Sunday, 21 April 2013

Day 127: Chicago, Chicago...

Day 127 (11 Apr) Day one of the conference proper and it is an early start. I've had to book one night in the conference's 'secondary' hotel, the Hilton Chicago, since there wasn't a room available at the conference venue, Palmer House. I'm moving to there today. It seems a shame, my view at 6.12am out my hotel window has that classic 'Chicago' look and feel. The sirens all night have reminded me I'm back in Chicago and there was some excitement when the shuttle bus driver last night said that the street was full of security and police because the First Lady, Michelle Obama, had been speaking at the hotel earlier in the day. How excitement.

My view, at 6.12am
I am fortunate that this is not my first visit to Chicago. In fact, it is my third visit. It is, along with New Orleans, one of my favourite US cities. My aunt and uncle lived here for some years which is how I came to visit previously. I really like being here. 

There is a late checkout at this hotel, and with a frequent shuttle bus up to the main venue, I'm not too worried about time. Registration starts early but I spend just a little more time on my paper...I'm presenting tomorrow. Somehow, it has just hit me I have just flown halfway around the world to speak, learn and engage with 5000 other people just like me: psephies and the like...four solid days of politics-speak. Woo-hoo!

Gender and electoral systems,
at 6.12pm
It wasn't long therefore, before I got myself down to the other hotel, the historic Palmer House, register and get started on the fun. 

The full program revealed the intensity of the days: each day commenced at 8.30 and finished at 6.15pm...four sessions across each day for three and a half that's how you fit in 5000+ papers. So not surprising then that 6.12pm on this day found me sitting in on my final chosen panel of the day. Five presenters and two discussants on papers on Gender and Electoral Systems. Time is tight and is indicative of the tempo of the conference over the next few days. Excellent start though. 
And then it is back to the room (now in Palmer House) to rest, recuperate and reflect...oh, and eat. 

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