Wednesday, April 2, 2008


The actual name is SACAM – South African Conference on Computational and Applied Mechanics.

People ask me how the conference went and I don’t know what to tell them. Perhaps that’s what you do when someone goes to an event; you ask how the event was. But I don’t like my normal conferences in my field. They are mostly field with elder white males—not enough minorities and not enough women. Here there is not enough of the majority. I prefer student conferences or minority (USA) student conferences.

For the big name it had, I was disappointed. I think there is a dearth of math and science and technology research in South Africa. And I’m helping to build up such infrastructure while here. I just thought it would be larger, better attended. It was also strange that many speakers didn’t show up for their appointed times. Very strange. Maybe 25% of the people didn’t show up. I was shocked.

The best part of the conference was the big gala on Wednesday night. Because the organizers couldn’t find any place else, we had it at the 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa. This is a place I would like to send every girl friend I know including my sister and mom. If you’ve looked at my pictures you’ve seen the 12 Apostles mountain range. There is a rule here in Cape Town that says you cannot build anything (nothing commercial or residential) beneath this mountain range on the road or in that area. Apparently this hotel and spa must have been built there before it took effect. So it’s on an isolated strip of beach and cliffs on the West coast of Cape Town (south of Camp’s Bay [our Venice Beach] and Table Mountain). It’s very fancy, and I’ve always wanted to go there and see it. The view is utterly spectacular. The sunsets are amazing. I saw shades of sunsets and stages of sunsets that I have never viewed in my life. If Cape Town is the most beautiful city in the world, then 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa is one of the most beautiful locations in the world. And you can eat your food (as we did) with that entire full view before us with our open dining arrangement.

It was nice to be able to be at the waterfront for most of the week. I was able to get to know Sam, a master’s student in my lab, better. She may be working on biomedical fluid-structure interaction which means I could help her with her project. She’s a nice girl. She found out I was a Christian (but I already knew that :D as well as the fact that she was). That excited her. She needs a ballroom dancing partner and she and another masters student in the lab, Helen, want me to join them for her hot yoga classes (I know there’s an actual title for it). If you’re a Christian reading this and feel I’m sinning, I’m doing Christian yoga. My mom has the DVD. You can contact her.

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