Things I learned while traveling...
Hotels are dumb. When will hotels figure out that they need to put a giant sign up by the front door that give the details on wireless access? For some reason, wireless passcodes are always treated as top secret. Every conference I go to begins with people whispering over their shoulders asking, "Do you have it?" "Nah, man I don't got anything." "Who should we ask about it?" It's like we're all crack addicts jonesing for a fix. We all want it. Just charge us some ridiculous amount and move on.
Hotels are really dumb. For some reason the Affinia hotel in Chicago opted for the type of shampoo pictured to the right. Not only was the bottle impossible to open, the label disintegrated when it got wet. FAIL.
The drunk girl who talks too loud will most definitely be sitting next to you on the airplane. That's a given. Just prepare yourself.
Room service is always worth it. And for some reason, a tuna melt is great when you're on the road.
Ignore the news. Otherwise you get completely panicked over weather and the so-called Chiclone when it turns out to be no big deal at all. From now on I will have a self-imposed Twitter ban within 24 hours of entering an airport. I'm pretty sure blissful ignorance is a better strategy.
Cabbies are the coolest. I had two very interesting cab drivers on my way to and firm O'Hare. The first was a Nigerian immigrant who was quick to point out that his homeland is a difficult country thanks to all the shady guys trying to steal your money via email. We got to talking about politics and he was quick to criticize Chicago's hometown hero for not doing more on healthcare. In fact, he said he didn't have health insurance, that it was too expensive and the only reason to go to Cook County Hospital is to die. But he's still a big fan of Obama, saying that election night was an emotional one for him.
My second cabbie was a Romanian man, who not only owns a cab with his wife, but also runs a construction business, which has, not surprisingly suffered during the down economy. We talking Transylvanian vampires, Romanian gymnasts and babies- his wife is having trouble getting (and more importantly staying) pregnant.
I always asks immigrant cab drivers how they ended up in their chosen cities. I want to hear about how as children they dreamed of their chosen city after seeing it featured in some Hollywood feature. Sadly it's never a romantic story like that. It's invariably the brother-in-law of a neighbor's sister lived here, so that's why I'm here. Not very inspiring, but I suppose real life rarely is. And let's face it. Most of our life decisions are made because someone we know is already doing it. Picking a place to live because you read about it in book or saw it on TV only happens to people who, well, are in books or on TV.