DAY 1 Evening – After the last talk on day 1 by Kevin Blighe we were led by Elisabetta from the Hannah Maclure centre to City Chambers, a historical setting for a drinks and canapé’s reception by the Lord Provost of Dundee. The reception was kindly sponsored by Dundee City Council and there was a lot to drink and eat and we had a nice talk by the Lord Provost about Dundee and its attractions. The City Chambers was a grand setting that kicked off the informal networking part of our NGS Dundee 2014 Conference. A few of us took a number of photos and Abertay University sent their film crew to get coverage of the reception. There is a short clip as part of the filming that you can see on our website.
After the drinks reception those who had registered for the conference dinner were led by Elisabetta to the site of our culinary experience – the Chamber East. The Chamber East is another historical building that is now hired out for events and functions and as Nikolai told us, it is used by the Dundee Tango association. This was probably meant to throw us off the scent of the actual entertainment that Nikolai had organized for us. But I will come to that in a bit. I cannot really go further without mentioning the culinary experience that we were treated to at the Chamber East.
We started off with a mushroom risotto that seemed rather “stodgy” as one person on our table described it, and there was not flavor at all; still there was salt on our table so this helped a bit.
The dining staff whisked our plates away from us with the an elegance unbefitting of the venue and proceeded to serve us with our main…ah yes, the rock salmon – as I call it – with boiled veg. The rock salmon deserves a special mention because I have literally never eaten salmon as hard as a rock before. It would be fair to say that the boiled potatoes were softer than the rock salmon whether by accident or design. The desert was apple pie that seemed to have been taken out of its ASDA box, cut into 4 slices, put into a bowl without even heating and with some cream thrown on top. There was plenty of water and wine to wash this culinary experience down and then Nikolai’s entertainment started.
First came Mariano’s Latin music band – a Romanian band that has been hired by Dundee Council and that performed a few numbers. Just as we were thinking that the evening was coming to a close, out came a young lady all the way from Istanbul (or so they say) to give us an eyeful treat of exotic Turkish Belly dancing. I am sure some of the gentlemen at our table didn’t really know which way to look. After a couple of numbers of belly dancing, the dancer proceeded to bring out several red and gold ‘costumes’ for trainee would-be belly dancers. Of course Nikolai was the first to volunteer but he was gladly followed by a number of other willing participants including Sophie, Louisa, Katelyn, Mariam, Martina, Chris’s fiancée and would you believe it, Kim!
All in all even if some of us found the belly dancing to be too much for us, it was a great evening and even after the belly dancer and Mariano’s band had gone home our scientists stayed on at the bar till the wee hours.