30 May 2011

Bremen: week # 2

Being in Bremen is sort of like being on holiday, only my free time keeps being disrupted by work. Today the weather was so nice, it would have been a perfect day for the beach. Bremen is not on the coast unfortunately. Not to mention that I had classes all day. The sun is up from about 5am and does completely disappear until past 10 at night. Which can make sleeping somewhat difficult and increases the feeling that I should only be relaxing and not working. This evening I was fully intending to get to work on an impromptu presentation that I must give explaining some aspect of protein chemistry that I have never heard of before. Shouldn't be too hard though, just find a few textbook explanations on google. But then what would you know but work from Ireland goes and pops its head up, in the form of an abstract for a conference that I am to present at in September. Now don't get me wrong, I am so super excited about the opportunity to present something at a real conference. But this abstract is all wrong. Now I have the huge task of fixing it and delicately explaining why certain aspects of the proposed methods are entirely unfeasible and unnecessary. What a fun night.

In other news, it is very strange to sit in classes again and I don't much like it, especially when the sun is shining. Next week lab work will begin which will be even worse because I will be stuck in a lab for even longer then I am currently stuck in a classroom. Plus I will have to actually try to get my mind on the task of learning as much as possible and producing some results. It is so difficult when there are such better things to think about, like how to spend a very long weekend. Unfortunately I am broke so I don't think I will be travelling to any new countries. The plan that is shaping up is to go on a couple of day trips, check out Hamburg and Berlin. Maybe venture into Poland. Take lots of photos! The sights of Bremen have mostly been seen now and I need new cities to explore.

It is very sad that I have nothing interesting for show and tell today but there is one piece of news that may not have made it to NZ - a terrible bout of food poisoning right here in Germany, including Bremen. Hundreds of people were sick and at least 4 died! I did not here about it for a few days because of course I cannot read or listen to the German news. But do you know what made it such a serious problem and had the entire country, and surrounding countries, concerned? It turned out that the problem was vegetables - not the usual suspect for food poisoning, and suddenly the entire population was worrying about that salad or apple they had eaten. And I eat a lot of fruit and vegetables! When I found out about it I looked it up and scientists reckon that they have localised the bug to being on cucumbers grown on two particular farms in Spain - and organic farms at that. So now the supermarkets have signs above their cucumbers to let everybody know very clearly that they did not come from Spain. I have not stopped eating vegetables, yet I still very slightly gave into the poisoning hysteria and have laid off cucumber, just in case. Still, I think what all of this tells us is that you would be safer just eating ice-cream.

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