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Got to Atlanta without any fanfare and even accomplished a bit of work thanks to the MacBook Air and a seat power connector on our Delta 767-400. Upon arrival, we made it to the Crown Room to get an Internet connection and accomplish a little more work including Robert who is still working on his presentation due to lots of administrative work in the prior few weeks. It’s a beautiful presentation and I am pretty excited about our data. Unfortunately in the Crown Room I also had a couple of lagers which in light of my being a total lightweight meant that all I really got done there was returning a bunch of emails and trying to get a couple of details straight for an acquaintance that would like to accomplish a very interesting potential real estate deal that would enable him to build a house for his family on a property he very much likes. Perhaps more on this later if things work out…

Travel from Atlanta went fairly smoothly with an upgrade for me (unfortunately Robert did not receive one), though it was a close call on making the flight from ATL to FLL as they changed the gate on us at the last minute and we ended up running to the gate. It was not quite as bad as my last flight from Aberdeen to Paris as we actually made this flight without quite so much effort and Delta’s automated upgrade process meant that all I had to do was get to the gate and they printed out my new boarding pass with upgrade to first class automatically. Thanks Delta.

On the way out of Atlanta, I saw the Atlanta Motor Speedway from the air. It is a much bigger complex than I anticipated with tons of apparent parking and its own airstrip for the fabulously wealthy NASCAR aficionados. I have to say that for whatever reason, even though I am a gearhead and a member of the Unabashed Gearhead Gnarlyness club, NASCAR just does not seem to do it for me. I like to see cars turn right on occasion you know…

Flying over the Everglades, there seemed to be a bit more water this year covering the everglades which is important given the drought that South Florida has been suffering for the last few years. The other interesting item of note is that one always sees these isolated structures in the middle of the Everglades swamps with airboat tracks going by them. It makes you wonder who is down there and what the structures are all about? Are people living there? I got a little taste of what it might have been like a little while ago when I traveled down through the Everglades and Big Cypress National Preserve. However, I stayed pretty close to roads and trails and did not venture out into the actual swamps much for lack of a boat.

It has also been interesting to note the inexorable expansion of Ft. Lauderdale out into the Everglades over the years as more and more communities are built further out. It seems curious that even though there is vast amounts of water in the region, South Florida has been going through a drought and additional pressure on the Everglades can and is destroying patterns of water movement with subsequent ecological impacts on everything from amphibians to birds and large mammals.

We normally stay at the Embassy Suites on 17th St. when at ARVO because of the proximity, but all of the hotels in the Convention Center area appear to have realized that they have a captive audience that attends ARVO and this was the year to start scalping the customer with a $100/night or more increase in price over the already high rates. This of course was significant inducement to look for alternatives and I found one in the Holiday Inn on Sheridan Street. It turns out that they just finished remodeling the hotel and has clean, expansive suites with free Internet access. Also it was $100/night cheaper than just about any of the other hotels near the Convention Center. As an aside, I’ve found that Internet access from places like Holiday Inn is much faster, more convenient and more reliable than the Internet connectivity at higher end hotels. Why is that? Another aside: Upon checking in we were informed that we’d be staying in the suite that supposedly Joe DiMaggio lived in for some time… Really? I don’t know about that one…, but the room was nice.

Dinner was had at Caffe Blu on the recommendation of Steve Fliesler who we ran into on Las Olas, suggesting that if we were looking for eats we would be well served by checking out the Caffe Blu, serving up very tasty food with excellent live music. He was not wrong as Peter Betan was playing impressive guitar while we dined on a very respectable meal. Try the mango pie. I highly recommend it.

Categories: Travel.

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