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Friday, March 9, 2012

Vancouver SRA2012 Conference 8th March

Guess I should have stayed sightseeing.
The conference centre is a great barn with countless rooms, and sparsely populated by people. Perhaps everyone else knew where to go; guess that's the problem with being a stranger in a strange land. Nobody was able to find our session in Meeting Room 1. Three international experts on self-harm and suicide prevention, and an expert on Ethics and Review Committees. OK Ethics is not everyone's favourite topic, but we were swamped by the room and the 200 chairs. We formed a Wagon wheel circle up front and huddled with the seven eager souls attending. Hope they gained something from our deliberations. Then everyone scattered.

I had trouble finding out what sessions might interest me (I did not have my computer with me, had not been able to download the SRA2012app, and though there were 3 photocopied booklets on a table, I found it hard to make sense of them). I had previously been given a photocopy of highlights - which all looked somewhat ordinary. There was no coffee - I was directed to a commercial cafe. I had missed breakfast at the hotel (entirely my fault), and there were no snacks or lunch. Ah well, escape back to the hotel.
I have chaired or been involved in running 24 national and international conferences; I have a good sense of how to make people feel welcomed and involved. This conference feels bleak and unwelcoming. Perhaps you have to be part of the 'IN' crowd....   :-(

Vancouver 7th March Beautiful again

We spent the morning touring and getting to know the city, the parks, conservatory and an 'aerial view'.

Convention Centre East where the SRA begins tomorrow
One of the really striking things is the respect Canadians have for their First Nations Peoples, as well as the environment. 400 year old trees are treated with such reverence, and there seems to be a strong sense of the how the cycles of life integrate with ecology. Impressive...

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Vancouver, Canada (6th March and 6 degrees) (2)

Don't you just love how chance plays a wonderful part in life? We asked the hotel to recommend a good french restaurant (we are in Canada after all). They suggested "Le Gavroche" Vancouver’s longest-standing French restaurant, open since 1978.
What lovely people. What great French cuisine - superb presentation, with just enough at each course to satisfy the taste and the stomach. Sorbet between two courses - can't remember the last time we had that. Stunning Lobster Bisque, and then the fish on black rice with Asparagus - wow. With a really nice Cote du Rhone. Then the Creme Brulée - double wow. I really appreciated this end to the first day. Makes you feel the journey is so worthwhile. Love Vancouver already.... But then I love anywhere they serve such good creme brulée....  (LOL)
What a cute little place.

Creme Brulée - Mmmm...

Vancouver, Canada (6th March and 6 degrees)

The flight from Australia was direct, and so a bit long. But we are here safe and sound, and exploring this beautiful city. We took a short walk to the Convention Centre on the first day, It had been raining for days, but 6th March was bright sun, beautiful views and sharp intakes of icy air...

On Tuesday we did a tour to the Salmon Farming, then the Suspension Bridge at Capilano, then  up Grouse Mountain. We lunched on top of the world, and I walked on snow for the first time since my transverse myelitis.
Vancouver Bay, seen from Grouse Mountain
"Great Skidoos. I was just looking, honest..."