Thursday, February 02, 2006


The Joys of Business Travel

It always cracks me up when people say they envy the travel portion of my job....

Maybe if I were traveling to exotic and spectacular places it would be different, but Tallahassee, FL, Akron, Ohio and the like aren't exactly Paris, Rome and Madrid.

Mostly, it's an anonymous corporate apartment or a cookie-cutter hotel, and a lot of time spent in airports on layovers eating overpriced bad meals with plastic utensils. I just love eating salads with a plastic fork.

Actually, when I start to think about the kind of travel I do most often, I'm reminded of Simon & Garfunkle's "Homeward Bound"-- "Each town looks the same to me, the movies and the factories, and every stranger's face I see reminds me that I long to be Homeward bound... "

The Malling of America--- every hotel, every mall, every city is so much the same in many ways.....The current trend in airports is what I think of as bad mall food--- think the food court at your local shopping center... The exact same food from the same chains. Mandarin Express. Mickey D's. Chick Fil-A. Pizza Hut Express. Burger King. The only difference-- other than the limited menus so the choices are beige starch and grease or brown starch and grease-- is that they increase the price by 25-30%. If you actually want to eat a warm vegetable other than a potato, there aren't a lot of options.

The next rung up the ladder in some airports is the Chili's- Friday's- Ruby Tuesday tier. Not too bad-- except those menus are limited as well. Sandwiches and salads, sometimes a pasta dish, and appetizers. Lots of nachos and potato skins, a soup that isn't potato or chili with actual vegetables in it if you're really lucky. A sandwich or salad, a cup of soup and a drink will run you close to $20. Fun Fun Fun.

Which is why I love it when work actually takes me someplace interesting. I loved my sojourn to Boston last September. Lord, I would LIVE in Boston if I could. I love the combination of salt water, history, architecture, culture, etc. Boston is cool. I'm less enthused about places like Las Vegas, maybe because I don't gamble, but at least there are interesting things to photograph.

I just made my reservations for Photoshopworld in March in Miami Beach. OK, I'm a native Floridian, so the beach isn't as exotic to me as it might be to other folks, but I love anyplace that has salt water, so that's of interest. But I had no desire whatsoever to stay in the "conference" hotel in Downtown Miami, given that the conference itself is on South Beach. I've done the "conference hotel" bit before, and I know the area. This time it's a pretty generic Radisson. I decided to stay on the beach instead. I also opted out of the party at the Hard Rock--- it ALWAYS sucks, and for the $50 I'd have spent on the ticket, I can catch a cab and go someplace decent for dinner, or amuse myself in some other way that is more "me."

Oh, incidentally, the photo is from the Ford Museum in Detroit-- a mock up of a 1930's motel room.... Posted by Picasa

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