Sunday, April 23, 2006

I am in Barcelona, Spain!

I am in Barcelona, Spain to attend the 2006 IEEE INFOCOM Conference. After arriving yesterday morning, flying redeye overnight from New York's JFK airport, I staggered to the hotel and showered. Then I picked up my camera and went on a walkabout to stay awake until evening so that I could sync to the local time, six hours ahead of what I'm used to in Maryland. I had a good time and sat and people-watched quite a bit, although after looking at the map this morning, I covered quite a bit of ground on foot. Barcelona is obviously a college town, with at least several universities in the area where I am staying. Interestingly, after gritting my teeth and listening for years to all the calumny against Pope Pius XII, the Princesa Sofia Hotel is located in ... Pope Pius XII Plaza! On the other hand, Spain is known as a Catholic country, or at least as Catholic as any country in Europe is. This afternoon I am attending a conference tutorial. Tomorrow will be the same and the actual conference begins on Tuesday. Before going to sleep last night, I channel surfed on the hotel television and I found CCTV Chinese state television, a Russian-language channel, an Iraqi station, a German-language station, BBC television, and even a couple of American stations (Conan O'Brien on CNBC and CNN). No Fox News Channel, alas. The Russian channel was televising some sort of Russian Orthodox procession. Having recently read the biography of Pope John Paul II by George Weigel, this interested me. According to Weigel, one of the principal goals of Pope John Paul the Great was to reunite the Catholic and Orthodox "lungs" of Christianity.

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