Saturday, November 1, 2008

NCPTW '08 - Las Vegas, Day 4

Today was a bit quieter (especially because of the two White Russians I had with dinner last night).

Two sessions this morning: First "Understanding Race Relations within Writing Centers," in which we had some really interesting discussion regarding traditionally minority students coming into writing centers (especially in universities when the majority of the student population is white), outreach, recruiting students of color. etc. I also sat in on a session ("A Trip-Tik for Tutor Trainers") in which two writing center directors discussed their experiences (and asked us about ours) in terms of developing a tutor training course; this turned out to be really interesting, especially because they had handouts of sample syllabi, assignments, etc. I then sat in on the final plenary session, given by a fellow who will actually be the keynote speaker at NEWCA next April, but that was probably the least crowded of the plenary speakers; I suspect a good chunk of attendees had gone home at that point.

I've been pretty much on my own since; I made a reservation for myself for dinner at the Hofbräuhaus (conveniently located down the block). Dinner was good; the Main Hall (as opposed to the Beer Hall) was really a sight to behold, and I nearly ran back to get my camera (I can't believe I forgot it back at the hotel). Pretzels and green garlands were hung from columns; the ceiling was painted with various designs, and the blue and white Bavarian checkered flags were hung on the walls. People were seated at large tables; there was a live band (complete with accordion); it was loud; it was noisy; and I'm really glad I went. I barely ate all day, so I was hungry: For an appetizer I had Bavarian liver mousse and Obatzer (a creamy cheese, almost like a spread), which came with a Bavarian pretzel and some vegetable garnishes (cucumber, onion, cherry tomato), and for dinner I had the Hofbräuhaus Wurstplatte, which included Vienna-style Frankfurters, a pork Wurst, and a chicken Wurst, and mashed potatoes and (so they say) imported Sauerkraut. Some young women were seated at my table before I finished, so I had some occasional conversation (one good thing about the setup, actually).

I realize I haven't many qualms about having dinner out by myself; I have a more difficult time just sitting alone in my hotel room, or exploring a new city by myself. When I went on the tour of the Grand Canyon, I approached a married couple during lunch to ask if I could sit with them, using the line that it's weird to travel by oneself; they were quite all right in letting me sit with them, of course, the husband remarking that I was quite brave, in a tone that made me think perhaps most people don't view these things the way I do. I'd rather go out and do things alone than not at all. The tour earlier this week was a good experience; although for the most part my traveling companions stayed in their own groups, there were moments of joking around and I really enjoyed meeting them, however briefly. (One guy in particular really had the henpecked father/husband thing down; he really just made me giggle every time he said anything.)

In any case, I'm spending the rest of the evening at my hotel, where I've been since dinner. I've mostly packed, and will do as much cleaning up tonight as I can before heading home in the morning. Back to the cold, unpleasant weather!

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