I’m here now. Getting on the light rail and taking it to the Nicollet Mall stop was easy enough. Then I got off, looked around for my hotel, and didn’t see it. Or any useful street signs, or anything like that. Most people were walking in one direction, so I followed them; after a bit, I discovered that the street that I was walking along was, in fact, Nicollet Mall. (Until then, it hadn’t been clear to me that Nicollet Mall was, in fact a street name; maybe next time I travel to an unknown city, I should bring along a map?) And that my hotel was about 10 blocks away.

A bit depressing, really – this is a city downtown at around 7pm, yet the streets are relatively empty and the stores are closed? The one bright sign was a group of people carrying some sort of boombox, with a banner of some sort; when I got closer, it turned out that the banner read “Brains”, and as far as I could tell they were wearing some sort of zombie makeup. Pleasantly bizarre. As I got closer to the hotel, things picked up a bit, and in fact there were quite a bit of people in some areas (and restaurants with reasonably full outdoor seating). Still, I remain unimpressed – so far, downtown Mountain View wins over downtown Minneapolis hands-down. But doubtless other areas of the city are more interesting.

Aftter a bit (short blocks, yay), I made it to the hotel. Whose exterior is pretty ugly. Got to my room reasonably promptly; looked pleasant enough. Having my priorities in order, I look for the promised “high-speed internet”. No jacks apparent, so I turn on the computer: a “Hyatt” wi-fi connection appears. Yay. So I try to ssh home, which seems to take a while. While that’s going on, I open up my web browser and click on a link; up pops a screen asking me to pay ten bucks. Gee, guys, maybe you should have mentioned that aspect on your website? Or am I just naive? (Rhetorical question, I know the answer.)

On my way out, I notice something with a description of their services. And it does mention “Wireless high-speed internet service”, at $10/day, followed by “This is not your typical hotel story. This is the Hyatt Touch.” Personally, I would just as soon not have hotels touch me in that particular way. Next to it were one-liter bottles of water for four dollars; another aspect of the Hyatt Touch, I suppose. (The tap water tastes fine to me; I trust they won’t bill me for drinking that.)

I did give in and pay; adding insult to injury, the connection speeds are crap. Oh well; at least it exists. When I was in Stratford last month, the bed and breakfast didn’t have an internet connection at all. But they were a ton friendlier, and I spent a lot less than ten bucks at the local coffee shop which did have one. Which may end up being the solution I ultimately adopt here; we shall see.

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