Sunday, January 11, 2009

International Echinoderm Conference - Tasmania

Well, that was an amazing week. So amazing I haven't had time to write... I'll try to reaccount my stories, but it will probably take a couple of posts.

I got up at the crack of dawn (Jan 4) to leave Melbourne, and as I was walking to the airport shuttle, there were three hot air balloons rising up over the city for a sunrise tour. That was the start to my amazing week.

I flew into Hobart, Tasmania and took the shuttle up to the university, and somehow managed to get into my room 3 hours early. So that allowed me to dump my bags and visit the city before registration. (nice room - apt style residence, 6 single bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a kitchen and living room, up on the hill with fantastic views of the city and water). I walked down to the city - this city is even hillier than Saint John! It's pretty much all mountains. - and watched a local group play the Taiko drums. Then the conference began. The sunday night reception was a chance to meet up with old friends and meet new ones. complete with local echinoderms in aquaria. We drank the wine, ate the munchies and chatted away. The night finished with dinner in Salamanca (which soon became our favourite place to eat and drink).
Monday was the first day of talks. Starting with a welcome from the state govenor. He didn't even know what an echinoderm was until he was invited to welcome us at this conference. (I suspect most people don't). the talks went really well... I didn't present until Friday - dead last.... Monday evening we went for drinks at the State govenor's house. But in order to go, we all had to dress nice (ie shirt and ties for the guys). Well we are biologists... not usually known for dressing up. I was ok. (Thank you Grammi). But in the afternoon there was a show of hands for who needed to borrow a tie from one of the coordinators husband who happened to be out of town that day. 8 ties and 1 shirt later we got on the big red double decker bus that took us to the governor's house. And wow. Ro, I thought of you the whole time we were there. You would love hosting a dinner party in the dining room (the table can seat 31) and the ball room. The governor himself showed me the furniture in the little french room and the dining room. And the food and drink just kept coming... amazing really. Then we got back on the double decker bus and went to Salamanca.

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