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Saturday, November 18, 2006

Who ate all the pies?

It's the little things you miss most when you are abroad.

For example, Thursday is "Free Pizza Day". What this actually means is that as a reward for snoozing through this week's research seminar, the organisers lay on a stack of free pizza. As a man who invariably rolls into bed thinking "it's OK, I'll get up 5 minutes early to make my sandwiches tomorrow" - then wakes up 10 minutes late, to find he hasn't thawed out a loaf of bread - this seems like a pretty good deal.

Unfortunately, this week our own lab meeting, which takes place before the seminar, ran over and so when we went to collect our free pizza (and listen to the talks naturally), all the pizza had gone. Although tempting, we felt it would reflect badly on our lab if, having turned up 10 minutes late, we then walked back out again because there was no free food.

So - lunchtime. What to do? In England the solution is simple. Greggs. Pies, Pasties, even sorry looking burnt "baguette pizzas" - everything a hungry man could possibly want for lunch. Here - not so simple.

Firstly, there appear to be no bakers within a half-mile radius of where I work. Oh sure there are donut [sic] shops. But we had donuts at lab meeting and diabetes looks like a real pain in the arm. There are some Kebab shops - but frankly, half a kilo of spicy meat at lunchtime will simply result in me falling asleep in a smelly heap in the corner. Not ideal when you are working with isotope. Even in England however, there are places that aren't within easy walking distance of a pasty shop (except in Devon of course - where they invented the Cornish pasty, snigger). So the next option is to go into a convenience store and buy a chilled Ginster's pasty or some sandwiches. Convenience stores in Canada sell cigarettes, crisps and newspapers. The refrigerators at the back might sell some over-priced cheese and bacon. But probably not.

Over the past few weeks, I have tried in vain to find somewhere that sells sandwiches (NOT a bloody sub - I just want two slices of bread and some filling) or a chilled pie. Nada.

In the end, I admitted defeat - what did I get? A slice of the exact same pizza everyone else managed to find - I just paid $2 for it, from the pizza shop around the corner.



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