Well, I'm on my way to the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in DC. Because I procrastinated until the last minute and couldn't find cheap tickets with reasonable travel times, I decided to take the train, which all in all does not take that much longer than flying. And you don't have to deal with airport security and other annoyances. Now here I am, sipping my drink , enjoying the free WiFi and watching the scenery zip past. There's definitely a very different crew of people on the train that the ones you typically meet on a plane. Instead of the harried and disheveled cranky plane travelers, people here seem a bit more diverse. There was the dude that walked past dressed like Brad Pitt in that movie "Inglorious Basterds" with the stupid mustache and all. Or the woman covered in sequined clothing, head to toe, carrying about six hundred laptop computers, cell phones and other strange electronic gizmos. Or the six impeccably groomed apparently functional guys that walked in together, following instructions from one that appeared to their leader and kept telling everyone where to sit and then started handing out snacks for them all. FIrst apples, then power bars. Or the Eastern EUropean-sounding dude that walked in and pulled out an enormous book about Rembrandt from his bag, and then promptly got kicked out of the train by the conductor for not having the right kind of ticket. There's also a little kid screaming up the aisle, but as long as its not my kid, that never bothered me, and at least he can run amok up and down the aisle.
Plus you don't get hit in the head with random people carrying their poster tubes around the airport.
Hopefully the meeting will be good – 30,000+ people is always difficult to manage. If I get a chance I'll post a picture of the sea of posters for anyone who hasn't attended this kind of scientific meeting.