FOLLOW YOUR HEART
The Beauty and the Beast 2003 Convention
San Francisco July 11-13
This is my little homage to the fantastic Con I just attended. I had to do it quickly before leaving for vacation, so please forgive any bloopers and inexactitudes. Intense emotion and accurate memory don't go very well together where I'm concerned.
Hope I've done that fantastic week justice.
Sobanme and I meet at Charles de Gaulle airport, and though we didn't register together, we finally manage to get adjoining seats. We've been corresponding online for over a year, but it's our first meeting "in the flesh", and we have so many things to tell each other that the 11 hours of flight won't seem excessively long. After landing, things go surprisingly fast. We get our luggage, whizz through the customs, find the shuttle, and hardly an hour and a half after landing, having had a first, fascinating view of San Francisco, we enter the Crowne Plaza lobby.
We have the good surprise to find JoAnn, CathyM and a few others there, and we get our first welcome hugs! So good to see them all again! Soon more people, Jecris, Pixie, Cecilia, Debbie... and more hugs!
The rest of the afternoon is a bit in a haze. To our European bodies, it's the middle of the night, and at 7, after a quick dinner in the cafe next to the hotel, we decide to call it a day.
We wake up awfully early (time zones) and have to wait until 6.30 to get breakfast. Quite a lot of Italian cafes around, offering coffee almost strong enough for Sobanme's Italian taste.
Around 8.30 we meet with the Con people and help unloading the truck into the Con rooms. There are quite a lot of us so things go quickly, and then we help in the artroom, setting up the wooden panels where the art will be exposed, and unpacking box after box of treasures, under Chandler's and Sandy Tew's directions. Some of us have a great time with Chandler's wonderful miniatures, unwrapping and setting up the tiny parts and pieces of furniture.
Then it's time to go to the lobby, for the Golden Gate Park tour. We're given maps and directions, and share cabs to get to Strybing Arboretum, the park's botanical garden. There a very interesting guided tour has been arranged for us. We learn a lot about the park's history, the local flora and climate.
Sequoias and redwoods are dominant in the park, because they were used to stabilize the sandy ground, but many of them are getting too old, now, and will soon have to be replaced.
We visit the garden of fragrances, with scented plants from all over the world, and different areas planted with flowers and bushes from several continents.
In Central Park in 2001, we had met a racoon, that everyone had agreed must be Arthur, escaped from Mouse's lair. Here in SF, our B&B encounter will be...
After a picnic lunch, Cecilia, Sobanme and I find a sunny place near the pond to rehearse our lines for our Talent Show skit. Then we head back to the hotel for an "international fans" meeting, to prepare for our panel and banquet performance. Settling everything takes some time, and when we're through it's about time for early registration.
We go down to the Mezzanine level, where many people are already waiting for "Con Central" to open. Time to meet more friends we hadn't had a chance to see before. Time for hugs and chat. A special hug to Jamie Murray, it's so good to see him again!
At last we're invited to line up for registration. A to L, M to Z, and Con Virgins. Sobanme and I go our separate ways, to get our name-tags and tote bags "the heaviest tote-bags in Cons history", full of useful stuff, and of delightful little goodies, most of them heart-shaped.
The Registration Table
Deb Smith, Con Chairperson (sitting) rounds up volunteers to help with Con work
Then we go out for dinner across the street with Jecris and Annette, and go back to our rooms. Tomorrow, the convention starts.
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