Thursday, March 8, 2018

AWP 2018: Day One

I don't have much conference news to report, as the AWP conference really gets underway today.  I can report that it only takes 4 hours to get from my house to Tampa--and what boring hours, for the most part.  I was surprised by how much traffic I encountered, but at least I had some times of lighter traffic--and at no point did we have to slow down in a major way.

North of Naples, I pulled into a gas station, right behind a pick up truck with an official looking marking--but what a marking!  Florida Wildlife Commission Alligator Control.  The guys filling up their trucks had t-shirts with the same seal.  I said, "I can't resist asking if you're really alligator control guys."  The grizzled man said, "Lady, this would be one hell of a costume, wouldn't it?"  Yes it would--right down to the truck with a small boat and cages and such.

I got to the hotel and was able to check in, even though I was earlier than my 4:00 check in time--I realize that it was completely by chance, but it still made me feel cared for.  I was able to get my badge and conference book with no wait.  The last time I was at the AWP conference, we stood in lines organized the old-fashioned way:  last name A-E, last name F-I, and so on.

The self-parking is in the city parking lot across the street, which meant that my idea to pack everything in rolling suitcases was a good one.  I spent the afternoon waiting for my grad school friend to arrive, which meant I had time get settled into my room, to explore the hotel, and to enjoy the free happy hour. 

When my friend arrived, we walked along the Riverwalk, but we later discovered that we'd been walking away from restaurants.  I did see a labyrinth in the pavement that I intend to explore later. 

We ended up seated outside, but away from the relentless breeze that I thought was quite chilly.  We had a great meal at Jackson's Bistro, with a wonderful waiter who told us when the hockey games were happening, so we could plan accordingly.

I know--hockey in Tampa?  But our waiter claims that the team is at the top (of the division?  of all of the teams?  I have no idea). 

I am still finding the huge amount of choices of sessions offered to be a bit overwhelming, but I've made some initial choices--at least for today.  And let me remember to take some pictures.

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