Helen (heleninwales) wrote,

Day 7 -- Final day of the conference and a Korean banquet

We skipped the walking down to the station because we had heard that snacks would be provided at the KAIST for those who were staying in the student hostel where meals weren't provided. We thus got a taxi straight from the hotel to the KAIST and after a doughnut and a cup of tea, I was ready for the second and final day of the conference. G was to give his presentation after the mid-morning tea break, so we attended the plenary session and then went up to the lecture room to put his PowerPoint presentation onto the computer. As we had seen a talk in this room yesterday and the computer had crashed, we had taken the precaution of taking my Eee as a standby. This turned out to be a wise move because though it ran OK for the first speaker, about a third of the way through G's talk, everything froze. As I had been running the presentation on the Eee as he talked, it was the work of a moment to transfer the cable from the KAIST computer to the Eee. Despite it being one of the early Eees running a weird v ersion of Linux and what is probably now an old version of Open Office, it ran the PowerPoint perfectly and though the aspect ratio wasn't quite right, at least it meant only a tiny hiccup and G could continue with the presentation.

After that we attended a couple of other talks, had lunch and the after a presentation about using games to encourage creative thinking, there was a brief opportunity to take photos before the buses arrived to take us to the Hotel Homers where the business meeting and banquet were being held. Again we realised that we had totally underestimated the size of Busan, which is Korea's second city. We seemed to drive for ages before eventually arriving at a beach with a splendid suspension beach crossing the bay. The whole thing looking something like a movie. As the banquet was being held on the 20th floor the view was stunning!

I'm not quite sure how I ended up as founder member of the MCG (Mathematical Creativity Group). I am only an honorary mathematician at best. I have a grade C A-level and have just taken an AS-Level, so I really shouldn't be there with a load of people with PhDs and who knows what in Maths. However, I seem to be able to bluff my way through and as I remember filling out a form at the MCG conference in Latvia, that made me a member and eligible to vote. anyway, the business was boring but necessary and voting in of a new president and treasurer didn't take long and then we had the banquet.

I had never eaten Korean food before. I know that though Chinese and especially Indian is the adopted food of the UK, big cities have Korean restaurants. However, I have never eaten in one and so the cuisine was totally new to me. There is a flavour that seems to be distinctiviely Korean because I don't recognise it and yet it's turned up in a few dishes I've eaten while I've been away. I think some Googling may be required to identify what it might be. I must just mention the fruit. The fresh pineapple here is the most delicious I've ever tasted. We can occasionally get fresh pineapple where we live, but by the time it's travelled all the way to Wales, it's a bit sad and tired, nothing like the succulent pineapples here. Also the watermelon is more flavoursome than I'm used to. Anyway, we ate and drank and talked and when we'd all finished, there were some Korean dancers. The first young woman did a fan dance -- except she didn't have a fan. Then two young women did a Buddhist drum dance.

Once the entertainment was over, we bid our farewells, took the lift down the hotel lobby and walked out of the hotel to find a taxi disgorging its passengers. We hailed it and twenty or so minutes later, we were back in our hotel. As usual, G went straight to bed. He claimed it felt like the middle of the night, but that means he's running on neither Korean nor UK time but some weird private time zone! It's very annoying because he'll take about a fortnight to readjust properly to UK time when we get back, if his trip to China some years ago is anything to go by.

The only slight worry now is that a typhoon is forecast for tomorrow. We are supposed to be going on a trip to a Buddhist monastery on the coast and then to the aquarium and I hope the trip goes ahead as planned. The other trip has been cancelled because of bad weather. Anyway, the day looks as though it will be interesting, if only in the Chinese curse sense. :)

[Cross-posted from Dreamwidth by way of a backup http://heleninwales.dreamwidth.org/52420.html. If you want to leave a comment, please use whichever site you find most convenient. Comments so far: comment count unavailable.]
Tags: what i did on my holidays

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