The Daily Grind: Ms. Quartey Goes to Tampa

Tampa is a vibrant and very diverse city that really seems alight with anticipation. There is sense that something big is always lurking around the corner. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I reside in a hotel four minutes away from where Governor Mitt Romney will be delivering his acceptance speech for the Presidential nomination. But I digress.

The first thing one notices about Tampa is the heat. Sweltering heat that suffocates you. Not to mention the ridiculously random bouts of thunder storms. My advice: Umbrellas and water whenever you visit this city. And if you value your Tahari loafers, never wear them considering the fact that the streets are made from brick. Believe me, I speak from experience.

The next thing one notices are all the interns and workers stalking the streets of downtown Ybor City. They are wearing credentials (and
Brooks Brothers, lots of it) and looking very serious on their smart phones. Basically, the young Republicans have invaded Tampa with a vengeance. Much to the chagrin of local residents.

While my roommate and I was relaxing after a long day of guest speakers in the pool, small group (discussions about Presidential conventions with professors, former congressmen and academics), we came across a local University of Tampa student who was none too happy about the convention.

Despite the convention clearly being good for local businesses and there, and there are a lot of them, it does come with its drawbacks.

The UT co-ed vented about everything from congested traffic, to noise and especially the conflict of having to get up earlier on her route to campus due to blocked off roads. Suffice to say she, while not seeming particularly political either way, was clearly bored and frustrated with the whole prospect of the Republican National Convention.

So far, I have not had much interaction with members of the media, with the exception of local camera crew, and NBC interns. It seems most of the media will be arriving on Monday, August 27th. And as a floor runner for CNN this convention, it seems like a have a lot to look forward to.

Coming up next, the Tampa Bay forum, a former congressman shares interesting thoughts on Newt Gingrich’s influence over politics and lunch with former CNN journalist and Emmy Award winner Aaron Brown.

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