Monday, April 14, 2008

The Motor City

Last week I spent four days at a conference in Detroit. Downtown Detroit, to be exact. Not a place I was looking forward to visiting.

I would say the trip was basically a wash. There were good things about it and bad things about it. A quick rundown:

GOOD: The trip was a quick four-and-a-half hour drive up the Interstate.
BAD: There’s only so much small talk I can make with my co-worker.

GOOD: We stayed in a Marriott.
BAD: The Marriott was located in downtown Detroit.

GOOD: I was on the 21st floor.
BAD: The hotel had 70 stories, so I felt kind of scammed.

GOOD: For whatever reason, they gave me a handicapped room. The bathroom was huge!
BAD: No closet, just a small cabinet to put my clothes in.

GOOD: There’s a lot of space in a handicapped room.
BAD: I’m not handicapped. I had some guilt over that.

GOOD: Marriott is well-known for their large, comfortable beds. The reputation did not disappoint.
BAD: Seriously, did they really need to give me 30 pillows?

GOOD: The hotel was connected to a mall.
BAD: Because the hotel was also connected to two office skyscrapers, none of the mall merchants were open outside of regular business hours. Screw you, hotel guests!

GOOD: The mall had a food court.
BAD: The food court was only open during regular business hours.

GOOD: The hotel had a ritzy restaurant.
BAD: The library does not reimburse for meals.

GOOD: We had dinner at the ritzy restaurant the first night.
BAD: Goodbye, $35.

GOOD: The room had a 32” LCD TV in it.
BAD: Why is there nothing on television whenever I actually have time to watch it?

GOOD: I stumbled across a showing of Fargo in full-on HD.
BAD: I stumbled across a showing of Fargo in full-on HD with only twenty minutes left in the film.

GOOD: We discovered a Detroit PeopleMover outside the hotel. Just like Disney World!
BAD: Unlike Disney World, hopping on the PeopleMover meant you could be traveling toward a mugging or your death.

GOOD: Sunday night we went to Greektown to have dinner at a Greek restaurant. Unbeknownst to us, it was Greek Independence Day.
BAD: Everyone else in Detroit decided to have dinner at a Greek restaurant as well.

GOOD: Our waiter lit some cheese on fire. Opa!
BAD: Have you ever had cheese lit on fire inches from your head? Not a fun experience.

GOOD: The following night we went to Fishbone’s, a Cajun place.
BAD: The song “Skankin’ To The Beat” by Fishbone is still playing on a loop in my brain.

GOOD: One evening we went to a casino.
BAD: I miss Vegas.

GOOD: I won $30 on a slot machine called Dam Those Lumberjack Beavers.
BAD: I spent $20 to win that $30.

GOOD: We rode the PeopleMover all the way around Detroit to get back to the hotel.
BAD: Detroit is one hell of a depressing place.

GOOD: Met some cool new people. Some of whom might even be reading this blog right now.
BAD: Cool new people, please be aware that I’m not the most prolific blog writer.

GOOD: Lunch was free. Think catered wedding food.
BAD: Pine nut salads are not my thing.

GOOD: A big tire on the side of the Interstate.
BAD: A big tire on the side of the Interstate.

GOOD: Comp time.
BAD: Who the hell starts a conference on a Sunday?

We did no sightseeing in Detroit. Mainly because there’s nothing really to see in downtown Detroit, other than urban decay. That’s not exactly the kind of thing they put in the travel guides.
Would I go back? Hmmm...let me think about this one.