ASLO Summer 2008 Conference (Part I)


ASLO 2008 Summer Meeting

*note: ASLO = American Society of Limnology and Oceanography

To those of you who may not know, I graduated college with a degree in biochemistry. I have spent the past year working as a technician in the lab of a former professor, working on furthering his work in researching the spectral properties of lignin in natural waters (in other words, I’m looking at how much light river and ocean water absorbs due to the amount and types of plant material found in them). It’s been tedious work, especially since what I did for the majority of the year was microwave and evaporate hundreds of samples had collected during my undergraduate years from several research cruises. In the end, I guess it paid off because I got to go on an all-expenses (more or less) paid trip to St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, for a weeklong conference to present a poster on my research (if you’re interested in learning more about my research, email me directly).

Always excited to try the local cuisine when I travel, I actually tried surprisingly little of what could be considered traditional “Newfie” food. St. John’s is a little port town on the eastern shore of the island, and there are a lot of fish and seafood dishes available which, in retrospect, I probably should have tried. But traveling with a vegetarian means looking for vegetarian meals, and while I am not a vegetarian myself, I do love vegetable dishes, so I was more than willing to eat vegetarian meals.

Most meals I ate only with my fellow lab member and roommate in Newfoundland, Erin, who happened to be the vegetarian. Our first real dinner in St. John’s, however, was with our boss, at a place called The Hungry Fisherman.

The Hungry Fisherman - Scallops and Shrimp Grand Marnier

My dish was Shrimp and Scallops Grand Marnier. It wasn’t too bad, although my poor American wallet felt a slight hit at the $24.95 price tag (and then a 13% tax, not including gratuity), which, given the current weakness of the American dollar, was a bit painful. Thank goodness for per diems which ultimately paid for my meal.

Deciding not to eat so heavily or expensively for the rest of our trip, Erin and I set out to try smaller cafes and restaurants.

Tilted and sliding ice

While waiting in the café (called K Café) across the street from our hotel, we were playing with ice. I think the table was tilted. Or her cup. Or the street… Whatever the reason, our childlike antics discovered that ice placed on the straw in this fashion would always start sliding toward the window.

K Cafe - Chicken Florentine

We had gone to K Café for breakfast and noticed “ice cream crepes” on the dessert menu. How scrumptious! We decided in the morning to make it back to at least try the crepes for a dinner dessert, if not just have them purely for dinner. Feeling a bit guilty at eating solely sweets for dinner, I ordered the soup of the day. Salty and warm, it was perfect for a chilly day spent wandering through the streets of St. John’s.

Side note about St. John’s weather: it’s almost always overcast in St. John’s, and it was quite cold—45 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the 98 to 100 plus degrees I had left behind at home. Strange.

Ice Cream Crepe

It was delicious. Mostly ice cream, I barely tasted the crepe—which was okay, since I love ice cream. We topped the crepe with triple berry, which was a combo of partridgeberry (also known as lingonberry), bakeapple (also known as cloudberry), and strawberry.

You can see Erin’s glass of wine in the picture as well. That one glass caused her to pass out at 7:30pm that night… and sleep until 8:00am the next morning. Wow, indeed.

Signal Hill

St. John’s is beautiful.

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