August 30, 2008

home

catherine @ 2:16 pm

They say “home is where the heart is”. Well, I do not know about that, I lost my heart a long time ago. But one thing that is certain is that home is where the comfort is!

My train got in yesterday afternoon, just in time for rush hour and what a rush hour it was. After spending almost a week away in Québec City, where the pace was definitely more relaxed, despite running around non-stop everyday and covering marathonian distances in record time (much to the dismay of my left ankle), all my senses were assailed by the busyness and savagery of Montréal before I even left the train. Some guy, in a mad rush to get off the train with his daughter, decided to literally knock down anyone standing between him and the door, pratically dislocating one passenger’s right shoulder in the process. Luckily, there are still a few nice people around and a very nice man called Fernand offered to help me carry my bags for me.

My best friend Alain met me in the station above ground, we made a quick stop at the wine store and then hopped into a cab for one of the most memorable taxi rides of my life. As I said, it was rush hour. But this was no ordinary rush hour. It was Friday and long week-end rush hour. Our taxi driver, a crazy Jamaican man who would turn up the car radio every time Alain and I tried to talk to each other, decided to take us up on Sherbrooke street, right smack in the middle of a monster traffic jam, almost ran over some pedestrians on two separate occasions (who, it should be noted, did not even bat an eye at the fact that a crazy Jamaican taxi driver, honking at them furiously all the while never slowing down, was about to end their life) and actually expected me to leave him a ten dollar tip for a fare that, had he gone south and taken the damn freeway, would have ended up costing ten dollars less and would have taken half the time. Now that is what I call balls.

Anyway, I am home now, doing laundry, relaxing, and reflecting on the last seven days. It feels good to be back, although I am sure I will find some reason to complain soon enough. After this long week-end, I return to work for two days and then leave for a very short vacation next Thursday until the 15th. Not going anywhere, just balconville, but it will be a long-awaited and welcomed rest.

Will post some sort of report on the conference here soon as well as photos on flickr. Until then, be well.

August 27, 2008

RI Québec 2008 - update

catherine @ 10:18 pm

As y’all may have noticed, I have not kept my promise to report regularly on the Rehabilitation International 21st World Congress going on this week in la Capitale Nationale (i.e. Québec City). In my defense, I have this to say:

  • The days are long and full. After the first day, I had started laboriously writing up a report on the laptop I borrowed from work and at 12h30, I realised that, not even a third of the way through, I just had to give up as I had to get up less than five hours later and get through another day;
  • The convention centre is humongous and all this walking around is killing me;
  • The convention centre, amazingly enough, does not have any real Internet access to speak of. The only place you can have access to Internet is in this tiny “cybercafé“, which is really just five computer terminals thrown together against sun-drenched, ceiling-high windows (hello?) in a corner near the escalators (and no café, incidently). At roughly 800 delegates, you do the math. Come on, Québec! It is your 400th birthday. Buy yourself a nice present and get some real wifi;
  • So basically, the only time I have access to a computer (no way I can lug around a laptop all day) and Internet is when I get back to my hotel at night and I am just too exhausted to do much more than wash my face and crash into bed.

I have however been taking a ton of notes (those who know me understand how incredible this is) and so I will definitely post a report about this past week after I get home. I do not know yet what form all this will take because, quite honestly, there is just so much stuff I could write about but I will figure something out.

August 24, 2008

RIQuébec 2008 - arrival

catherine @ 7:26 pm

This week, I am Québec City attending Rehabilitation International’s 21st World Congress. I will try to blog about my week here but do not expect detailed minutes and accounts à la Joe Clark.

I am pretty excited about being here and hope to meet up with some people I have not seen in a while and meet some new people too. The Convention on the rights of people with disabilities figures prominently in the programming so I am very much looking forward to that and to seeing what is going on in other countries as well. Many involved in the organising of this event are from the rehabilitation field and so that has obviously given a “clinical” savor to the programming but thankfully, there is a lot of stuff on rights and social participation. One thing that I find a bit lacking is content on technology and I find that a bit surprising but there are a few interesting talks I will be attending.

I took the train this afternoon to get here, it was ok although I had some young excited spanish guys sitting near me so it was hard to relax and try to plan my week. Also, my hotel seems nice. I did notice a big bus load of spanish people having descended onto the hotel shortly after I arrived so that should prove euh, busy, to say the least.

Anyway, more tomorrow, if I am not too tired.

Update: I had to have my room changed because the air conditioning did not work. I am a 41 year-old woman; I need my air conditioning. My new room is near the elevators but I am hoping it will not be too noisy at night. I am a 41 year-old woman; I need my sleep.

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