So over the last couple of weeks I have been doing a lot of lab work and when I have finished with that I have been finding every possible means to avoid thinking about this conference. I haven't done any background reading and I don't know my talk by heart. I only know it well enough to get on a small roll and then stumble over everything. I couldn't sleep last night, I must have been worried, then today I had to get up at 5.30. On the bus ride I tried to go over my talk but I was so tired. On the plane I tried again but my head hurt so much. I was planning on having a quiet afternoon at the hotel and doing work, but it seemed like a better idea to be social and get to know some people. So here I am, it's 9.30 at night, I'm short on sleep and have to be out at about 8am tomorrow, so I probably need to get up at 6.30. I still don't know my talk, I am tired, my head hurts, the water in the taps tastes funny and the air-conditioning cannot be turned off. I also have to share a room with a random stranger, who I have not met yet so I definintely can't have an early sleep, because it would be weird to wake up beside a person that I don't know - did I mention that the two single beds are pushed up right against each other, and you can't move them because there are built in bedside cabinets next to them? What sort of hotel-planning is that - if you ask for two single beds why would they think that you would want them right next to each other? So I need to go over this talk a couple more times, then go to sleep. By lunchtime tomorrow it will all be over and I can relax. Of course, there will still be talks to listen to, a poster to stand beside and answer questions about, and trying to mingle without offending anyone or bad-mouthing my supervisor, but it will still be far easier than preparing for my own talk. Then I will go out and take photos of the city so that there is more on here than my endless blathering.