OR54 - accommodation

Part of every conference-goer's experience is the accommodation.  In the UK, most O.R. conferences use universities as their venue, and so the accommodation is normally in student buildings.  Elsewhere, universities and conference centres are used as the venues, but many of the attendees stay in hotels.  (In the UK, the cost of conference-provided accommodation is sometimes more than the going rate for local hotels, so a significant number of delegates choose to stay away from the student accommodation.  Those who bring their partners/spouses will do this, as university blocks are full of single rooms.) 

I sometimes wish that I had kept a diary of my experiences when attending conferences; time has mellowed the memories.  There was the hotel in Beijing where my toilet would not flush -- and the staff member on duty on that floor was a young lady who did not speak English.  Somehow I indicated that I had a problem which needed to be dealt with, and she came to my room -- a middle-aged man with a young lady in a bathroom together!  And then there was the hotel in the red light area of Brussels ....

OR54 had very good accommodation - though it was pricey.  My two surprises were both in the bathroom.  First, the shower had no soap-tray, so nowhere to rest soap, shower gel and so forth.  Surely the designer knew that a shelf or dish was an essential in a shower!  Second, the toilet flush was so unusual that it needed instructions to tell you how to use it.  I think there was a good reason for that - the unusual design was a consequence of needing to save water.  But the instructions were only in English ... and OR54 had delegates from 20 countries.


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