19 February 2007

Conference time

It's been seriously busy since Christmas (when isn't it though!) with visitors, uni work and a conference. The conference was organised by my supervisors, on marine natural products and included some of the biggest names in natural products, including some very cool synthetic types, including the uber-famous Prof Amos B Smith the third! Means nothing to this audience, but suffice to say, I didn't pluck up the courage to talk to him, cos I get star-struck by chemists - what a loser I am!

The conference was down in Queenstown so Paul came along with me to check out the scenery and maybe look out for jobs as Christchurch was surprisingly devoid of jobs for a man of his many talents! We had some good weather both on the way there and the way back and there's a few pictures below. Paul's birthday was on the day before the conference so there was some booze-fuelled madness that night! Unfortunately my supervisors made me work on his birthday and even worse made me go to the airport to meet and greet all the fancy scientists on the day after so I couldn't get too mad drunk, but Paul certainly made up for that and was great fun all night! Queenstown is kinda wierd, cos all the tiki-tour kids are told what time the happy hours are at each pub and schedule their nights so that if you just sit in a pub it'll be dead for a couple of hours then go absolutely mental for an hour, with these really annoying, drunk young tourists and then they all leave and it's pleasant again! It's an odd town, really, with nothing but tourists visiting and travellers working there. I don't think many actual Kiwis live in Queenstown!

I was planning to go tramping for at least a day or two after the conference, but unfortunately, despite it being glorious weather every day that I sat through 8 hours of talks, the weather was pretty dodgy when it ended, so in the end I picked up Paul in Wanaka (he went there half way through the conference) and we drove back to chch. Cool thing is that Paul managed to find some work in Wanaka and Queenstown had jobs around too, so it seems like he should be able to stick around and work for a while - which is sweet.

Since Christmas we've also been looking for two new flatmates which is always kinda stressful but hopefully we're all done now. My project at uni is feeling neglected and since the conference I'm trying to get my ass back into gear, but it's been distracted with housemate hunting and visitors - we have Gerhard who used to be in our group at uni staying with us which is cool cos it's been ages since we saw him and also met up with some other ex-group members who we hardly ever see. My project is getting really interesting though, and whilst I still have loads left to do, it's really enjoyable stuff. Fingers crossed it'll work soon and I'll be able to start writing.

Well, best show ya'll a few photos and stop waffling!

Lake Tekapo (and some wierd tourist)

Lake Pukaki (bloody tourists keep getting in the way of the view)

The beginning of a long and booze-fuelled night of fun!...

...But somehow I still managed to look relatively presentable with a sizeable hangover! It's kinda ironic that they made the English girl who's spent about 2 days total in Queenstown 'meet and greet' at the airport! "Welcome to Queenstown - I've never been here so please don't ask me any questions!"

Lake Wakatipu (Queenstown)

Me n my BigLilBro!

Lindis Pass

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