Thursday, January 18, 2007

Science Workshops and Conferences, Part II (eating out)

You won't find me saying many great things about my evil global biotech company on this blog, but this post is an exception.

Attending conferences and workshops is often difficult because I have to deal with being away from my family, travelling, long hours, and catching up with piles of work when I get back. But one of the great joys of attending conferences and workshops is the food.

As you may recal from previous posts, my eating habits aren't exactly Weight Watcher's. My lunch a couple days ago, for instance, was composed of an airport hot dog with mayo and mustard, washed down with a Pepsi. Under normal conditions, I'm often too busy even to eat lunch, and supper is often eaten in stages as I and my wife feed our kids.

But when I travel on the company's dime, I eat like a friggin' king. Before you gasp in horror at my apparent lack of corporate responsibility, please note there is a travel policy which limits how much can be spent on meals. For a city as large and expensive as the one I'm in right now, that limit is $60 per day per person. Since eating out is my only option, costs can really add up. In large cities, a plate of good food can cost $20. Still, $60 goes a long way.

I'm not a breakfast person, and lunch is usually just a sandwich, so that leaves a gourmet budget for supper. We're talking appetizers, fancy drinks, large dishes of exotic food, and a decadent dessert. "Would you like a refill on that drink, sir?" You betcha, Pierre, and don't forget the little umbrella! And since I tend to eat with likeminded colleagues, the table becomes a gourmet smourgesbourg of monumental proportions.

Tonight was a meditteranean feast worthy of Alexander the Great. Yesterday: all I could eat of high-quality sushi. Domo arigato, evil biotech company!

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