We returned to the room and packed up, then headed for the lobby where we waited a surprising amount of time for the bellhop to check our bags behind the desk. (The actual process of checking bags consisted of strapping a tag on and handing us a stub, and took perhas 30 seconds. The wait was for the bellhop and a manager to run back and forth, disappearing, bringing out luggage carts for no apparent reason, putting luggage carts away again, and before finally checking bags for the dozen people waiting to do so.)
We never had been able to reach queenofstripes on her cell phone, but while we waited, we noticed that she and postrodent were in front of the doors talking to various other people, including (but not limited to) indicoyote, bard_bloom, beetiger, projectmothra and lediva. shaterri and Jeff (Jeff, man, don't you have an LJ like everyone else?) joined them soon afterwards, so it looked like our lunch plans would go off at something very nearly like on time.
And so it did -- we left the hotel at about 12:30, but with a larger than expected group: I'd known about seven people from yesterday, but we hit the sidewalk with 16 (including one toddler).
Shaterri had, bless his foxtaur heart, actually made reservations beforehand, but for ten people. "I was trying to be conservative," he said, "but I wasn't conservative enough. I was Rush Limbaugh and I needed to be Ann Coulter." He called the restaurant as we were walking out, and revised the reservations to 15 + one toddler needing a high chair.
The dim sum group included (let's see if I can remember everyone):
Jeff (no LJ?)
Aaron (no LJ? Maybe this will make Jeff less lonely)
Meep (meepkitty, possibly?)
Sarah (? There was another tall dark-haired woman but I'm not sure I caught her name in the first place and no idea if I'm remembering it correctly if I did)
And one other man whose name I don't recall. (Sorry, person whose name I don't remember!)
We fell into groups as we walked, with Shaterri, Jeff, and John in front, Beetiger, Bard, Rhys, and Peregrine in the middle, and the rest straggling along behind. After a bit, I fell back from John's side to talk to Bard while we walked, and found out how the game had gone after I left (a bit chaotic, but almost all the players had a good time). We were all rather sorry about the lack of a real gaming track at the con. I'd heard this was due to the hotel and the lack of available convention space. I certainly hope that's the case, and that next year when the con moves to the Pittsburgh convention center they have enough room to provide real amounts of gaming space. (One room with three tables is just pitiful for a convention with 2000+ geeks.)
Between fitting in a nice conversation with Peregrine on Saturday, and one with Bard on Sunday, I was actually rather glad for the walk to the Chinese restaurant, as it allowed some quiet time that hadn't been available at the con itself.
At the restaurant, there was some fussing around with the tables. They very nearly managed to squeeze all of us around one extra-large table, but there wasn't quite enough room. So we wound up with two smaller round tables and a square one joining the two, like a cartoon dumbbell. John and I sat at the square table in the middle, with Aaron and Meep seated across from us and Rik nearby at one of the round tables. We spent most of the meal conversing with the three of them, and occassionally catching snatches of other conversations being held at the round tables. Rik told me about a picture he'd done of BarbX, which has the nice black-and-green effect I wanted in mine, and also has the distinct advantage of being detailed and rendered in that way that I just can't capture with a drawing. I badgered him to show me a copy when we got back home -- and as you can see, he did. :)
The food was, once again, excellent. One of the advantages of going with 16 people was that pretty much anything you grabbed from a cart floating past would be consumed by some people at the table, if not necessarily you. (Although none of us took pressed the issue by taking one of the dishes of tripe ("I can't beleieve you're swallowing this tripe!") or chicken feet.) So I got to try the cubes of coconut jello that I'd been curious about (and were surprisingly tasty, we wound up getting a few more dishes after the first one was devoured.) The lotus seed steamed buns were the one rare spawn of the meal, with only three or four total managing to make it to the table, but I got half of one and was happy. :) During lunch, I checked my flight schedule and discovered that the flight that I thought would leave around 5PM wasn't actually leaving until 6:20. I was delighted by the prospect of an extra hour at the con, and relieved that I wouldn't have to dash to the airport as soon as we got back to the hotel.
Of course, the most remarkable thing about lunch was how smoothly it went: we were seated before 1PM and back at the hotel before 3:00PM. As we were winding down to the desserts, we gave Shaterri an ovation for his superb choice of restaurants and l33t planning skillz in pulling it off.
After lunch, the group split in two. Shaterri wanted to walk down a different block to get back, just to see a little more of the city, and John, Jeff and I went with him. We were walking quickly and might've made it back before the main group, had we not found a fountain that John recognized from a video game he'd played. We stopped there and stood a while on the misty side of it to cool off.
John and I parted company with Jeff and Shaterri shortly before we got to the hotel, as Shaterri wanted to take another detour to hit an ATM. Back at the hotel, we found Kincaid, Indi Coyote, and Rik seated outside, and without too much effort we coaxed them to come inside for the air conditioning. We then looked for a seat in the lobby and nearly evicted by accident a young lady who'd stepped away from her table (and her lunch) for a moment.
Giving up on the lobby, we went upstairs and looked for an empty panel room. We wound up in the same room that had hosted Capsule the night before. It looked vastly different with the lights on and no inflatable chairs. shatterstripes joined us there, and we gathered around the panelist table at the front so we'd have a place to draw. John had Kidd Wolf's sketchbook, but couldn't think of a drawing in-theme for it at first. We all offered various suggestions, and he finally drew something that was very, horribly, wrong. It made everyone wince and/or laugh.
Peggy showed off her sketchbook, which included one particular sketch that stood out in my mind -- a concept drawing of "what it would look like if Ursula Vernon drew porn". A wombat, a hooded person, and a goldfish in a plastic bag were involved, of course. O_o
I took Kincaid's sketchbook and tried (and failed) to draw another picture in it. Peggy drew a picture of Kinshasa in John's sketchbook; what I saw of it looked neat, but I didn't have a chance to see it finished. I gave up on drawing for the day and did a herringbone braid in Kincaid's hair instead (she has lovely hair, which deserves better than being stuck in a ponytail all day. So does Rik's, for that matter.)
Around 4PM, shaterri and Jeff showed up to say goodbye; we all had flights leaving between 6:00 and 6:20PM, so we all planned to catch the same shuttle to the airport. I got my bags and had them loaded on the shuttle, then stood outside it, hugging John, for some minutes while the shuttle loaded more passengers. At length it was full and I had to climb in. I remember leaning out the window to give John one last kiss before the driver got in and we left.
It's always hard to say goodbye.
So that was Anthrocon for me. Hey, I actually finished my whole con writeup! Wow. Had a great time, met many very cool people, and even got a chance to talk to some of them. :)
* I understand it went to auction and finally sold for $350.