Archive for June, 2005

Lovin’ it

Thursday, June 2nd, 2005

Edit: My London address (chez Laurel):
31 Eleanor Close, London SE16 6PE, UK

I’ll eventually get my own phone number, but untill then… I can be reached by phone on either Laurel’s mobile or at the office:
+44 (0) 78 8074 1553 (Laurel)
+44 (0) 20 7613 3061

I like London very much so far.  As I remarked to Naabia today while walking to lunch, the city is not afraid to be both really historic and yet also very colourful, literally.  Whereas (in my mind) Boston is mostly the one brick-red hue, and New York is kind of mostly grey, London is all sorts of blues and pinks and yellows.  It may just be that it’s spring and the sun is out (rising at about 4am and not setting till like 9pm?!), but still, I like it here.

Another thing that London has got right is the Tube system, which is clean and beautiful.  Admittedly it is not very reliable – it seems that every day some line will suffer “severe delays” due to “signalling problems”.  Which is pretty bizarre, since Boston, New York and Paris seem to get along just fine with equally old and extensive underground systems.  Despite that, I’d still take the Tube any day over the grimy, smelly, cracked-tile-and-exposed-concrete warren that is the New York subway.

But one thing the Americans have over Europeans in general is the no smoking rule in pubs, bars and nightclubs.  I hate having my clothes become unwearable because they’re stinky with cigarette smoke.  Especially here where people go from the office to the pub and back to the office, practically.

The Frontier office is really cool, not just the physical space, but also the people there.  All marine biologists and zoologists who’ve lived everywhere studying biodiversity and conservation related issues.  Australian reefs, South African sharks, Peruvian primates, Madagascan spiny forests.  A laid back, good-hearted, optimistic bunch.

And the work they’re having me do is both interesting and useful too.  Amongst other things, Paul has planned for us to write a PADI grant proposal each.  And today I compiled copies of academic papers requested by the scientists in Tanzania and Nicaragua writing papers in the field – many productive hours of using OVID and JSTOR to search for keyterms like “predator urine”, “columbrid regurgitation” and “elephant pheromones”.  It was quite amusing.


PS: Must stop overeating.  Yesterday I think I was at 3,000 kcals, including many many sour wine gums from Frankfurt duty free.  And today, although I’d decided not to eat a substantial lunch, and no dinner, I went with Naabia to get cod & chips (mmm), and then Laurel and Kenneth took me to a cute Indian place for dinner, from which I am *still* stuffed.