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July 29, 2004


Germany! I was going to post something yesterday, but it was going to be all grumpiness: here I am in Germany, blah blah blah, I'm at this meeting, blah blah blah. Jet lag, polite conversation, reinforcement that I don't want to re-enter scientific academia. Blah, blah, blah.

Then, today, I took the morning off. I walked to the Old Town. I loved it.

Back up: I'm in Bremen, Germany, which is in the northwest. It's summer, supposedly, but it was raining when we arrived, and now it's not raining but it's not particularly sunny either, but it's quite pleasant. Outside. Somehow inside, everywhere it seems, is hot and stuffy. I'm here for a meeting of Antarctic science, and presented a poster yesterday on some of the work I've done on Mt. Erebus. Presented should just mean that I stood next to a poster explaining the results of our research, but I didn't even stand next to it most of the time (there are just rows of posters, no big to-do). We have done some fun stuff, like last night there was a reception at the science museum here which is much like the Seattle Science Center or San Francisco's Exploratorium, and they gave us the run of the place, with free beer and pretzels besides. I've been too jet-lagged to drink much beer, and they were out of pretzels by the time I was done playing (I know, most people my age would say I've got my priorities wrong), so after the earthquake simulator and the womb with a view (Mike Willis' terminology) and the Alice in Wonderland table, I just had a glass of orange juice. It was quite drinkable, even--I expected it to be bubbly, like all of the water here. I don't like bubbly.

So, despite the fun stuff, I have still been quite grumpy. And then I took the morning off, which allowed for some key bonuses: time to myself, time walking around and being outside rather than sitting in a lecture hall, and time to check out the town. The Old Town. Which happens to be incredible. Narrow cobbled streets leading to a broad cobbled square surrounded by old, ornate buildings, one of which was a cathedral which I spent some time wandering around in. Before I even reached the square, I was greeted by the sounds of very fine brass music, which turned out to be played by five men in suits--two saxaphones, two trombones, and one trumpet--collecting money for (I think) a philharmonic. They played recognizeable tunes very well, and I was delighted. Enamored. Enthralled. After several numbers, though (after Ave Maria, to be exact), I moved on because due to a somewhat extened morning nap I didn't have much time to explore. I figured their music would carry to the square, and that I'd still be able to enjoy it there, but the air in the square was dominated by the music from an accordian player. And then, after my stroll through the cathedral, the tight, fascinating little alley lined with shops and cafes and an art museum was decorated by the sounds of another accordian player accompanying a violenist. By the time I hurriedly walked out of the Old Town on my way back to the meeting, less than an hour after I'd arrived, the philharmonic was replaced by three men in ornate yellow robes playing some sort of central Asian stringed instruments and (throat?) singing.

And, I saw a chocaletiere (sp??). So I'll have to go back.

Tonight, there's a conference dinner in the Old Town, at the Ratskeller which is
(I think) an old beer celler. The dinner's booked, and I wasn't early enough on registration to get a ticket, but I'm still hoping to end up inside. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Posted by beth at July 29, 2004 3:12 AM


Sounds like a fun time to me. Good for you for taking some time for yourself.

Posted by: mz. em at July 29, 2004 1:44 PM

Schnapps. But I am sure that you thought of this. Bier can be filling.So let me get this straight. When grade school and high school teachers assign posters they are doing so with the knowldge that this is how grown up scientists communicate? Have you ever by chance walked passed a literature convention? Do they use posters or shoe boxes?

Have fun in Deutchland.

Posted by: gary collins at July 29, 2004 2:28 PM

Really missed hearing about you travels. I have always wanted to go to Germany and you have put me there with your descriptions.
Miss seeing you and Molly would LOVE to see you also. Hope you get our way sometime soon.

Love ya,

Posted by: Linda Collins at July 30, 2004 2:36 AM