Tuesday, August 26, 2008

DNC in Denver -- Day One


Arriving at the Columbus airport at 4:00 A.M. on Sunday, August 24, I embarked for Denver, Colorado, to attend the Democratic National Convention as a "super-delegate" from Ohio -- my last hurrah as an ODP official. My niece, Sarah, a senior at Ohio State, is my traveling companion.

We had a good flight -- a great United Airlines representative changed our all-day, three connection itinerary that included Tulsa, OK, to a quick one-stop in Chicago that got us to Denver mid-morning. Nice airport.

I was surprised that so much of the area surrounding Denver is farm/ranch land. No development until your close to the City. What really captures your attention are those mountains on the western horizon.

The scene at the Curtis Hotel was chaos -- small lobby jammed with Ohioans trying to check in to rooms not yet available. We waited it out people watching and eating the free popcorn.

First on our list after getting into a room was a walk. The 16th street mall is one block over from our hotel. A pedestrian retail corridor with free shuttle that makes a constant loop up and down the corridor. We opted for shank's mare instead of the shuttle and headed for the Capitol building.

Buskers, DNC decorations, and retail, retail, retail. A small parade of demonstrators and lots of police all along the way. And then, at the capitol, what passes these days for a street demonstration. Demonstrators have erected a "tent city" near the open air civic center across from the capitol and the population is multi-issue ranging from the Green Party to the Fulon Dong.

Denver police and those from surrounding communities have pulled out every crowd/riot/terrorist control equipment item they have -- and that's a lot. Some they had, the rest they bought with a multi-million grant from the DNC organizers to defray the cost of convention security.

With shouts of "whose street, our street" fading, we headed further south to enjoy what we were told was the best authentic Mexican food in town. A couple of miles later, passing bunches of purples sage along the way, we arrived -- starving, thirsty, footsore -- and saw the sign that told us the place was closed for a private event. We settled for burritos from QDoba's and took a bus back to 16th street.

Now it was time for the big event of the day -- a concert at the Red Rocks outdoor amphitheatre with the Dave Mathews Band and Sheryl Crow on the bill. We never made it. Once we sat down, we couldn't get back up.

Photos also posted.

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