brosdee's view

me, you and everyone else....

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Monday, October 06, 2008

20 September, 2008

The day started very early. After a long day before, with crazy deadlines to meet it was very difficult for me to wake up that early. But I had to. I had volunteered chauffeuring three other colleagues to the airport in the rented car. So I got to the first address by 6.30am to pick my supervisor who was also going to the conference. We left Bristol around 7am after picking the last person. The drive to London Heathrow was not eventful (thank God it was not, because eventful could mean flat tyre or worse), we got to terminal 5 just few minutes before 9.

When we got to Athens in the afternoon, the weather wasn’t as cold as I had hoped. While waiting at the airport for the connecting flight to Skiathos, I had a bit of history lesson from my supervisor who was more than happy to answer my prodding questions on European politics and history. He took me through the 15th century to the early 20th century and concluded that war, coups, counter coups, corruption, dictatorship and even genocide had been part of Europe’s political experience. The flight to Skiathos was rather bumpy, partly because it was raining, but mainly because (in my opinion) the plane is an air ‘molue’. It was scary for me when it was landing that I was regretting that I didn’t say enough goodbye to my wife. But it did land well, and I live to die another day.

22 September, 2008

Today is the first day of the conference and I am relieved to find out that my English accent is far better than most of the delegate’s. 90% of the delegates speak English as a foreign language, and I salute their courage to present in a language that is different from their working language. I can’t imagine myself presenting in French. Disaster! The first day of the conference was rather laborious as there were so many papers on air pollution modelling and stuffs that ‘eficos’ (studious people) do. Boring. I struggled not to sleep and could not ask any question other than…please can you explain what your research is about? Since that sound stupid, I kept quiet and wonder what I am doing here, when I should be watching CNN.

The conference is a United Nations gathering of a sort, as it has people from every continent of the globe apart from Antarctica. There were so many things I now know as a result of meeting people at the conference. For example, I never knew there was a place called Baha California in Mexico (someone was from there), I never knew a Saudi Arab can wear jeans..........I met one, and if you have a first degree in Italy, you are referred to as Doctor (can you imagine). There were delegates from Japan, India, Australia, Portugal and Spain, and almost every other parts of Europe and then from Canada, no one from the Caribbean or other parts of Africa, apart from Egypt and South Africa. I feel sad about that, because it shows something I don’t like. While my other Nigerian colleague and I tried to flaunt our ‘Nigerianness’ with our accents and green passport, our badge says we are from a university in England.

However, I love the feel of the conference and the way everybody interact with each other. It shows how good it is to be an academic. Go to conference in an exotic Greek Island, listen to boring papers and bore everyone with yours, then intersperse that with drinks and good Greek food. What a life!