I wish I had more time this morning to get into the work part of it, which was fun and interesting - for example, it turns out I can indeed schmooze in my fashion and even find a way to enjoy it; if I remind myself it's my job, then I don't feel like such a goof for talking to people I'd never ordinarily talk to or want to talk to - though there were also people there I ended up genuinely liking, including my boss, which is awesome.
I'd like to tell you about the beautiful five star we stayed in that made Canadian five stars look like shit, and how that was tied to a dignified slavishness on the part of the staff which couldn't be managed in a richer country, and I'd like to explain to you that everything I've ever bothered thinking about rich men is more or less true - my prejudices have been beautifully reinforced by this trip. The conference was for a very traditional sort of industry, with traditional black tie dinners and music and gender roles. But there is no time. Maybe later.
The big news from this trip, according to how I feel this morning at least, is that after one year of studying its poetry and eight years of ignoring it completely I have finally discovered the essence of Romanticism after staying in Sintra, one of its capitals and a favourite of Byron and suchlike, and that is to twist your ankles in the most beautiful surroundings possible. Sintra is very, very, very beautiful and the hills around it are full of well-tended paths leading from one beauty spot to another. All of the well-tended paths, however, seem designed to snap the tendons of anyone who dares traverse them without Tevas. Luckily I was wearing my Tevas. Here are a couple of pictures:
This is a view from Sintra up to the Castelo dos Mouros. It is a very pretty castle. I knew because I walked and walked and walked up the snap-ankle paths to look at it.
See? Anyways, the whole thing was lovely. It was lovely to have some time to myself mooning around a beautiful, warm area and I loved the people and food. I nearly cried when I realized I had to come back here instead of being able to fetch Figaro there and living a Romantic, sore-ankled life in the sun. Oh well. Later, maybe. Tomorrow I will write about the conference, and the day after about all the books I read on aeroplanes or while I was waiting for them. You've been warned.