The four hours at Newark airport were fine too. Of course, having to go through immigration, pick up our bags, stand in line for customs, transit to another terminal, recheck our bags and go through another security checkpoint was tiring, but there are ways to handle stress:
Sånd! No, not sand, Sånd. Well, actually, it is sand. But expensive! In tiny boxes! Apparently, if you “pull it, shape it, love it” it will relieve you of stress and anxiety. And “It won’t make a mess. Really, it won’t!”
For no apparent reason, me being a little ol’ lady and all, I was singled out for extra close inspection twice. First I was nearly tickled to death by an overly conscientious security officer in Oslo, then at Newark something suspicious in my carry-on caused a little commotion. I still don’t know what it was, but rubber gloves and a long stick was involved in the inspection. (Of my backpack, not of me!!)
The final United Airlines flight to Portland was bad beyond words. But we managed to crawl onto the train and off again downtown Portland, it was late, it was dark and it was raining as we dragged ourselves the last few blocks to the hotel. I had booked a small room for myself when I first decided to go, and then when my husband finally decided to tag along a couple of weeks ago I emailed them to ask for an upgrade. (Paid for privately I hasten to add). And boy did they upgrade.
There’s a walk-in closet about the size of the rooms I usually stay in for a conference.
I generally try to stay clear of hotels recommended by conference organizers since they are often large, generic chain hotels, and in this instance quite expensive, so I was scouring ebookers for a bargain on a smaller hotel, in reasonable distance from the convention center. I like older hotels, even when they are a bit worse for wear, and if they are named something like “Grand”, “Majestic”, “Superior” or “Royal”, they are almost invariably a bit smelly but interesting. So I chose Hotel deLuxe, which turned out to be quite and utterly lovely. We slept.