Monday, April 13, 2009

Adventures in Nashville

I am still getting over the jetlag even though it has been more than a week by now but I thought I would drop a line and let you know about at least the highlights of the trip. New material about Tokyo is accumulating with the nice weather we are having these days and I can’t move onto that without finishing up with this so, here we go…


First I need to talk about the Centennial Park. This green gem of a spot lies pretty close to Vanderbilt University and hosts a copy of the Parthenon. Granted it is a bit on the smaller side compared to the original in Athens but hey, it is newer and in a better condition (yeah, I do realize that does not make it better than the original but still ;)). Now as luck would have it we ran into some cherry blossoms in bloom there which kind of made up for our missing the cherry blossoms in Tokyo – again, not quite as special as the original but much better than nothing. The day we were there was very nice and sunny for the most part which made the view more enjoyable and I saw a squirrel or two which sure brought back memories of the US. I even spotted a blue jay which looked really really pretty.


Another highlight was this – the district. It is basically a well lit and clean street flanked on both sides by souvenir stores and live music venues. We had dinner at one of the restaurants with live music playing and it was a pleasant experience. If you are into ribs you are in luck here though for those of us who are “pork-challenged” (like me) there are other options such as catfish. Keep in mind though – the style they seem to prefer is either BBQ (in terms of the ribs) or deep fried (in terms of the catfish). The “Batman building” in the background is the AT&T building and the Nashville skyline can be seen pretty clearly from this street. It was not a very crowded night but I don’t know if this is typical since the night we were there also was the night when a hurricane touched down in Nashville and there was some heavy damage in certain areas of downtown and traffic was backed up on certain highways which brings me to the biggest highlight (after the conference of course) – the hurricane/storm…


What is this you say? This is what everyone in the conference was watching for a while on the last day of the conference… It is the tornado report on the weather channel. Shortly after my talk on the third day, during the coffee break, we all realized that it was not so sunny outside anymore. In fact, it was raining like crazy and there was lightning left and right. While we started talking about how it was unlucky we could not go out to see the town a bit on the last day we heard these sirens coming from the hotel’s PA system. It was the first time I heard such an announcement – asking everyone to gather in the lobby but it did not end there. We had to get in line and go to the basement and stand against the wall for a few minutes. Luckily there weren’t any delays at the airport the next day and we were able to get back on time. It was an interesting experience but I enjoy seeing new places and experiencing new things so this trip definitely was enjoyable for me.

Onto recent things in Tokyo starting with the next post…

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