Wednesday, January 28, 2009

All Work and No Play...

Everything they say about Thai hospitality is absolutely true. Dr. Naris and his staff continue to surprise us with their incredible attention to every detail. With no prompting from us, they arranged a fantastic welcome dinner for us all immediately after our opening day of the meeting today. We had a tour of the KU Forestry museum to learn about some of their research and then it was on to a full Thai banquet, complete with entertainment by traditional Thai musicians and dancers. Making the performance extra special was the news that some of the performers were actually Forestry Dept. students! These folks just keep amazing us…

One of the most important goals of this meeting is to facilitate the creation of a network for biologists working in the field throughout the region. Such networking happens while completing the working group tasks, but the real bonding occurs over beers (or juice/coffee/tea) during breaks. So having this icebreaker went a long way in helping to forge relationships between participants that we hope will continue into the future.

And, for full disclosure, Dr. Naris conspired with the dancers to get me to show off my best Thai dance moves. As someone completely bereft of both the grace and rhythm genes, this had turn of events had catastrophic potential. Luckily, it didn’t go as badly as I feared as I tried to Gumby my fingers into the impossibly elegant poses of my instructor. Don’t worry, I won’t be giving up my day job!


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