I've been in Boston for a few days now and there's so much to tell, which means I'll forget most of it! Anyhow, it's Tuesday evening here, and my birthday! I'm planning to take myself out for a quiet dinner soon then have an early night. I must be getting old! There's an added level of loneliness to walking around a strange town full of strange people on your birthday because not only do you want someone to say hi or to have a coffee with, but you want it more because it's your birthday and, damn it, someone should be making a fuss. Maybe that's just me... Anyhow, thanks for all the lovely messages and emails from home. I really appreciate them all :) Especially W&I who sent me a veritable theatre production of photos celebrating ,y birthday, including banners, costume changes AND a decorated cake! I'm a lucky Jac. So no moping about being miserable! (although I may have a nap)
Boston is a pretty cool city so far. I arrived late Sunday afternoon. I didn't have that immediate connection that I felt with Portland, but I still really like it. Clearly I'm here at the best time of year, since I'm not knee deep in snow, but even though they say it is warn I've been freezing my butt off ever since I arrived. My hotel AC seems to be in Kelvin, and has no off switch, and the conference facilities are like a meat storage facility! (in temperature only) I spend the last session yesterday with my teeth chattering, and trying to wrap my knees up in the tablecloth! I was even wearing jeans and a jumper!
It took 6 hours to fly from San Antonio, with a brief stopover in Houston. Houston airport was pretty schmick but I have to say the Boston airport smelt like p**p. not so good when you've just hopped off the plane. But after the scary mad rush through fluoro lighted tunnels in the taxi we were flying through the tiny, windy Boston streets and I was getting into the groove. Taxi triple parked and dropped me at my hotel, where I spent a full 2 minutes before heading BACK out the door and straight into the heart of Chinatown :) I'm staying in the theatre district which is right on the edge of Chinatown....couldn't have picked a better spot.
Chinatown here spans about 4 small blocks, rather than one street, and is (of course) full of great looking places to eat, and wonderful supermarkets. I just wandered for ages, reading menus and buying packets of tea, until I came across a Japanese place that looked good and had some of my favorite dishes on the menu. So, I bit the bullet and decided to do the full dining alone thing. I guess I could have gone to one of the packed Vietnamese places where no one would really have noticed me eating alone, but I took the near empty Japanese place instead. It was fine though because while I was there several other people also came in to eat alone. Maybe because it is dark and quiet. I'm not sure, but I enjoyed it. I ordered Agedashi-tofu (fried soft tofu squares in a light broth with ginger) as an entree then had the Yosenobe (thrown-together pot) for main. Both were excellent and the yosenobe was full of all sorts of beautiful seafood, tofu and vegetables as well as deliciously chewy udon. The octopus was exceptional, and everything was well prepared and organised perfectly in the dish, not chaotic, but so that you could gradually move through the different tastes and textures. Similarly, the tofu was gorgeous and crispy on the outside (but not to greasy) and meltingly soft in the middle. Now, it wasn't Earnest Bean tassie made tofu, so it'll never come close to Mitsuno's food, but it was a good second. I have temporarily forgotten the name of the place but I'm thinking of going again tonight to try something else, so I'll blog it later.
The meeting was good. A little scarier than the big conferences in terms of meeting people, partly because it was a small group (50-100) but also because there were mostly commercial groups represented, rather than academic facilities, which meant lots of suits! But I did managed to meet a lovely lass within the first hour. She's German but doing a postdoc in Sydney! Typical. But we hit it off and spent the rest of the meeting hanging out, which made it much more enjoyable. I'm impressed that an Australian group sent someone all the way here just for a user's group meeting!
The 'cocktail party' of the meeting was last night. When did "cocktail" come to mean beer and wine? I haven't been to a real conference cocktail mixer since 2000! Aussie/German girl and I made friends with another boy from Canada (us postdocs got to stick together) and convinced him to join us for dinner since he was also there on his own. We found a little (italian? fusion? confused?) place that turned out not to be too great, but it was still fun and their bread was delicious! I had garlic clam pasta which was pretty good.
And now, after all this talk of food, I've worked up quite an appetite so I think I'll head back into Chinatown and see what I can find. I haven't had a glass of champagne since I arrived in the US so I'll have to see if I can find one! I'll post part two of my Boston Adventures soon!
(PS. Blogger doesn't want to play the photo game at the moment, so pics coming soon)
4 months ago