Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Ithaca, Land of Thunder, Hills, and Hippies

Writing from Cornell today. on business. Unfotunately, half the computers in the lab are down, i think becuse of the recent Sasser virus outbreak, so there aren't enough to go around. Unimportant things like email are of lower priority than doing actual work, and blogging even lower. So I'm actually writing this on my Palm Pilot, and will upload it when I get back.

Drove in Sunday night. About a 12 hour drive, which really isn't so bad. It's probably about as fast as driving, if you factor in travel to the airport, having to get there two hours early for the security check (probably overkill for the CMI airport), having to pick up the rental car, and the fact that Ithaca's airport is smaller than Champaign's and any flight would probably involve changing planes twice.

I'm always surprised at how sparsely populated upstate New York is. NYC is one of the most bustling metropolises in the world, but just a couple of miles away, everything looks so much like ... well, like New England. It's just astonishingly green, with lots of running streams, thick with trees, and just richly verdant.

Ithaca seems to be fairly well situated in all this, with Cornell Univ. perched at the top of one of the many steep hills in the area. Something about the chaos of the city offends my sense of order, though. It may be the hilliness (I'm not in good enough shape to walk around here much). As seems to be more common in the East, evrything is rather small: prking, living space, shops. (Although there is a grocery store here to die for.) Or it may just be that there isn't a single path or street that goes in a straight line for more than fifty feet. Is seems very fitting for a city that was built by a bunch of hippies.

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