Monday, March 15, 2010

San Antonio, How I Miss You...

I recently spent a weekend in San Antonio for the Google Teacher Academy and the ASCD Conference, and fell in love...

I was staying in the St. Anthony Hotel, slightly off of the famed Riverwalk and two blocks from The Alamo. It is rumored that the St. Anthony is one of a few haunted hotels in San Antonio. Built in 1909, it’s reminiscent of the hotel in The Shining. The large crystal chandeliers, winding staircases and creaking elevators all contribute to this analogy. I half expected a pair of young girls on bikes to come around the corner at the end of my hallway every time I walked to my room.

The room itself was lovely and filled with character. It probably wasn’t for everyone, but I’ve stayed in my fair share of hotels from Hiltons to Motel 6s. The bathroom had a pedestal sink and a separate bath and shower (which had bars at the top of the glass door – an interesting, jail-like addition, I thought). The tile floors were chilly in the mornings, but it just added to the experience for me. The room itself had a four-poster bed, in rich cherry wood. The cabinet that held the TV was modest in size, but intricate in detail. A pair of armchairs lined the wall that had the door to the closet – ah, the closet. A walk-in closet, larger than my own at home, complete with a built-in shoe rack. Finally, there was a working desk facing the window, which overlooked Travis Park. When I first entered my room, I opened the curtains and simultaneously noticed the exquisite view, made slightly brighter at that moment by the horse-drawn carriage, lined with perfect white lights, carrying an elderly couple – a sight that would’ve made the biggest cynic show just a sign of a smile. But I’m not that cynical, so I let out an audible, “awww”. And subsequently laughed at myself. I had business to attend to – like unpacking and getting ready to go to Rosario’s.

I prepared to head out to Rosario's Restaurant to meet up with others who would be attending the GTAdmin. We arranged this meeting via Google Wave and Twitter, and we had approximately 30 of the 50 folks show up to raise a glass to our upcoming adventure. It was like meeting old-new friends. I had already been playing Words with Friends with Donna, tweeted with Debbie, Connie, Michelle, Mark, Eric and Brian and negotiated our way through Google Wave with everyone else!

There was a palpable energy in the room and I could only imagine how it would be the next day, when we had all of us together with focused energy. Donna was kind enough to drive me back from Rosario's, and I got back to the St. Anthony at about 10:30 (which, of course, felt like 8:30) and I was still wired.

Somewhere around 2:00am, I finally fell asleep. The alarm was set for 6:00am. I did get some R.E.M. sleep, though, and the only reason I know this is because I had a bizarre dream about Mark Wagner calling me to make sure I had everything I needed and if there was anything he could do - apparently, I did have everything I needed - I seemed very calm and collected in my dream, even if I was internally bouncing off the walls.