ASLO Summer 2008 Conference (Part II)


The conference began on Monday, June 9, 2008, and ended on Friday, June 13. Since we arrived on Monday evening, that meant several days of exploration. We took part of Wednesday and most of Thursday off to wander through the very adorable town of St. John’s.

Happily Lost

On Thursday, we found ourselves lost after our trek up Signal Hill to try to catch an iceberg (unfortunately, the closest iceberg was nowhere close enough for us to see), but Newfies are uncommonly generous and willing to help, so when we stopped a few people in the area, they pointed us in the right direction and we were soon back in familiar territory. Seeing as how we hadn’t eaten lunch at that point, we decided to indulge ourselves and check out The Sprout, a vegetarian place on Duckworth Street.

Oftentimes vegetarian food can be disappointing. In Taiwan, they tend to overcompensate for flavor by adding grease, which just makes people sick and unhappy all around. But the black bean burrito I had (which was vegan, by the way) was not greasy at all, and, accompanied by a sharp salsa plus the house salad, it was greatly satisfying.

We went back the next day for lunch and stuffed our faces again.

This time, I had the cheese and cauliflower pie.

The Sprout - Cheese and Cauliflower Pie

For dessert, Erin had chocolate cake:

The Sprout - Chocolate Cake

And I had the fruit (berries) and almond crisp.

The Sprout - Fruit and Almond Crisp


This year’s ASLO conference had many events planned for students (and provided many box lunches for students as well!), including a haunted hike and a pub crawl. Erin and I missed the haunted hike, but managed to haul ourselves out for the pub crawl, which was scheduled for Thursday night, the last evening of the conference. We had been in the area for half a week and had barely met anyone new, so mingling was in order. I managed to drag our lab’s post-doc out to the first bar, but as soon as he walked in, he looked at the dark interior of the bar and turned and announced to me that he was returning to his room to sleep. Bummer.

As an aside, we explored George Street, which supposedly has the greatest density of bars per square foot in North America. There are at least 82 bars on the two and a half block street. Crazy, huh?

George Street Pub Crawl - Bar 1

I don’t remember the names of the bars we went into—mind you, not because I was drunk!!—but most of us didn’t really care too much. Erin and I did meet a bunch of students attending the conference, but the funny thing was that all the people we met were from Maryland or about to move to Maryland. In fact, one of the girls actually went to my high school. So much for meeting new people from around the world…

George Street Pub Crawl - Bar 2

The first bar was pretty quiet—apparently the St. John’s bar scene doesn’t really start up until after midnight, and we had started our bar crawl at approximately 10:00pm. We scientists start early! The second bar was better, but small, and we were cramped in like the fish they catch on those trawlers hanging out in the harbor.

By the third bar…

George Street Pub Crawl - Bar 3 (plus a bachelor party)

Things had clearly picked up. There was a bachelor party in the middle of things, and it was great hearing people belt out unintelligble song lyrics in sync with the live bad. It was clear to everyone that they all knew the words; I just can’t understand the Newfoundland accent (a mixture of Irish and European English with the speed tripled). People were dancing everywhere and having a generally great time.

After that, we all decided to head home to crash. Not that it was late. I’m just old. And tired.

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