Yesterday was a travel day, in which we journeyed across the entire U. S. of A. with frightening amounts of luggage and Christmas gifts--as if, like latter-day magi to lay them at the feet of our academic savior (whomever he or she might be). At the time that I made airline reservations it seemed to make sense to book a nonstop flight into Newark, and then train down to Philly. . . but actually? It totally didn't make sense, and riding Jersey Transit and SEPTA gave me gruesome flashbacks of the year I spent commuting between NYC and Philly. (But on a brighter note: the Trenton station isn't quite as horrible as it used to be. There's a Dunkin' Donuts! And brushed chrome fixtures! It now induces only half as much despair as before.)
And then we got to the hotel and conference center complex itself, which ought to be more familiar and more easily-navigated than it is, given that this is the third MLA Philly has hosted and I've attended in six years. I kept getting lost and going to the former locations of things that have now moved--most crucially, the bar and the book exhibit (which are, naturally, the two most central parts of Flavia's MLA experience). Props on the new bar, Marriott-folk, but no love for making me walk down the long, hushed, Last Year at Marienbad-ish hallway to the conference center . . . and then back, after discovering a cavernous, empty shell where the exhibits were formerly housed.
But I got my drink on, and to bed at a decent hour, so we'll see what today holds.