|My Name is Earl. My hotel's outdoor swimming pool|
Having discovered yesterday that my hotel wasn't far from a poor neighbourhood, blighted by crime and muggings, I'd seriously considered changing hotels, but after passing the time of day with Mike, the hotel's general manager, I decided to stay put and called the travel company to tell them. The manager was from Hyderabad originally and he was, for want of a better description, a kind of 'mobile' manager, a troubleshooter, brought in when needed. He'd lived in the UK for a while, in Hounslow, and has lived all over the place managing different hotels. He was last in the San Francisco area (Oakland) where his family still live and now he lives here in the hotel (a temporary measure) and I'd imagine he'll eventually bring his family with him, although his daughter's going to start university in Indianapolis as it has a good reputation, apparently. So he and I got chatting, we've even talked of going into town to try an Indian restaurant that he recommends. And it was based on chatting to him that I decided to stay put rather than uproot myself and cause untold problems for the travel company by moving to another hotel.
Being here on the outskirts of town, however, has taught me a lesson: book early to avoid disappointment.
|The corridor of my hotel...|
|Locally brewed Triton Dead Eye Stout.|
Indianapolis on a Sunday has to be discussed as it's a similar picture in many American cities I've visited – there's nobody about, no traffic on the roads, nothing and, as always, I get this strange sensation that nothing is real, that behind the facades, the buildings are little more than film sets, propped up by splintered pieces of wood. Quite incredible really. It was as if I had built a city and invited a few friends to drop by and enjoy the facilities before I populated it – "come and drive around an empty city!" – and a handful of them had taken me up on my offer. Very strange. Having said all that, Indianapolis will come alive today as there's a convention for the rest of the week, meaning many delegates will crowd yesterday's empty malls and pack into the virtually deserted sports bars and restaurants. The streets will enjoy more cars and perhaps the place will look a little more like a city. But once the convention packs up, the city will go back to its sleepy state again and others will wonder whether it's all a facade and that really there's nothing there at all, just scrubland and tumbleweed. Perhaps that's it, perhaps I'm in some kind of weird sci fi movie in a city that doesn't really exist?
As I've mentioned before, Indianapolis has a bike share scheme and I stumbled across the bright yellow bikes and considered a ride, but didn't bother. I will do later in the week, though, after the convention as a 24-hour pass only costs $8.
I took a cab back to the hotel and hit the sack, missing dinner in the process. Dinner, of course, would have meant another trip downtown, another $20 cab fare and then another coming back again, so that prospect didn't appeal and besides, I fell asleep as soon as I hit the bed. It's called jet lag.
Today will be busy as there's stuff to do, I'll probably have dinner in town and then head back here and the process will repeat itself for the rest of this week until I fly back to Chicago and then to London, returning home early on Saturday morning.