It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Atlanta. The last time was seven years ago for the last time NECC was in town. I had psyched myself to not be surprised at how much the city had sprawled up I-85. It didn’t help. I was still surprised.
Homer and I are staying at the Westin Peachtree – the big round one – while the ladies in our group are at the Mariott Marquis. As one might imagine, there are no cheap hotels available. While on vacation, Laura and I commented on the fact that the amenities provided for free by a hotel are inversely proportional to the price of the hotel. We had stayed at a Hampton Inn in Bardstown which had free WiFi, free hot breakfast, etc., etc. Here, parking, Internet, phone calls, and just about anything else that can have a charge attached to it does so. At least we have a nice view of Stone Mountain (assuming the smog ever abates) from the fiftieth floor.
The rest of my crew arrived and we got squared away with hotel check-in and registration. We had missed the opening keynote, so our next activity was a reception at the Georgia Aquarium. By this time, the little bit of walking I had done had my foot in agony. I took a quick detour to bother the valet parking folks for my crutches, then joined the masses waiting for shuttle buses.
Masses is correct. When we arrived there were very long lines waiting to enter. Once we finally got through them, all of the displays were so crowded we couldn’t see much at all. The lines for food were not much better. I was beginning to wonder what the hell I was doing at a buffet on crutches, but some of my colleagues helped out.
The food was good, and we met some nice folks from Mississippi ETV. Our group tried to visit some more of the displays, but the crowds were overwhelming. Homer and I decided to head back, while the ladies stayed. As we were leaving, we could see that there were still long lines waiting to enter. Apparently the aquarium had reached capacity. As the two of us left, two more were allowed to enter. I guess the venue was just not large enough to accomodate the expected 16,000 people for this conference.
[tags]NECC, NECC 2007 [/tags]