INQUA organizers have thoughtfully selected the lovely tropical city of Cairns, in the state of Queensland, for this conference. Many attendees seem to be taking the opportunity to bring their families along for some side trips to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest. And for those poor souls who have to get stuck at the actual conference, meeting planners have sweetened the deal a bit. So far, the Cairns convention center has just about the best convention food I’ve ever eaten (and I’ve eaten a lot – trust me, eating with the physicists in Minneapolis in March was a definite culinary low point).
Although Cairns is a relatively small city, it’s tried to draw conference traffic with its convention center. The combination of family day trips and tropical setting appears to work – just a few weeks ago, the city also played host to the major stem-cell conference of the year, the International Society for Stem Cell Research.
My colleague who went to that meeting said she though Australian food was quite pedestrian. I’m planning to circumvent that problem tonight by going to a local restaurant that promises smoked kangaroo, crocodile wontons, and emu pate. Bon appetit!