Friday, March 23, 2012

I don't moon over Miami

I just got back from a business trip to Miami. First, I want to be very clear that, although it is warm and has palm trees and an ocean view, I have never been overly fond of Miami. So it really was a business trip and not a pleasure trip.

A flight from Seattle to the East Coast is always a daunting proposition. I tried to ease the pain a bit by using some miles to upgrade to First Class on the flight to Miami (via Houston). It helped, though it didn't totally make up for having to catch a 4 a.m. shuttle to the airport. And although First Class is a thousand times better than coach, it isn't what it used to be. The service is basically what you used to get in coach before the airlines stopped serving food. The only think that is reminiscent of the First Class of bygone years is that they give you a hot towel before they give you food. And the food comes on actual plates.

One of the challenges of flying to the East Coast is that you lose three hours. But you still arrive exhausted even though you have simply been sitting on your behind for seven hours watching DirectTV. I caught a taxi to my hotel, checked in and ordered overpriced room service. When I finally fell asleep, I woke at 3 a.m. to the sound of a party going on in the apartment/condo building across from my 19th floor room. Lots of loud music, screaming and people dancing on the balcony.

I put a pillow over my head to shut out the noise. Then the PA system in the hotel began blaring "You may now return to your rooms. The fire alarm was false." WTF?

This set the tone for most of the trip. Each afternoon when I returned to my room after a conference session I heard someone down the hall from my room practicing the trombone. Who practices trombone in a hotel?

So I was relieved when the conference was over and I could head home. My last memory of Miami was dealing with the surly ticket counter people at United.

My coach flight home was long and uncomfortable. The DirectTV unit in my seat would only let me hear the music track and none of the dialogue. I discovered this after paying for it.

I almost kissed the floor when I got to Sea-Tac Airport.

Prologue: When I checked my credit card bill from the hotel in Miami, they had charged me for my room and for a complete stranger's room (another $900 in charges). The accounting person at the hotel corrected it but seemed put out about the whole thing,

Is it little wonder Dexter and the National Inquirer are based in Miami?

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