Have you ever awoken in the middle of the night, gripped by some nameless fear that has you jerking awake, flecked with sweat and short of breath? You have no idea what just went down, but it was Six Degrees of Unpleasantness? Yeah, that was me with getting the hotel accommodations. Except it felt like the 10th Level of Hell and it was a lot of my own doing.
I had initially slogged on getting the room when they opened up on February 15th, as I thought my travel agent friend could cut me a better deal. He could not. He called my on Friday night (that would have been the 17th) to say that inexpensive rooms were miles away and of questionable quality and locations. The hotels I did want were more than my mortgage payment for a month!
Chef Boyardee! I had better get on this! So I ran down the room website and it was both bad and confusing.
It initially appeared that people were only coming for two days. This year’s AX runs from Saturday to Tuesday (well, Friday, if we include the ¼ day, as what I call Day #0). Many of the hotels were blocked out for the 1st and the 2nd, so that made getting a block of four really, really tough, since I became a grasshopper when I should have been the ant. Then, I had to deal with the website.
The hotel the wife wanted was The Omni (I was partial to the Biltmore). I had to do some trickery, as the only room they had for the four days was one king bed. OK, that’s good for two, but not for three. I tried to reprogram the system to accept that third person. OK, it would take it. We’ll argue a rollaway or I’ll sleep on the floor or something like that. Well, I got as far as the SAVE AND PAY page, when, after I clicked it, it said there was a problem with things and the room could have been taken.
I tried again and saw the room was now missing from the profile. I looked at the other hotels, but they also had been blocked out in the middle. After stewing about things (I used to do stand-up comedy and I never had the degree of flop sweat as when I thought I toasted the rooms). So, I called the Omni for help. After 15 minutes on hold, listening to that kind of music that makes you want to go out and burn down the neighborhood, Erica came on to render assistance, of a sort. Although she could see in her system that Anime Expo had rooms blocked off, she, on behalf of the Omni, could not give me those rates; it had to go through the Housing Support for AX.
Well, it was Saturday; they were closed for the weekend and there was a good chance that they would not be open on Monday, Dead Presidents Day. I sent them an email and continued to work the site until my stomach was in a Gordian knot of fear and panic. I went to bed depressed. How depressed? I didn’t even have a beer that night. I did have awful dreams that I did not recall, but that I had awful dreams. Not a lot of fun.
I went to the gym early the next day to put in laps, but it was a huge struggle to do my swim, as I kept thinking and thinking and thinking and lost count as to how many laps I had done and gulped down some stanky pool water and it was a royal bloody mess. I went back home to grab some more sleep, then I got up with the Sole Purpose of not looking at the hotel website. I did everything else, including watching some wretched Hallmark movie about two people who eventually fall in love, despite the people around them who disapproved of it all and stuff like that.
However, for a person who wrestled “Peach Girl” to the ground, I just could not let it go, so I tackled the site again. My problem: the few hotels that somehow had rooms open up were not that cherry (two-star, unhappy face icon) and the ones with something more were something more (more expensive, farther out, smaller rooms). Oddly enough, the Biltmore opened up. As I tried to grab it, it was grabbed from me again. What the crap-a-doodle gives with this website? Do I have to make a burnt offering to the Hotel Gods? One that came up was the Westin Bonaventure. Now, this building was blown up in “Escape from LA” and used in “True Lies”. I had initially resisted it, as it was a bit tonier than I had imagined, but it did have a block of four days and I somehow managed to get it, although I am paying about $200 more for it than if it was the Omni or the Biltmore (that is their parking fees.)
Now, it is a four-star hotel, so that part of the wife’s desires is covered. It is slightly closer to the location (1.15 miles to AX; Omni is 1.44 and is four blocks away from us, while the Biltmore is 1.08 and three blocks away), but is closer to the 110 Freeway. Well, with that tribulation calmed, I could take a small break, but the fight still continues. I was curious as to why it appeared on this day, but wasn’t available the day before. Then came the awful, horrible idea: ride the tide. See if rooms come available and then put in a cancellation. Perhaps someone else had done that as well, thus my lucky break. OK, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but always see if you can trade up. However, the Bonaventure is a stop, so that is nice, and since it is not a share route (I don’t have to make three or four other stops before I get to my place), it is as close to an Express Bus one can find in Lost Angels and for the Expo.
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