Posts Tagged bellaventa
As I previously alluded to, I traveled to Orlando last weekend to attend Avitaween. And while that was certainly the main event, it was far from the whole story. It was, in fact, one of nine meet-ups for me during the trip.
First up was lunch at the Orlando airport with several others that were arriving at around the same time. These were all people I hadn’t meet before and we coordinated via Twitter. Kim was already there when we got there and later, Sheila, Employee3699 and her fraughter joined us. Chick-Fil-A was the fare of choice, apparently being unavailable in the far-off land of Chicago. Or something like that. Then it was time to wait over an hour in the Budget car rental line. Joy. That was probably the only negative of my whole weekend, at least the only one that directly affected me.
Friday evening was the occasion of a wonderful dinner hosted by Faiqa and Tariq. In attendance were several bloggers I’d already met and was thrilled to see again: Poppy & Dawg, Rachel, Robin and Dave2. I also got to meet many more: Britt & Jared, Heather & Tyler, Finn & Mister, Hilly, Lisa, Karen and Becky. There were some others present, including some kids, but I’m sticking to bloggers (and their spouses) here. Great food and great times!
Saturday morning’s arrival meant breakfast. I love breakfast. Kim joined several of the dinner attendees (Finn & Mister, Poppy & Dawg, Rachel, Robin and me) at TooJay’s. After breakfast, we discovered that Robin’s rental had some issues and she and Rachel had to go exchange it (after dropping me back at the Hilton, where I wasn’t staying, but had met up beforehand). Bummer that their plans got messed up by having to drive back to the airport, but watching Robin work it on the phone was pretty impressive.
Back at the Hilton, I sat around chatting with various attendees until it was time for a late lunch. Sheila, Employee3699, Fraughter, Nicole and… grumble… I’ve gone and forgotten their names. One other couple. 😦 I even tried looking through photos, to no avail. Anyway, we went to Bahama Breeze. I was still full from breakfast, so I didn’t order any lunch and then had a dessert. It was some sort of banana bread-bananas-caramel-ice cream-whip cream concoction that ended up not being as good as I had hoped. Oh, well.
Back to the hotel to get ready for the main event, Avitaween 2009: INVADED!!!! Words fail me, so have a look at the Flickr stream. Okay, I’ll come up with some words. Or one word. Absomazingtastibulous! [Edit: I forgot to mention that there are also a couple of karaoke videos.]
As the festivities were starting to wind down (though plenty of people looked like they’d be there for a while), a group of us decided to head over to Denny’s for post-party, late night food. My steak & egg burrito really hit the spot. Let’s see how well I can recall who was at Denny’s. Poppy & Dawg, Robin, Rachel, Shiela, Kim, Employee3699, Fraughter, Finn & Mister, Karen and Adam‘s friend Chris. I think that’s everyone, but I could be forgetting someone at the other end of the table.
Sunday morning pretty much went by while I slept, which was fine since I had breakfast the night before. Marci and I were able to have lunch with Mike & Susie at Five Guys, and then sit and chat with them for a couple of hours back at the Hilton. Getting to know other people is one of my favorite parts of these trips, so I really appreciated this opportunity.
At that point, we needed to check into our new hotel. We were switching to the hotel where Marci would be spending the rest of the week as she was staying in town for a conference. We were planning to meet up with Marty & Reba, but the way things ended up working out I had dinner with Adam. Just the two of us at Chili’s, where we had a good opportunity to actually have some interesting conversations — no time for that for Adam at his own party, of course!
I still needed to meet up with Marty — I had a package for him, plus, he’s state of inebriation at the party pretty much precluded conversations — but I wanted to stop by the Orlando Hard Rock Cafe first. This was a bit of an adventure as it required parking in the Universal Studios parking garage ($3 from 8pm to 10pm) and a bit of a walk. I walked around the restaurant for a bit looking at the various memorabilia, but I didn’t want to spend too long as I wasn’t sure how late Marty wanted to be out. I bought my requisite Hard Rock shirt and headed back to the car.
I finally met Marty at TGI Friday’s where we caught up and I had a much better dessert, a Chips Ahoy! Ice Cream Sundae. And half-price Long Island Iced Teas for Marty!
As I said earlier, my favorite part of these trips is hanging out with other people, so I was thrilled that I had so many different opportunities to do so. Looking forward to the next one. Did someone say something about Vegas in December?!
Wow, what a great day!
Great food and great company
Great sights and great times.
As you may have guessed,
It’s time for a summary
Given as Haiku.
Saturday summary, photo-bullet style.
|On our way from Lubbock to Santa Fe, we passed a number of establishments named after various people we know (well, not really, but you know what I mean). Our favorite was this sign in honor of Dave2.|
|We took highway 285 to get to Santa Fe, which turned out to be a big mistake. A portion of the road was down to a single lane shared by the traffic going each way. So we spent quite a while just sitting and waiting for our turn. My guess is at least 20 minutes, but I’m not really sure.|
|When we finally did get to go, we soon discovered that for a large portion of the supposed single lane road, there was really no lane at all. It seemed very odd to be driving on a highway and have it become basically a dirt road for a good stretch.|
|While we were stopped waiting for our turn, we decided to take the top down on the convertible. Wow was the weather perfect for this. It was so nice — definitely one of the best convertible rides I’ve ever had, right up there with driving around Kawaii in a convertible a number of years ago.|
|We finally arrived at our destination, the Santa Fe Sage Inn. One of the nice features is a complimentary shuttle to and from anywhere in downtown Santa Fe (probably a 4 square mile area, I would guess). We took advantage of this to head to where we had last heard Karl was, but he was no longer there.|
|Eventually, we met up with Karl, Geeky Tai-Tai, bellaventa and Libragirl at the Hilton. We got some food and drinks and hung out at the Hilton pool for a while. Eventually, it was time to go get ready for BeerHer.
The order in the picture, from left to right, is: Libragirl, Geeky Tai-Tai, me (in back), Karl, Wayne and bellaventa.
|We all met up again at the Santa Fe Brewing Company for BeerHer, along with NYC Watchdog and Poppycede, as well as…|
It was great to get to meet and hang out with all these new people, though I felt like I already knew several of them. It’s a strange sensation meeting for the first time, someone you already know.
The Santa Fe Brewing Compony turned out to be a perfect venue for the inaugural BeerHer, and we found an S-shaped table that was just right for the number of people we had.
|Later on, Marty and his wife Reba joined us for the tail end of BeerHer. It was wonderful to meet them as well as Marty is another one of those people whom I felt like I already knew.|
After BeerHer ended, Wayne and I decided to head for a casino for a little while. We wound up at the Camel Rock Casino, about 15 minutes north of Santa Fe. We arrived too late for Craps, and there were just a few BlackJack tables open. We played BlackJack for a while and then hit the slots. We both made reasonable donations to the casino so that we can have good luck tomorrow.
Next up, probably some more casino time, some photo tourism and the main event, TequilaCon 2009!
(I’m staying up later each night of this trip. At this rate, I may not sleep at all tomorrow night.)