This is a blog about my travels. My "regular" life is much too boring to bother blogging about.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

New Trip!

My hope with academic conferences was that they'd give me an excuse to travel. You know: I'm going to be in Place X anyway, which is close to Place Y, so I might as well go to Place Y since I'll be in the area. I did that last year with the NASSH conference last year. I was disappointed that the conference was in Lake Placid, a place I had visited on a school field trip two months prior, but Lake Placid is relatively close to my beloved Montreal so I spent a few days there before the conference. This year's NASSH conference is in Asheville, North Carolina, which is exciting for a couple of reasons:

1. It'll be my first time in North Carolina.
2. Asheville sounds like a reasonably interesting place
3. Asheville is kinda/sorta close to Washington, where my friends Chris and Roshni live.

Road trip! Here's my itinerary:

1. Northwest Flight 2975, Detroit (DTW) to Asheville (AVL). Departs May 20 1:35 PM, arrives 3:10 PM.

2. Delta Flight 4946, Asheville (AVL) to Atlanta (ATL). Departs May 26 7:20 AM, arrives 8:23 AM.

3. Delta Flight 1956, Atlanta (ATL) to Washington (DCA). Departs May 26 9:30 AM, arrives 11:12 AM.

4. Northwest Flight 237, Washington (DCA) to Detroit (DTW). Departs May 30 6:30 PM, arrives 8:16 PM.

How are there direct flights from Detroit to Asheville?

The conference festivities start May 22, so I've given myself 1.5 days to properly investigate Asheville. There will also be some free time during the conference itself, which I plan on maximizing. I had a pretty negative experience at NASSH last year and want to spend as little time as possible around the conference. Goals for Asheville? My primary goal is to eat North Carolina barbecue and various other southern delicacies. But allegedly Asheville has become a centre for various cultures, has a better nightlife than most most cities of under 100,000 people, and the downtown is peppered with Art Deco buildings. In other words, it's a definite upgrade on Lake Placid as a conference site.

I looked into taking the bus from Asheville to DC because I really wanted to go through some of the towns on the route, but it's not really doable in a day; the only option that would get you there same day is via Winston-Salem, where you'd have 10 minutes to change buses. I'm sort of on a tight schedule (you know, studying for comps and all) so I really can't afford to get marrooned in Winston-Salem for a day. Though Winston-Salem sounds pretty interesting too. So I bit the bullet and plumped for a flight. It wasn't even expensive either, this whole trip (including transportation from London to the Detroit Airport) costs about the same as a ticket from London to Calgary.

Four nights in DC. I've been there before, with my parents when I was 12 years old, but we basically treated it like a museum. My only recollection of Washington the city was being in a MacDonalds with a whole bunch of black people; it was the first time I'd been around so many black people in my life. This time I will go neighbourhood hopping instead. Though I might go to a museum. I'm also contemplating a daytrip to Baltimore, because I find that city absolutely fascinating (I love, LOVE, old American cities). Chris and Roshni actually live in Bethesda, Maryland, so getting to Baltimore shouldn't prove much more complicated than getting to DC. But we'll see... I'm sure there's plenty in DC that will keep me occupied for four days, and I don't want to give Baltimore just a cursory look over. But the allure of crabs is very, very, very hard to resist.


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