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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Chattanooga Woo Hoo

Flew to Chattanooga on US Airways out of Boston on March 14th. The first flight was late arriving in Charlotte, so I had to run to my next flight, which was three terminals away. Phew!

Got to Chattanooga on time, but my luggage didn’t. I no longer do just carry-on because of some back problems, so my two bags were coming in on a later flight. No biggie. Andy, the guy who booked me to speak, picked me up to take me to my hotel, the Sheraton Read Hotel, most of which was built on top of a civil war hospital. Cool!

Andy reminds me of a cross between Richard Dreyfuss and Omar Sharif. Yes, a weird combo, but he looked like Dreyfuss in Jaws and sounded like Sharif when he talked. Andy was so busy, he needs a vacation. More than me!

The hotel was wonderful. All that’s left of the civil war hospital is the basement. A hotel was built on top of it in 1929. About eight years ago, the Sheraton chain bought it, completely refurbished it and added an annex. When I went to the Sheraton web site, all they showed was the newer annex. They should be showing the older part – it’s beautiful! The Read House is better.

My room was in the annex. Pooh. I heard there was a ghost in room 311 – her name is Ana Lisa. The room was booked. Hey, I’m weird! I checked my email, then wandered downstairs at about 6 pm to have dinner at the hotel restaurant, Porters. I had a book with me, the second in a series based on the TV show “LOST.” Easy reading, especially since the show was in reruns that week. The waitress was great and told me about two other ghosts. One a waiter saw in the basement, dressed in a civil war uniform. She told me he came running up the stairs “screaming like a little girl.” The other she’d seen. She was alone in the restaurant, setting up and saw a man in a business suit. Thinking it was her manager, she called out to him, twice. The third time, she walked towards him and he suddenly disappeared. She said one minute he was there, as solid as a human, the next he was gone. Poof!

Had duck and a spinach salad, two glasses of wine and crème brulee for dessert. My bags finally came at 9pm, so I hurriedly unpacked, then steamed my outfit for the next day.

Wednesday, March 15th, met Lulu for breakfast in Porter’s. The waiter, Nathan, was cute and a huge flirt with both of us. Made our day! Went to the community college for my first talk for school personnel. About 20 folks showed up, got a great response and sold several books. Had requests to come back to do some training and speak at the local high school! My next talk was at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga for the Tech Council monthly lunch meeting. This was mostly men, highly technical folks. I didn’t let on I was a tech geek from wayyyyy back until Q&A and got the usual condescending questions from some of the men. When I mentioned I worked for MFE (which made the first 5 ¼” Winchester floppy drive), Wordstar and was a member of one of the first “Internet” services, Genie, they realized I did know what I was talking about.

I sold ALL the rest of my books there. Ha!

A local TV station interviewed me (I saw it later and the lighting was totally too bright. I need to get a tan) during the lunch meeting. Andy took me to the local NPR radio station for another interview, which went great. They’re going to let me put it up on my site as a podcast. Then we went to Andy’s office to meet with Larry Miller of the New Media Consortium. Funny guy – very intelligent. He wants to get something going with me, WHOA and the NMC.

Andy took me back to my hotel. I got locked out of my room and had to have maintenance let me in. The inside lock was faulty. Oh well. Changed and took the free shuttle to the Tennessee Aquarium. Yes, an aquarium. It turned out to be very nice. There are two sections – Ocean Journey and River Journey. The ocean one was what you’d expect, but had a rain forest theme and butterfly garden with 100s of beautiful butterflies in it. The river section was amazing! Not only was the Tennessee river recreated, but other rivers from around the world. I’d never seen anything like this exhibit, nor catfish the size of groupers. The one odd thing – when parents with their kids realized I was alone, they grabbed their kids and moved on and avoided me completely. Parents are way too wary these days. Not all adults by themselves are pedophiles. Hmph.

Walked back the mile or so to the hotel, went upstairs to change, then back down to Porter’s for dinner again. Had ribeye steak that melted in my mouth, baked potato, salad, glass of wine,then glass of Grand Marnier for “dessert.” It was a nice, quiet dinner.

The next morning Lulu took me to the airport. Got upgraded to first class for the last leg of my trip – hooray! At the Charlotte airport, I had two hours to kill, so I had a chair massage, got gifts for family, snacks for Chris and the dogs (and me, too). First class was nice, but no meal. Got two bags of chips, though. Economy gets no snacks, so it was okay. The leg room and seats are nice, bit I’d rather do first for a three-hour plus trip.

Next trip, Tallahassee. US Airways again!

1 Comments:

Anonymous Debbie said...

Glad you made good comments about US Airways! Just booked my flight to and from Rochester with them. Although it's such a short flight it is US Airways Express (small jet from Chautauqua Airlines)so who knows. Don't tell me anything bad until I get home in late June!

3/23/2006 12:23:00 PM  

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