Monday, March 26, 2007

Howdy, from Daytona

I didn't blog on Saturday because I was a lazy sot. I didn't blog yesterday because I was packing... and I was a lazy sot. Today's blog comes from sunny (or it was sunny until about 6 p.m.) Daytona Beach, Florida.

Daytona Beach is split into two parts. The mainland part, and the part that's on essentially a sand bar. This is the part most of the kids visit during spring break. You can tell that the two main reasons for this place's existence is Spring Break and the Daytona 500 NASCAR race. NASCAR and partying barely-twenty-somethings are the main industries in town. That having been said, I'm here training clients...

Daytona Beach reminds of New Orlean's French Quarter if it was modelled after Niagara Falls, Ontario... Actually, that's not totally fair, as there are no wax museums. The Strip (I don't know if it's called that, but it should be) is made up of bars, seafood restaurants and tacky tourist shops, predominantly selling "beach wear". Come to think of it, with the Skylon tower, the Falls, and the casino, there's more culture in Niagara Falls. And way more culture in New Orleans. I'll have to refine my estimate. This isn't what the French Quarter would look like if it was designed by the Swedes, it's what New Orleans' Canal Street would look like if it got an infusion of urban renewal cash.

The hotel I am staying at is gorgeous. The suites here are intended for long term visiting. My suite has a full kitchen, a bedroom(!) and even a washer and dryer. There's a fold down bed in the couch (so you can tell it's used for large groups of kids crashing in one room). I have a view of the ocean that's wonderful.

What I don't have is internet access in my room! What the hell is up with that? Is this the 21st century or what? I was expecting wireless access. I don't even have high speed wired access. I can get more out of a La Quinta in Chattanooga than I do out of a Wyndham in Daytona Beach! The resort is the Ocean Walk, by the way, in case you need net access in your well furnished room. (For the record, I didn't book the room. I suspect that the people they usually book the rooms for don't really care about net access.)

The hotel has a movie theatre, several shops, and several restaurants attached. One is a Bubba Gump's. It had a long wait, as did another place I went to. In the end I ate at Denny's. *sigh* I'll eat better tomorrow.

I'm posting this from the restaurant area. The lower two levels have net access, so it's not like the hotel doesn't have a network. It's attached to a bar. There are a bunch of drunk twenty-somethings yelling in the background, but the music isn't too loud. When I got down here it was humid and hot. The temperature and the humidity have dropped a big. So has the lighting, unfortunately. What is it with bars and "mood lighting"?

Most of the kids down here are white, I noticed. Not many black, hispanic, or Asian kids. There are a smattering of us older folks in the hotel, and a few people with families, but even though Spring Break is mostly over the predominant demographic are twenty-somethings.

One last observation: I've never seen so many well-tanned white people in my life. I live in Louisiana, which has a climate not much different from this one (though less humid!). There aren't as many tanned people in Monroe as here. I think it must be the beach, which encourages going outside to get skin cancer. For the record, I think Daytona Beach has more well-tanned, chunky blonds (mail and female) than it has cars. The whole place looks like it's populated by survivors of a nuked Scandinavian fat farm!

Anyway, here are some pictures I took a few hours ago. As always, click on the picture for a bigger version...

The Atlantic Ocean, looking east-northeast from the balcony of my suite:

The Atlantic Ocean looking east from the balcony:

And the Atlantic looking east-southeast:

This is the living room and the kitchen of my suite:

And, finally, though you can't tell it, this is a fair sized bedroom. In fact, I've stayed many a time in hotel rooms that were as big as this one room and the attached bathroom (and a couple that were smaller):


Michael said...

Boy howdy, does that look like Florida. Did I mention that I hate Florida? Normally I try to avoid blanket statements, but I have failed where Florida is concerned. There may be something nice about the state, but I have yet to encounter it in several trips.

Look on the bright side: you're not staying in the Tragic Kingdom. I've been there; I won't go back.

Allan Goodall said...

Did I mention that I hate Florida?

Actually, I don't hate Florida. I quite liked Tampa when I visited it in 1991. Cocoa Beach left me with a favourable impression (in spite of being hit run into by an old guy from North Carolina), but that might be due to its proximity to the space centre.

Daytona Beach beats Monroe. It has two reasonably good book stores, and a lot of places to take a kid (or an adult who is a kid at heart) on weekends. However, I prefer Shreveport to Daytona Beach. It has many of the same amenities (minus the tourist traps) and of better quality.

So, I guess you could say my opinion is tainted. On the other hand, Monroe is five hours from a whole lot of interesting places, while Daytona Beach isn't. Alana and I have yet to explore Houston, Dallas, or Little Rock, all of which are within 5 hours or less of Monroe. New Orleans is about that, too, and we love New Orleans.

If I'm going to change jobs, I'd probably end up closer to Shreveport. That would put us a lot closer to our friends, as well as closer to Texas. It puts us further away from New Orleans, but there's an interstate that runs from Shreveport to Alexandria, so the time it takes to travel to New Orleans is about the same...

JAM said...

You can tell that the two main reasons for this place's existence is Spring Break and the Daytona 500 NASCAR race.

Uh, don't forget bike week. We're an hour south of there and during bike week up there, there's lots of harleys on I-95 heading to and from Daytona.

My older daughter's boyfriend is into all kinds of gaming (I'm totally ignorant of it) and he loves to go over to Orlando to Sci-Fi City. It's on the eastern side of Orlando if you have a rental car and it takes about an hour to hour and a half to get there from where you are, I would guess.

Check out their web site and see if they have anything that might make it worth your time to drive there.