josh (joshc) wrote,

1 june : montparnasse

This is the first day of the conference; so much of the day is spent in a large old lecture hall possibly designed for medical students to sit on uncomfortable benches arranged steeply to allow viewing of procedures below. I take pages and pages of notes in my little black moleskine notebook, partially out of interest, partially to stay awake between tiny plastic cups of coffee while adjusting to the 8 hours of timezones. A guy who wrote a huge paper with nearly a thousand references gives a talk, but I don't realize who he is until halfway through.

Our group occupies a cute little restaurant for dinner and they even bring me vegetarian items along with lots of wine. Maybe there's a stop in between, but by the end of the night we all find ourselves sitting outside at a brasserie in Montparnasse near our hotel called La Rotonde [flickr].

Couples keep stopping at the corner to kiss. Due to the configuration of the seating, I almost never notice this, but it proves distracting and mildly annoying to some of our party. At midnight, the streets are filled with rollerskaters making a tour of the city. As the crowd thins, we learn about all of the horrible curses employed by the Dutch, who find the fact that American profanity tends toward the scatological or sexual amusing. Most of theirs relate to having awful diseases.

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