Meteorex, or Russia part 2
By Lydia on December 15, 2008 4:45 PM| | Comments (1)
Wednesday 26 Nov.

Conference Day One

Woke up early and got all dolled up for Meteorex/Teco '08. Black pencil skirt, gray fancy tights, gray turtleneck, braid over head, mascara and eyeliner (whoa, hella makeup.) and large Indian earrings. Breakfasted at the hotel buffet on croissant, coffee, and odd dumpling. I passed on the assortment of preserved fish, as my travel-weary stomach had protested my experimentations of the day before. We got on the shuttle and were ferried in the mid-morning pre-dawn to the convention center on the other end of the same island. St Petersburg stradles the Neva River, where it runs into the Baltic, and is made up of a number of islands and land crossed by canals. The hotel we are staying at was on Vasiliostrovski, where the university is. The main historical area is right across the Neva.

We arrived at the center at a quarter past eight, and found that no one was allowed in the exhibition hall until 9. Why, you ask, was the shuttle running at 8? Well, those are Russians for you. For more on this phenomenon, stay tuned for Lydia Tries To Get Home And Finds It Very Difficult.

When we managed to get registered and to our booth it didn't take longer than 15 minutes to stick our posters to the "walls" and rearrange our rented furniture. Now I sit, surrounded by prints of happy bangladeshis with antennes and balloon, reasonably adept after 4 hours at the International Meteralogical Systems spiel, just waiting for middle aged men to come by and inquire in broken english (or russian) after the specifics of the 1680 MHz groundsystem, or the iMet-1 radiosonde. Its kind of painfully boring, and my shoulders feel vice-gripped, and I'm only halfway through the first of 3 days. Luckily for me, a lady from the {unpronouncable, untype-able, BH(backwards K) (weird half-box) M(backwards N) -M (not Y) (not A)} booth gave me a cup of tea and a cookie. She looks like a character from The Office, or something. Anyway, its lucky I don't have to eat every hour and a half like I did last time I went overseas.

The crowd is overwhelmingly male, one exception being cookie-lady, and she is dressed in a gray suit, with a gray bob, large gray glasses and an electric tea kettle. I cannot tell you her name. When she beckoned me over with tea and cookies I introduced myself, "Ztrasvooste (garbled formal hello) I'm Lydia." "Maria?" "No, Lydia" and I tapped my nametag helpfully. Well, then she understood, and said a sentence or two, I am assuming one of the words was her name, and when I looked confused she helpfully tapped her nametag, which of course said something completely perplexing in cyrillic.

Apart from me and cookie-lady, there are many girls who are part of the school groups wandering around trying to score free shit, and the Met  men have a lot to say about the young Russian babes. "Don't see anything like this at home," mused a wind-meter guy from Traverse City. High heels and skin-tight skirts are rampant.

People keep mistaking me for my father's Russian translator which is alternately flattering and embarrassing. Its always nice to not be immediately judged a tourist, but I hate looking stupid every time some Met guy is talking russian to my dad, and when he shrugs, they look at me and say things, and when I shrug they look back at my dad like, "wow, shitty translator." And I have to say "ruski niet."

More please! I love it.