Monday, April 3, 2006

Taking international law on the road

Spring had finally sprung in Cambridge on the Thursday of week before last. I could cycle without gloves and beanie, the daffodils were out and so, increasingly, was the sun.

What a fool I was to think that was Spring.

I'm currently blogging from a front porch in Washington DC, where it's been positively balmy since I arrived. Sunny, 20 degrees plus, and blossom on all the trees. There has been one - ONE! - cloudy day in the week since I arrived.

I need to move back to a warmer climate.

Anyway, blogging has been interrupted by the madcap antics of the American Society of International Law annual conference and my research trip. Okay, so "madcap antics" really doesn't describe ASIL.

Like any conference there were amazing, stimulating and thought provoking panels; and those that left you asking: "How the hell did you get invited to speak?"

I also had a great two-hour meeting at the State Department today about international fisheries law. (Tomorrow I talk about drug smuggling with the Coast Guard.)

Still, the real experience has been staying with friends in Washington DC's north-west. Over here, near T and 5th, my hosts are among a gentrification influx. The neighborhood around has a fine heritage, but not perhaps the best track-record on safety and criminal behavior. (One of my hosts has been mugged, late at night, on his own doorstep).

Basically, when walking around here you're liable to be the lone white guy: certainly a different feeling for me to be part of a visible minority. Once you cross 13th street though, the racial balance visibly shifts - and by the time you hit Georgetown, there are almost no black faces.

Still, even as the hopelessly naive gangly white guy off to a conference or meetings in a tie and suit jacket, I've felt quite at ease. Everyone is terribly friendly and helpful.

Okay, a nasty storm is breaking. Time to take this indoors and off-line.

Blogging will be pretty erratic over the next two weeks. Next stop: Philadelphia!

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