It's come and gone! Noders in attendance were sloebertje and her non-noder boyfriend, darl, Wiccanpiper, rootbeer277, panamaus, BJuarez, and me, of course.

Photo galleries:


La Noderísima Reunión 2006
Rendez-vous in Old Mehico

WTF?

Yep, that's right, folks. In 2006, I will be hosting a nodermeet in México, titled "The Very Noder Meet". Please come!

Where?

Guanajuato, capital of the homonymous Mexican state, in central México, a region of México known as El Bajío (the lowlands).

When?

October 2006. Tentatively, depending on dates that seem more comfortable for noders, the weekend of October 7, 2006. There's nothing tentative about this anymore, since people have already bought plane tickets for those dates. That's ONE FULL YEAR I gave you advance notice. I hope you planned ahead!

Why?

Because I love you guys, and I want to see you!

Okay, if that's not reason enough, there's also going to be an annual Cervantine Festival going on at the same time. Although the festival is nominally in order to honour Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's works (*ahem*, "In a place of la Mancha, whose name I have no desire to call to mind..."), lots of other things happen at the time, art exhibits, free shows on the streets by buskers and public comedians, concerts, theatre, dance... basically, lots of performance arts, plus a few events here and there in remembrance of the Annals of La Mancha.

The Cervantine Festival is a big deal. There's a Spanish webpage at

http://www.festivalcervantino.gob.mx/

and some relevant information in English at

http://www.donquijote.org/english/la/city.mexico.asp

which gives more information. At the present time as I am writing this node, the festival is going on. Keep checking this node for updates, as there will be constant changes as more information becomes available! I'm still checking out the Cervantine Festival and will have more to report about it after I participate in more of its events.

Hold on, México?! Isn't that, like, in a different hemisphere?

I'm well aware that noding from México is a lonely task. In that userpoll that circulated several months ago asking place of residence, I was the only one that answered "Latin America". Though there have been some scattered noders here and there noding from México, most noders simply live very far away from this place.

That is why I'm giving you advance notice! I'm giving you a full year to think about it and prepare for it! I want people to show up, very much, I do. I'm not too sure what kind of noder could come... university and college students are probably going to have a hard time getting here, as October is smack in the middle of the school year for most people. I myself will be in school at the time, although I will take much care to plan ahead and do my schoolwork earlier in order to be able to entertain guests when you come.

Uh... No falo espanyol... (gosh, I hope that's right)

So you don't fellate Spanish? No worries! I, your humble host and guide, will be more than happy to show you around town in English or French (give me a little more time with the Russian, and maybe I can show you around with that too). I promise to stick around and be a good little host.

Even if for some reason you mistrust my abilities or intentions for showing you around Guanajuato, I assure you that you'll be fine here. Guanajuato has a strong international community and attracts lots of tourism. Now, I know that normally "attracts tourism" makes little warning signs flash in the mind of the experienced traveller, but Guanajuato's tourism is different. For one, what comes here is mostly cultural tourism, from all over the world. I have met people from Norway, Germany, Sweden, England, France, Cuba, Switzerland, Canada, Russia, Spain, Colombia, and even from the United States of America here! The wonderful thing about the visitors from other parts of the world is that they come in peace and eager to absorb Mexican culture, all doing their very best to speak Mexican Spanish and often succeeding remarkably. While you don't need yourself to make the same effort if you're only coming for a couple of days one weekend for my nodermeet, you can probably find a buddy here who can help you get around if I can't do it. Additionally, many (but not all) of the locals speak English, and a few other languages, so you'll be able to get around even without my assistance.

Guanajuato is an important place in Mexican history. The first major battles in México's war for independence took place here, and oustanding historical figures have left their imprint in Guanajuato. Guanajuato is home to one of the world's largest silver mine, La Valenciana, and geology buffs can have lots of fun touring the underground passages of this mining town. Vicente Fox, México's current president is from Guanajuato and used to be its governor.

For those so morbidly interested, you can also go see LIVE NUDE MUMMIES! (actually, probably dead nude mummies, but hey), although I suspect that that's not going to be one of the more enticing points about Guanajuato. There is one major university in Guanajuato that attracts students from around the country and from other countries. There are also some other major schools, such as the maths school to which yours truly is currently attending. The result is that there is vibrant youth culture here and never a dull moment!

Ok, ok... This is getting interesting. How is it going to work?

The first thing, of course, is getting to Guanajuato. The nearest airport is in León, Guanajuato, and from there it's a 40 minute bus ride to Guanajuato, Guanajuato for about 30 MXN (about 2 EUR or 3 USD, during October 2005, cheap!). I can meet you at the bus station when you arrive, or you can easily take a cab to your lodging of choice (which includes my house). Optionally, you can also fly to México City and take a bus from there. It's a four-hour drive and costs about 250 MXN (23 USD or 20 EUR)

If you are an adventurous soul planning to come by car, I am afraid there is not much help I can give you. I don't drive myself, so I don't know how to do it. It may also be more expensive than normal for you to do this, as tolls in Mexican highways do add up quickly, and if you're not used to driving styles in México, it can get tricky. If you're willing instead to bus it, I can vouch for the supreme comfort and affordability of Mexican bus services, far superior at least to their Canadian and US conterparts (Greyhound sucks!), but it might take several days to get here that way.

As for immigration issues, Germans, Swiss nationals, Canadians, British nationals, and Americans can stay in the country without a visa for up to 180 days; Australians and French are going to have to leave early, and only get 90 days without a visa (don't ask me why). All foreigners who wish to stay as tourists for this period of time are required to do some minor paperwork at the port of entry. It's a minor hassle, and everyone seems welcome. If you're from a different country which I didn't list here but would like to come anyways, you probably can anyways; just check at the website of any Mexican consulate what your immigration requirements are. I'd be surprised if they were difficult to meet.

Once here, I have floor space for maybe two or three noders (bring your own sleeping bags!). Additionally, you can also find cheap accomodations at various hostels in town, sometimes for as little as 60 MXN a night (about 5 EUR or 6 USD), but during the Cervantine Festival, prices may go up slightly, perhaps 80 MXN (6 EUR or 7 USD) for a cheap hostel. There are also nicer hotels such as Hotel Guanajuato, where I have personally stayed myself, and I give it my seal of approval. A double room in Hotel Guanajuato goes for 500 MXN a night (about 50 EUR or 60 USD) during the Cervantine Festival season.

As for nourishment, I will make two meals on Saturday and Sunday. If you care to sample my cuisine, I can guarantee delicious results, but I must warn you that I don't eat meat, so you'll have to go elsewhere to satisfy that craving. I will prepare mild food suitable to the taste buds of those poor souls who have not yet developed a resistance to capsaicin (¡Ay, ay, ay! ¡Muy picante! ¡Muy caliente!). Guanajuato is a relatively cheap town, even during the Cervantine Festival when prices get hiked up a little, so you can probably also easily afford eating out. A full-course meal at a moderate restaurant will probably be no more expensive than 50 MXN (about 5 USD or 4 EUR as of October 2005), and even a fancy meal should be no higher than 120 MXN (8 EUR or 10 USD).

The difficult part is getting here. Once here, you'll be well-taken care of and cheaply fed. Oh, also cheaply partied, if you're up for it.

¿Fiesta? Did someone say fiesta?

Oh, yes. If you get sick of all the artsy fartsy events involving the Cervantine Festival, we can simply go out bar-hopping to one of the many bars and clubs downtown, or maybe go out salsa dancing (anyone out there willing to teach me?).

Hmm... maybe. I'll think about it.

Well, let me know how it goes! I'd love it for people to come to my nodermeet. I'll be periodically updating this node with more specific information as the details start to get more concrete. I also plan to be regularly noding throughout the year relevant information about Guanajuato and Cervantes in order to lure more guests.

List of potential or impotential worldly travellers

Mines, Mummies, and Music? I'm so there!

  1. Swap
  2. rootbeer277: "Tickets are purchased, I'm comin' to México! I'm flying in on the 6th and flying out on the 9th of October."
  3. darl: "Ah, hell, why not. I've got a thing for mummies. But please don't advertise this."
  4. Nadine_2: "More a definite than a maybe."
  5. sloebertje+1: "Woohoo, our tickets have finally been booked! We (sloebertje + boyfriend) will be in Guanajuato 2-9 Oct. Now for a place to stay..."
  6. BJuarez: "pos, si no me jode American Airlines, estaré llegando a BJX a las 21:20 la noche del 5 de octubre. Pero me acaban de cambiar el itinerario del vuelo. En cuanto tenga confirmado todo, te aviso. :("
  7. panamaus: It's official: I'm arriving on 10/5 at 7:23PM in BJX, on the same AA flight as BJuarez. He's still working out ground transport options, but odds are that we shall arrive in GTO together. :)
  8. Wiccanpiper: "Make that a YES! Flight and Hotel Guanajuato booked, ¡me voy al Nodermeet! I called the Hotel G. and as far as I could tell (my Spanish is very rusty) I've booked a room, in 5/Oct, out 9/Oct, for 520 pesos (not bad!). Lookin' forward to it! :)"
  9. <Gorgonzola: "A certain document arrived in the mail today, which means I will definitely be there."
  10. ...
  11. your name here

Er, it sounds like fun, but it's a long trip! I'll get back to you.

  1. GhettoAardvark: "I'm going to figure out some costs for Noderissima, and if it's reasonable, I will try and bring my fiancee and myself. Sounds like it kicks ass!"
  2. Althorrat: "[...]So the upshot of this longwinded statement is a resounding, 'Maybe'".
  3. Evil Catullus: "I like Mexico. Put me down for a maybe."
  4. NinjaPenguin: "Oh lordy, a year is a lot of time."
  5. Infinite Burn: "Sign me up!"
  6. Andrew_Aguecheek: "This depends largely on how the uni term is going to work next year, but it is possible I'll be there..."
  7. Sofacoin: "Greetings, noders of e2: I am going to make a declaration of my intent to travel to the land of México this coming year."
  8. futilelord: "You should put me down for a possible. I'm pretty close but scheduling may prove difficult."
  9. Kit: "I'm very disappointed, but because I was unexpectedly unemployed for a month this summer, I just can't afford to miss a week and a half of work. If I can get Dad to lend me some money, I might still make it, but chances look very slim at the mo."
  10. ...
  11. Maybe your name here?

México? Are you out of your mind? No way!

  1. wordnerd: "Country-hopping is not in my future."
  2. Simulacron3: "This is damn mean of you, Swap. I would SO like to be there, but ... "
  3. Timeshredder: "Quisiera ir, pero dudo que podré ir."
  4. izubachi: " I think you'll have to put me down for a no, unfortunately."
  5. hapax: "Ah, wish I could, but the academic schedule and my fatal allergy to sunshine prevent it."
  6. ThePassPassPort: "I cannot attend, conditions of my parole and all ..."
  7. Sir Norris: "The possibilty that I'd be able to is somewhere in the region of zero."
  8. Arviragus: "I would love to come to Mexico, but in between biochemistry and mathematical analysis, I don't think I'd be able to manage." This is the best excuse I have heard yet.
  9. Cletus the Foetus: "Not that much of a 'maybe'."
  10. yclept: "I doubt I'll have the $$ to do it. And one of the shows I'm hoping to get into is at the end of October, so I don't think I can make it. It lingers at the back of my mind as a thing to keep in mind, but without much hope."
  11. eien_meru: "No. Sorry."
  12. Heisenberg: "Please remove me from ouatim and the list in Noderissima 2006."
  13. Altusmens: "I'm sorry buddy, but I'm gonna have to withdraw my participation from Noderissima 2006 . I just realized it's scheduled for Columbus Day weekend . Attending the party that happpens during that time in Portland is about the only certain thing in my life after death and taxes. Still, I hope I see you in Montreal this summer, and I'mintent on making it to Mexico in the not so distant future."
  14. Catchpole: "Hi, looks like I won't be able to make your noderissima. Too much going on this year as I'm getting married and working in a new country so a trip to Mexico is just too much. Apologies and hope it's a success!"
  15. paraclete: "Hey, definitely not going to be able to make it I'm afraid... "
  16. montecarlo: "I'd very much like to come, but it's beyond my cost horizon, sort of. Cheers, though!"
  17. Bitriot: "I'm sorry. October is just not looking good for me. I really wanted to meet you. Maybe someday, some gathering ..."
  18. Halspal: "Hey, Jordi. Please pull me out of the (ouatim) group as there's not much chance of my attendance. Real life has gotten busy."
  19. Nora can't come because of other engagements.
  20. hunt05: "So this is the point where I break everybody's heart and announce that I'm not going to be there. My perhaps has turned into a definate no-- work and money (which, as you know, go hand in hand) are strongly preventing me from getting to Mexico."
  21. DejaMorgana: "Me too, unfortunately. Ain't gonna happen. Sorry, Swap."
  22. diotina and
  23. Oolong: "Alas, it is sounding very unlikely. I've been sort of keeping a wild hope alive myself, but it really is looking more and more wild I'm afraid. Maybe next year...!"
  24. avalyn: "Sigh, I guess you should remove me from ouatim, because there's no way I'll be able to make it. :|"
  25. booyaa and
  26. princess loulou: "i am here to tell you that booyaa and i won't make it to guanajuato this october after all :( there's a load of crap going on at work which has somewhat interfered with our plans. however we do plan to get to the states next year so we'll plan a southerly path and hook up with you then."
  27. C-Dawg: "I'm sorry to become #27 on the No list. I'm sure many of the others would join me in wishing you the best, and appreciation of the effort you're putting into what will hopefully be a Nodermeet que vivir´ en las memorias de nuestra communidad para siempre!"
  28. Apatrix: "Due to a combination of unfavourable factors, I'm a definite no. Lo siento. Please remove me from the group."
  29. Jack: "Yeah, what he said (I ain't gonna make it either, dudes. It's a bad time to be taking time off of work in my business. Have a great time, though.)"
  30. Andromache01: "I will probably be too broke to make it down to Mexico any time soon. I didn't have the heart to say so earlier when everyone else was pulling out because it was nice to listen to all the usergroup messages. *sad face* I am a lonely, lonely, nodergirl."
  31. tokki: "What was still tentative and in fact would have probably been a yes (I have the money) has solidly turned into a "can't go." I registered for a financial mathematics exam this morning that falls squarely on that weekend. The reason why I hesitated in answering for so long was because I didn't know what date they would set the exam until last week."
  32. IWhoSawTheFace: "I'll call you to make it up to you. How's that, big boy? MWAH!"
  33. BookReader: "Going to have to bail. I’ve got classes to pay for; ironically one is a Spanish class."
  34. LeoDV: "Same here. No money, too much work. I also had to cancel a study trip to Poland."
  35. ...
  36. Not too many names here, please

FAQ

1) What's the weather like down there during October?

Mostly warm. It might get chilly or rainy enough in the afternoons to warrant a light sweater, but I wouldn't recommend much more than that. It can get incredibly windy at times, though, so maybe an emergency scarf in case you have to be out in the wind would also be a good idea. Oh, it also gets rainy. A cautious traveller would bring an umbrella.

2) Are traveler's cheques a good idea?

Probably not. There are accesible banks that will give you cash for your cheques, although they close for weekends. Some establishments will also accept traveler's cheques, but not all, so don't rely on it. If you're going to be coming specifically only for the weekend, it might be a better idea to just bring a little cash in a safe place, as you won't need that much after you've paid your transportation and lodging expenses.

3) I've seen ¡Mucha Lucha!. Any chance of seeing the real stuff there?

There is a wrestling ring in Guanajuato, although I haven't been there yet. I'll go check it out later in case there are people truly interested in going.

Additionally, to get into the spirit of things, maybe you can find a copy of that old classic "Momias de Guanajuato", where El Santo makes a guest appearance near the end. IMDB entry is here.

4) How much should I tip and when?

10 to 15 per cent is reasonable, 20 if you're feeling generous. Tipping etiquette around here parallels American and Canadian tipping etiquette quite well. People who serve you food should be tipped, and everyone else is up to your discretion.

5) If I want to stay longer, what else is there to see and do?

Lots! First, remember that the Cervantine festival goes on for most of October. The official nodermeet is only for the first weekend of the festival, since that's the weekend before the great waves of crowds arrive, but you could of course stay longer for more Cervantine festival shows. There are two more weekends of the festival, plus all the time in between, of course. Guanajuato itself also has some points of interest. Besides the mines and mummies, you can go visit museums, churches, colonial buildings and such.

There are also surrounding towns such as Dolores Hidalgo where the cry for Mexican independence was first heard, or San Miguel de Allende, a colonial small town where the US and Canadian expats hang out in quiet retirement. If you're willing to move around by bus (I can't extoll the virtues of the Mexican bus system enough), you can also travel farther to the state of Oaxaca and see more of the real Mexico, and maybe even find people who only speak American languages and no Spanish.

You can also go see beaches, if you need to catch a tan. There are many to choose from, but if you're the kind of person who's coming to my nodermeet, you probably will want to avoid the touristy beaches and go for something that isn't like MTV Spring Break. For that I recommend Oaxaca or Veracruz beaches, where you're more likely to run into people that speak Spanish than English.

Don't feel like you have to do all of these things. I'm just trying to give you more options. Just make it to my nodermeet and make me the happiest maths nerd in town. :)

6) Where can I stay in Guanajuato?

See my Guanajuato node for this and much more information!

7) What are we going to be doing?

Here it is! A very rough schedule on what's going to be happening. I'd rather keep it flexible and we can chat about it over dinner on Friday.

Friday

Welcome dinner at México Lindo y Sabroso at 20:00. Address: Paseo de la Presa #59. Will discuss Cervantine festival shows that we want to see. Depending on when we finish, may go downtown to catch an estudiantina or Cervantine shows.

Saturday

Morning:
Valenciana tour. Church and mine.

Middle afternoon (16:00-ish): Lunch chez Swap, featuring the peerless Swappian mole de olla with Mexican red rice!

Evening:
Cervantine shows, previously decided upon on Friday's dinner.

Sunday

Morning:
Mummy tour.

Middle afternoon:
Lunch at Van Gogh, in Jardín de la Unión.
Evening:
Free.

¡Arriba!

My first nodermeet was enormously fun, and a great excuse to go to Mexico. The attendees of Swap's gathering were, in order of hours logged with the group:

  1. sloebertje's boyfriend (who isn't even a noder)
  2. panamaus (who isn't even an active noder)
  3. me (arrived last, got lost once)
  4. sloebertje (took a break from all the walking on Sunday)
  5. Wiccanpiper (first to leave, on Sunday)
  6. BJuarez (took some time off to visit family in the area)
  7. Swap (too busy to attend)

I was the last to arrive, on Friday afternoon. Swap was in school at the time so I took the opportunity to walk around Guanajuato to get a basic feel for the city. The first thing I noticed was that Guanajuato is a giant circle with several smaller circles inside of it. Walk long enough and you'll wind up back where you started (but pack a lunch). Like many cities designed without automobile traffic in mind, the streets are narrow and twisty-turny, which (combined with a lack of street signs), make the place difficult to navigate for a first-timer. I found my way back to the hotel early and flipped through the TV channels until I found the "U.S. sit-coms with Spanish subtitles" channel and the "Cartoon Network dubbed in Spanish" channel and saw a couple of shows. Close to 8:00 PM, I headed off to my first actual face-to-face meeting with actual noders at a nearby restaurant.

Wiccanpiper and panamaus were the first to arrive after me, and I instantly recognized Wiccanpiper from his homenode picture. Shortly thereafter we were joined by Swap and then BJuarez, followed later by sloebertje and escort. Service was slow, which was a trend that continued throughout the nodermeet at all the restaurants, but the food was delicious and the company was wonderful.

Guanajuato

Over the next few days I learned several things about Guanajuato.

The city is in the mountains, about 2 km (1.2 miles) above sea level. The air is rather thin and walking up and down its many hills can leave you out of breath pretty easily until you learn to breathe deeper. The view, however, is incredible from the top of any of its high points, whether looking out over the city or the picturesque mountains around it.

The city, like many older cities, was built without automobile traffic, natural gas distribution, or electrical service in mind. All of these things are tacked on after-the-fact. Many of the streets are one-way and very narrow, and since the city is built in the mountains there are several bridges and tunnels. The city is almost bi-level in places. Gas for cooking and heating is provided by portable butane cylinders which are lugged up and down the city's narrow alleys and numerous stairways to residences and businesses, doubtlessly by very large men. The electrical system is a tangled mess of wires that isn't waterproofed very well, and Swap says that blackouts are common during heavy rains.

The people are very friendly and most who work in the service industries speak at least some English, certainly better than my atrophied Spanish. Street vendors were selling food at practically every corner, I could have eaten my way across the city. Everything was delicious, with the particular instance of a vanilla milkshake which completely blew me away. I can only assume that in Mexico real vanilla is more common than the artificial vanilla flavor we generally use in the U.S.

Everything is about half price compared to what you'd pay in the U.S., from food to taxi service to souvenirs, and the exchange rate was about 10 pesos to the dollar. Bus service was readily available but the busses were rather cramped.

Attractions

The Mummies of Guanajuato - when Swap first mentioned them I thought this was going to be a showing of various native Incan mummies, of the sort occasionally found preserved high in the mountains by the cold, dry air (like Otzi the caveman). Nope, these were former residents of Guanajuato whose families couldn't afford to, or didn't bother paying to, keep them buried. High alum levels in the soil naturally mummify some of the bodies, and when they are dug up to make more room in the cemetery the remains may be moved to the museum, where they're put in glass cases resting on velvet pillows. Memento mori, indeed.

Street entertainment - street vendors selling various foods, clowns doing tricks, bands playing, mid-air gymnastics dangling from a long ribbon, and a group of musicians doing tours dressed in period garb from Spain were only some of the attractions on the streets as we wound our way around the city. We didn't stop to watch any of them for very long but they attracted quite a crowd.

Monument to El Pípila - A huge statue dedicated to El Pípila (real name Juan José de los Reyes Martínez) overlooks a magnificent view of the city, from which all the major buildings and historical sites are clearly visible. El Pípila was a miner and a hero of the Mexican War of Independence in 1810. Under the cover of a stone slab on his back, he managed to survive gunfire from Spanish solders shooting from the windows of Alhóndiga de Granaditas to set the door on fire, which allowed the rest of the revolting peasants to storm the building. Also here is a show with quite impressive animatronics depicting an exorcism, a drunk man meeting undead monks, the heroism of El Pípila, and that urban legend about the ghostly hitchhiker, among other scenes. I couldn't understand a word of it and it was easily the most surreal experience I had at the nodermeet.

The Nexus of Guanajuato - There was a certain garden square with several restaurants and an area for street performances near the middle of the city. It deserves mention because we kept finding ourselves there over and over again for drinks. No matter where you were or where you were going you would pass by this garden. It appeared to be the nexus of the city.

Concerts - We attended two concerts held in a large, open venue with stadium seating and room for a few hundred people. The first one was a few DJs mixing samples and spinning records, but we left that one early. I learned that when meeting people at an event with several hundred people, setting up a specific meeting place is a good idea, as I didn't find the group until they were on their way out. The second concert was much better; a rather talented marimba band playing a variety of songs. They knew how to please the crowd, too, as I recognized the Mexican Hat Dance slipped in there, and according to Swap a few bars of Streets of Guanajuato, which got quite a reaction from the audience.

Swap's apartment - I mentioned that the streets were twisty and had many narrow alleys and steep stairways. The most extreme example happened to be the path up to Swap's place. Fortunately, for a reason I did not dig into, the name "Owen" happened to be written on the walls all the way up the labyrinthine path to Swap's, which guided our way. Once there we enjoyed Swap's hospitality, conversation, and a vegetarian stew (with textured vegetable protein) he had spent half the day preparing while the rest of us were at El Pípila and then some shopping.

Rootbeer277's travel tips

If you make plane reservations nine months in advance, chances are the details of the flights are going to change. Double-check the week before you actually leave.

Set up meeting times and ways to contact each other before you leave.

Try to find a hotel with comfortable beds and a good shower. These are the most important parts of your hotel experience and will, all by themselves, determine whether or not you will enjoy your stay. Also, doors that rattle at night can be silenced by putting a t-shirt in the frame when you close it.

Do not check baggage unless you absolutely have to. American Airlines is holding my bags for $139.00 ransom, to be dropped off in a briefcase in small, unmarked bills under a bridge. They will call me with further instructions when they have the cash. I had to check it for the return trip so I could take my souvenirs as carry-on bags.

Airport security is running a nifty scam with the Tax & Duty Free shops. You can buy liquor cheap in the airport, but you can't actually bring it through security into the departure gate area due to the recent terrorist liquids paranoia. I assume the bottles are returned to the shop to be re-sold, and the government takes a cut.

Overall Experience

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Mexico, and Guanajuato was as different as can be from what I've heard about the cities near the US border. The people were friendly and quite willing to work with my limited Spanish. The food especially was first rate all the way.

It was also fun to finally meet some other noders. Wiccanpiper and Swap were pretty much how I expected them, based on my interactions with them here. I had a chance to talk to sloebertje about Holland (did you know wooden shoes have an actual, practical purpose?) and really got along well with her boyfriend. Panamaus was a bit quiet but a really nice guy. BJarez was someone I didn't know, as he took a hiatus a year before I joined, but everyone in the group was great. I can't wait for my next nodermeet.

My pictures are at:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rootbeer277

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