Lonely Planet Blog Awards: Free books, beer, and condoms

Mi media mandarina (english: my better half) got wind of a Catalan travel blogger who had been nominated for best non-English blog at the Lonely Planet Labs 2009 Travel Blogger Awards. He had done well prior to the finals and we had a good feeling he would win. I won’t try and build any suspense with this to say that he won the category but didn’t win the overall prize. That prize went to Two Guys Around the World who are essentially two American guys blogging about traveling around the world for a year and now that they are halfway through, used up pretty much all of their money and are complaining about how “Europe is gonna suck” (they’re still in Asia) due to the higher costs. I’m not overly swooned to have too much sympathy for them.
Anyways, this being the first event, Lonely Planet did a quite stellar job handing out the freebies. There were LP shot glasses, piles of guidebooks, LP condoms, Jelly Bellies in the shot glasses, more Pabst beer than you could ever want, an open bar, an open buffet, LP bookmarks, and probably a number of other things that I’m forgetting. They didn’t waste any time once they started and blasted through all the awards. What the awards lacked in grace, they made up for in efficiency and throwing together a good time.
In theory they’ll be doing this again next year. I’m sure it will be a bigger to-do, although who knows. Obviously some things might be improved upon as the grand prize “trophy” was four travel guides glued together as a box with a beer can spray painted gold and set on top. I kid you not. Obviously technical items were a bit hit and miss, but the only really big issues was that it was in the basement room of Pete’s Tavern. Holy hell that room gets hot. But that aside, as I can just sit there and take the heat if I don’t have to be social (which was tricky at this as I had to be social), there was no mobile reception. That was a big problem as it kicked Twitter out of the equation and let’s face it, Twitter is the shizacklenasty for these things in SF. Because of that, #1 Fan had to run outside to send twits as they happened. Naturally this then happened when the blog award for Marc, the wandering Catalan man came up and I pretty much ended up dumbassing out and not taking a photo of the screen when he was announced as the winner. Sure, I can try to go Spanish and blame the heat, the wine, or general lethargy from getting up too early this morning, but in the end, I have obviously set back my Catalan In Training program by several months that will require a lot of lot of penance in my adopted country this summer (I’ll probably be on grilling duty for lunch). A Catalunya i als catalans, ho sento. Sóc un cap gros i un tros de quòniam.
Beyond all of the awards and the freebies, it was interesting to see a cross section of the travel writing community in San Francisco. Be my reckoning, it’s half hipster types, half business types, and some other percentage this guy who is at every free event I mosey on down to. It was just a shame for the heat in the room as it made it tough for a lot of folks to be social it seemed and everyone kinda split after the awards were over. Oh well, there will always be next year.
Oh, if you want to see what meager live action there was on Twitter, dig in.
Also, this photo by #1 Fan of the the fellow organizing the whole thing is quite frankly, genius.
Lonely Planet Blog Awards: Free books, beer, and condoms