Got back from the ACS meeting in Salt Lake City. As usual, quite a hectic week, more so this time since this was the first meeting in which I was Program Chair for CINF. With the exception of a few glitches, I think it went well – especially our first talk given via Skype! Met up with lots of people, old friends and new, and got lots of input for future programming – very interesting stuff coming up in the next few meetings.
I must recommend the Hotel Monaco – a boutique hotel, slightly expensive but very good value (excellent rooms, free wireless access, complimentary wine tasting). Also across the road was Seigfrieds Deli, which served very good German cuisine. We also had a Blue Obelisk meeting at Martine – which served great tapas (and their dipping olive oil was the best I’ve ever had).
After the meeting, I met up with my wife in Las Vegas (not a place I’d like to visit again) and then headed to Death Valley for two days. Such a short time is not enough to do justice to the place. The landscape is both breathtaking and humbling. Luckily it wasn’t scorching yet, but we worked up a good sweat on some hikes. It still amazes me that life will find a way to survive in extreme conditions – I had always thought of Death Valley as desolate, but in fact, it teems with life. I suppose I’ll have to visit the Gobi or Atacama to experience real desolation.