San Diego reminds me of the idyllic Durban of my youth - though cleaner, less humid and with fewer Art Deco buildings than Durban! It's sunny, friendly and there are palms and bottle brush trees everywhere.
|Marriott Marquis & Marina Hotel, the conference venue|
The Marriott Marquis & Marina hotel, the venue of the RWA2016 conference, has to be seen to be believed. It makes our biggest South African hotels look boutique! With numerous restaurants, bars (and a Starbucks), swimming pools, 38 conference rooms (including 4 ballrooms), plus more than 20 floors of rooms, it's pretty impressive.
|Lobby at the conference centre|
The RWA conference has completely taken over the hotel. There are romance writers and romance novels everywhere - even on the room key cards and elevator doors!
|Marriott Elevator Doors|
|Romance on the front of the Marriott hotel|
I've had a lot of "OMG!" moments since I arrived, but probably the most surreal was when I was standing at Starbucks and in walked two officers in CHiPS uniforms. If you're old enough, you'll know what I'm talking about. They weren't as good looking as Erik Estrada and Larry Wilcox, but I'm pretty sure my jaw still dropped!
I took a long walk along the waterfront, to the picturesque but touristy Seaport Village, ogled the massive warship USS Midway which is now open to the public, ate very tasty tacos from a street kitchen overlooking the bay and generally soaked up the sights and sounds. San Diego is a lovely place, and I'd highly recommend it as a destination.
A big thank you to my fellow HI author Lynn Montagano for meeting me for coffee, even though by that stage I was in a zombie state and not entirely coherent. Thanks to the Harlequin authors who let me tag along to dinner. I feel so honoured to be surrounded by so many 'real' authors - I hope one day I'll grow up to be like them!
Today the conference gets underway with the Literacy book signing. After a few hours sleep at least I now know what day of the week it is. More on that tomorrow...