Moondance in Muenchen

March 12, 2007

Six a.m. in a German hotel room and I am rescued by Van the Man. I have woken up annoyingly early, worries about e-science politics and the talk I have to give this morning buzzing in my head. I put on my earphones and listen to “Moondance” by Van Morrison, hoping to fall back asleep. Music can switch your head into a different mode. This works but I haven’t fallen asleep : instead as I listen to “It Stoned Me” I am awake and happy. It stoned me too. And I didn’t even need to get wet. (Check it out). Thank you Van.

This is a strange but cool hotel. The rooms don’t have numbers. They are all named after famous artists. I am in “Max Ernst” and my colleague Kona Andrews is in “Joan Miro”. It reminds me of the opening chapter of “Gravitation” by Misner, Thorne, and Wheeler. (How pretentious is that ?) This is about how you don’t have to be chained to co-ordinate systems, and instead think in terms of geometric objects. They explain that in Japanese towns streets don’t have names, and houses within blocks are numbered not in order of position, , but in the order they were built. (You can find an explanation here.) Yet somehow the postman has no trouble delivering letters.

This always seemed simultaneously deep but irritating. Does it really work in practice – the Japanese postman in a big town, or real GR calculations ? There are about three floors and twenty-ish rooms here so nobody gets lost I guess. But if Best Western tried the same thing, this would be impossible … wouldn’t it ?

Anyhoo. Nice hotel, in a good spot in central Munich, so here is a plug. Its Hotel Occam, in Occamstrasse, near the Englischer Garten. It has no wireless internet, so I will put up this post later, when I get to ESO.