Wednesday, February 20, 2013

When in San Jose.....

 I went to San Jose, California to attend a conference. But while there, I had loads of fun with my colleagues and friends. After all, "all work and no play ....". You get the idea.

San Jose is not too big and the surrounding area is easily accessible by train. So the first "non-academic" event was simply strolling around the area.

 I had to present my work the next day. The presentation was in the form of a poster presentation. I had presented this before and I am quite familiar with my work, so I was not apprehensive.

Also my dear friend and (senior) colleague was there and getting feedback from her was definitely good.
After the presentations, I enjoyed a well-earned rest sipping drinks at the hotel bar with friends. I do not drink much but the company was divine and I couldn't refuse when the bar guy concocted what looked and almost tasted like lemonade but burns a little while going down the esophagus. :)

 The next day, since my big reason for being at the conference was completed and I had finished as a volunteer at the exhibits for the day. I took off again. Wanting to know more of the area, I started off at the same locations as couple of days prior, just to get my bearings and went on from there. I went in the Museum of Art (because I'm boring and I find museums quite entertaining and informative, especially about cultures and traditions I do not know much about).

Can you see that? There's Adobe! Adobe, the computer software company with the red and white letter A logo. There were lots of tech companies and start-ups like Adobe in San Jose and surrounding areas.

Oh, while we are on this, did you know that when you hear the name Silicon Valley, it simply refers to the convergence of many diverse technology corporations, start-ups and other companies? Silicon Valley isn't one particular location. It is simply all these companies and corporation in San Jose and surrounding areas. Many of these buildings are found in San Jose, Palo Alto, Pasadena, Santa Clara e.t.c. I wrote about seeing many of these companies in this post on my way to Mountain View.

On my way strolling back to the hotel, I realized that the Fairmont hotel must expend a lot of energy in sustaining all parts of the hotel including rooms and lounges and everything else. It is a huge hotel. But I try not to think of the carbon emission while I take the pretty photos.

 The next couple of days were spent attending portions of the conference and sight-seeing in the evenings. I went to Shoreline in Mountain View, took a train ride from San Jose to San Francisco, went to the famous Fisherman's Wharf . I also saw the Alcatraz Island, Angel Island and walked the Golden Gate bridge (which I'm yet to write about). Fun!

Looking out the window of the hotel every morning was always a treat and I took some pictures to remind myself that windows with a great view are incomparable.

When in San Jose, do as the San Joseans do?

Or simply carve your own bearings.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Newport, RI and the NE-SOT Conference

Grandiose! I've been looking for a word to describe the majestic mansions of Newport, RI. And grandiose fits the bill perfectly. Funny enough, I didn't take as much pictures as I would have love to. I was in Newport for a conference (the New England Society of Toxicology. It was my first NE-SOT conference since joining a toxicology lab) and I was giving a presentation so I didn't exactly gallivant about like a giddy tourist. I have to go back sometime, just to gallivant about like a giddy tourist. ;).

Newport, RI is beautiful.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Ochre Court in Newport RI.

This is Ochre Court in Newport Rhode Island. The first mansion I ever stepped into.

Although it is now used as part of Salve Regina University admin offices and events space, it still hold its grandiose in every way. The inside look rich and formidable. The outside has an expanse that will probably house half a dozen small buildings.

It was a windy day, but the view was still very impressive. The court has an amazing garden (if I can call it that). It is well-kept and overlooks the ocean. There's a Cliff Walk along the building and garden.

The New England Society of Toxicology (NE-SOT) Conference was held in Newport and the students poster presentation was held in Ochre court. It was quite distracting actually. I spent half the time marveling at the detailed ceiling paintings (you'll see why in a moment) and the other half trying to explain my research to other students and principal investigators.

In this amazing room, I was told stories of old, eccentric ladies who peer out their windows just to shoo away youths and hooligans trying to climb the fence. Indeed, the thought of an old lady in lace and expensive trinkets shooing kids off her fence is quite amusing.

Herein lies the biggest fireplace I've ever stood in front of. This room happens to also be called the library. I didn't see much books but maybe library meant something else back then. Or the books were wheeled away for the event. *shrugs*.

I have to admit that after seeing the ridiculously high ceilings, I couldn't help but think about the "waste of space". But that's why I'm me I guess. It was impressive but also got me thinking about how much extra space is used up or "wasted" to obtain such high ceilings.

Despite that, I must confess, touring this old historic building was definitely a pleasant treat.

I swear these conferences take me to the most fascinating places.