So, I am here in Toronto for a conference (a mere 3.5 hour plane ride east from Calgary, for those of you who aren't from around these parts).
It's a huge conference -- the biggest academic conference in Canada for the social sciences and humanities. My guess is that there are about 8000 people here.
On Monday I will give a presentation on the topic I am passionate about - marketing of language programs. Originally, I thought I was supposed to present tomorrow, but I see the schedule has been changed....
But as for today, it has been it's very own special adventure...
I am staying at a Comfort Inn, which, despite the name, isn't exactly high end. They're basic, generally clean hotels. This one is close to campus and I figured I could walk to the conference.
When I got here, I asked if my friend, Mary, had already checked in. She had, so I called her.
She immediately said, "My parents are here from the States. We're going for dinner and you're coming with us."
Kind of taken aback I said, "Oh! I didn't know your parents were here. Sorry... Didn't want to intrude. I can catch up with you later."
She said, "Oh no. This isn't a great neighborhood. It's not safe. You're coming with us."
The neighborhood is a bit industrial, but I didn't quite understand her insistent tone.
Over dinner I found out that earlier today the entrace to the hotel had been sealed off and there were police in bullet proof vests swarming the place. There had been a shooting... Well, a minor drug-related murder, actually.
Oh yeah, and I had booked a non-smoking room. There are none. They're all smoking. I'm on the ground floor... but there's no way in hell I'm opening the big glass doors that open out on to the parking lot. I'm tough... but not stupid.
Did I mention that this is a huge conference and there are no hotel rooms under $300 to be found anywhere in this town?
The priceless irony of all this is that a few days ago, when my trainer was showing me a tubing workout I could do in my hotel room he said, "So, you just loop the tubing around a pole..."
And I replied, "A pole? I don't know what kind of hotels YOU stay in, but the ones I stay in don't have .... like... big dancing poles ... or any other kind of poles ... in the middle of the room!"
Apparently, instead, they just have murders.
And everything in this room is pretty much nailed down, so I'm going to have to get creative if I want to do that tubing workout... Or maybe I could just go dodge some bullets. Yeah, that sounds like a good workout...
Well, I'd better go search the net and find out where I'm supposed to present my paper on Monday...
Wish me luck... and survival.