My photo for me, art and photography.

Monday, 8 September 2008

USA day 4: Hartford


Absolutely LOVED the Goodwin!- it is now the stick I hold other hotels up to to see how they measure against it. Maybe it's because my taste is pretty old fashioned, but all that black marble and modern claptrap in places like The Millennium Broadway just does not float my boat - I feel really out of place there, but here - maybe it's the layout or the furniture or the general decor or what, but it felt much more like my type of thing - more my taste- and felt more like an actual bedroom than just a sterile, uniform hotel room - and my GOD was that the most comfortable bed in the world or what?! you sit on it and you just sink! it was like sleeping on a giant goose down pillow! I swear, I got in, lay down and didn't so much as twitch until the next morning! ok so the jetlag may have helped a little there, but still - that is the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in in my entire life - even more comfortable than the bed in my ex's mum's study, and that is saying something! every time I hit that, I was out like a light in seconds (those who know me also know that I'm a complete insomniac - a few of my friends even joke about me living on 'Judy-time' because Judy Garland, my heroine, was also well known for being a night-owl....O.o

Doesn't that make you just want to crawl in there with a really good book?

also, check out this sexy bathroom!

(I'm expecting Phil to make some comment about bathroom fetishes when he reads this.. I like nice bathrooms ok? it makes a change from the scabby holes I'm accustomed to! the only nice bathroom aside from the ones here is my one at home! everywhere else.. I dunno... they never seem to get cleaned properly - the last place I stayed in had ginger pubes on the side! *gags at the memory* )

It doesn't show up at all in the photo, but this bathroom was huge! I'm talking MAHOOSIVE! and there was a telephone by the toilet? why would anyone want to make a call from a toilet? ... more the point why would anyone think that anyone would want to recieve a call from someone on the toilet?

"Hey Steve, what's up?"

"Oh nothin' much, just watching the game, having a Bud... what's that noise in the background?"

"Here? Oh, I'm just standing by the Niagra Falls and dropping some pennies into a wishing well"

"Cool... take a photo and make a wish for me while you're there"...?

... I mean come on! can you imagine!?? the ONLY excuse, in my opinion, for having a phone next to a loo is if you have a really old or disabled person who needs help if they get stuck or have a heart attack or something - in which case an emergency call button would serve just as well.

Probably better, in fact, as said old person wouldn't have to scrabble around trying to find, and put their glasses on so they can read the tiny buttons on the phone by the loo to see which one they have to press to get the concierge desk.

Anyway - some more about the hotel: I thought the lobby staff were initially quite brusque, but I think it's a kind of small-town mentality rather than any genuinely intentional rudeness - as soon as I'd spent a little time talking to them and saying hi and bye to them as I came and went, they warmed up soon enough - a bit reserved/cautious around strangers perhaps? I can sort of back this theory up: The evening of the first day I got there, a new guy arrived and the lady behind the concierge desk yelled 'HEY! how are ya?" to me, and was all friendly, but to the guy she was checking in, she barely said two words to, and was as brusk to him as she was to me when she checked me in. So I think Hartford is one of those places where once you knock on the doors a few times, they let you into the warm.

Had a REALLY nice pizza there - think it was garlic, olives and feta cheese and peppers... basically a Greek salad but in pizza form - delicious, MASSIVE and so filling! Spent an hour or so chatting to the barman while he tried to explain American football to me... either I'm too dumb to understand it, or I was staring so much at the size of the chicken salad the woman next to me was tucking into that what he was telling me went in one ear and out the other, but either way - I know as much about NFL now as I did before. Seriously though - that salad was humungous! I don't know why they didn't just serve it in a bucket O.O


Hartford is not designed with pedestrians in mind At. All. They have all the crossings in place, and you can press the button as if your life depended on it, but there's no guarantee that the litle 'walk' man will ever appear, or if he does, that drivers will pay any attention to it. Like in New York. The timings are absolutely absurd too - by the time you've waited for the 'walk' sign, you could have built a sodding bridge to take you to the other side.


Say you have a really fat road - four lanes to cross (to me that is a very big road, but in America, this seems to be pretty average) - the 'walk' sign flashes on. You walk quickly - get halfway across, and the 'dont' walk' sign comes on: " You WHAT?! but it's only been 'walk' for 3 seconds!'"...And people start beeping at you to hurry up (you could sprint and you wouldn't get all the way across before the 'walk' man disappeared - I know. I tried), or they just start driving, gesticulating at you as they pass to further demonstrate their annoyance and impatience.

Traffic ligths and stop signals seem to be just for decoration in this country - nobody pays the blindest bit of attention to them.

Cabs are pretty cheap, which is good, when you're trying to carry around a baby elephant in your suitcase.

THE BEST THING BY FAR in Hartford is

The Hartford Belle.

I strongly urge anyone who is in Hartford to go on this boat! the scenery on the Connecticut River isn't exactly spectacular - y'know - you're not cruising down the Rhone or the Nile or anything, but nothing.. absolutely NOTHING beats chilling out on a little wooden boat with the sun on your face and the breeze in your hair on a hot summer day! - None of that fancypants mini cruise-ship nonesense with posh tinted windows, overpriced food and sun loungers - this is the real deal.

Bill, the deckhand is an absolutely great guy - I spent the best part of three hours chatting to him about anything and everything - from dreams to cartoons to tomboyism to teaching, to wanting to drive a big-rig and.. well.. everything! He is very easy on the eye too, but he's married, ladies, so don't even think about it! His daughter, Morgan who was there too, is a great kid! she actually reminds me a lot of myself when I was her age (about 8 or 9), which kind of makes me feel really really old. Brad, the Captain was also pretty cool! we spent a good fifteen minutes comparing what people eat for breakfast . Brad, if you're reading this, I still firmly believe that having mashed potato as a side dish for breakfast is not only wierd, but WRONG! that's not breakfast, that's lunch! and Bill, If I get into that drama school next summer, I'm definitely taking a trip to Hartford to chill out on the 'Hudson' with 'you guys' and the Belle(no worries! ;))! and keeping an eye out for eagles!

Here are my two handsome Hartford chaps: Bill on the left, and Brad on the right (photo taken by Morgan)

Two absolutely lovely people and the best three hours I've spent in America so far!

Hartford itself is a bit dead. It stops - everything stops at 5pm on a Saturday.

Apart from The Lady Katharine (we don't like that boat - that's one of the aforementioned posh boats) and the Hartford Belle (which we DO like) and the classical guitar under the stars concert (which I sadly missed most of - I had to leave early because it was getting very dark and I only had 5 bucks on me...bucks? good god, I'm even starting to write like an American... which wasn't enough for a cab fare ) which happened to be rescheduled to Sunday beacuase of the tropical storm - the remnants of Hurricane Hanna sweeping over most of New England and Connecticut - there is absolutely bugger all to do.

Had a really great thay though, and got sunburt for the first time in my life... my pasty british skin hasn't seen the sun for 3 years because summer keeps skipping over us.. we've had 3 days of real 'summer' this year, and I think the hottest day of the year was about 25'C (don't ask me what that is in 'F)

check out my Connecticut sunburn!

the woman at the concierge desk was really nice though and gave me this amazing aftersun called Solarcaine - I didn't even feel burnt the next day - I mean, I was still a bit pink, but nowhere NEAR as bad as I would have been without it.

Am at Hartford station now, waiting for my bus to Boston. Have had to switch to my credit card now - joy of joys - I can't wait til my bill comes in at the end of the month :S

Bought tickets to see Equus again on the eve of the 11th, which is what has bankrupted me on the other card. $116 or something like that anyway.. At least I have good seats this time - orchestra right, row A, seat 6 - so right at the front - so even with my shortsightedness, and lack of glasses, I should still be able to see the cast. Still have about $85 in cash to get by on in terms of taxis and emergency funds etc.

On a side note and back to the Belle, Bill has decided I should get a boat called The Canterbury Queen so we could work together and show the Lady Katharine what real boats are!

Also, another side note, got called 'The English Princess' and 'the prettiest girl I've seen out of England' by James, the dude at the breakfast bar. I must be the ONLY girl from England he's seen then! LMAO I mean there's working the room for a tip, and then there's sheer cheezy comedy! it was brilliant! LOL He kind of reminded me a bit of the Fonz, but in a hawiian (ok I've tried typing that word 5 different ways now and they all look wrong, so I'm giving up- YOU know what I mean) shirt. He wasn't wearing a .. 'that word' shirt, but I can totally imagine him being in one of those places with the grass beach huts, drinks with lots of umbrellas in and many girls walking around in bright bikkinis in the background! LOL Charles, one of the doormen was absolutely adorable and I spent a good 3 hours chatting to some lady called Diane? (or Diana) about art, feet and useless men! She actually reminded me a lot of my Ex's mum - had the same quiet way about her.

Saturday night we had Tropical Storm Hanna, which wasn't anywhere near as crazy as I'd imagined it would be - when they said 'tropical storm' the mental image I had was of palmtrees being practically bent over 90 degrees, crazy light displays and thunder and rain like the end of the world is nigh.
Was it? no. It was no worse than your typical English summer storm, but with warm rain. I was very disappointed - I was expecting something a lot more impressive - I fought jetlag to watch that - I felt thoroughly cheated. Still, at least it got the humidity right down from 95%.

Overall impressions of Hartford (downtown anyway - I can't speak for the whole place)

It's a bit dead - nothing is easy to get to unless you have a car - the town is crap, basically, (I was in the business district which could explain that), but the people here are absolutely lovely!

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