Thursday, May 18, 2006

BEA Travel Diary, Day 1

All we've done so far today BEA-wise is walk to the convention center from the hotel (about five blocks east) and pick up our badges, so not terribly much to report today. We're staying at the Holiday Inn Central on Rhode Island Ave in the downtown area - the designated "librarians' hotel," in the hopes that stereotypes will hold true and the hotel will be quiet. Alas, the hotel put us in a room right across the hall from the elevator, so this may or may not work out.

It took us about 6 hours to get to Washington, DC, from Columbus, Ohio (where we spent last night), and then another hour to get to the hotel from the outskirts of the city. The streets downtown are a total nightmare. Lots of roundabouts, lots of one-way streets, and lots of cars that like to sit still at green lights. It's fortunate that the convention center's so close, because the shuttle bus ride back here this afternoon took twice as long as our walk over. I think we may end up walking tomorrow morning, too.

We did, however, manage to scope out the exhibit halls while we were there, at least from the balcony floor above - the place is going to be a zoo tomorrow, so now we at least have a plan for which booths we want to visit first. They're on two different levels, which is going to mean a lot of escalator-riding tomorrow and Saturday. The big-name trade publishers are on the bottom floor, while attendee shipping and the autographing booths are two long flights up, on the same level with the specialty publishers (religious, children's, foreign language, etc). I've also heard that Charles Frazier will be at the show Sunday morning signing galleys of Thirteen Moons, so we'll probably try to get to that before heading up to New England later this weekend.

After a so-so dinner at a restaurant in Chinatown (reminder to self: remember that dishes with brown sauce are usually pretty bland) we headed back to the hotel for resting up. Tomorrow's going to be a long day. Each of us has a couple tote bags for carting stuff around, and I've got my comfortable shoes laid out for tomorrow, so I think we're as set as we're going to be.

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