The BIO convention officially started this afternoon, which is about a 15-minute walk from my hotel. After a few unsuccessful tries to get in early to the expo to meet up with my client, I registered for access later and then headed out to find a lunch spot.
An archway proclaiming the Gaslamp District as the historic heart of San Diego caught my eye, so I wandered in that direction and walked into an area I hope Cleveland's East 4th Street will rival in five years...a plethora of restaurants and trendy (but not necessarily expensive) boutiques. Man, if we can get the Medical Mart downtown, I think we'll see ripple effects from East 4th and the Warehouse District. It's amazing to think of the potential.
I stopped in at Masala, an Indian restaurant with a rich, exotic décor and a great atmosphere. I lovvvvvvvvve masala dishes. (My all-time favorite is chicken tikka masala from Indie's downtown in the Old Arcade. So good, so cheap and so lauded by Indian friends as the best Indian fare in Cleveland.) The food at Masala was good (yummy spinach curry and a surprising banana curry), and I really liked the drink I ordered: Night in Jaipur, which was comprised of lemonade, pineapple, cranberry and mango pulp. I was completely mesmerized by the bellydancing music videos on display that featured a Colin Farrell lookalike and a gorgeous Indian beauty. I'd come back just to watch more. A few years ago, I took bellydancing classes for a while and loved it.
Finally got into the show once it was officially open to all attendees to mingle at the booth and facilitate an interview with a reporter. When I left the convention to go back to the hotel, protestors were crawling all over the place shouting, "BIO, go home!" They were all really young --maybe high school/college kids-and I thought it was strange that most of them had their faces covered with bandannas. At first I thought they were trying to demonstrate that chemicals impact air quality, but then I realized I was thinking way too high-level and they just wanted to protect their identities. Lame-o.
Headed back to my hotel to change into my workout gear and then window shopped next door at Horton Plaza while I waited for Vikki's sis Mandi. Mandi graciously gave me a brisk walking tour of the city to the tune of nearly 2.5 hours. I'm going to sleep like a baby tonight! I had a blast chatting with her and hearing her funny anecdotal stories. I caught myself staring at her because she reminds me so much of Vikki (work friend)...her voice, her face, her vernacular.
Mandi walked me all along the harbor past the ginormous USS Midway (now an aircraft carrier museum), historic ships and a sea of sailboats. We saw the sun go down, the moon glow and even fireworks. Good times.
By the time we got back, I was beat, so I dined on a Jamba Juice shake and am ready to hit the hay. Tomorrow is the BIO show all day followed by a client soiree that's poolside. No worries - my client has already banned me from sporting a bikini at the party. Seriously.