Sunday, August 16, 2015

Conference and Dessert

The conference at the University of Queensland went well, and the campus was really nice. One thing I didn't like at the conference dinner was the alternating plates, which apparently is a pretty common thing in Australia. So your meal could have been the chicken or the really rare lamb, and you don't get to choose unless you switch with your neighbor. And then, it was torture for dessert, because one plate was chocolate cake and the other was little meringue things. Um, you don't give one person chocolate without giving it to everyone else. 

Other things that happened during the week:

We couldn't help popping into the university used bookstore and buying four books, one of which had such a great title I couldn't help myself (Xinran's What the Chinese Don't Eat). We had a nice chat with the cashier about peanut butter and chocolate going together -- his family thinks it's gross -- and when we complained about jam and fillings always being in things in Australia (and New Zealand), he said they have a history of convicts, so of course they learned to hide things! It was a fun conversation. I have been impressed by how friendly and courteous the staff are at places in Australia compared to New Zealand.

On the last day of the conference, we went out for dinner with a group of students and conference organizers and got to discuss topics like student loans and healthcare in Australia. It's nice to get multiple perspectives. Then a small group of us went to get ice cream at Gelare and ended up talking for hours which was quite enjoyable. They had Belgian waffles on the menu with all kinds of combinations, but I was stuffed from dinner and couldn't get them. I was already planning on returning though in the few days remaining. As some of us were trying to make a case for some good science fiction books, movies, and TV shows, I discovered that sometimes people who say they don't like sci-fi haven't actually really read or seen much, if any, sci-fi. Or they read one book for a class and don't like it, so they write off the whole genre. 

We did go back to Gelare and got Oreo and Cinnamon Churro waffles. They were pretty much big sugar bombs, but it was the first waffle I had had since leaving the U.S. I resolved to get a waffle iron after returning to New Zealand. We also went to Chocolateria San Churro and got some churros with dark chocolate dipping sauce and a big piece of chocolate caramel cake which was very tasty. I knew it was my last chance to get good dessert!   

daytime downtown Brisbane

nighttime downtown Brisbane

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