Friday, February 16, 2007

Oops, it's been a long time...

I guess I thought that after I advanced to candidacy I'd have tons of time to fulfill all my New Year's resolutions. Work out more. Use my cookbooks more. Hm. Nope. Until a week ago I was madly trying to gather enough data for my two poster presentations for the annual Orthopaedic Research Society conference in San Diego.

I realize I have not done enough "business travel" to accurately describe the phenomenon, but my trip to San Diego is pushing me towards the "no no no! Don't get a job that requires it!" side. And there are several factors that mostly likely skew my perception:
1) Undoubtedly, business travel as a grad student is different than business travel as a jet-setting professional. We're not really encouraged or allowed to go out anywhere fancy or nice (expensive) since we're not trying to woo a client. So we looked for places that weren't too pricey, but given our location in San Diego (the Gaslamp) that was very difficult. Would I have loved to try out Aqua al Due, which I went to in Florence? Most definitely. Would our administrative analyst have a mild stroke and yell at me upon seeing the bill? Absolutely.
2) Eating out for ALL of your meals sounds attractive, but when you are in a place like San Diego for an academic conference, can actually suck. Ugh. I just wanted a salad sometimes, which I ordered, but it was usually doused in dressing or came with something fried, and was so big I couldn't finish it all. Nothing feels worse than to pay a whole bunch of money for a crappy half-salad that you can't take the leftovers back to your hotel room so you throw away. I hate throwing away food, even if it's yucky :( And there are only so many times you can eat a $3 "healthy morning muffin" and drink a $4 latte from the Starbucks kiosk because it's the only thing open at 7am. I can't believe I gave $4 for a Starbucks latte. But it was that or buy a $2.50 apple or a $3 cup of saccharine yogurt.
3) Ironically, as a food geek/science geek, I failed to do any research beforehand about what was good around where we were staying. I also agreed to go to such places as "Fred's Mexican Cafe" and "Dick's Last Resort" when other people suggested it, because I was afraid of being a food bully. Next time: do research. Put foot down.

It wasn't all horrible though. If you ever find yourself staying in the Gaslamp Quarter because you have a conference at the San Diego Convention Center, you'll do just fine if you eat all your meals at The Cheese Shop (5th st, across from the Westfield Horton shopping plaza) where they make their own granola and you can get it with fruit and yogurt. The morning I went, they said they had run out of fruit. How do you run out of fruit at 8:30am??? But, they said, we could have bananas and blueberries. Um, because that's not fruit? Another place was Sushi Deli, on Broadway between 1st and 2nd. Cheap. Large portions. If only I had known about it sooner in the trip...

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