24 July 2006

First day in Berlin

As usual, I was late in packing my stuff and all. Anyway at the eleventh hour things were done.
Yesterday was my first experience with 'Nacht Zug', which means night train. To be honest, second class sleeper journey in Indian Railway is far better than this Nacht-Zug business. Eight hours from Chennai to Kerala or the journey back, how nicely we can sleep. Here I had one push back seat and all, but it's like the bus journey (don't misunderstand to be VOLVO). The sad part is that one side ticket is 70 euro.
But one should say all of it. There were a couple of good things too. It started and reached at RIGHT time (Punctual up to seconds). It had very clean wash rooms. Above all there was a personalized reading lamp.
I read almost till 2:30 Agatha Christie's Crooked House. I definitely won't recommend that book. May be because I am so obsessed with this Sherlock Holmes, I couldn't enjoy that 'crooked house'. What Holmes would do in 15-20 pages was explained in some 180 pages. Again, one should say it all. The twist at the end was good. I think, I being a doctorate student in Math, I should put out two conjenctures.

Conjencture 1: There is no detective story as good as Sherlock Holmes.
Conjencture 2: There is no city in the world which is cleaner and safer than Munich


It seems to be correct again and again. Paris isn't, Brussels isn't, Berlin also isn't safe and clean as Munich. There is no wonder Munich is one of the best places to live. I have to compare it with Zurich and Vienna.
No need to explain the small troubles I had to get my room. But, I cannot avoid writing about the room and building. The building is an antique. Later at night when I asked the youth hostel warden, he told it is 115 years old. Narrow corridors which are always dark. Rooms too are very small and look really old. The lift/elevator is a piece of work. Made in 1959!! It's going to be the Golden Jubilee of it in another 3 years. Still it works fine.
I had a strong feeling of insecurity, the whole day. I don't know whether it was because of the old building I live in or is it because of the not-so-good-city. More about this later.
At the conference "ANTS" I was really having a good time as well as bad time.
First of all, after getting my registration, I went for my copy of LNCS 4076 (LNCS = Lecture Notes in Computer Science). I was surprised and was glad to see that CPR is in the editorial board of the book. I still haven't realised how BIG is CPR. Then I comferencewalking in the conf hall and reading the name tags of different people. I first caught the attention of an Indian fellow and smiled at each other. By the time one old prof came and started chatting with him. But, I heard him introducing him as 'Venkie'. I knew who was this 'venkie' - Head of Cryptography and Security Algorithms, Microsoft Research.
It was during Lunch time, I got to talk to him. To my surprise, he remembered my story. I had to tell him that I am CPR's student and had had some email-conversations with him. He told felt rest. Cool, it really fet great. May be I wasn't good enough for him at that time, but he had noticed and still has in mind. Two minutes later he came to me and asked whether I have a head-phone-set. I gave him my ear-phones of my iPod. A down to earth man. Why all great people are so?
While talks were going on, one short fellow came and sat next to me. I was shocked to read the name tag - Paul Zimmerman. Later while his talk, I came to know that Lenstra was sitting behind me and Peter Montgomery was a just couple of seats away from me. I don't have any idol worship kind of stuff. But, I was feeling really good. To be together with these people is really great. Then again I understood the value of this conference.
Me being too intelligent, I hadn't installed the driver for my WLAN. But there is always the good old LAN. I used it for my network activities.
Venkie's talk was a little different from others' talks. He had more application point of view. His was PPT were others had PDF. His had the pro touch than others. But all were the same for me - went far above my head.
Later in the evening I went for my Berlin tour. Started at around 6.30 and was back at 10. The hauptbahnhof is really terrific. I think it is better than even stationort. A real great railway station on the banks of Spree. Went on walking till the Reichstag - Parliament. Yesterday, iPod was in a good mood and the charge wasn't getting depleted very fast. Good for me.
The building is nice, eventhough it badly needs a cleaning and painting kind of stuff. It's nice to keep the old things in tact. But, why cant they keep them clean? The top of it has been done wonderfully. The glass dome and the funnel kind of stuff, everything is done nicely. Still, I don't understand the need of it. Isn't it beautification for the sake of beautification? According to Roark, we don't do anything for beautification, the good design automatically has beauty. Anyway it was good.
Then I went to The Gate - there is no other gate to be called 'The Gate' other than "Brandenburg Gate", "Brandenburger Tor" in German. Took pictures and then back home.
For the first time in my life, while walking all the way I was a little lonely. I felt it slightly. Generally, wherever I go, I alone or with others, I am complete. But for the first time, I felt some kind of incompletion. May be I wasn't in a good mood. That's all. Today I will be fine.
Before sleeping, I was thinking why I was having the insecure feeling, quite many times during the day. I knew that was because of my gadgets. I had a laptop, ipod, two cameras, another mp3-player, a thick gold chain, quite a good amount of money and a not so bad new mobile. Then in that case, I think, I ought to have the feeling. Not insecure feeling - but a need to be very careful. Took the decision to avoid having these many things while travelling.
It has become a long article now. Should stop, not because it's long but I have to go for today's talks. I need to send mails to home and to some other people.
Signing off, Sands.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

use these sessions to interact with people and discuss interesting problem with them. This is what Nari tells us :)... who knows ..after 5 years someone will write in his blog.. that he sat next to sandeep sadanandan.
karthik

Anonymous said...

Karthik,

his name would have been changed from sandeep to sandie or sandy.

--
Hiran

Anonymous said...

amazing da...

Vimal

Anonymous said...

@hiran..
ROTFl.... btw how r u doing....

@vimal..
post the next entry in ur blog da....

karthik

dinil said...

Its nice you attend such conferences. You learn a lot; and of course, get more motivated and inspired. Great going ..

Anonymous said...

Looks nice! Awesome content. Good job guys.
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