Monday, July 13, 2009

Leeds vs. Kalamzoo: The Death Match

(That title really is too cheesy, I know. Apologies.)

Apologies, too, for the long gap--but seriously, France? Get some frakikn wifi already. What the hell? The like THREE places in all of France that claim to have wifi actually don't. In two of them, the owners (of the cafe or in one case a wine shop--why a wine shop advertizes free wifi is a cultural difference that I will not dare to explore) actually lent me their laptops. This was very nice of them, but certainly made me email in haste rather than blog at leisure.

So I'm at Leeds, and, as I don't have the proper outlet adaptor, will not be able to spend extensive time online for the next couple of days. Rather than regale you with hilarious pictures from the first week and a half of my trip (I promise the following: Me and TM on a tandem bicycle, wearing preposterous hats; a re-enactment of Marie de France's "Les Deuz Amans"; and Hildegard of Bingen's line of homeopathic remedies--they're organic!), I shall instead provide an itemized comparison of the most essential elements of the two major medieval congresses.

(Bear in mind that I have attended one Leeds panel so far--I arrived this afternoon.)

Dorms: Despite the shared bathrooms, Leeds wins. Vastly more comfortable beds (and it was made when I arrived! No monastic brown coverlet!); only one bed per room; non-cinder block walls; and a quaint little sink in the corner. I am also conveniently located near the hilariously titled "Female Toilet," so things are good.

Wine hours: Again, this goes to Leeds. Red and white wine! In glasses! Not swill! Generously poured! Hurrah!

Dining halls: Can't make an educated guess. I've only eaten in the Kalamazoo dining hall once or twice, and that was in 2003, so it wouldn't be fair to say. Leeds' food isn't bad so far, though.

Book exhibit: Here's where Kalamazoo scores some points--it's much bigger--although the more European orientation of the Leeds exhibit at least ensures that there's not too much overlap between the two. But as I'm saving suitcase space for wine and calvados, I won't be buying many books, anyway. (Still, it's fun to look.)

Conveniently, the two people whom I know at this conference also know each other. I had no idea. How nice! Just had a lovely dining hall dinner and a drink at the dorm bar (score another point for Leeds!) with both of them.

Paper is in the morning. I've convinced myself that it's better than I thought it was. We'll see--no one reads my main subject, so I anticipate roundabout questions.

6 comments:

Belle said...

You obviously weren't in Paris - there is free wifi in the oddest spots. Like the apse end of Notre Dame. The parks at the Champs Eylsees... weird. Did you at least find good food?

squadratomagico said...

I went to Leeds once, and I found it far better than Kzoo in all the ways you describe. However, one other advantage for Kzoo is sheer size: when I went (and it was quite some time ago) Leeds was about 1/5 the size of Kzoo. The sheer number of papers this side of the pond is a significant advantage -- one can always find *something*.

On the other hand, browsing the Leeds program, I do see a number of goodies this year...

Are you stopping in London at all this week? Will be here through Friday...

heu mihi said...

Sq--sadly, no! I'm flying from Leeds to Paris on Thursday morning. (And hopefully I'll find some of those wifi spots Belle mentions once I'm there....)

B--yes! Some decidedly good food, although the vegetarian options are thin. I'm okay with eating meat while traveling, but honestly I've been a vegetarian for so long (19 years in November) that meat doesn't appeal to me, and I hate to pay a lot for a meal that I don't particularly want. But there's always cheese, wine, and pastries!

Steve Muhlberger said...

One disadvantage of Leeds is that a lot of British participants seem to show up, give their papers, and go home.

Also, I can't drive to Leeds.:-)

Magistra said...

Sorry you didn't get an invite to assorted blogger meet-ups at Leeds, but we at the British end didn't know about you. If you're going to be over again for Leeds, check out my blog page or A Corner of Tenth Century Europe, and see if we're planning anything. I will also try and do a round-up of blog posts on Leeds once everyone has sat down and written them!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

I do wish I'd realized you were there -- we missed each other ...