Sunday, February 19, 2006

Air Quality in the Biodome

With my later-than-expected arrival yesterday, the only rooms available were in the smokers' hallway/wing/floor. At first I figured it wouldn't be that bad, but I have to wonder or not it's a better idea to scatter smoking room through out a facility than to clump them all in one place. The elevator opened and I was smacked with a slight haze and a heavy stale smoke smell.

My room wasn't as bad as the hallway, especially after I opened the door to the balcony overlooking the atrium for a few hours. Still, every time I shifted the covers on the bed during the night, I got a heavy whiff of smoke.

I asked about switching rooms last night, and the person at the front desk said to try in the morning after the 11:00 a.m. checkout time. At 11:05 a.m., I ran over from the newsroom to the desk and a nice person from Cut Off, Louisiana, gave me an "upgrade" to a room with a king-sized bed that is in a non-smoking area.

The additional bonus is that this room overlooks the real world (or at least the roof of the convention center and the tiny hotel vineyard — I suspect the vines are more for show than actual production ...) instead of the atrium. I'm still in the biodome, but at least I can see that it's raining today.

This is the second time I've stayed in a Gaylord and while they seem to be nice places, it's kind of isolating being in this enclosed place with giant fake nature features. There is a real lake here in Grapevine (I saw it on the taxi ride in from the airport), and there are a few outdoor features, like the grapevine, but it's still an odd little set up.

The first Gaylord place I stayed was Opryland back in 2003, but that was especially weird because I remember going to the Opryland amusement park when I was a kid a few times, so seeing this biodome/outlet-shopping thing replace that seemed like a bit of my childhood lost. I asked if there were any bits of the original park left as part of the new construction, but all that remained were a few faux boulders that had been part, I think, of the Hill Country Area of the park.

Back to the present: Because of my late arrival, another person had to cover my story for last night, and we're rejiggering who's covering what for pretty much the rest of the show. (Some of these changes would have happened with or without TSA's intervention, but others are due to spreading out the work so that everyone has time to write their stories ...) I'm off on a lunch break, but have one thing this afternoon and another in the evening.

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