16 July 2006, The Chunnel

Off to England today, so after breakfast at the hotel, I packed my new suitcase—yes, everything fits, and an added plus is that one side of it is deep enough to hold my Panama hat, so I'll no longer have to ask David to pack it for me. We had a prompt and uneventful taxi ride to the Gare du Nord, where we caught the Eurostar for London. It's rather more hassel than taking an ordinary train, because they ask you to show up early, x-ray all the luggage, etc., but we bought excellent raw ham, lettuce, and coleslaw baguette sandwiches and more gourmandises aux pépites for lunch and ran into a colleague also on his way to the meetings in Southampton, so the wait wasn't onerous. By 1:30 p.m. (12:30 p.m., U.K. time), we were in the actual tunnel under the channel. The train actually had an electrical outlet at each seat. French-style and British-style plugs alternated down the length of the car. David said, "Imagine the treaty negotiations that went into that!"

We arrived in London at 1:30 p.m. local time and easily caught the 1:54 p.m. train to Southampton (train connections are so easy compared to airline flights!).

In Southampton, we checked into the David Moxon Annex of the Kimber Residence Hall, explored the neithborhood a little, and set off for the opening reception of the Deep-sea Meetings, at the National Oceanography Center, Southampton, down on the docks. The reception was also the meeting registration and turned out to include a buffet dinner at the Oceanography Center cantine. One of the dessert options was strawberries and cream. The British believe strongly in cream; delicious double cream was set out in the same size pitchers as the ice water, next to a vast bowl of strawberries.

Over dinner we caught up on the news with our good frienhds Buz and Kathy (Fries) Wilson and their son Tristan. Buz works for the Australian Museum in Syndney (Kathy is a corporate headhunter). I last saw them on our visit to Australia, when Tristan was 6 or 7 years old. He's now 19, in his second year of college, and taller than Buz, which is pretty tall.

Although we caught the shuttle van back to Kimber Hall and got to bed at a reasonable hour, we didn't get to sleep for quite a while, because Italy defeated France to win the World Cup that night. There are only a few hundred Italians in Southampton, but most of them are teenage foreign-language students living in Kimber Hall, so the fireworks, singing, and shouting went on for quite a while.

previous entry     List of Entries     next entry