ABINIT Workshop in Liege, Belgium

Yes, I finally made it. The drive from Bruyeres (Paris) to Liege was hell because I decided to avoid the freeway and take the national roads. But I did not know that the French and Belgium signs only indicate the next very small village, and my map had a very very low resolution. So I was mostly doing “hot potato” routing – but it kind of worked. Ok, it took me 5.5 hrs ;). Anyway, the Belgium specialities are amazing, I tried all kinds of beer yesterday and lots of cheese. And I found the way back to the hotel :). So Belgium is also nice – I was very surprised by the large variety of cheese they had.

The university looks similar to other Belgium universities that I saw. It looks like an old WW II bunker complex (just the cannons are missing). Pretty interesting, and it’s like a labyrinth inside.

Salut de Liege

Soiree, Soiree, courir at travail

Yes, pretty long time since my last post :). That does not mean that nothing happened, it means that I did not have time to write anything down. So I’ll just wrap it up.

The last two weekends have been great, I discovered several great places in Paris. The Glaz’art is a rather spooky, but nice techno place, the LaFleche d’Or is really nice. I enqueued 30 minutes in front of it, but it was worth it! The night was tres bien. Last weekend was Erasmus-party weekend. I went to the La Loco on Friday, this was amazing. It’s unfortunately directly next to the Moulin Rouge, so that I searches 40 Minutes for a parking lot *argh*. After enqueuing another 40 minutes (where I met many people and learned about the secret trick to get in free – just bring a printout of the flyer with you – the belgium guy had one spare for me which saved me 10 EUR!), I was inside. And it was amazing, the place is rather huge and not too packed (I don’t understand why we had to wait so long?). But the music was awesome, the best DJ I heard since a long long time. Saturday was another Erasmus party at another place in Paris. So Paris is a great place to club, if you know where. I found the following two sites very helpful: cityvox and tribudenuit ah, and not to forget google.

Besides that I’ve been working at the CEA, which is a clearly amazing place to work -  (randomly ordered) great people, great food, great technology, great boss, great sports.  Yes, great sports. The facility offers different sports for their employees. As I wrote earlier, I went running every second day, for slightly more than an hour with nice company. They did not speak English or German and it was much fun :).

Yes, that’s it mostly. I’ll depart to Belgium on Sunday – I will miss France and the CEA.

Some photos from Paris

I’ve been in Paris last weekend and I’ve even managed to make photos (even if I don’t like to too much, but I had several requests). Anyway, look at  the photos and enjoy!

And I have proof – the gas is freaking expensive in Europe! It’s about $6.30 per gallon … (with 1.289 EUR/l even slightly more expensive than in Germany – but I have to add that I made a pretty good deal at the gas station near Bruyeres-le-chatel this morning – only 1.169 EUR/l)

Je cours

Yeah! I’ve been able to run today. It was pretty much impossible to run in the last days because the house where I live is only connected to a highway (no lights and too dangerous). But I’ve found the CEA running group! This is great, the institute has its own running group that meets every day at noon. We (approx. 15 frenchmen and me) ran for 1:10 hours ;). It’s also really nice to have a shower directly next to the office! That made my day.

Arrivée en France

Bonjour :). Yes, I arrived in France – it took me about 9 hours to drive from Chemnitz to Bruyeres-le-chatel. The weather is really bad. Anyway, I’m living with a french family (B&B). I think this was a good idea, I was invited to dinner with them yesterday. My first day in the CEA was pretty interesting. The facility is like a fortress :). I was lucky and the director of the computing services gave me a tour of their supercomputer “Tera 10”, currently number  7 in the Top500 computers world-wide :o). I suppose I should not write more to the public. We’ll see what happens in the next days!


The odyssey of packets between the US and Germany

A company tried to send a packet via TNT (originating near Los Angeles). The first shock for us was that TNT was not able to verify the address of our university! I guess that we’re, with more than 10000 students and 5000 employees, the biggest institution in Chemnitz :). But ok, they’ve been able to resolve this issues (probably), and sent the packet at Dec 4th. Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that this is an Express packet.

The tracking log showed that the packet arrived at Dec 7th at Cologne Airport. It stayed there (in the customs) until Dec 21st when it was forwarded to Dresden (it nearly made it). Reviewing the tracking log today unvieled that the packet was sent back to the originator *argh*. We complained via the web formular and TNT called us immediately. It turned out that the customs office did not know what the contents of the package are :-(. And the packet is on it’s way back to the US.
Why don’t they send it to us and require us to open it in front of a customs officer? That’s the usual procedure if the content is unclear. Ohohoh …

We’ll see – I sent a parcel to the US today via DHL. I’m wondering when/if it reaches its destination :-).