Wednesday, February 14, 2001

Time Shock

Well, I tried to wander around before the lectures yesterday, but the falling snow put the kibosh on that idea. If I'm similarly stymied this morning, at least I have the bus tour this afternoon.

I did wander out later during the morning coffee break -- partially to look around and partially to get away from all the smoke. The smoke in my room has lessened somewhat, which means that much of it was probably due to the previous inhabitant. But the section of the hotel with the conference contains a lot of people, and thus a lot of smokers. It always shocks me to see someone lighting up at a random place indoors. I want to say, "Hey you can't do that," but of course they can; it's only my American sensibility (and that's even a sensibility limited to parts of the country).

Speaking of the part of the hotel with the conference, an adjacent room featured a metal detector and a bunch of cops hanging around outside. The next time I walked past it, I put my glasses on and saw a sign with the Korean flag, another flag and the words "Welcome Reception." Then it was off to the Flags of the World web site to identify the other flag as the Mongolian flag. I did a news search, and sure enough, President Bagabandi of Mongolia was due to visit Cheju. Cool.

Last Friday, George warned me about the effect of the time difference. He said he had stayed up on the entire flight to Kuala Lumpur last year, and then he had gone to sleep right afer arriving -- the standard suggestion for dealing with jetlag. He said everything was fine until about 8 PM the next day, when he was overcome with sleep, only to wake right up at all hours of the night.

I, by contrast, napped some on the flight over. But I sayed up most of Korean "Monday" and went to bed around 10 PM. I woke up at about 6:30 and felt pretty good. I went down and had an overpriced breakfast at the "Cozy Cafe", checked my e-mail and went to the morning talks. I was feeling pretty good; maybe I was better able to handle this time difference than George. Wrong. After lunch, I was dead. During an endless series of 25 minute talks, my modus operandi was: listen to the first 5 minutes of the talk, decide the speaker didn't have anything interesting to say that couldn't be gleaned from the proceedings, nap for 20 minutes, wake up, clap, repeat. I went to my room and took a nap before the reception, wandered around there for a while, checked my e-mail (yeah, I'm obsessive) and went back to sleep.

I did, however, beat George in the sleeping through the night department. There are some areas you just shouldn't try to compete with me -- probable primality testing and sleeping are the two that come to mind. I made it through the next day (Wednesday) pretty well, though I decided to get to bed by about 9...for some reason sleeping 9-6, which corresponds to sleeping 7 AM to 4 PM Eastern Time, seemed like a good compromise. Well, at least it gets me up and using the computers before everyone else.

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