Friday, July 2, 2010

Oxford (revisited)

I landed in Heathrow and took the "airline" bus to Oxford. A very nice service with a bus driver that seemed as though he came out of a Monty Pyton movie.

After about an hour I was in the bus station in the middle of bustling Oxford. Turns out that this is the time when prospective students come to check the different colleges. The city was full of young people, sometimes towing their parents along.

I took a cab to where I stayed, the St Anne College. I imagined a Harry Potter like building, and it was a slight disappointment to get to a new and modern glass-steel-wood building. The college is rather young and still has few hundred years before it develops its own atmosphere.

I landed the bags in the room, switched to sandals, took the computer and camera, and went out to find a place to eat and work and see the city in between. I landed in a pub on the main thoroughfare that had good beer and decent food. Sat down and finished comments on one article and answering some emails. Then I went out for a stroll. The city is full of old buildings, and the sky had wonderful textured clouds, so got myself a whole lot of HDR photographs.

Came back to the College and waited at 7pm for the planned dinner outing. Only one person showed up and so we went to the put to talk about science and diving. After a whole lot of text messages (sms) we managed to meet the rest of the party at a hip restaurant. By the time we finished dinner I declared that I was too tired to go to the pub with them.

Most of the next day was spent in a meeting room inside the Welcome Trust Genome Center, a rather large modern building in a science campus outside the heart of the city. We had good talks, lots of coffee and rather disappointing food for lunch and for the breaks. I gave the last talk and so had to keep the audience awake (partial success).

From there I walked by to the college with Gioacchino, an Italian collaborator, and one of his students. The day that started cloudy and cold turned to be hot and humid, and by the time we made it to the college (45min walk) I was over-heated. I told Gio that we must not miss the photo-ops on the way and managed to get some snaps on few of the sites we passed.

Since we had a special dinner at the college planned, I guess most of us expected to be in some Harry Potter like dinning hall. Instead we were on the main floor of the college meeting hall, which felt like eating in the middle of the lobby of a hotel. I am not sure if we paid extra for the treat, but if I had I would have been disappointed.

After dinner we went to a pub next door and had heated discussions about recent advances in molecular biology. It was actually good to refine my point of view about some of this stuff.

Today started out with a light rain, and so I took my jacket with me. The whole day was a "closed door" session of the PIs on the project. It turned out to be a rather interesting discussion as to where we can take the project, and I actually felt that I contributed.

At 4pm we disbanded, I walked back to the college, and again turns out that the afternoon is very hot.

Got back, took a shower, and searched for a local place to have a beer and some bite for dinner. Turned out that reasonably close was a nice pub/beer garden. On the way I passed a street I already photographed last time I was here, that once again presented interesting possibilities.

Now I am closing down as tomorrow I have to leave here at 5:30am to get to the airport on time.

1 comment:

mr-roi said...

Sounds like fun.

By the way, lately your photos have been looking kinda dark, as well as blurry. I don't know if it's because of the compression but, anyway, try and up the contrast and add lighter values. Also, if you're using Photoshop, use the Unsharp Mask filter (Filters>Sharpen>Unsharpen Mask...). It could really, REALLY, add to the photos.