I roomed with a pair of veteran conference goers and wow, they really know what to do. One gal, and she knows who she is, took me under her wing. Because she knows me, she told me she’d nudge me when I was in danger of putting my foot into my mouth.

I’m bruised all along the left side of my body now. But I did manage to shove that size 9 into my mouth one time, telling a strange man waiting for the elevator beside me that he looked terrible. Oh, well, nobody’s perfect, right?

Of course, too late did I realize that I could be telling the man with whom I had an editor appointment that he looked awful, but I have to live dangerously once in a while.

We stayed at the Marriott near the zoo. One roomie did her research and discovered the older part of the hotel was the best deal. It sure was. On the sixth floor, you could pick up the local McDonald’s wifi, which was more than others could do.

I personally don’t think that a hotel of the Marriott’s caliber needs to charge for wifi in their standard rooms. The room was lovely, with a dressing room and spacious bathroom, and yet, oddly, two three-quarter beds instead of double. And you can’t tell me that’s the US double beds are smaller than in Canada. You Americans aren’t any smaller than us Canucks, and being from the Great White North, we need to cuddle in the night to keep warm, so if anything, we’d take the three-quarter beds, not you down in sweltering DC.

Tune in tomorrow when I begin my first full day in the US capital.


Cecelia Dowdy said...

Great blog post! Made me chuckle a few times! I'll be sure to read the rest of your RWA experiences during the week!

Nina Pierce said...

Oh, Barbara, having met you at the KOD conference in Maine, I could just hear you talking to that man. LOL! Since I didn't get to go this year, I'll be looking forward to your posts. Thanks for the chuckles!

Kylie said...

Barbara, I had a similar experience trying to figure out those metro fare ticket machines. And a few comical moments trying to get through the stile using it! I agree, it was tacky of the hotel to charge for wifi but it was free in a few areas, although that wasn't well advertised. My pet peeve is being charged $15 a package for 'handling' when I had things shipped there. Grr!

Barbara Phinney said...

Cecelia, how are you? I'm up to my eyeballs in laundry. And my feet still ache!
Nina, I was looking out for you, too! I'm sorry you weren't able to go. Another time, perhaps? We'll do lunch.
Kylie, One stile on the metro kept pinning me in! And those escalators! I've never seen them so long! But we both survived the conference.
I hope you'll all pass this blog along and come back this week for the continuing adventures. I had a whole week to screw up, you know!