On Assignment Somewhere in Florida

I’m in Florida on business, researching a story for my travel column on www.traderdaily.com. Yes, just a reminder, it will be live on Monday. Since I plan to use th ematerial from this trip, I can’t say too much on my blog. After al, I have to feed the people that pay me. But, I can give you a sense of where I am staying. First, the property is gorgeous. It’s dark outside, and I can still tell that it’s amazing. Luxury seeps out of the walls. Right now, I’m smoking a cigar on my private balcony and blogging away. No complaints … except that I can’t smoke in the air conditioned room. Florida is hot as hell, and not just by my standards. It’s almost midnight, and I’m sweating a little. But, the decent breeze offsets it.

There was a nice gift waiting for me when I arrived. I love that. For some reason, I’m treated like a king, just because I’m a travel writer. Well, I can tell you that I was treated like a king until they found out who I am. So, I’m even more impressed. Top-shelf is the standard here.

This is funny, because when I travel on my own dime, I tend to go low rent. Not only does it add character to the trip, it does help stretch things out a bit. Laura and I went to Paris about a year ago. For the business portion of my trip, I stayed at the Westin at Place Vendome. For the vacation part of the trip, I was at a small dump on Montmartre (where my wife joined me). I love excitement and adventure, but I have to admit, I could develop a taste for luxury.

It’s hard to believe that I was in Florida on assignment almost nine years ago. Back then, I was a software consultant in the hospitality industry. I was on the road at least four weeks out of every five. The pay was shitty, but the lifestyle did have its moments. On one jaunt to Florida, I was on site with a friend and colleage (who shall remain nameless– he’s a family man now). We shared the sentiment that the value of the property declined every minute we were there. Yeah, the place where I find myself now is even nicer than that one. It’s truly amazing.

I was given a gift upon check-in. Actually, it was left in my room. I absolutely love that. Being treated well is always a treat. But, what I really love about this place is that I was treated well before they found out who I am. For these guys, upscale and care are de rigeur. I did carry my own bags, though. I’m weird like that. I like to carry my own bags. I’m not crazy about being served.

Back in those hotel consulting days, I used to take a town car to the airport just about every week. I lived in a suburb of Boston at the time and used the same car service every Sunday afternoon and every Friday evening. I wound up getting the same driver a lot. Nice kid. I insisted on carrying my own bags. He begged me to stop. I replied, “Nah, I’m not like that.” His retort: “Yeah, but it’s my job.” Fair enough. I was fucking up is ability to earn a living, so I let him carry my bags. But, he’s among the few.

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