Japan/USA diary, day 11

Thursday, 11 June, 2015. 21:46

I had yet another lousy sleep. But it was up again and dressed to go shortly after 07:00 for my last breakfast at the conference. There were bagels, fresh fruit, and different types of breakfast cereals. I had an onion bagel with some cream cheese, and a lot of fruit.

Today’s conference sessions were workshops on specific topics, held in small rooms, with several different topics in parallel. I attended a morning session on “Vision meets Cognition”, about the various similarities and differences between computer vision algorithms and a psychophysical understanding of what happens in our vision and brain systems, and how we can learn to adapt how our minds interpret vision to produce better computer algorithms. The speakers were quite entertaining, but this was more a general overview of the topic than any specific new work.

I left to meet Elena at 12:00 at a Thai place called Bangkok Blue. We hadn’t seen each other for over 20 years, so there was a lot to catch up on. She had a tofu noodle dish, while I tried the special of the day, which was curly yellow egg noodles in a broth of coconut milk and spices, with chicken pieces. It was really delicious.

The Raven
Edgar Allan Poe statue.

After lunch, we walked back to her work at Emerson College. We passed the Edgar Allan Poe statue and I took some photos. The we said bye, having arranged to meet tomorrow morning with her daughter and M. at 09:00 at Park Street station to have a day out together.

I went back to the convention centre and rested in the cool air conditioning out of the heat of the hot Boston day until 15:00, when a group of Canon employees form various places – Sydney, San Jose, Japan, and China – met to go visit the Canon medical imaging research lab here in Boston. We walked over the Charles River and past MIT to the lab, where the local staff gave us a tour and showed some of the work they’ve been doing with doctors. It was very cool and interesting. They had a dinner booked for everyone, but I had plans for dinner with M., so left to head back to the hotel and meet her.

Architecture of MIT.

She’d spent the day exploring North End and parts around there, and had come back to the room a little early to rest for a bit before dinner. I was late, as the green line trains were delayed and crowded, getting in about 18:15. We were hungry, so we left for dinner soon after. We had a plan to go to a Mexican restaurant near St Mary’s St station, and walked the few blocks down there. However when we got there we saw that the place had closed down!

Chicken and cactus
Chicken breast stuffed wth cactus. Casa Romero.

The back up plan was to go to another place I’d found when searching for Mexican restaurants, a place near the Hynes Convention Center, tucked in a lane near Newbury Street. So we hopped on a train from St Mary’s to Hynes and then got out, but realised we didn’t know where the place was or what it was called. So we used the free WiFi from a Starbucks to look it up and navigate there.

Monkey likes Mexican!
Mexican chocolate cake with mango sauce.

It was called Casa Romero, and was a lovely atmospheric place down a half flight of steps inside the back of a building facing Newbury Street. We got a nice table and ordered some margaritas, M. getting the standard and me trying the pomegranate one. To eat, M. got the plantain and cheese enchiladas in a mole poblano sauce, while I tried the chicken breast stuffed with cactus and cheese, also in mole poblano. The food was really good, with the sauce rich and a bit spicy, and the portion sizes were just right, rather than the oversized portions often found in American restaurants. I could even fit in a dessert! I tried the Mexican chocolate cake, which came with mango sauce and vanilla ice cream. Mango seemed an odd choice to go with chocolate, but it worked.

After dinner we caught the train back from Hynes to St Paul St and our hotel, to turn in for the night.

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