So, two weeks ago at about this time I was sitting at Changi airport (rated one of the best in the world - yay, Singapore!) mentally preparing myself for a long flight. About 30 hours later, after stops in Sydney, Auckland, and Santiago, our little plane touched down in Osorno, Chile, where I was to attend a conference for the better part of a week. The plane and subsequent shuttle to the hotel were full of conference attendees, so there were lots of greetings, banging about of poster tubes (including mine), and jet-lagged conversations to while away the ride to the conference venue near Puyehue Lake. The scenery, even in my I-just-can't-sleep-on-planes state, was stunning - green, verdant hills and the lake all misty. Sheep, cows and alpacas made frequent appearances, and by the time we made it to the hotel I had been lulled almost to sleep. After checking in, the first order of business was to shower off the plane gunk and head to the reception.
The conference itself was great. Interesting people, relevant topics, and well-organized. My poster session went well, I think, and I feel that I represented our project and my organization to the best of my ability. Thankfully, there were a lot of people who were interested, so that made things easier. Also nice was the number of random connections that one comes across at these things - people who know people who you know, people who have worked with former co-workers, people who have published articles you've read...the list goes on and on. It helped me greatly to find those connections and feel more secure in my place in my career.
Outside of the conference, well, I was in heaven. After Singapore's unchanging weather (warm and probably wet is the daily forecast), experiencing some lower temperatures was pure joy, and the sheer emptiness of the area around us was a welcome respite from Singapore's density. (Not that I don't love density, mind you - I do. I just...need some space now and again.) The conference organizers made sure that we had some free time to enjoy the walking trails, hear some music, and take advantage of the hotel's spa facilities. I availed myself of the opportunity for a massage, ate some great food, and wore another few centimeters of rubber off the soles of my walking shoes.
|The atmosphere for the week was marked by mist, rain, and ash from the nearby volcano|
|There was a fine coating of ash on everything|
|The ash made the river water a bit murky as well...|
|...and full of pumice!|
|Still beautiful, though.|
|The first autumn colors I've seen this year|
|At the concert hall for a night of regional music|
|How I managed not to slide down this I may never know.|