Friday, February 23, 2007

Arizona Trip Report - Day 2

The second day of our trip started with me looking up at the ceiling around 4:30AM Arizona time. Seems my body thought I was back in Atlanta and it was time to get up - I wasn’t and it wasn’t time to get up. I tossed and turned - rinsed and repeated until 5:30 when I got up and started typing out day 1 trip report.

I got most of that done and went to post it. I am constantly surprised in life. My wallet holds a Holiday Inn Priority Club Rewards card in it. I got it because I think Holiday in has the best value. I am staying in a Marriott where the rooms go for over $500 a night (not my $500). I plug into the ethernet port on the desk and pull up the internet. The first page welcomes me and asks if I would like to pay $9.95/day for internet service. Heck No. $10 on top of probably $550. Are they freaking out of their minds? Now, don’t get me wrong. I understand that the usual clients could probably pay the $10. However, at $100 a night Holiday Inn, they give you that for FREE. I have even stayed in a Holiday Inn in Huntington, WV that had a computer in the room - to use for free. Principles are what I am talking about here. Even their wireless connection isn’t free. WHAT? Have they lost contact with the outside world? So, You are not reading this unless I am back home with my wireless network. (off soap box now)

We shower and get ready to head downstairs. We get down there early and see no one we know. So, my wife and I share a nice quiet breakfast alone. Small chit chat and sweet smiles. We had decided to leave our notebooks in the room as we would have time after breakfast to retrieve them. So, off we go to get them.

We stop at Starbucks and get my wife a tall white mocha before meeting up with Cliff and Laurie before the morning general session. I head to the popular coffee table outside the conference ballroom. I get Starbucks coffee with creamer and caramel flavor for free. We are a little late getting downstairs and all the seats around Cliff and Laurie are all taken. We head off to find some in a very crowded ballroom. We find some on the other side of the room off to the side of the stage.

There were several speakers all with good topics. Encouragement. Hebrews 10 speaks of encouraging one another. One speaker spoke on strengths and weaknesses. His push was to get people to not focus on improving your weaknesses but rather increase your strengths. Made sense in a weird kind of a way. Your weaknesses will always be your weaknesses. Surround yourself with people with strengths that are your weaknesses and each work to grow in your strengths. He even had an example to take that with your children. If they are good in math and get lousy grades in language, work on the language part to improve but recognize that their future is probably better suited for a more successful career around math. So, really work on math and make them the best they can be in their strength.

We sat with Richard and Susan at lunch. Conversation was good. It ranged from British wit to vasectomy. Yeah - wide subject topics. We had tacos, burritos and the likes. Some was good some was okay and some was spit out.
While Richard and Susan ran off to go to work their shift, my wife and I headed to the room. I got all dressed up to go geocaching. My wife was going to stay in the room and read. I got packed and kissed her on my way out the door. I headed down to find a ride. I hit the doors and it was pouring rain. In just minutes to get downstairs the bottom dropped out. The wind was blowing - cold for Arizona. I didn’t get too upset - I looked at it that I was glad it happened then instead of while I was out on the trail with no ride back to the hotel.

So, here I sit updating the trip report waiting and seeing if the rain will go away. I don’t think it is going anywhere anytime soon. I am headed off to who knows where. Catch you later.

I am back. As I finished up the segment above, I noticed my lovely wife asleep with her book by her side. I quietly gathered my things and headed out the door. I went down to where the buses were shuttling people to another hotel and jumped bandit style and hitched a ride. It took me to the Keirland Westin Hotel and spa. No. I didn’t go in. I got off the bus and headed straight out into the wide open for a cache run. It wasn’t raining over there. I have to say that the area was definitely upscale. I hang in Peachtree City and this place made it look hickaberry hill.
First off, the condo’s being built next to the Westin were advertised as starting in the $700,000 range. Ouch. I hope that doesn’t mean someone is going to be forking over that for a small studio condo. Double Ouch.

Next up, were all the upscale shopping that was very apparent. I wasn’t in Kansas nor Atlanta anymore. Buckhead - keep trying, you’re way undervalued. I hope to download pictures as I upload this back home. However, if I am amiss with all the updates. The cars - wow. All major luxury vehicles were everywhere. I snapped a shot of a Ferrari. That is one sleek car. I walked about 5 miles total on my little geocaching adventure and saw lots of upscale restaurants and stores. I never saw a McDonald’s nor a Wendy’s. Incredible.

I returned to the hotel and got a quick shower. My wife and I toured the grounds of the hotel in the daylight and got some good photos. We headed out to the pool area. I say pool area - meaning the pools. There are about 4 pools, 1 lazy river and a small lake. That, in combination of simulated waterfalls and rushing streams, made for an area you could easily spend endless days lost in serenity. The area is also surrounded by a wonderful arrangement of flowers and shrubs.
We met up with Cliff and Laurie for dinner. It was the typical conference food. Its’ presentation is really nice and colorful. Its taste is lacking - well taste. I am sure that’s why the super rich are usually skinny. If they go places that feed them food like this, then they probably don’t eat very much. I didn’t eat very much.

There was a concert in the ballroom outside the dining hall. However, my wife and I, along with Cliff and Laurie sat at the dinner table for a couple of hours talking with a couple from Nashville Tennessee. She is a restaurant owner and he is a pilot for American Airlines. Pama is her name and she is a hoot. Her husband is Steve. She is very interesting and full of good stories. When she talks and goes through her stories she uses many facial expressions that keep you drawn into the conversation.

Not sure if you remember a flight from the west cost to the east coast that landed in Oklahoma City under emergency. Well, if you do, Steve was the pilot on that flight. Hearing the stories of this couple kept us on the edge of our seats until late in the night. The wait staff had cleaned the dining hall and was just hanging around awaiting for us to leave. I enjoyed the time spent after diner more than any conference session.

It was 11:00PM as we retired to our room for some needed rest.

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