Friday, September 11, 2009

Strasbourg Days 0 and 2

The cheapest meal in Terminal 2 of the Copenhagen airport seems to available at a "Fine International Deli" or whatever it was called, which looks a bit like a small grocery store. They have many sandwiches on baguette, almost all of which contain kylling (chicken, and I am probably misspelling it), but one of which is a very Danish combination: hard-boiled egg, shrimp, and lettuce. (At lunch that day I had had the same combination at the cafeteria, except on Danish rye and topped with roe. Danish rye, more rye berry than rye flour, is an item unto itself, made with a sourdough batter and let rise all day before being poured into a mold.)

This grocery also has a large wine selection, including a refrigerated white 25cl bottles (one third of a normal bottle) for only 22 DKK (about $3), whereas the same size bottle at any other place in the airport is twice that, because anywhere else also gives you a glass. If you get the cheap stuff, you can then go find a table by the window and chug your wine form the bottle, which is fun in its own way.

On the AirFrance flight, expect a six-inch baguette sandwich (either chicken or cheese $mdash; the cheese sandwich was on a decent poppyseed baguette, and included two or three cheeses and butter), and 18.7cl (one quarter bottle) of red wine.

Today was a really good day. It started with chocolat croissant and cafe au lait, and then was filled with four very good talks. Afterwards was a boat tour of Strasbourg, paid for by the mayor, on which instead of listening to the tour guide talk about the weird history (ok, I listened to that too), I talked to GT, a very good physicist and mathematician (and a very good translator between the two) from Trieste. I explained my quantum mechanics project — how far I've gotten, what my current snags are — and he gave many very valuable suggestions and comments. After the boat tour, there was a small refreshments at the math department, with the same cake and orange juice as at our coffee-and-tea times, and wine replacing the coffee. There I continued to talk to GT, and also to my adviser — my adviser asked GT point blacnk what he thought of about my project, and his responses were: (a) it has not been done; (b) it is not surprising; (c) I am "very brave" to try it. Points (a) and (b) were expected, but it is good to get independent confirmation.

Afterwards, I spent the evening with R, a graduate student at Amsterdam, working somewhat with my adviser (my academic step-sibling?). He and I are the only foreign graduate students at this conference, but have much more in common, including cooking and ballroom dancing. We went to a good, but not great, cheap Italian place. We each had the ricotta-and-spinach ravioli, mine with cream sauce and basil, his with tomatoes and mushrooms.

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