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WritersUA Conference 2008: Sunday 16 March

March 16, 2008

Portland, Oregon 

The registration day of a conference is always interesting. There’s the actual registration itself, which is quick and painless, then there’s the chance of meeting up with people you know from past conferences. Do you hang around the registration desk hoping to see someone you know, do you go back to your room to check out all the stuff in the conference swag bag, do you plan to do something totally different on the day, or some combination of the above?

Well, I did a bit of them all! I went for a walk down the 6 or so blocks to the river, then along the river foreshore and back up through downtown. Laster, a few of us met in the lobby then had brunch at “Oliver’s”, then it was back to register while others went off in various directions. At that time, very few others were at the registration desk and the exhibitors hadn’t set up, so I went back to the room to check out the schedule, decide what sessions I wasn’t going to go to (I find that easier than deciding those I will go to, though there were a couple of ‘must see’ sessions I circled), glance through the conference papers and the other bits and pieces in the bag and throw out the stuff that I didn’t need.

Rich didn’t look as though he’d make it to Powell’s Books as he had prep to do for his session tomorrow (mine session’s not until Wednesday), so Dave and I walked the 10-15 mins over there. Wow! What a bookstore. It’s many years since I’ve been to Powell’s and everything is categorized into colour coded rooms (this is in the main store; we also went to the Technical Books store).

But like Barry Schwartz’s The Paradox of Choice, there’s just TOO much to select from at Powell’s. If you know what you want, it’s not too bad, but as a browser just looking for something that catches your eye (that was me), you are overwhelmed by the quantity and enormity of the choices in front of you. I eventually headed to the Reference Books section and came across a little book for Tony to give away on the Australian Cultural Exchange evening on Tuesday night. Dave found a few books to take on his upcoming trip to Australia for the AODC Conference.

By the time we got back to the hotel, there were quite a few people hanging around the Registration Desk area, so we hung with them for a while before going downstairs for the informal drinks meet up in the hotel lobby bar. Six of us decided we needed dinner, so around 8pm we headed off to Oliver’s, only to find it was closed! So we moved on to the Porto Terra (?) restaurant at the bottom of the second Portland Hilton tower where we had a nice meal, and a lot of laughs.

So much talking, so much walking.

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