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All good things come to an end. And after the World Fantasy Awards, World Fantasy Con starts to feel like at the end of Dirty Dancing – the summer is over, everyone is packing up and saying goodbye and heading home. There’s the final photos taken of the winners and the final congratulations and then everyone heads off, basically. Here’s one of the photos (via the Tor website), hopefully the Locus one does not feature me pulling my “Schoolmarm” face:

Important things about this photo. 1) I and Peter Beagle, on the far right, are the only winners, all the rest were acceptors. Heh. 2) Yes that’s me in a photo with my favourite SF author, Ted Chiang. Oh and there’s Neil Gaiman. Yes.

Also, Scott Edelman recorded the entire ceremony and uploaded it to Youtube. I recommend watching Connie Willis’ speech which is charming and hilarious. The Special Award Non Professional category is at the 35 minute mark, I believe.

Of course the “main bar” at the hotel was closed and so after the official photos, we headed to Charlie’s (the sportsbar) for final drinks. Our group kept on growing as we all had the last drinks, the last teasing of each other and the last moments of seeing friends in person. It was a lot of fun. There was a dalmatian statue lurking in the garden behind Jonathan. And in the foreground is my giant head! He was scaring Tessa so we had to face him away. I’m not sure what the puppy is going to make of it.

A bunch of us headed off for dinner at the Farmhouse Cafe, I believe it was called. French food. They had one vegetarian dish – mushroom ravioli which was delicious. I watched the others enjoy two different bottles of wine and various delicious desserts. I would have ordered the butterscotch mousse or whatever it was, had I remotely thought I could have eaten it. Instead I enjoyed watching Holly eat hers and she was most amused that I honestly wouldn’t try a bite. I just kept asking for detailed descriptions. And that’s how you can evaluate the Crohn’s.

We had much fun and lots of laughs and it was a lovely way to say goodbye to WFC. When we headed back, we couldn’t find many people in the bar so I headed to bed. I actually was really good about getting enough sleep this con. Didn’t help the Crohns but I must say, I much prefer not feeling like death warmed up constantly whilst trying to have meaningful conversations.

Jonathan, Charles, Ellen and I scraped in one final breakfast on Monday morning and then it really was the last goodbye. I packed and checked out. I wrapped Lovecraft in some bubble wrap and then my heavy coat and placed him in my suitcase and am still hoping for the best.

I hung out in the hotel lobby using my internet til my cousin came to pick me up noonish. And then we headed off to lunch to meet D and V for another last goodbye. So sad! We went to hang out in Normal Heights:

Specifically to check out this fabric store that is in an old movie cinema:

And to drink coffee in a coffee shop called Lestat’s. It’s a very funky neighbourhood and Lestat’s had the obligatory red velvet couches and so on. There were lots of tables with people working at them. Looked like a nice hangout to come and write. And there were lots of artworks all over the walls.

I ordered a coffee called the Hammer Head. I think that was supposed to mean it was very strong. It was two espresso shots, which is what I drink normally every morning as my first coffee. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with that but when I got back to the table, D told me I was then supposed to top that up with more coffee. I went back to do that – the thermoses of coffee ready made and sitting there, hot – and drank it. I’m officially giving up on coffee in America. I’m now declaring it “another beverage” and removing my expectations. But it was good to try. And we also split a very rich, very delicious cupcake – eaten too fast to photograph.

After we headed out the coffee shop, we found pups dressed up for Halloween. Not sure if I caught the fairy wings properly but – puppies as a lobster and a fairy!

And a cheongsam!

We had a wander around for a bit and V decided to grab Batwoman from this comic store after listening to Tansy on Galactic Suburbia. I checked out the New 52 in real life. And the comic store had a guinea pig, a chihuahua puppy and adults dressed up for Halloween.

And then? Then a bookstore. I bought books. I knew I was already overweight with my luggage and yet I bought more books.

From here V and D took me to the airport. I didn’t do very well from this point. I began to feel unwell in the car and was getting a bit anxious about the whole thing – the seating thing, the checking my baggage through to Perth, the luggage being overweight, the very long flight. V and D really kindly came in and I’m not sure I would have been sorted, had they not. My bag was overweight, we knew that. But Cathay allow two pieces, neither can be over 50 pounds. So D helped me pull apart my suitcase – I showed them the head – and we used my con bag to pack full of books, pull some of my stuff from carry on and then checked two pieces, no extra cost and checked through to Perth. Still to see how they arrive and whether TSA opened my case to look at the head.

That sorted, they held my bags and I used the bathroom. And then the very last and very saddest goodbye. I shall miss hanging out with them very much. D and I are very alike. And I think we formed a strong bond this trip. I hope to stay in contact with her for life now. What an outstanding extra from this WFC!

I went to go through security and encountered my very first XRay machine. I actually hadn’t seen one before and it took me a while to understand what the TSA dude wanted me to do. And when I realised, I immediately opted out. I guess I’d decided that some time ago when this was all on the internet because I didn’t think about it. I looked at this enormous machine and just went, “no the hell way.” And that meant I was a “lock out” and a female TSA guard had to come get me, pick all my stuff out of the security screening and take me to the side and then feel me up. I thought she was as professional as she could be. She told me what she was going to do before she did it and she did it efficiently and quickly. But she also touched me pretty much all over my body.

Then I sat and waited for the plane. And started shivering or shaking. It was quite unpleasant and I still don’t know if it was because I was cold or scared. It got worse when we had to stand on the tarmac waiting to be walked over to the plane and it basically lasted the whole plane ride. I had a low blood sugar moment during the next leg too. I will be so glad to finally be home.

I am writing this in the Hong Kong lounge, waiting for my last plane. I’ve run the errands I had to do here. I’ve showered and had a brief massage and tried to drink fluids. I do feel a bit better though I have a headcold. 7 hours here sounds like a drag but it’s also long enough to build energy to face more flying. I dunno though that I could say I enjoy these 33 – 36 hour hauls.

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  • By Thoraiya on 2 November 2011 at 5:00 pm

    What a fantastic dress!

    (Couldn’t see it properly in the video)

    Congrats again :)

  • By AlisaK on 6 November 2011 at 10:35 am

    Thank you!

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