Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Dispatches from the First Stop on the World Tour

Like Charles, I went to Arlington Virginia for Malice Domestic. The drive down from Oakville was largely uneventful, and it was nice watching the trees turn green as I drove. I managed to get lost about 3 kilometers from the hotel. Whereupon I circled around and around for about an hour. Saw the pentagon several times: they must now have my license plate number on file. I stopped at a hotel and got directions, and still managed to stay lost. But I found my destination eventually. I am good with driving on highways and following maps, but in a strange city it’s another story.

Much excitement one morning when my room flooded. The toilet flushed, and just kept on filling, and filling. I was rooming with Robin (RJ) Harlick, the author of the Quebec-based Meg Harris series. We rushed about taking all our belongings to higher ground, i.e. the beds, and tiptoeing across the soaking wet carpet. I called the front desk three times to explain that this really was an emergency. Eventually housekeeping arrived, and we were moved to another room. We had a good laugh down on the first floor (our room is on the second) to see garbage cans and buckets laid out to catch the torrent of drips descending from the ceiling.

I blended conference-going with seeing the sights. The conference was in Virginia but the subway line to Washington is located in the bowels of the hotel. I was last in Washington when I was 12 years old and on holiday with my family. It might have changed a bit. I’m a good walker when I’m a tourist, and made my way from monument to monument, and saw the National Portrait Gallery I had a very nice light lunch at Les Halles. Les Halles is Anthony Bourdain’s restaurant: he’s best known as a writer about foodie things (Kitchen Confidential, in particular) but has also written a small mystery, whose name escapes me at the moment. A small lunch salad and cup of tea was surprisingly inexpensive at such an upscale place.

Then it was off to Pittsburg for the outstanding Festival of Mystery. What a great event. I drove down with Clea Simon (Mew is For Murder and Cattery Row) and Gammy Singer (A Landlord’s Tale and Down and Dirty) and we had a great time. Marred, sadly, by the very first speeding ticket in my entire life!!! Something to remember Pennsylvania by.

All in all, a great start to the world tour. I’m back home in Oakville to finish packing up, and off across Canada in a few days.

Stay tuned…

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