My wonderful girlfriend, Yufang, drove me up to the Cleveland Airport so that I could catch a plane headed back down south to IAFA in Orlando, FL. I flew Continental Airlines, and I had a First Class seat. Normally I don’t fly First Class, but I waited too long to purchase my ticket and that’s all that was left for non-stop flights between Cleveland and Orlando. However, the price was more expensive, but the First Class experience (my first) was well worth it! I had a spacious seat, three glasses of red wine, a snack that included more wine, cheese, meat, crackers, and cookies (as opposed to just a packet of mixed nuts), and a fellow non-First Class traveler as my next-seat mate (a produce supply chain manager–not sure about his official job title, but it his work sounds interesting–though I had more questions than I was comfortable asking regarding modern farming and displacement practices).
After arriving at the Orlando Airport Marriott, I ran into Lisa Yaszek and Doug Davis who were on their way out to the pool. Later that night, I talked to two long-time IAFA-goers, Tim and Brian, at the opening reception. Then, I ran into Karen Hellekson and Craig Jacobsen, co-editors of SFRA Review. We all moved outside and had an enjoyable talk out on the dock behind the hotel on a large pond. While enjoying the night breeze, Taryne Jade Taylor joined us. If she’s representative of Florida Atlantic’s MA in English, SF and Fantasy track, then they must have an outstanding program! After the first exodus of bodies, Aidan-Paul Canavan lurked into the darkness under the gazebo. It was great seeing him again (he’s in the PhD program at the University of Liverpool).
What a great arrival to the conference–enjoying time with old friends and new!