Last week I flew to Florida for a professional conference, spending most of Wednesday traveling (paying for myself, so flying cheap meant no nonstops). I did opt to shell out $20 extra per night for a riverview room, and it was well worth it. A bit creepy that the 15th floor sliding glass windows opened all the way, with just a little railing across, but it made for great views of the river and a few of its 7 bridges. The guy doling out wine at the hospitality suite that night told me that Jackonville is the largest city in the US area-wise, although well under a million in population. I also found out that nobody walks in this city. In Boston, New York, other Northeast cities, everyone walks everywhere, but in a sprawling place like Jacksonville FL, everyone drives. I noticed almost a complete absence of people when I took a walk along the lovely Riverwalk from the hotel on Thursday afternoon, though a few more were out on Friday at lunchtime when I strolled down again - a handful of people in the cafes at Jacksonville Landing and a few more walking, though mostly those were visitors on break from the conference.
I arrived back in Boston on Friday night and D drove over to pick me up at the airport. I'm still wondering about this woman I met fixing her makeup in the ladies room at the airport who nervously confessed to me that after 25 years of (apparently failed) marriage she'd just flown 500 miles to meet some stranger she met on the Internet. Alas, D was waiting and stalling an airport cop trying to hustle him off, so I didn't have time to watch the scene unfold.
It was good to be home. We hung around the city on Saturday, then took the T out to Jamaica Plain for a party at friends' new place followed by a trek over to the JP Lantern Festival (Universal Hub picked up my photo). And then Sunday was the Head of the Charles Regatta, which somehow I've missed for one reason or another every year. Unfortunately, the weather suddenly turned quite chilly on Sunday, so we only got as far upriver as the start of the race, but not to where the exciting finish happens 3 miles further upstream near Harvard Square. We had no idea what was going on, but it was fun anyway.
As for the conference, it was fun and informative and I came back buzzing with ideas and new contacts, but I'm still unsure of my direction. I guess to some extent I'll have to float and see which way the currents take me. But in the meantime I have committed to work on a certificate from the professional organization, with one credit under my belt from a workshop I took at the conference. It's something.