Westward Ho! — There’s More to Denver Than Peyton Manning
By: Chuck Benjamin, Education Coordinator, APPL
Now that I’ve been with APPL for about two and a half years, the learning curve has become more of a learning bump. To use a dubious metaphor, I’m no longer dipping my toe in the learning waters. I’m about thigh high now. I recently attended the American Society for Training and Development (ASTD) Conference in Denver to see if could get in all the way to my waist.
First of all, let me say that I like Denver. It’s large enough to have all those big-city amenities, but small enough to handle. (Granted, at the convention, I didn’t have a car so I was relegated to about a 10 to 15 block area, but this is my blog entry so I’m sticking to my assessment.) I liked how the blocks are relatively short, making my daily
post-convention sightseeing rather painless. I liked how clean and “green” the city seemed. But most of all, I liked its sense of originality, its sense of being a tad off-kilter.
The convention center itself features a humongous (that’s about the only word that can describe it), 40-foot tall blue bear peering in the center’s front windows, keeping watch over convention attendees. After dark, as I ambled around my “area,” hideous, pre-recorded roars emanated from the sidewalk grates as I walked over them, making me wonder what sort of ghastly ogre was being held in the Denver underworld, struggling to break free and terrorize the city. Looking down from my hotel window, I could see the theater district extending several blocks—it resembled something of a long, tube, protected by a tinted, glass cover. The 16th Street Mall, a stone’s throw from my hotel, offered a slew of shops and restaurants from the hip to the more traditional accessible by light rail (as a bookworm, my favorite was the Tattered Cover Book Store, a sprawling, independent seller with plenty of cozy nooks and crannies that included overstuffed, antique chairs and ambient lighting, perfect for hunkering with an actual book in your hands).
The quirkiness also permeated, the Curtis, my hotel—a funky little place just a couple blocks from the convention center. Flowery, day-glo starbursts whimsically adorned the knotty-pine walls behind the reception desk while racks of toys and board games lined the lobby. And each floor of the hotel had a theme—from science fiction to one-hit wonders to famous dancers and more. The 14th floor, where I stayed, had a vintage TV theme (well, some of the “vintage” was more recent). Each time I reached my floor and the elevator doors slid open, Fred Flintstone’s voice greeted me with a “Yabba Dabba Do!” Photos of the casts of Gilligan’s Island, Cheers, Seinfeld, Friends, and others adorned the hallways. A framed photo of Johnny Carson stared back at me as I worked on my laptop at the desk. But the piece de résistance, the apex of their kookiness, was the Dudley Do-Right bobble head doll perched above the toilet. Of course, the offbeat decor rubbed off on me, upping my goofy quotient, as I greeted my little bathroom buddy with a “Goooood Morning, Dudley” each morning before starting my day.
Yup, Denver’s pretty cool. And this is without taking an amazing convention into account!
Next week: On to the convention