>Lisbon diary: my conference from hell
At last, I get to the hotel. Here they tell me I have been moved to another hotel, the impressively named VIP Grand, due to some mix-up by the agency running the conference arrangements. Ironically, I had walked passed the Grand in the pouring rain 20 minutes before. Duly transferred, I find myself in a nice hotel with a jarringly modern interiors : strange lighting, stark blacks, whites and strikes, plenty of mirrors and glass. Apparently, it was designed on Zen principles in a building that was once the headquarters of Portuguese TV and radio. I walk down a corridor, which is lit like something out of Star Wars, half expecting Darth Vader to come round the corner, and make it my 12th floor room. I go to take a shower and slam straight into a glass partition between bathroom and bedroom, mistaking it for an open doorway. My head gets an almighty bang. I bleed all over the place. It’s very late. I can’t face the thought of seeing a doctor.
By day 2 of the conference, however, I am having headaches and I’m starting to feel sick. Not a good combination. I end up sitting in the accident and emergency department of a private hospital. Here they check me out, relieve me of 100 euros and decide that I’ve caught flu and that my head is not a cause for concern. I feel pretty grotty for most of the rest of the conference, however, fortifying myself black tea and Portuguese bica expressos. Academically, things go rather better. The workshop on Generational Politics is animated and has a sensible balance between presentation and discussion – a good system of double discussants – and civilized regime of breaks.
At Gatwick airport at midnight, there are no stopping trains, so I have to fork out £50 for a taxi home. Perhaps next time, they should just run the ECPR over Skype.