Wednesday, September 13
Avalon Hotel, Riga, 19:10
Last night I packed before I went to bed. This morning I walked to Puotila dragging a very light suitcase behind me.
I carried on with thinking through the grant applications and then I had a meeting with Liisa in which we proposed two courses in Period 3 where students from BFM in Tallinn could join in. I emailed Andres with the details, and Liisa agreed to host Susanne Palzer for a workshop when she arrives.
The Pixelache kerfuffle refused to die. To my regret I got dragged back in.
After a long talk with Jutta about theses I left the building to catch the 74 bus to Malmi and the i train to the airport. I breezed through security at Terminal 1 and went to Johan & Nyström to prove that Helsinki airport warrants an award as the most expensive airport on the planet. I bought an avocado and peanut butter sandwich and a small beer and almost screamed.
I could have walked to Terminal 2 and gone into the Diners Club lounge for 2€ more. In there I could have had soup, salad, a hot meal, and several bottles of wine for the price of admission. I would not have wanted that, but nonetheless I could have eaten and drunk as much as I wanted for approximately the same price as one dull sandwich and a drink, while sitting in comfort with a wide choice of newspapers and magazines.
Sheesh, as someone used to say.
I read a graphic novel called Strange Attractors on the plane. I had read some reviews before I started. One claimed never to have read a worse comic. One claimed that it might count as the best comic book he had ever read. If that counts as a scale from zero to ten then, by the time we landed, I had finished it and given it an 8.5.
I could have taken a bus but I took a taxi. It took me four goes before I found one who would take a credit card. It then took me forty minutes to check in to the Avalon Hotel, since the one woman on the desk could not cope with the elderly Americans in dire need of help, the Japanese tourists in dire need of attention, and the Latvian businessmen in need of checking in.
I have room 802 on the top floor and I have a good view of something. I can see Stockmann from here and I recognise this part of the city from staying here with Andrew last year.
I met Hafdis, Vera and Christa while I waited to check in, and we arranged to meet downstairs at 20:00. We want to start the Nobanet meeting early.
In the event the gang will expand to include Erik, Karen, and Siri. We will walk into the old town to an Indian restaurant where I will have rogan gosht and garlic naan. It will prove expensive but good.
Back at the hotel we will be joined by Rolando and Simona, until half the group goes to their rooms at 23:20. That half will include me.