Saturday, August 15, 2009

Hmm . . . note to self: Do not try to keep up with Australians!

I'm sitting here at the Holiday Inn Heathrow, watching TV for the first time in days! I just finished watching Loch Ness with Ted Danson and now the Scorpion King is on! I haven't cruised through the channels to find something else yet.

I got to London this afternoon after having breakfast with my colleague, Tom, and walking around Central Oxford some. I managed to find a DVD video set that Eddie wanted - videos of Mr. Men and Little Miss.

Yesterday, I had dinner at Tom's house. His wonderful wife, Tia, made dinner: dumplings, noodles, red and yellow peppers, Szechuan tofu, and chicken. We hung out on their backyard patio. It was a relatively warm evening.

I spent most of yesterday resting and recovering from a night out at the pubs the night before. After our meeting finished, we went to the Lamb and Flag for a couple of pints, then to another place that had a nice open courtyard where I had the requisite fish and chips and another pint or two, then we went to another pub on George Street - where I only drank water - and then back to our rooms where one of the Australians invited a few of us back for a "nightcap". It was a shot of whiskey. I hate to admit it but I was a little worse for wear Friday during the day. I told the Australian that he was a bad influence. I will say, however, that it was quite fun hanging with this group of academics - there were Australians, Scottish, Irish, English, a Croatian and Canadians in our group, in addition to me and Tom (Americans).

Our two day meeting was interesting and now we will see what happens and how we will move forward. At the very least, we may meet again in a year or so - perhaps in Auburn, Scotland, where several people now work. I learned a lot about the Law of the Sea and how the various Arctic countries are delineating their territory in the Arctic Ocean. There were other presentations on maritime law. In essence, I think what we aim to do is to do research relating to the opening of shipping lanes in the Arctic Ocean. My own personal goal is to figure out how to empower indigenous communities in the Arctic when these shipping lanes open up because of climate change. We'll see what happens.

I did take pictures, but not many. I had visited Oxford four years ago - just for the day - so I didn't really do a lot of sight-seeing. I was more interested in learning how people live here. But I will post what I have soon.

So, back home tomorrow . . . I need to catch the 4:15am shuttle for a 6:30am flight to Amsterdam - then back to Portland. I hope I can sleep on the plane!

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