Taking Amtrak to Portland was great! Business Class, at $82 round-trip, was a total win.
But the conditions at King Street Station was sub-par. The check-in procedure was silly: I first went to the ticketing kiosks to pick up my ticket, then I went to the other side of the room to check my baggage, and then I crossed the room again to go to a third location to get my boarding pass. The boarding pass being different than the ticket (and, the process for Business Class boarding passes being different from Coach) was slightly confusing. The grime and shabbiness of the place didn’t help my mood.
However, the train was A+. It left on time, was clean, and I didn’t have to go through the idiotic security procedures used at US airports. This alone made the trip far more enjoyable than a plane.
Portland’s Union Station is beautiful. Now this is what a rail station used to be, and still can be today.
Next time I’m going to Portland, I’m definitely taking Amtrak. Next time I go to Chicago for PyCon, I just might take the train, too, even though it’s two days each way.
The Red Lion here is…OK. It’s…clean. It’s…a hotel. It…won’t win any awards. It’ll do.
I’m camped out now in one of the Oregon Convention Center‘s lobbies, using the free wi-fi. Hundreds of geeks at their laptops, all duking it out for bandwidth. Some griping about how poorly Apple’s MagSafe power adapters plug into conventional power strips. I bought four books from the O’Reilly Media booth. The ration of urinals to stalls in the Convention Center’s mens’ restrooms is not optimal, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.
Tonight’s dinner with Joe and others, and then maybe a Django beer meetup.