Prof. Husband came home yesterday from his week-long conference trip to Scotland with interesting stories and ideas. Getting accepted for a conference and presenting a paper is a good thing in itself, but what I like the most about academic conferences is the inspiration they generate: not just ideas for more papers, but excitement about the field, academia in general, and more thorough insights into other people’s work and thought. My husband also gets to spend time with old and new friends, which is good, since he doesn’t exactly have a rich social life here in Beirut.
It was cold, he said, and it rained a lot. It was expensive too. But he had some really nice meals and brought me back a beer that is to die for: Innis & Gunn, rhum finish. Most of all I enjoy hearing about the people he met though, their lives, stories and families, and of course the ideas that the adventure has produced.
Getting back from St. Andrew’s to Beirut is a bit of an ordeal, involving two buses, a longer train ride and two flights, but his trip went very well – until he got to the Rafik Hariri airport in Beirut. Just before Prof. Husband’s plane landed, the relatives ofthe pilgrims that were taken in Syria decided to block off the road to theairport, preventing any traffic from leaving or entering the airport. So when my husband had got his bag and came out to look for the taxi driver we had arranged, there was nobody there to meet him. There was no information anywhere that would indicate that something was going on, so he decided to wait for a while. After quite some time, he ran into a friend who had just come from Turkey with a friend. They learned, upon calling a relative that was supposed to pick them up, about the chaos outside, and after some conferencing, decided to leave the airport on foot and make it out to the road where their ride was waiting. Zigzaging through blocking vehicles and burning tires, the party of three made it out safely, and my husband’s friends were very kind to take him home.
I was getting a bit worried, yes – he’s usually home within an hour after his plane lands, and now it had been almost three! - when he finally walked through the door I was very happy to have him home.