QIP 2010 – The Arrival
Well, I have arrived in Zürich relatively intact and surprisingly awake (I guess one benefit of not sleeping well in general is that one never really gets jet lag). I somehow managed to forget my ATM code, though, so I’m reduced to using my credit card for the time being. QIP hasn’t started yet, so I’ll make some random travel observations as I sit in the airport hoping my ATM code pops back into my head.
- I’ve flown on a lot of airlines including a number of European ones. But Swiss Air’s economy seats are absolutely the most cramped I have ever been in. Much more cramped than either Aer Lingus or Iceland Air. A sardine can would be roomy compared to Swiss Air economy.
- As long as people keep their mouths shut, it’s now virtually impossible to tell where someone is from just by looking at them. Unfortunately we Americans might as well have a giant warning tatooed to our foreheads that says: Warning: dumb American; only speaks English.
- I’m not sure what this says about the state of the world, but the ethnicity of airport employees is the same everywhere.
- I must have observed hundreds if not thousands of people in the past twelve or thirteen hours and I can’t remember seeing a single dress and maybe only one or two skirts (not counting the stewardesses). I wonder if humanity is witnessing the long, slow decline of the dress.
- White trash is not a uniquely American phenomenon. Nor is it necessarily white.
- Things that have become ubiquitous: baseball hats (including the varying ways in which they are worn – backwards, sideways, etc.), jeans, large stomachs (mine’s only medium at the moment), sneakers, McDonald’s (I really wish they’d just go away), body piercings, and iPhones. Amazingly I haven’t seen a Starbuck’s yet but then I’m still in the airport.
- ATM code, ATM code, what art thou ATM code.
- I remember the days of free airport WiFi. Those days are no more.
- You can spot the physicists a mile away, especially if there is a conference in whatever town you’re heading to. Just look for the people carrying tubes (for the uninitiated, these house poster presentations). If they’re not carrying tubes, just look for the particularly geeky looking people.
Well, my battery is running a bit low and I need to conserve it until my wife wakes up and I can pester her about my ATM code. Hopefully I’ll have something interesting to blog about during tomorrow’s talks.
Update: How silly of me. There is a Starbuck’s in the airport. I simply didn’t look hard enough.