Sunday, April 15, 2007

Day 2, pt. 2

I went back to the convention center after an early dinner. The dinner was value meal from Burger King across the hotel because I knew they would serve food and booze at the convention anyway. At first, I went to a plenary talk about energy just as it ended and the speaker was taking questions. His idea was to use a combination of alternative energy instead of relying on one, e.g., solar (the fuel is always there, but storing is hard), hydrogen (it's still taking more energy to produce, even though it's cleaner), hybrid, etc, to solve the current complication of carbon fuel. It made me thinking about a career in the energy industry, alternative or otherwise. The demand is always there and it is challenging. For instance, solar cell technology is close to what I've been studying all these years.

The poster session started at 8. I found R was standing by his poster board to answer inquiries from people who are interested enough on the topic of his poster. I went around looking at other people's posters, got one or two glasses of wine. When I got bored, I went back to talk with him. Part of the time, his advisor and another colleague joined us. The man who wanted to talk to me about research found me towards the end of the night. We talked for almost an hour with R around. He occasionaly glimpsed at me, maybe a signal to cut it out. It was when R finished rolling back his poster to the carrier tube I managed to find the right momentum to end the conversation.

We then walked back to our hotels.
"Hey, why aren't you wearing your jacket (part of the suit) inside and you were chewing gum. So unprofessional..." I teased him. "Ah, but who cares anyway, right?" I retracted.

"It was not cold inside...I just thought it was too much."

"I like big cities...this feels just like Lima. The weather, the lights, the people."

"Is it really? I don't know if I can live in places like this. I feel sorry for the homeless, but it's not like you have enough quarters to give, sort of speak."

And then a homeless guy approached us for a spare change. I looked at R and said, "see how are you supposed to handle stuff like this all the time?"

"Just keep it cool..." He showed an indeference in emotion.

"Now, that's my hotel. Where is yours?"

"Still three blocks away."

"Are you going to take the bus?"

"Nah, not this time. I'm just gonna walk, it's a nice walk."

"OK. Well, be careful."

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