Day 1 at SIVB

So I'm here in the hotel lobby of the Westin Indianapolis for the SIVB (Society for In Vitro Biology) conference. Yesterdays ride up was interesting to say the least. We rented a car in Jonesboro that Enterprise described as compact but a more appropriate adjective would have been minature. It was a chevy aveo hatchback that I think is probably the smallest car I have ever been in. Lou was driving most of the way which was a little harrowing at times. He has a couple of interesting habits which include slowing down whenever he feels like it (ie. on the freeway, going through intersections etc. ) not using his turn signals to change lanes, and a couple of other less than favorable things. In essence he drives like an 80 year old in boston who can barely see over the steering wheel except he is a 34 year old chinese man. He almost feel asleep at the wheel, at which point i told him I was going to drive and he should just sleep. While I'm not 25 or listed as a driver on the vehicle, I would bet that Enterprise would prefer me at 24 to Chunzhao asleep at the wheel...just a guess. After a few hours of driving, we stopped at a Denny's (my first time). I was unimpressed but it was a funny experience none the less trying to get these two to order. Siva, a vegetarian, had some trouble finding things on the menu. I had to explain what french toast, pancakes, omelets, eggs benedict, and a few other things were. I felt like a breakfast food wikipedia. I think the waitress was a little confused with the whole situation too, I'm sure we looked like quite the odd bunch. We returned to the road shortly thereafter and Siva began to grill me on American politics with question like, "Which president is better Bill clinton or Bush?" I had to bite my toungue a few times but it was funny to see how he thinks in absolutes about things like that. Then I had a conversation with Lou about tiananmen square (the anniversary was a few days back) and he essentially said that the students should have known better than to mess with the government. Again, I had to bite my toungue. He also asked if they could have done that in the US which was the second time this month that someone from china has asked about protests in america and the governmental response, assuming it would be similar to tiananmen square. Not sure what they are teaching over there in China about US policy but I'm guessing its not entirely accurate. Finished the rest of the ride out with fairly little event and arrived in Indianapolis at about 6:00 local time. The hotel is great especially compared to the dorm room I've been staying in recently. Up at 7:00 am today to attend a meeting...they have these daily but I'm only going to do that once more for this conference. I should be updating you on all the crazy scientists I meet here. Also, Happy Fathers Day! Patrick OUT!

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