Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Tango in Grenoble

I attended Memo's class in the morning. In the beginning there was a problem with the wireless connection. Some of the laptops was showed to connect to the network but could browser the web. The network was overloaded with too many users. Memo started the class from the hard drive of his laptop. Later on Julian walked in and brought an Ethernet cable with him. Voila, an IT problem was solved.

I benefited from sitting in his class. He had the different teams debrief what they had done and what problems/questions they had so far. From the students’ presentations he could figure out where they stand and gave them relevant guidance, I may want to adopt his method for my network project.

In the afternoon we had an invited speaker from Grenoble Ecole de Management. His name was Olivier Aba. His topic was Managing Cultural Differences. Where he first walked in I thought he was a rather serious person from the expression worn on his face. Later I realized how wrong I was. He was funny and smart. He introduced various theories on culture such as Hall’s and Hofstede’s. I could tell the students liked his class tremendously. They were engaged and actively participate. I wonder if Perdue has such course. If not, we may want to seriously consider offering it.

When Julian introduced the SU professors to Olivier when he walked in, he greeted me with Ni Hao and told me he was fluent. I was truly surprised that three out of the four professors I knew here so far spoke Chinese.

Bob decided to go to the milonga with me to check out what tango was all about. We took the tram to the Notre Dome station and marched forward thinking the street we were looking for was just ahead of us. Only when we got to the next tram station did we realize that we were so lost. We went into a nearby bar and ordered a pizza and beers. Since the waiter did not speak any English, it was really hard to ask for directions. Finally with hands, shouting, pen and paper we figured out that we walked too far. We walked back all the way to the original tram station where we got off. We still could not find the street. Finally we stopped a walking by old gentleman and our first question was “Parlez-vous anglais?” To our great relief he said “oui.” When we told him the street name, he pointed straight ahead across the street saying "that is it!" So the joke was on us. :)

We walked upstairs and located the room. The receptionist was apologetical saying that tonight was unusual because there were more men than women. When he heard that Bob was going to be just an observer he joked "What a pity! He didn't know what he was missing." I was also told that there would be another milonga this Friday.

We settled down and I asked a couple women to dance. The general level was average. There were a few good dancers. People were friendly and open. The nuveo (new) tango was popular here. There happened to have a male Argentine instructor in town to teach it for this week, who Bob thought looked so much like Woody Allen. He wore these guffy pants and a red t-shirt with long hair. Bob was picturing him dance with Diane Keaton.

Bob decided to leave at around 11. On his way out he said he enjoyed the music. That was a good start. I left around midnight. I caught the next to the last tram and went back to the hotel.


At 3:43 PM, Blogger Ovonia Red said...

Your post reminded me of some direction-asking experiences I had while in France. I vaguely remember being led around the Vielle ville of Grenoble while some folks I was with asked directions (I never ask directions--not even in English). Turns out we had started our search right next to the street we were looking for.
I'm glad you found some tango. It sounds like you are having a good time over there. Say hello to some French bread for me.


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