I woke up about 3 a.m. wondering who was taking pictures in my room. Took a while to realize the source... the fire alarm. So I rolled over and went back to sleep. As Marisa mentions below, we were in Biloxi, where everything is not as it was given the scouring Katrina gave this gambling town. I felt the alarm, like everything else here, was broken and merely protesting the crime of nature committed against it.
We arrived after dark. It's a weird scene. The high-rise hotels blaze like space shuttles on launch pads and give the false impression they're fine. They're not. In fact, most aren't even open.
Given all the ruin you can see in the photos Marisa took from outside her hotel room window, you wonder how the hotel escaped. As you check-in, you realize it didn't. All the carpet of the ground floors is gone and we roll our bags across the cement slab. In some areas the walls and cement are cracked or holed. But once you board the elevator and head to the room it's as if nothing has happened at all.
Dinner is served in a large conference room. It's 10 bucks and a buffet. Good food, filling food, not great food. But given nothing else is open anywhere near, that bumps it up to some of the finest food around. There's a bar at the opposite end. The only way you know that is a guy standing behind a plastic counter. Domestic beer is $2, imports $3. It's not too busy.
There are lots of folks staying here and none are on vacation. Contractors mostly, laborers and emergency personnel. In the lobby, the sounding of heavy equipment at work pounds late into the night. It will be like this for a long time to come. These days in Biloxi it's about the only thing you can bet on.