Thursday, April 29, 2010

Travel and Karma

I'm waiting for my flight back to PHL from SeaTac after a week in Seattle-Vancouver-Olympia and feel compelled to share the benefits of a week of good karma.

As I learned during a forced layover in Rouen several years ago the travel gods kneecap your best laid plans for a reason. In this instance last minute changes resulted in my 'discovering' the Chucknaut Drive in northwest Washington, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Mallard Ice Cream in Bellingham, the Sunset Inn in Vancouver's Davie Village, Milestones Restaurant in Kitsilano, the Cedarbrook Lodge, and the best meal of the trip - homemade (literally!) pasta with asparagus, fennel, and red onions by none other than Chef Daniel Lipson (husband of noneother than Penn's own Michelle Seelig) who moonlights daytimes as a Physician Assistant at Group Health Puget Sound. If there were ever an argument for slow travel, this trip was it. Get off the interstate peeps!

I was in Vancouver for the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine. As is true of all good meetings I learned more than I thought possible and benefitted repeatedly from serendipity.

For example I would never have planned 20 minutes in a private informal discussion with Jerome Kassirer, emeritus editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, but that's what happened when he chanced upon me in an out of the way spot we both discovered while waiting for his talk. Was he hoping to nap too? And what a talk! His slides aren't up yet but here's a podcast of his thoughts on industry-medicine relationships. Standing ovation from a full house. At 4:30 in the afternoon! Be still my heart.

The mantra of business travelers is free (fast) wifi and breakfast, but Cedarbrook Lodge (right at SeaTac!) provides the fast free wifi, breakfast of charcuterie, hard boiled eggs, outstanding coffee, oatmeal, juices, bagel, croissant, cheese, yogurt, artisinal bread, in the room you see here. The view out the floor to ceiling windows is even better. Great rates through online booking sites. If you have an early flight out of SeaTac you *can't* stay anyplace else. Did I mention the free all you can eat malted chocolate balls in three different flavors (mint, chocolate, and butterscotch)? Inconceivable!

I met some great new folk, caught up with old friends (Congratulations Mike R.), and remain impressed that our specialty is attracting some enthusiastic and energetic young talent like our own Mario DeMarco who talked about experiential learning in residency properwise. The man haz powerpoint skillz.

And who could ask for more than a dropped ball in the 11th to seal a passable if not winning road trip for the Phillies?

Glad to be coming home. The gate agent is calling...