Sunday, November 21, 2004

The Westin Bonaventure

This is the closest I’ll ever come to living in a space station.

Thanks to Priceline.com I’m spending my last two days in L.A. at the lovely Bonaventure hotel in downtown L.A. and the place is cool and terrifying and bizarre and comfy.

First of all, it’s in downtown Los Angeles, which is pretty much a ghost town from 5pm Fridays to 9am Mondays. You drive through abandoned streets and then turn mid-block right into the building, as if you’re pulling off a docking procedure. The parking ramp takes you down to the valet area, you get out of your car, and you don’t set foot outside until you check out.

The first four floors of the hotel are in an open-air atrium and contain a shopping mall with clothing, jewelry, and specialty stores, along with a food court, health club, and I’m sure there’s a movie theater around here somewhere. Each level winds around the four main towers, you can look up or down at the other levels, and it’s a like a larger version of the Deep Space 9 promenade.

When you take the glass elevator to your floor you climb through the atrium gaining enough speed to burst through the glass ceiling a la Wonka’s chocolate factory, then you scale the outside of the building looking out onto the vastness of L.A. as you ascend to your floor.

It almost feels that if I stepped outside, my body would depressurize.

My room is small (not a lot of room on space stations) but it’s comfy, with luxury amenities crammed into every corner, and there’s a t.v. with cable stations feeding me the latest news from Earth.

I better check the weather channel, my flight leaves tomorrow and I hope my reentry isn’t delayed.

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