Friday, February 15, 2008

Reading Amsterdam in Amsterdam

I made it to Geneva yesterday. Long layover at Schipel in Amsterdam. I got to tryout the KLM Crown Club there, which was OK (free food drinks is always nice), but Schipol has a lot of nice places to sit compared to most airports, if you know where to look. Lost my power adapter plug to boot, had to buy a new for 15 CHF.

I am re-reading Amsterdam by Ian McEwan. I just finished On Chisel Beach, which I was not overwhelmed by. A very compact book about two idiots. I guess McEwan is making a statement about how missed communication can tear up our relationships, but I found it to be about how a couple of people's Britishness (ca. 1960) got in the way of their being human. Amsterdam is much better, also a lot of the theme about people talking around what they really mean (and ought) to say, but it isn't all that the book is about, fer cryin' out loud.

Geneva was right where I left it. I am staying at a nice, and pricey, hotel downtown, the Hotel Epsom. It was best bargain of what was left, the CERN hostel was booked up as were the hotels I usually stay at, like the Holiday Inn in Thoiry. I am saving a little by not renting a car - public transportation is basically free for visitors - you can get a free pass in the airport that gets you to you hotel, then the hotel front desk hands out passes for your stay. It takes about an hour to get from the hotel (located in an iffy neighborhood north of the Gare Cornavin train station called Paquis) to CERN, but with all the construction, I'm not sure a car would be much faster. I attended the last of the ATLAS Week meetings, then after lunch spent the entire afternoon, til about 7:00, working on calorimeter monitoring software with a Columbia U. postdoc named Francesco Spano.

Ate at a really good restaurant last night, called Carnivale do Venezia. Crappy way to spend Valentine's night, but food was good. Had Tartaglia al Carnonara and a 3 dl carafe of their house red (a Sangenovese, I think I overhead the waitress tell someone, but I was overhearing an Italian speaking French, so she might have said she was St. Anne from Vichy).

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