Notes from Another Product Manager's Road Trip
OK, so the first thing you need to know about me is that I'm cheap. Not like in everything I do. It's just that, among the traits I inherited from my parents, one of them was not wanting to pay for certain things--taxi's in this case. (Parking is another.) What this means is that you don't want to let me make the airport transfer arrangements if we're traveling together.
This is my third trip to Toronto for SOMA Networks, and I'm still exploring hotel options that balance a minimum level of comfort (I'm not going back to the hotel where I suffered flea bites), proximity to our offices, and cost (here's where the CFO appreciates my parsimoniousness).
So I've chosen to stay at the Comfort Suites about 10 blocks from our office. I'm on the Airport Express bus (remember how I feel about taxis) and I've figured out the stop that will take me within a few blocks of my hotel. I'm on Google maps (thank you, iPhone) memorizing (since I'm too, um, parsimonious to turn on data roaming and so can only use Google maps while taking advantage of the bus's free Wi-Fi connection) how many blocks and which direction to go, so I don't get turned around as has happened once or twice before. It's raining off and on, so I don't want to wander aimlessly about (pronounced like "boot" if you're getting into the story).
Everything is going fine, except for one thing. Dundas Street is not marked, at least not where I'm walking. Maybe it's like Boston, where I was told that you're supposed to know where you're going, so they only mark the cross-streets. Who knows. At any rate, I proceed to walk two blocks up, expecting to find Dundas. What I find out later (much later) is that I was actually starting from Dundas. So I walk two more blocks. And two more. And two more. And two more. I'm pretty sure that, even if the map was only showing me major streets, I would have crossed Dundas by now. So I'm thinking about the 8+ block walk back to where I started, so I can try this again. Note that at no point do I ask for directions; mainly, I don't want to hear the answer.
And it's raining. Hard.
Miraculously, I head to an ATM (I forgot that I gave Brian my last $20), get some cash, and wave down a taxi. I give him the address (or something close) and soon enough I'm pushing past the beggars and into the hotel lobby. Of course, it's now 11 PM and the hotel restaurant has closed for the evening.
Side note. You can assess the quality of your hotel's surroundings by counting the number of vacant or boarded-up businesses on the way to the hotel. Also how pawn shops. And whether the spare-change requesters make regular rounds in front of the hotel.
At least there were no fleas.
And not to leave you with the impression that it was all bad, I found a great restaurant ("resto" seems to be the hip abbreviation), Adega. It's a Portugese restaurant with wonderful wine, very salty olives, and great dishes.
Which leads me to another topic...