Tonight was the official start to the 2009 National Association of Science Writers conference, and I arrived here in Austin, TX earlier this afternoon. Unfortunately, my luggage did not arrive with me. It sits, in Dulles Airport, waiting for someone from United Airlines to put it on a plane. What exactly did I pay that $20 checked bag fee for, if not for someone to put my bag on the same plane I was on? But that, I suppose, is a question for another day.
I’d be in a much worse mood if not for the fabulously helpful staff at the AT&T conference center (includes hotel). They loaned me a phone charger, told me where I could go buy clothing if necessary, and somehow just made me feel like everything is going to be okay.
I’m loving the room. Full cable (via AT&T U-verse), a mini-fridge that isn’t already full of overpriced nonsense, an iPod-playing alarm clock, a true teleworker’s telephone complete with electronic message welcoming me by name and wishing me a pleasant stay, and really comfortable furniture. They even have an above average in-room coffee selection, (including a colombian blend) and a room service breakfast menu that goes well beyond the usual omelet, fruit bowl, sausage/bacon offerings. The nice details included in this hotel are *almost* making up for the hassle of not having my stuff. Let’s hope my things arrive soon, or I may forever be know as the girl who wore a purple sweater all week at Science Writers 2009.
The conference started well — though perhaps, not quite as planned. The schedule called for a reception and live entertainment, involving some mixtures of science and the arts; a comedian, some acrobats, and a band or something. The reception was good, the food was excellent and the atmosphere in the court yard was great, but the performances never happened. They did make an announcement of some kind at one point, but I couldn’t hear it from where i stood. Truth be told, I think a lot of people, myself included, were too busy catching up with people they hadn’t seen since the previous conference to care that the entertainment didn’t happen.
I thought the evening went quite well.