Friday, February 15, 2008

First Impressions

I have been working for my current company for 2.5 years or so. I started travelling for work about 2 years ago and so far have been to a number of cities and rural towns. Achieving the most despicable yet covetable achievement, Medallion Status.

Here are some first impressions as I think back on the last year alone (Delta's history does not go back to the first year):

Long Island, NY--Not a bad place, the greatest part of it being how close this is to NYC.

Rochester, NY--I saw the most snow here that I have ever seen, as in total up how much snow I have seen in my life (not a whole lot considering I grew up in the Caribbean).

San Juan, PR--It is always a pleasure... no, seriously, I only go there for pleasure but I am hoping for some customers there some day.

Winston-Salem, NC--The smokiest town I have ever been in. It is nice, good places to eat and close to the university, but the whole town, restaurants and even the customer site are just smoky. Not a big surprise considering the origins.

North Lawrence, NY--I made a post about this place earlier. I was not aware there were rural parts to New York, or even Indian reservations, but there I was, 2 days in the land of the Mohawks.

Montreal, Canada--My first trip to Montreal in 1999 definitely was a better trip. This trip to Montreal in April put me up in a smelly Comfort Inn Hotel, driving was confusing and the food was pretty boring. I did get to drive accross the border from North Lawrence so I got to see some other parts of Canada, but...

Rockland, MA and Boston, MA--Boston deserves all the recognition it gets. This is truly a melting pot, not in the same way as New York, but in a heightened cultural sense. You have to be there to understand, but you should not die before experiencing Boston. I had the chance to see Plymouth which is worth the trip! I also visited Sommerville (I forget how to spell that) and MIT. Getting to see my old roommate Michelle was awesome!!

Milwaukee, WI--I want a summer house in Milwaukee. Just the thought of Milwaukee makes me smile, relax and feel happy. Boston is nice to visit, but Milwaukee is perfect if only it was not cold.

Houston, TX--It is just sticky and dusty there. Ughhh, I am going back near there in a week and while I wouldn't trade it for a trip to Yuckabama (our neighbor state to the west), I may be willing to return to Saskatchewan (yes, a real place in Canada) over Houston. I got to see an old friend there and pig out. Karoline knows the absolute coolest places to eat.

St. Louis, MO--This is certainly not a clean looking place. Just a few minutes there was enough to determine nothing should be left visible in the car. However, St. Louis was nice. The food was awesome. I got to see Tope shortly after she arrived for school and that was very cool! I had a good time and it looked pretty friendly, only one of 3 places I have seen on business that I would consider moving to.. until I read about its position on the dangerous city scale (see previous post).

Indianapolis, IN--Can we say corn? Just corn. Straight roads, can't remember the name of the town I was in, but I do remember ever present corn, even around my hotel. The customer I visited there makes the best double-dipped chocolate peanuts of which I had about 4 party sized bags. If you like M&M's let me tell you what is better than candy coated chocolate covered peanuts... uncoated double-dipped ones. I was next to the Frito-Lay factory which was cool but unsurprising considering how much corn these people have. If companies push for Ethanol, I will buy some land in Indiana, because I am pretty sure corn grows the spontaneously.

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan--I always thought Saskatchewan was just some made up word kids used to name a really far away place.... until my boss told me I was going there. I thought he was kidding for a while, but he wasn't. Nothing much to be said really. I was only in the industrial part which is why. I did get to see the museum for one of the tribes Winneskuwan (sp?) but only the outside, because they closed at 4pm. The museum is in the middle of nowhere... but literarilly, not figuratively like most of the time when people say this. I won't be running back... the change of colors from the air as we flew over Minneapolis was a sight though! Almost as good as Milwaukee (Minneapolis that is).

Baltimore, MD--These folks really know how to season their crabs. I probably ate a pound or more on my own. At the end of dinner I saw a roach on the table... that was a downer, but I just took my dessert home with me. The crab place name is Bo- Jacks. I can see why people live here. I am not sure it is for me though. But I will be visiting again.

Las Vegas, NV-- WOOOHOOO!!! This place is larger than life and bigger than any TV screen can capture!!! Absolutely awesome!! And I cannot wait to go back!! I got to see the Hoover Dam when I left, the strip was cool, the Belagio Fountain was awesome... this place deserves a post of its own, which I meant to do but didn't. I have pictures, and I may show some (want to make sure what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas). Legends in Concert is a really cheesy sounding show that is absolutely awesome!! My customer there does some really cool work with diamonds and it is most likely the most interesting operation I have been involved in.

Paramus, NJ--Hmmm... New Jersey is just exactly as uneventful and uninteresting as everyone says. I had good company, but I am not rushing back there either.

Anywhere, Alabama--Then there is Yuckabama.... sigh... I know many people live there and love it, others grew up there and miss it. I have a hard time seeing either. I respect people's love of it and Sweet Home Alabama is both a good song and a good movie. That said, if I don't ever go there again I won't really long for it. Just thinking about it makes me depressed and frustrated. Everyone I have worked with there and who I know from there is very nice and polite, but sigh...

St. Petersburg, FL--The drive there from Tampa is nice. I did not get to see a whole lot of St. Pete because I had an awful 24 hour funk/bad luck/series of unfortunate events there. No opinions can be formed, but I did get to see my friend of 16 years (that sounds old though--I think it is 15 not 16 though), Elba. My St. Pete funk was to become a post of its own, but the seies of unfortunate events lasted into much later in the night than expected so when it was all done I was out of there in a flash. People in St. Pete were very friendly and made me feel right at home. I got cookies for everything there.

Philadelphia,PA, Cherry Hill, NJ and Camden, NJ--I visited the corner of PA and NJ which apparently is on the east side of PA not the west side like I thought. My customer there had a neverending supply of snacks and it doesn't get much better than that. I scraped ice from my car for the first time there... then I gave up and hitched a ride with the Project Manager. I almost slipped a number of times. I got to see Camden, NJ in the only way someone like me would...accidentally. Will come back to PA, but will skip the Camden/Cherry Hill bit except for the hotel rate in Chery Hill is good.

I will try to post some pictures I have later. They are not good pictures though, since most of them where taken from the car driving at 40MPH.. by the driver. At least I wasn't talking on my cell phone and driving though... :)

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