Hawker Center - Chinatown

Originally uploaded by Wasting Moments
This Hawker Center was the first place I ate on the trip. The Hawker Center's are neat; food stalls surrounding open air seating. Lots of choice and variety on meals. This was lunch on Sunday, I ate a couple of pieces of dim sum, some seafood noodle dish, a yam fritter & a beer.

Boat Quay - Singapore River

Originally uploaded by Wasting Moments
Here's a shot from Sunday's somewhat jet-lagged wanderings. South of the conference center on Bridge Road, looking toward Boat Quay / Chinatown down the Singapore River. There's a few more photos up on Flickr, but no food yet.


In Singapore

Hi All --

I arrived in Singapore at approximately 7:30 am this morning. The flight was running a bit late getting out of JFK, but aside from that, everything went perfectly. Singapore Airlines is ridiculous. It seems like every time I woke up, there was someone hovering over me offing food, or a hot towel, or a beverage. If this is how the treat their economy class passengers, I can't even imagine business or first class. If I get the chance, I'll definitely fly them again.

Arrived at my hotel a little after 9, and my room wasn't ready yet. I went of in search of Internet access. The Singapore government runs a large network of free wifi hotspots, one of which was at a McDonalds two blocks from my hotel. Tried to sign up for the 3 years of free access, but it turns out that you can only recieve your password via text message from hotspots. If you're already online elsewhere, you can recieve it via email. I'm not looking forward to seeing what Verizon charges me for the mysterious SMS from SE Asia sitting on my phone in the apt. back in NY!

So, my first attempt at updating you all failed. I'm now sitting at a public workstation in a pool hall. My conference access turns on tomorrow, but I'll probably be out site-seeing, so there may not be pictures until Tuesday.

The rest of the day, I wandered down to the waterfront, through some odd watersports event, around some of the bridges and neat public spaces down by the harbor, then up through Chinatown and back toward the district where my hotel is. All food thus far has been hawker food from patios surrounded by stalls. They're everywhere, cheap and tasty. Trip one, lunch in Chinatown: some dim sum, a plate of mysterious slimy flat noodles with misc. seafood, and a yam fritter. Dinner, closer to the library and hotel, a plate of satey chicken skewers and a plate of chicken fried rice. Both meals accomponied by the ubiquitous Tiger beer.

I meant to go explore Little India & the Arab Quarter this afternoon, where I'll be staying for a few nights after the conference. Instead, I dozed off for a few hours. Hopefully that doesn't hinder the ability to sleep tonight. I doubt it, though: I'm still pretty tired.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm here. I'm well. Hopefully I'll start getting pictures up shortly after the conference begins on Tuesday.


Food and a Photo Stream

Originally uploaded by Wasting Moments.
The conference closing is about to start. Just getting a quick post in to let you know that there's quite a bit up on my Flickr Photo Stream now:

I figure I owe a food post. Unfortunately, I ate far too often bad food in the 'compound' so far this week. This meal is from a nice restaurant in town recommended by our tour guide on the way back from Cuyutlán.

I'm probably eating in town again tonight, and additional food photos may appear if I can convince some friends to set me up with some of their images.


Overdue Posting

Sorry for the slight pause in posts; it’s been over a year, eh? But seriously, beyond that, not taking a lengthy vacation prior to the conference has severely limited my free time. I spent most of the weekend enjoying myself, and have been exceptionally busy with the conference ever since.

All that said, I’ve had a few adventures that I’d like to share with you. Before I get into that though, I’ll present you with a quick paragraph or two about the conference and about my impressions of Mexico thus far.

DC2006 is now a little over halfway done, and it has been wonderful. It’s amazing to me that this is my fifth Dublin Core Conference. Each year, they keep getting better and better. The community and people are wonderful, and there is so much interesting work being done. The ideas that people here have, and the projects they are working on, are brilliant and very important. Some things are more practical than others, but I’m finally starting to come around on the pragmatism and importance of some of the more theoretical data modeling research that has become more and more prominent over the past few years. More on that later; this is supposed to be a travel log, so I’ll not bore you with discussions of RDF, semantic web development and metadata at the moment.

Mexico is a very interesting place. Everywhere I’ve been, the juxtaposition of abject poverty and conspicuous affluence has been very pronounced. It’s such an odd contrast, and unlike anything I’ve seen anywhere else in the word. Manzanillo is an interesting town, but I’d highly recommend staying away from all-inclusive resorts. Although I’m not staying at the Karmino Barcelo, the conference is here, and I’m spending most of my time here. I could be anywhere. It almost feels as much like Disney World as it does Mexico. The place is like a compound, intentionally made as difficult to enter or exit as possible, unless participating in an organized tour.

Fortunately, over the weekend, I was able to get out and about. Saturday, I stealthily snuck into the Barcelo and hung out with some OCLC folks and some Australians. We managed to find our way out of Fortress Barcelo, wandered the beach, stuck our feet in the water and made our way up to the street for some Margaritas. Sunday, a subset of the above group went on an adventure, making our way to El Centro Manzanillo for breakfast, finding our way to the bus station and taking a day trip to Colima’s capital, Colima. The contrasting lifestyles were remarkably pronounced there. Monday, a friend and I hired a guide, Jose, who drove us down to the Turtle Sanctuary and Nature Preserve. Thus far, that trip was the non-conference highlight. Along the way, there has been good food, adventure, misadventure, misplaced objects later found, and a great deal of fun. I’ll be processing my photos, and hopefully acquiring more photos from a friend or two, and will provide more details and photo documentation over the coming days and weeks.



Originally uploaded by Wasting Moments.
Bar in malaga. Exact copy of cheers. Down to Norm sitting at the bar!


Originally uploaded by Wasting Moments.
Battery dying. Me with Snake. More later



No Internet access at the hotel here in Malaga, but quite a nice hotel it is. Thought I´d post a quick update from a bar\internet cafe here before grabbing a couple more drinks and wandering back to the hotel.

The coast down here is beautiful. Took a last early morning walk along the beach in Tarifa this morning, where I stuck me feet in the water again before checking out of my hotel and catching the bus to Malaga. Malaga is a really nice city. Very clean, sensibly laid out and somewhat modern. My hotel is somewhat near the old city center, so it´s quite central to everything.

Rolled into town at about 3:30 this afternoon, found the train station and bought my ticket to Madrid for tomorrow, checked into my hotel and immediately went to the beach. In two days time, I´ve been able to swim in both the Atlantic adn the Mediterranean! Surprisingly, the water in the later was much chillier than the Atlantic coast of Tarifa. I figured it would be warmer due to being a smaller body of water. The beach itself is drastically different as well: it´s small stones rather than sand, all interspersed with a fine dust. I may just have to bring a sample of it home with me.

Stayed at the beach ´til nearly sundown: reading, occasionally swiming in the chilly water, soaking up sun, and generally relaxing. These past two afternoons on the beach have really made it seem like a vacation. Tomorrow, I think I´ll hit the beach again early, check out of my hotel and visit the Picasso museum before my 3pm train to Madrid.

Since I don´t have access to the web here or at my hotel in Madrid, I won´t be able to post any more photos until the conference starts on Monday. At that point, you can expect a few more pics: me with snake (yes, I did pay the couple Euro to pose with the snake in Tangier), maybe another meal or two (tonight´s dinner was a fantastic combination platter at a somewhat fancy restaurant), and probably a couple photos from the DC2005 opening session. If you remember from last year, this is the point that the blog gets stuffy and boring and even my mom stopped reading.


Tarifa to Tangier

The place I was originally looking to book the Tangier tour through never opened. Not this morning, not this afternoon, not at all. I suspect this is due to the week long festival that's going on here in Tarifa right now. That said, this morning I was able to wander down to the port and book a tour through a different travel agency. I booked it at about 8 and was on the ferry to Morroco before 9.

I have to say, I completely disagree with all the folks on the various forums that advised against the day trip to Tangier. While it really isn't enough time to experience such a remarkable culture and place, it's still an absolutely worthwhile way to spend a day. I had a great time. It's incredibly cheesy and touristy, but a great experience nonetheless. You start out on a bus tour of the new city, which takes you past the King's summer home, the governer's mansion, various government buildings and a smattering of churches, mosques and interesting looking commuities. During this portion of the trip, you stop at a really touristy point where you can ride a camel (see photo in previous post).

The tour guide was a wonder to behold. Fluent in as many languages as I know to exist, he gives the tour in all of them at once. Our group of 20 to 30 folks consisted of English, French and Spanish speakers. I suspect that if there were folks who sprechen Deutsch in our midst, he'd have added that to the unrelenting multi-lingual torrent of tour-guidance he emited. As it were, it was confusing to keep up with.

After the bus portion of the tour, your taken through the ancient portion of the city, the Kazbah, past a strategically placed snake charmer (pose with snake for picture? - 2 Euro) and off to lunch. The tour concludes with the obligatory obnoxious visit to various vendors of expensive goods (mostly carpets in Morroco, it was furniture and ... more carpets in china) and a bit more touristy shopping. It's a very canned experience, but an experienced not to be missed if in the area.

Was back in Spain by around 4 this afternoon, when I promptly went to spend the rest of the sunshine at the beach. An aside: reading Confederacy of Dunces, and have laughed out loud a number of times. This feels more like a vacation, finally. I'm almost touristed out. Maybe another museum or two (Picasso tomorrow in Malaga, maybe another in Madrid Sunday), but I'm mostly going to spend the next couple of days relaxing on the beach. That is, when I'm not on a bus or train in transit...

Took a couple of swims and the water was fantastic, if not a bit overrun by seaweed. A closer look at the map indicates that these beaches are atlantic, not mediterranian. Tarifa's port is directly on the Straights of Gibralter and the beach is to the Northwest. Tomorrow's beach in Malaga will be on the Mediterranian.


Originally uploaded by Wasting Moments.
A nice young couple from Holland took my picture while I was getting a 30 second camel ride. As you'll see in the next post, the Tangier tour is very cheesy and cookie cutter-ish, but still good fun.


Originally uploaded by Wasting Moments.
Dinner in Tarifa: Grilled Tuna with fried potatos and cabbage. Also had a delicious seafood soup (sopa de mariscos)