Eurocon 2009 – Memories of day 1

Already it is Saturday morning. It’s been lots of fun. Shortly, we’ll be off to see a nearby Fort. That is, those of us that awoke this morning. For some, the liquid experience of last night may mean they’ll need a few more hours to sleep it off.

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I’ve taken some of my photos of the camera now. If you remember reading last years postings you might recall about a player from Monaco that reduces his PC to only the essential items in order to save weight. Carrying a PC case on a plane is very expensive. It is almost a regular feature of Eurocon – Ninja and his naked PC.

Another regular feature is late nights and lots of conversation. It was 3am local time when the last 10 of us left the con room for the night. We must be getting old, last year we were up to 4am!

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I delivered Dhyran’s amplifier as promissed. and every so often he and others have been putting out a little tune. One of the things I’d forgotten about Eurocon from last year is the atmosphere created by music. Not dhyran playing, but the ongoing selection of songs played over the PA system. I can’t recall hearing a bad track.

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Speaking of music, the indoor ski slope had a sound system too. Listening to the latest pop music while going up the chair lift was very pleasant. Going down the noise of the skis was too loud to hear the music.

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This year I also brought a little present for my euro friends. Being that beer is a popular beverage at the con, I brought some from the local Faversham brewery appropriately called “Spitfire”. One of the players, Sweepy, has always created pictures of the event and put humour speach bubbles on them. I thought his take on the Spitfire drinking was hilarious so I’ve put the picture here too. Maybe it’s an aquired humour though. Click on the picture to see the full size version so you can read the text.

Eurocon 2009 – More than just simulation

You might imagine that the Eurocon is a group of 40 grown ups playing computer games and drinking beer. Well, that’s only part of what’s going on. This morning 4 of us went to the local indoor snow ski slope. At about 500m long and kept at a steady minus 7 degrees, it made a nice change from the heat of all the computers in the con room. It appears that after 8 years of no skiing, I still remember enough to be comfortable zipping down the slope.

I’d write more, but I’m quite tired now. Before you ask, I didn’t stay up until 3am unlike many others. I was too exahusted from the journey so went to be around 11pm. Maybe I’ll add to this when I get the photo’s off the camera.

Rotary – Club Visit 9 to Lige Rive-Droite

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On the way to Eurocon I decided it would be good to visit a foreign Rotary Club. One of the objects of Rotary deals specifically with encouraging international friendship so Rotarians all over the world are welcome at clubs wherever they happen to be visiting.

Having decided, the next problem was finding a suitable club. The criteria were quite specific:

  • Along the route from Calais to my destination (Simpleveld, Netherlands)
  • Ideally less than 1 hour away from my destination
  • Meeting on Thursday Lunchtime
  • Meeting conducted in French
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After a lot of reserach on the internet (it took longer as I didn’t know the town names. For example, if a Visitor was going to Canterbury on holiday, how would they know Faversham is along their route?) Eventually, I choose to visit the Rotary Club of Lige Rive-Droite. There were a couple of options (Thursday being a lucky day for passing through the area) but Liege Rive-Droite was chosen because their web site had more information about them than the other clubs. They seemed active and approachable, so I sent an email. I wrote it in French first, then English in case I made no sense. The reply (you’re welcome to join us) came back in English. A good sign, if my French wasn’t up to scratch there’d be someone to help out.

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After an unexpected long journey to meet them, I’m glad I went there. Asside from being very friendly, the food was definately the best I’ve had at any Rotary event.

Learnings:

  • Vousing and Tuing – All Rotary friends are Tu, and also “Chez ami” (Dear Friend) even when you’ve just met them [note 1]
  • When I speak in French to a group (when I present our club banner), I really must prepare a bullet list. speaking in english I can remember the 3 things I would like to emphasise, whereas speaking in French I forgot the messages I wanted to put accross as I had to think long and hard to find the right words – along with ensure the best pronounciation I possibly could.
  • To raise funds for charitable purposes, they organise an annual, 8 hour long go kart race of around 30-40 go-karts. It raises (from memory) around 20,000. Useful to know as our develops into its second year

[note 1] At a recent meeting, when Lucy gave her presentation on herself, one of the questions was when should you use ‘vous’ and when should you use ‘tu’ when speaking to a French person.