Friday, 24 October 2014

Visiting Oak Ridge

My last post was about a visit to UMass, Lowell, to see a student on placement as part of the MPhys research year as a University of Surrey student.  After a tedious day of delayed and cancelled flights, I made it form Manchester (New Hampshire) Airport to Knoxville (Tennessee) Airport, and on from there to Oak Ridge, where the University travel agents had booked me in the Quality Inn.  One might assume that anywhere that feels the need to put such positive words in their establishment's name must feel it has something to prove.  In common with most standard US motels, it was perfectly decent, if not distinguished in its quality.  An Acceptable Inn, perhaps it should have been called.

I spent yesterday visiting Sarah, who has spent her year in the wild recesses of a part of Tennessee once considered sufficiently remote from civilisation to have a secret city for the Manhattan project built there.  As expected, Sarah is getting on famously there, and the visit was more of a formality and an excuse to thank the hosts for looking after her with dinner in the brilliantly–named Chez Guevara restaurant.  Not only does it have a good name, but it was better Mexican food that you could reasonably expect in Tennessee.

Now I'm in Charlotte, North Carolina, hoping to be on a plane back to London, but sitting in the departure area because the plane has "maintenance issues".  At least it gives me a chance to write a little post about my visit to Sarah in Oak Ridge.  Unlike with Bobby in UMass, I didn't go around the lab and get a good picture for this post.  Instead, here's a snap from the oldest part of Oak Ridge – the slowly decaying area with sidewalks where people used to be seen out and about, before cars and strip malls became synonymous with the outdoors.