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Frank Ippolito <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 23 Aug 2000 14:58:23 -0400
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Hi All,

Returned and newly dusted off, I noticed that there hasn't been too much
banter here about our last meeting abroad. I think there's a good
explaination of this: over-saturation. When considering how one can frame
the experience of the 2000 meeting, I immeadiately ran into a question of
where to begin....

Well let's see, the town of Evora was a gem of a 16th century city built
within a ring of thick, ancient moorish walls. Soundbites? I could talk
about the winding alleyways paved with tile fragments, snaking between
crooked houses- all whitewashed and baking in the hot sun. And the
wonderful jumble of thier red tile roofs, each sitting at every concievable
angle and height. Or the bustling town square where one procures a morning
expesso while walking to the university. Or the various churches and
cathedral with heavy bells ringing. Or perhaps the local ancient roman
ruins thrown into the mix for good luck. Then again the ancient university
setting was unparaleled in GNSI history. Tile-lined rooms with hand carved
oaken lecturns were pretty unique. And of course, Rita's room. Hmmmm. What
about the reception at the Castle of Monsaraz? Well I suppose an awesome
sunset over yet another ancient city is worth noting as we wait to enter
into the castle courtyard. There spotlights reveal a long and well attended
table of wine, cheese, breadstuff. Under the stars <sigh>. (Oh yeah, that's
right, the sky was perpetually blue the entire trip.) Anyway cries of
"Catch the bread, save the wine!" echo into the night....What else? Lisbon?
Oh yeah! How about the reception at the Castle de S. Jorg? The sunset over
this ancient capital was pretty impressive from this perch. And the
reception at the US ambasador's house? And the Japanese Embasy!!! Geeze. I
guess I shouldn't start with THAT one. And the auction? Don't go there. But
wait wasn't there another castle in there. No a fort! Big white and right
on the ends of the earth. At Sagres.... yet another reception replete with
another beautiful sunset. Some of us stayed longer too. Four days exploring
a scrub desert that suddenly plunges straight down hundreds of feet into
unspoiled beaches. Tickling scorpions and swimming with octopus. Kinda
different I guess. And wait! Don't forget about the actual meeting with all
the usual GNSI magic. And the people! 12 European contries represented
about a third of the 150 attendees. I don't know. I can't even begin to
begin. And I wasn't even on many of the fieldtrips. Hmmm. Maybe I'll have a
better handle on it tommorrow......