Friday, 8 July 2016, Portugal in 2019!
Written 15 July 2016
After the late night at the banquet, everyone got a pretty late start Friday morning. The invited plentary speaker that day got pretty poor attendance. David caught the last 20 minutes and said he wished he'd heard the whole thing.
I wrote in the morning. My usual spot behind the posters was gone. The poster session ended officially at lunch time on Thursday, so all the presenters had to clear their things away. Friday morning a folding divider had been closed to cut that side of the room off, and some other group was set up in there. I was therefore banished to the lobby outside the meeting room, the location of the nearest available electrical outlet.
I did manage, at last, to get good shots of the official meeting banner, over the registration table, as well as a closer shot of the "Phaistos disc" reading in mysterious meiofaunal organisms rather than mysterious syllabary pictograms.
Lunch was at the hotel as usual. My plate contains (clockwise from the top) two smoked salmon canapés with a fried mozzarella stick above them, a small cheese and tomato pizza, a pile of hand-made pasta with tomato sauce and cheese, a caramel-coated miniature cream puff, half a small round flatbread, two cherry tomatoes stuffed with taramasalata (creamy herring-roe spread), and two shrimp canapés.
The photo at the right shows our dinner-time group: Melissa Rohal (a master's student of David's now working on her Ph.D. is Corpus Christi, Texas), John Fleeger (a colleague recently retired from U. Louisiana Baton Rouge), David, and me.
But that came later. Right after lunch was the closing session of the meeting, consisting of election (usually by acclamation) of the new board of officers, the treasurer's report, all the thank-yous, and finally, the announcement of the venue for the next meeting, to be held in summer of 2019. We'd heard that Moscow had been proposed, but we were delighted to hear that the final decision was for Évora, Portugal! That's inland, about 135 km ESE of Lisbon. We look forward to it!
After the meeting, David and I went for a walk around the old city, since he hadn't had a chance to explore. We walked through the market, somewhat less lively at that hour than in the morning, as the fish market had closed down and many of the vegetable sellers were gone. Annoyingly, I left my camera behind at the hotel.
For dinner, we went back to Herb's Garden, on the roof of the Lato Boutique Hotel, with Melissa Rohal and John Fleeger (photo above). It was good, but I didn't think it was quite as good as it was the first time.
I ordered the grilled octopus again, but it wasn't quite as tender or flavorful this time. Still good though. John had soup that David had started with last time. Melissa had, in the course of the week, discovered and fallen in love with fried feta cheese. This restaurant didn't offer it, so she ordered the next best thing—feta cheese baked in phyllo dough. It came with cherry tomatoes and citrus molasses.
David ordered some other kind of cheese fried in pastry (I've forgotten what kind) and declared it delicious.For the main course, I think everyone ordered the same things we had the first time we were there—the braised lamb and the filets of sea bass. The sea bass was, again, very good but not as magically good as last time.
For dessert, Melissa and I both ordered the crême brulée, which came in a small mason jar and was positively crunchy with vanilla seeds. Yummy. It came topped with a little white puff of crisp meringue and a little green (wintergreen flavored?) cube of some strange substance that reminded me unpleasantly of a candy we used to get as kids that came in the shape of giant orange peanuts in the shell (but was not peanut flavored).
I think the other two had the panna cotta with raspberries.
In addition to what we ordered, the waiter brought us a plate of little desserts, each consisting of a small square pastry shell filled with pastry cream, drizzled with chocolate syrup, and topped with a whole black cherry. Tasty, though we were so full, we mostly just ate the cherries. In the photo of that dessert, you can see one of the tiny glasses that came with the obligatory raki.
Then it was back to the hotel one last time and many farewells along the way, in the lobby, and along the hallways to colleagues and friends, most of whom we won't see for another three years.
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