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posts about united states.

north america » united states

located here: alaskacaliforniamichiganwashington

on the east side of canada, we began our journey in toronto. from there, we directly continued to the town of niagara falls, ontario.

niagara falls.

in niagara falls, we saw the niagara falls. they are quite impressive. less impressive, though, is what was build around the falls. the town is essentially a big amusement park with two casinos (a third on the american side). no place i’d like to stay long at.

kingsville, windsor and detroit.

from niagara falls, we continued to kingsville. from there, we saw lake erie, and went on a trip to windsor, from where we could glance over to detroit.


finally, we ended up in toronto. my third visit. we spent one day exploring toronto by bus (hop-on hop-off) and boat (around toronto islands). it was somewhat cloudy, with a lot of wind, so the view of cn tower changed between a large stick ending up in the clouds and seeing the full tower up to its tip. eventually, we went up the tower (we had a great dinner there). it was still cloudy, and most of the time we couldn’t see anything of the city. but the view was great, nonetheless: we experienced a wonderful sea of fog! (almost like in the swiss alps. yay!)

toronto zoo.

on one day in toronto, we chose to visit its zoo. the zoo itself is quite nice, and they currently have panda bears as visitors!

what’s not so great is actually getting to the zoo. from downtown toronto, you have to take the subway (if you’re not at the main west-east line, you have to change subway lines) and then continue by bus. we went to union station and tried to use a ticket vending machine, but it didn’t offer the zoo as a destination. so we lined up, and were finally told that we need two tickets: one for the train and another for the bus. turns out, union station is used both by subway and train, and obviously, we tried to use the wrong vending machine and lined up at the wrong counter. and obviously, why should two different transportation companies cooperate and make travelling accross the borders of the two systems easy to use (especially for tourists)? this isn’t switzerland (or germany), after all. yay. eventually, we arrived at the zoo (with still two changes, but fifteen minutes earler than we should have been there with subway and bus).

well, that was everything. in three weeks, we saw quite a lot of canada, and there’s still that extremely much more to see! for the next time we will be in canada (eventually; will still take some time :) ) we plan to explore the east somewhat more, in particular the parts not so densely populated as the area around toronto, like newfoundland and labrador and nova scotia. and of course also quebec, and also canada’s capital, ottawa.

yesterday i was told by t. that there is a direct flight from zürich to calgary, offered by edelweiss air. (they fly to calgary each friday, return each monday.) today i checked their website and found out that they also offer flights to vancouver, anchorage, whitehorse, and also two scandinavian destinations, umea (in sweden) and kittilä (in finland), as well as keflavik airport on iceland. most of these flights are only offered during special seasons, though.
so maybe i have to try them out :-)

the last week, i was in bellevue, attending the 14th workshop on elliptic curves and computation, held at microsoft research. during that time, we also visited seattle a bit. unfortunately, i left my good camera at home, but i took my powershot. which is good when there’s enough light. most of the photos had not enough light. but some are still quite ok, i think. and yes, i was really missing my ultra-wide angle lenses. enjoy.

the strange tower is the space needle, and the troll is the fremont troll.

after attending the joint mathematics meetings in san francisco, i want to share two points you should not try to copy when you’re organizing a conference.

  • in case you have a lot of parallel sessions, try to schedule sessions with similar topics in parallel. this minimizes the number of days people from these areas have to attend the conference.
  • promise wireless internet, but do not provide a backbone which can handle this. after noticing it is too slow, simply turn it off for the rest of the conference.
  • this applies more to conference center owners. do not install power plugs anywhere near to areas where tables and seats are placed. and by any means, never install power plugs in rooms where talks are held.

people will really appreciate this and regard your conference as one of the best ever.