europe,  france,  travel

Architecture and mechanisms – Day 2


Perhaps unsurprisingly, I woke up relatively early and was able to take my time getting ready for the day. We decided to skip the first session of the conference, as we were both presenting later in the day and wanted to be rested and refreshed. We meandered out to a little boulangerie around the corner to grab some morning pastries and sat out at a table to enjoy them (and the people-watching). We decided to take a very round-about route to the conference site in order to explore the area a little bit. We wandered the shaded streets, past little discount clothing and shoe shops until we came across a beautiful set of steps leading up to the train station.

They are these impressively broad steps, flanked by lion statues and dotted with an assortment of cherub sculptures. We reached the top and discovered an impressive view of the city. It was only a short hop across the street to the conference site, and we were soon ensconced in talks. After a tasty boxed lunch of salmon and green beans, I was up and talking away at my poster. It was a nice poster session overall. I had a steady stream of people, who all seemed to find my results interesting. After that, we headed in for a series of talks of varying presentation quality. The dim auditorium and late afternoon time slot meant I had a particularly difficult time staying awake. But I soldiered through the 2 hours. Angela had her talk near the end of the session, knocking everyone’s socks off (and proceeded to garner honourable mention for best talk of the conference). To celebrate the Northwestern students’ presentation successes, the two attending NU faculty offered to take us out for drinks.

We hopped on the metro down to Vieux Port and made our way to a patio for a drink. I sipped on my glass of wine and listened to the conversations. Re-learned my French numbers, as typically you pay for your drinks immediately, and discovered my number proficiency declines past 60 (it is an unreasonable numbering system to have 70 be 60+10, 80 be 4*20 and 90 be 4*20+10). After that, we migrated over to a nearby wine bar/restaurant that had been recommended. They didn’t serve food until 8 pm, so we started by getting a couple bottles of wine. We had a hard time getting the attention of our harried-looking waiters, but they were friendly enough when we ultimately did. I ultimately went with a beef brochette with a roquefort sauce. I rarely ever order beef, but I was enticed by the prospect of a cheese sauce. Lively (and somewhat loud) conversation filled our wait for food, which ended up coming around 9 pm. It was a tasty meal, though a hefty amount of beef, which was a little much for me. Satisfied with our gastronomical choices, we moved on in search of a patio and drinks.

After much wandering, as is often the case with parties of larger than 2 or 3 people, we finally settled on a bustling patio. I snagged myself a glass of bubbles, which ended up being roughly what I’d pay for back home (sigh). We then moved 2 patios over back to the original place we had a drink, where perhaps 25 psycholinguists from the conference had congregated. They’d taken over half the patio, forming a giant L-shape of tables. It was a lively bunch (they somewhat embarassingly were trying to do the wave), and we stayed for another drink. I was fading in my ability to hold and follow conversations, so it was just after midnight that we headed back to the hotel for the night.

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