Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Travels and Tribulations

A friend told me to recount my travelling experiences in a blog. Once again I shall refer my readers to a previous post, enlightening them of my sheer despair at the thought of travelling, let alone the actual undertaking of a journey.
When I finished my undergrad, I took up a PhD. The feeling was one of comfort and like a warm blanket knowing (rather hoping!) that I wouldnt have to travel much (ok home to work one cannot avoid even if it is Canberra!) and I could spend three years, or more, of my life cooped up in the warmth, isolation and familiarity of a lab. ITS ALL A FACADE - PHD STUDENTS HAVE TO TRAVEL! Woe is me.
So anyhow, back to my conquests for this month - turns out June-July-August are 'conference months'. Come end of June everybody's bags are packed in anticipation of a paid holiday of sorts. Days filled with pointless lectures (of which only about 5% have to do with your work!), filling dinners and flowing alcohol. Great!
So, first getaway spot was sunny Brisbane, or so Ive heard. While Canberrians froze in sub-zero temperatures, Brisbanites were takin out their light jackets for an 18 degree breeze! Flight into Brisbane was uneventful (although, I must say one cannot appreciate a cold breakfast at 6.30 am in Canberra winter!). Upon arrival weather was satisfactory and we all headed to UQ for the conference. Ok, so given that the first 2 conferences I attended as a PhD student were at the Sky City Hotel (5 star no less!) and The Hilton Sydney - UQ unfortunately could not hold a candle.
However, such minor lapses as 'no tea upon arrival' can be overlooked in the light of bigger things such as - the conference!
Now people often ask me why I am paranoid about travelling, the reason is simple. When one travels one needs to put up with things. I am out of my comfort zone and hence I must bear everything that is thrown at me with a stiff-upper-lip and a smile to boot.
The accomodation was pathetic in Brisbane! Common toilets and showers! *uggghhh* and Brisbanians think that the room doesnt need heating even when temps hit about 5 deg C in the night! Anyhow, I think i must put an end to this ranting and raving because a week and a half later I was enjoying myself in beautiful, 'has character' Melbourne, 4 star accomodation, good food and the like. Bliss.... I guess one must have the bad to appreciate the good. However, in all that Brisbane had to offer I had a wonderful time at the conference and with two of my friends who made the trip one to remember!

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