Miami, 2005

This was the biyearly meeting of one of my working groups at the hospital.

Wed March 2

Packed up the last few things into my pack and made my way through the snow to the 73 bus at 9am. Waited with a few people through wind gusts, stamping out a place to stand on the snow filled sidewalk. Got off just before Harvard and got cash from my bank's atm. Down to the red line, not that busy, had a quick trip to the airport. To terminal B, last stop, and then took stairs up to the departures level. I'd printed out my boarding pass already, so I just went through security. Bit of a backup there, it was tucked into a corner for my gate. Grabbed a bagel w/cream cheese for lunch (didn't want to rely on buy on board). Then spotted Ron and Jonathan sitting near our gate. Heidi arrived soon after, or was hiding behind the running and screaming kids (remember them). Jorge, Randy, Bruce R showed up soon after. I boarded first, near the back of the plane, window seat across from the rear door. Settled into my seat and dug out my book and then the six year old plopped down next to me. The formerly running and screaming six year old, who then proceeded to squirm, kick, loom, hit his mom, sleep for 20 blissful minutes, and generally annoy me until his mom switched him to the outside, after I'd removed his foot a few times from my thigh.

The BWH/MGH group reformed outside our gate in Miami (thank goodness for one hop flights, plus the coast was gorgeous below us, it was mostly clear so everything was blue once we got out of the snow area). I got into the first van taxi with Heidi, Mike, Ron, Jonathan, Jorge to head to Miami Beach. We bounced over a couple of bridges, but once we turned north on the island, our hotel (Eden Roc) was right there.

My stomach was a bit icky from the ride, so sat while everyone checked in, then got my room. Back down after a lie down to Aquatica to have a salad. Mike and Sean joined me, we sat outside by the surf, with bold birds coming to visit. A guy started smoking at the next table, and I left them to finish their meals.

Took a shower and got ready for the 7pm meeting in the lower level. The intro and plenary talks traded length (the last only got 20mins), and we went over for dinner, across the pool patio to the topiary room. A whole pig was resting on the meat table, I skipped it in favour of the seafood (mahi mahi, tuna, shrimp). Had a pretty good chat with Karen about the road trip that Cris and I did, and with Katie and Heidi about the tea party I'm planning.

Back up to my room to get my sweater, and Heidi and Karen and I walked over to Walgreens at 41st (we were at 45th), took about 20 mins, talking about DND all the way, and then over a bridge. A blind guy was insisting on random clients serving him, Heidi tried but escaped when he kept insisting on more. Karen and I browsed the flip flop aisle, and I grabbed a pair for beach use. A simple pair even though the leopard print ones were tempting... Also grabbed water, raisins, peanuts, and then carried it all back. Split the peanuts with Heidi, then off to my room to read and sleep at around 11:30. Talked for a bit with Cris as well after he got back from a movie with Quang.

Thu March 3

Up with my phone alarm at 7:30. Down to the meeting room, fruit and a bread for breakfast, and tea & juice. Almost filling, nerves kept me from being hungry until 11:30.

Ran up and had lunch with the group (cheese sandwich and pasta salad) in the topiary, then Heidi gave me her key and I went up to her room to poke at the laptop I had to present on. Got the ppt there, fixed the demo (had to add in a thing for ProgramVersion for surfer instead of just Version). Posted briefly as I had access to my personal email. Brought it down at 12:40 and set up for 1, but found couldn't project the linux boot. Rebooted to windows, grabbed the ppt from my usb key, got it going on laptop 2 from Sean. Managed to fill 1.5 hours with 14 slides and lots of talking (dry mouth). Then tried to do the demo on Katie's laptop (had been responding to email via hers as well). Lost connection to gatekeeper and gave up.

The rest of the talks went well, no one stuck around for the demo, so got ppt uploaded to wiki after putting in milestones.

Then went for a swim, both pool and ocean (quick dip, the waves were getting frisky). Back-stroking through the pool, the clouds were racing by overhead (saw an eye), and a plane came in to land as well. Air dried in the wind, and went back up to my room as the first drops were falling. Showered then went down for my hot stone massage at 7:30. I had a while to wait as I had already showered, and I had changed into the provided robe quickly. Read a trashy mag (lead singer of Evanescense had a cool dress for the grammies). Had a bit of a hard time understanding the masseuse, she had a strong accent. The stones were nice and warm, and she used good pressure on them with the smooth sides pressing into me, as well as leaving warm stones on my palms and foot bottoms, and between my toes.

Katie was next, I was relaxed and not too wierded out by changing as she was lounging about in her robe. Up to room, changed and tried to go to Nobu for dinner, but a wet taxi ride through the rain later, and pushing my way through crowds at the Shore Club, I bailed when told that it was an hour to 1.5 hour wait. Considered slipping the door woman a $20 but retreated back through the windy and rainy courtyard and got a cab back to Eden Roc. Had a 20 min wait at Henry's Grill there, had a starbuck's chai in the sunken bar area, and then waited a long time and had to ask for my menu. Eventually got water and bread, and got a complimentary shrimp appetiser for the wait and the no seafood specials thing. The sake soaked sea bass was divine, on cashew rice and a coconut curry, well, except for the twoonie sized burned bit on the bottom. Just ate around it, swallowed the included 17% gratuity. Saw Ron and Jon in the bar area, but just went up.

Before going out for diner, I had called Cris, he was taking stuff out of the oven for Bridget and Ethan, so called him again now, packed and ironed for the next day, and he called me back and we chatted for a while before I snuggled into bed for sleep.

Fri March 4

Up at 7:30, showered and packed - will check out at 11am. Same breakfast, but the juice was crap and the tea tasted like coffee. Asked them to replace the hot water thing. Pointed our mediator to my ppt, then settled in to the meetings and typed up all of my travel diary.

Lunch will be in the topiary, and then reviews, and my flight's at 8pm. Cris will pick me up, but hopefully I can grab dinner before heading to the airport or there.

Grabbed a water after the discussions at the breakout in the stuffy room and at lunch (repeat of yesterday's offerings) got too confrontational. Walked out to board walk and sat and drank in the shade of a roof with a bench (the ends of the bench were iron and totally rusted out, the wood worn, from sea salt). The waves were rolling in, bright green to blue out where the boats were. Large container ships and what looked like a factory moved by, well out beyond the pleasure boats.

The meetings broke early, I went for a walk with Dingying and Heidi along the canal and back along the beach, shoes off, pants rolled up. It made me so happy to be walking through the surf. We joined in on the frisbee game that some other mbirners were having, but Heidi threw the disc out into the waves and had to swim out to get it, and that pretty much wrapped things up. A beach attendent got her towels and we went up to her room so she could change. Then down to the outdoor restaurant to eat, and gathered a bit of a group, that included Sean again, and Randy, Jessica, Christine joined us as well as Mike. Had a very expensive mohito ($9) and some expensive Norwegian water as well ($5), but the angel hair pasta was good.

Then up to get my pack and Jessica and I shared a cab to the airport at around 5:30. Bit of a line at security, but that was okay as my flight was delayed 2 hours, and I was 2 hours early for the initial flight. Sat and read, and read, and read, and finished my book just after the book store closed. We didn't take off until 11pm, another hour late, and almost got cancelled as the crew had a visa that was about to expire and they would go illegal at 11:20. We lifted off at 11:15 or a bit later. :/ I was out like a light on the flight, woke up on touchdown. Managed to make my way to Cris and got home and into bed at 3am.


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