Retrospectacle: A Neuroscience Blog

Posting will be slow for a couple days, as I hop on the Eurail tomorrow and travel to Brussels.

Yesterday I decided to go to the beach, which is a few miles to the south of Montpellier. It was a bit more of a hassle that I expected, as it involved getting on the subway, then getting on a bus. Futhermore this involved knowing exactly what stop I wanted to get off at, and I found this out while face-to-face with the bus driver. After a bit of confusion, the first stop name she said (ended up being Gau de le Roi) I just nodded emphatically and hoped it was correct. (Hopefully, it was!) The line behind me was getting rather impatient and I just wanted to try to avoid pissing off French people as much as possible.

The beach was beautiful, but the water was freezing.

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There was a stand where you could rent a kayak for a few Euros, so I tried my hand at it. Its a LOT harder to kayak in the waves of the ocean than down a calm river. I think I spent most of my time tipped over looking around for my bikini top! :) It was a lot of fun though, and seemed like great exercise.

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Instead of selling ice cream, there were vendors who sold beinets (like the sweet pastry you can buy in New Orleans). They balanced the boxes on their heads and walked around without spilling anything at all, which was rather impressive.

Later that night I hit a different nightclub called Le Fizz (no pictures as I forgot my camera), and met a large and very friendly group of French college students who were happy to converse with me in English and laugh (good-naturedly!) at my broken French. Le Fizz serves all its drinks with a “lumiere” which is a glow-stick, in the drink. I was a little put-off by that because I know those chemicals are rather toxic and people were breaking them on the dance floor, etc. Ah well, c’est la vie! The MaiTais were awesome, and only a paltry 10 euros. Mon Dieu! But after the bartender learned I had the same name as her, she starting giving me free drinks which was much appreciated. She advised against letting guys buy you drinks, as they become rather possessive afterwards. But we all had an awesome time dancing to disco hits of the 70s and that weird C&C Music Factory remix that I’ve heard non-stop from clubs to cell phone rings.

Comments

  1. #1 somnilista, FCD
    September 21, 2006

    I was a little put-off by that because I know those chemicals are rather toxic

    Huh? I thought they contained ATP, luciferin and luciferase. ATP is not dangerous, luciferase is a protaceous enzyme, and I found this about luciferin:

    Luciferin Toxicity

    Luciferin is a low molecular weight organic compound that consists of a benzothiazole moiety attached to a thiazole carboxylic acid moiety. Luciferin is found in fireflies and other animals which, in the presence of ATP and the enzyme luciferase, becomes luminescent. The small size of luciferin also makes it a poor antigen and immune responses to luciferin are unlikely. Luciferin is able to pass the blood brain barrier, the blood placenta barrier and the blood testis barrier, toxicity appears low.

    Glowstick warning

    Glowsticks, glow necklaces and bracelets, glow eyeglasses, and even mini-mouth sticks are available for your child�s entertainment. These products contain dibutyl phthalate, which is an eye, skin and mucus membrane irritant. Exposure can occur if the child bites on it, or punctures it in any way. Damage to any glowstick product could also happen from a pet biting into it.

    I don’t know what the phthalate would be for, it might be part of the plastic or a thickening agent. Anyway, it doesn’t sound that serious to me. Now get back out there and photo-blog some nude beaches for us.

  2. #2 Kim Boone
    September 21, 2006

    Well, Shelley, I hope you enjoy yourself in our capital city. Don’t forget to go see the little peeing kid in the center of Brussels. (Manneke Pis)
    And while you’re there, I recommend that you check who’s playing at the AB (Ancienne Belgique). The AB is one of the greatest concert-halls in Belgium.
    Have fun!
    Kim

  3. #3 Kim Boone
    September 21, 2006

    Well, Shelley, I hope you enjoy yourself in our capital city. Don’t forget to go see the little peeing kid in the center of Brussels. (Manneke Pis)
    And while you’re there, I recommend that you check who’s playing at the AB (Ancienne Belgique). The AB is one of the greatest concert-halls in Belgium.
    Have fun!
    Kim.

    …my comment wasn’t accepted. Well, maybe the third time it will work.
    Btw: http://www.abconcerts.be

  4. #4 Kim Boone
    September 21, 2006

    Oops!
    Sorry for the double (triple) comment. Read the last one, it has the internet adress of the AB.

  5. #5 Joseph j7uy5
    September 22, 2006

    I’m not an expert but I seem to recall that phthalates soften plastics, make them more flexible. There has been talking in Europe about banning them, but it has been controversial.

    Next, I vote for really blurry photos from coffee houses.

  6. #6 MaxPolun
    September 26, 2006

    Have fun in Brussels. Try the beer, it really is great stuff. I recommend St. Feullian, but if you can’t find that you can usually get Leffe (pronounced “Leff”) or Hoegaarden.

    Unless of course you don’t like beer, in which case ignore what I just said.

  7. #7 Glow Sticks
    March 6, 2007

    Glow Sticks today, for the most part, are non-toxic. However, I’d still not pour one into your drink… one of the chemicals inside is contained in a glass tube, and after breaking it could contain glass shards. However, it sounds like your drink had a fully contained glow stick in it, so I wouldn’t worry.

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