Saturday, April 24, 2010

Some of the advantages of being here

In addition to seeing the tulips and hyacinths, I got to watch two rounds of the UK election debates to see live how poorly Gordon Brown performed and the emergence of the telegenic and articulate Mr. Clegg. We have been able to have discussions with some Europeans from different countries about the prevailing malaise here, only worsened by the volcanic ash crisis and the governments' responses to it. Following my trip to the US, where things in places like Niagara Falls seem horrible while the macro economy picks up, seeing empty or closed down stores here seems familiar. Yet in the US, even in Niagara Falls, one senses an energy that is missing here.

Being stuck here meant we needed to do laundry:
Also, that Amartya got to meet his friends here, and play DS games with them.
Lots of time watching construction will be covered later.

Not such a bad place to be stuck

Still here in Delft. Several sets of tickets cancelled. We were able to do work with our colleagues here at TU-Delft, and also to do some sightseeing. In between checking the internet and news obsessively to find out information about whether airports were open, flights cancelled or not, and our status. Overall though, we are lucky. We have friends, a great hotel, and have even been able to have meetings and do work. We have an amazing view from our hotel:
The volcano somehow made the weather here nicer -- abnormally warm and sunny -- and this is the first time that I've been here to see the bulbs in bloom.

It really looked like the postcards.
No flights out meant that there were even more flowers for sale at what seemed to be bargain basement prices.
We were here for a workshop, and of course Amartya attended too. So did some chickens, as the workshop was held in an art center that was outside Delft that had hens (and a rooster) than wandered in and out of the sessions.
Amartya skyped with his friend in India from the closet.
More on being stuck later.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Stuck in Europe

Long time without a post. Hopefully I'll have a chance to post some photos and thoughts over the next few days. I was in the US and now am stuck in Delft in the Netherlands, where I attended a workshop last week. We're still here because of the volcanic ash from Iceland -- "Europe asked for its cash back, we sent it our ash" -- and now have tickets for later this week. Amazing how the world has suddenly become bigger.