|This is an essay in
French, written as a beginner's exercise. You're reading the English version
of that article. See also: French
version. (en français)
May of 2001, Vicky and I went on a 7-day trip across three states: Ohio, New
York and New Jersey.
We first drove from Brockport, NY to Cleveland, Ohio to attend a
quarterly Intel conference. Then, we visited our our friend Renée,
her mother Solange (originally from France) and her stepfather
Eric (originally from Manchester, UK). They are all very nice (and fun)
people. We stayed for 2 nights, at the Red Roof Inn.
We then went on to New Jersey, where we attended a 2-day regional
conference and training, organized by The ASCII Group (an IT industry
guild). This time, we stayed at the Hilton, where the events
are being held. Needless to say, the luxury and spaciousness were in stark
contrast to the low-price accommodation we had back in Cleveland. At the
conclusion of the conference, we took the opportunity to visit 3 of our long
time suppliers in the area. New Jersey (like New York and California) is
full of computer distributors.
That was the end of our business engagement. We spent the rest of the
trip in New York City for sightseeing. We decided to stay in New Jersey
because hotels are more expensive in NYC. We moved from the Hilton to the more affordable
AmeriSuites (one of my favorite chains over the years) in Secaucus, NJ,
with easy access to the tunnel to enter NYC.
By now, you might be wondering: Why the mysterious title with a
turns out that the quickest way from Cleveland to NY/NJ metro area is via
I-80, which cuts through the heart of Pennsylvania. Because we departed Ohio
after dinner, we couldn't drive straight through to New Jersey. The closest
thing to a city along the way was Dubois, which is still
considered "middle of nowhere" by most standards. We arrived at the office
of this privately owned motel late at night.
After repeated ringing, the proprietor of the inn, a friendly and helpful
Indian gentleman, finally came to unlock the office door―in pajamas! He had
apparently retired for the night ―presumably
a standard practice. We immediately realized that there were really no
practical justifications for an on-duty person around the clock. Since we
were only accustomed to operations of the chain hotels/motels―up until that
point, it still struck us as an odd experience. And it didn't end there. We
discovered that the properties were kept in excellent conditions, and superb
cleanliness, with many obvious renovations. But there were still various
fixtures from an unfamiliar era remaining. Our juvenile inner selves emerged.
We were constantly exchanging looks of puzzlement, smirks, snickers, and
Incidentally, we have a friend Melissia with Dubois as her
surname. Her mother Wendy is from England and is a good friend of Vicky and
Years later, we still occasionally talk about that unusual experience―the
night at Dubois.