Thursday, 10 March 2011

Bus fares and other academic stuff

It is fascinating to learn how to use public transportation when you travel. Oyster card in London is smart, and many places have something similar these days. I had detailed instructions how to get from my hotel to the University, with bus numbers and correct stops ("Don't get off the bus at University, but at the next stop"), as well as how to pay: you cannot pay the driver, but get a ticket from a machine or ticket office. (My thoughts go to the wonderful bus drivers in Cambridge who not only sell you a ticket, but suggest which type of ticket would be best). I asked the hotel manager what the bus fare was, because I had no idea, and he offered me a card, explaining that a previous guest had left it, with some money still on it. I took it to the ticket office to check, and there was indeed enough for a return ride. The University campus in this city is out in the wilderness.

I got off the bus at the right stop and followed the map without getting lost. Had lunch with the two supervisors, examination board and head of department. I am sure it was a very nice lunch, but I didn't enjoy it because it was too rushed, and I had a job to do. The laptop was in a cooperative mood - unlike the day before yesterday in Finland. I told the candidate I didn't bite. He didn't think it was funny. Afterwards, somebody told me that he got terribly nervous halfway through the defence, but I didn't notice. I felt we had a good scholarly discussion. Never mind that there were a hundred people in the audience.

I shared a taxi back to the railway station and returned the bus card to the hotel manager for the next guest. The train journey was uneventful except that at some point the train was five minutes delayed, and I had to change trains with ten minutes margin, but the local train waited. This time I knew the name of my hotel and even had a map. It was pouring rain.

The dinner options were peanuts from the minibar, an English-style pub and a fancy restaurant. I dismissed the first as non-viable. The pub was well hidden in a labyrinth of corridors, and when I eventually found it, it was just as crowded and noisy as you would expect a pub to be, so I opted for the silent restaurant. I had to remind myself that I had done a brilliant job today, and that there was a doctoral banquet going on right now, that I couldn't stay for. I should have written a speech and asked someone to read it. Too bad.


Staffan Skott said...

Brilliant as always, darling!
But an oldfashioned journalist has learnt that somewhere in the beginning you should tell where (and if necessary when and why etc). I happen to know where you so deservedly went to the good restaurant, but other readers might ask "In Reykjavik? Verkoyansk? Aberystwyth?)
I think she came to Växjö from Linköping.

Maria Nikolajeva said...

On request. Where: Sweden. As Staffan clarifies, moving from Linköping to Växjö, but does it matter? When: yesterday, although it feels a year ago after the long, extremely intensive day today. Why: this is what I keep asking myself. Why am I doing it? See some of my previous posts.

Anonymous said...

OK. Writing as an academic ios not writing like a journalist. But Linköping and Växjö must be so proud of your presence, and why deprive them of that glory?