Monday, April 6, 2009

Catching Up

Two weeks ago I left on the Amtrak Regional to travel down to Oxon Hill, MD (via Alexandria, VA) for a conference (SAS Global Forum.) It's hard to describe what SAS is. It used to be a statistical analysis system, but has grown into almost a way of being over the years. That said, I'm pretty much "old school" - SAS is the tool I use to do my job, which is statistical analysis and reporting, and it's pretty cool. The conference is a four day event, at which I was presenting two posters and one half-hour talk (three papers in all.) I was also taking a Sunday class and acting as a session coordinator for one of the sections in the conference.

Spring had clearly arrived in Alexandria before I did!

Having researched my trip carefully, I had reserved a seat on the water taxi from Alexandria to National Harbor. Once I arrived in the very cool "retro" train station in Alexandria, I took my printed sheet of walking directions (thank you Google!!!) and set off down King Street, luggage and poster tube in tow and trusty Canon in hand. While there were no cobblestones on King Street, it is very beautiful and evokes a sense of history. A few miles later, I arrived at the banks of the Potomac and set off on the next chapter of my adventure.

National Harbor is kind of a "manufactured" community, not unlike Orlando. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Gaylord also has a convention center in Orlando.) It is still a work in progress - but shows promise of being a fun destination for both convention-goers and locals looking for an outing for the price of a bus ride or water taxi. The view of the convention center from the water is stunning.

Once I'd arrived and deposited my stuff (with a huge sigh of relief!) I met my roommate, and then some new friends in the All-American Sports bar (when you are in the mid-Atlantic, March Madness is a BIG deal!)

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