Saturday, August 16, 2008

ISME 12 in Cairns, Australia

I realize that I've been a non-blogger as of late, but on the off chance some of you still have me in your feeds, I'll try to write something about the ISME (International Society for Microbial Ecology) meeting that starts this evening in Cairns (Northeast Australia, near the Great Barrier Reef).

Getting here was a bit of an adventure; coming into Sydney we were instructed that we must go through customs and retrieve our luggage before continuing on to any domestic flights. So I dutifully did that and waited for my luggage to show up at the carousel. It didn't. It turns out that because my Sydney-Cairns flight actually was the first jump in a Sydney-Tokyo flight, it didn't count as a "domestic flight" and I was actually supposed to go through customs in Cairns and collect my baggage there. After all this was figured out I very nearly missed my flight to Cairns -- as I raced through the Sydney airport to the departure gate I was one of those annoying passengers that you hear getting paged for the last call for their flight. But I made it -- and so did my luggage-- which is more than could be said for my friend Lisa's -- she still doesn't know the status of her baggage and whether it is lost for good.

But here we are in Cairns. As Lisa notes, the city is much like the San Diego that we left from in look and weather. Well, maybe how San Diego would look if Canadians had built it or something -- it does have the distinct Commonwealth feel somehow that I recognize from my time living in Canada.

More posts (with pictures and actual science) will follow.


suicyte said...

I liked Cairns a lot, when I visited 2003 for the ISMB meeting. But then, Cairns was my very first impression of Australia - we flew into Cairns via Singapore, hired a car, and made our way down to Brisbane. The whole thing took us 3-4 weeks, with plenty of stopovers for sightseeing. It was fantastic. When comparing the weather to San Diego, you should probably take into account that this is winter in Cairns right now. Enjoy the stay!

Jonathan Badger said...

Good point about it being winter here -- I *did* notice that it got dark quite early last night. So I take it that summers (when ISMB tends to get held) are much warmer? San Diego is more or less the same temperature year round.

Neil said...

I'll be following with interest!

So ISMB might be held during N. hemisphere summers (July/August), but of course that was winter for us at ISMB 2003, Brisbane. I know, it's all a bit confusing at first :)

Queensland gets dark early most times of year (we don't have daylight saving and are sited in the sub-tropics). And yes, summer would be 30+ degrees and high humidity, most days, so enjoy the winter sun, if not the chilly nights.