Dr. Hoffer's Travel Site This site was last updated 08/04/10
IBERIA2001 #40 Circumnavigated IBERIA
Castellon was a very nice but small and quiet city. Now we are driving north along the coast to Spain's most exciting city: back to Barcelona. Marcia drove the 174 miles (passing by Tarragona on the way) which took 3:15 to get there, much of it just getting from the outskirts to the hotel. As we pulled into the city I realized that we had just circumnavigated the Iberian peninsula in 54 days 3,132 miles (like driving from NYC to LAX). We get to the Presidente Hotel on Avda. Diagonal but discover upon check in that we have no room reserved there. I recheck Irene's messages and figure maybe would should go to the Meliá Barcelona and directions to get there. It is not far and we arrive with room reserved for us. After we check in, I decided to relax and have a cap and work on the computer at the bar. Then I find out the hotel has an air conditioned room with a computer for internet use FREE but now the problem is when to find time to use it and answer all the mail I have had to put off because of humid smoky uncomfortable internet cafes. We meet Irene for a vaso de vino and gave her the bottle of port we got for her in Porto. We took a taxi to Port Vell and at 10:45 we had dinner at Pintxo near the water. We rioja and I wanted to have fideuá which is like paella but with pasta-like stuff. I also asked for a pasta dish which they never brought me even after 2 requests. On 3rd try they tell me "Sorry, the kitchen is closed." In Barcelona, can you believe this? I really got mad and let the waiter know it. We took a cab back to the hotel and I worked the computer and got to bed 4 AM. No free internet today.
I had set the alarm for 7 AM to prepare my talks for the lectures and roundtable today, but as the alarm rang I thought I was getting up to buy tickets for the Alcazar in Granada and kept telling myself that I had already seen it and didn't need to get up. Finally Marcia got me up at 8:20 and I can't find the little connector that allows me to attach my little computer to the lecture hall screen. As promised, I met Irene in the lobby at 8:45 but then went to the garage and in a bag in the trunk of the car I found the cord. We took a taxi to the Congresso de Catalunya (convention center) and arrived early for my talks so I set up the talks on the computer. They had arranged simultaneous translation so I put an earpiece in and was now able to understand what was going on. Since they were talking now about LASIK, I wanted to switch it off but didn't. Dr. Hoyos had finished his section roundtable for the KSMG meeting and now my section was next. After I sit at the table I discover that Dr. Luis Cadarso (from Vigo) is next to me. (Never got a chance to talk to him.) I answered my questions but I see no one wearing the earplugs for translation and wonder how many understand what I am saying. This caused me to feel a little uncomfortable but I kept talking. I gave my computer talk about Pigment Vacuum Iridectomy and later a talk on PRL lens power. My computer worked just fine for showing the video and I breathed a sigh of relief. After the meeting was over Dr. Jaime Aramberri (of San Sebastián) showed me his theory about IOL power after LASIK surgery with his computer and I realized he had discovered the right answer, which I will talk about in my upcoming lectures and courses. I had a cappuccino with him & Irene and then I visited the exhibits. The CIBA Vision booth had the video showing Dimitrii & I. I never like to eat lunch but I accepted Jairo's invitation to go to the Alcon lunch at a fancy restaurant. There I saw Fernando Soler and Oscar Aziz who we had dinner with in San Diego (I paid). I had salad, a nice steak with excellent fries and dessert. While my colleagues carried on an exciting conversation in Español I proceeded to take a very nice siesta right in the chair. We caught a cab back to the Congresso in the rain. I talk to Dimitrii by phone and he was doing well in Berlin and Stockholm. Irene and I caught a cab to the hotel and I was thinking maybe I could do internet. Then Irene asked me, "Did you run." Oh my God, I had completely forgotten. I rapidly changed and came down stairs and it was pouring outside. I went around the corner and there was Sarria Fitness gym right next door with a treadmill. It was very humido but better than the rain. Then I joined Marcia for a glass of cava in the lobby bar and prepared Hoffer Program upgrade disks for the two doctors in the Canary Islands (part of Spain east of Africa) to give to Oscar for them. We then get in line for a cab in the rain and have to wait 1 hour. We finally arrive at the Train station where the Alcon dinner celebration takes place commemorating 100 years of Spanish Ophthalmological Society (SEO). We meet Jairo who had just arrived with his wife Maite and Melanie and try to find a seat in this huge hall that had thousands already seated. We finally found seats almost outside the building. It was a fabulous dinner with salad, duck leg, champagne, both white & red wine. There was a Cirque Sole like performance then opera singers ending with fireworks inside the station. It was the biggest gala event Marcia & I had ever attended. During dinner I met Dr. Michel Pérez and his charming wife from Dijon, France. After dinner Jairo was very kind to drive us back to the hotel at 2:30. We gave him the port we got for him from Mesao Frio and then got to bed at 4 AM. No time for Internet again.
Woke at 12:30 feeling very tired. At 2:40 Marcia & I took a cab to Barri Gottic to visit the Museu Picasso. I am not a fan of Picasso, but this is the place to see the body and history of his works. He spent a good deal of his life before Paris living here. After a little over an hour, we had a cortado at Bar Tumpida next door and Jairo called to tell me he was picking me up at the hotel so we hightailed it to find cab to hotel. His sons were there to pick me up and we drove to Sabadell to Jairo's Clinic where the conference was to be held. It was very good and I am glad Jairo persuaded me to stay an extra day for it. Long discussion of the ThinOptX acrylic 1 mm IOL, the PRL and I got a chance to talk to Dr. Carmen Barraquer from Columbia. We had never met before. We chatted on the way back to the hotel as well. She is very nice. Now it is 8:00 and I have to run. But since it was not raining now I ran in the streets from Avd Sarria to Avd Valencia and it was very nice. Upon returning to the hotel, I bump into Manuel who I am meeting for the first time. He has taken wonderful care of us during this trip and it was nice to say thanks in person. After a little cava we take a cab to restaurant Roig Robi for a special CIBA dinner Irene had scheduled. During dinner I met Dr. Eduardo Martines from Sao Paulo, Brazil and we hit it off very well. Very bright busy young guy. Because Jairo arrived late there was no table for his group so they had to stand for over an hour before a table freed up. I got a chance to meet Fernando's new wife and is she special. Finally everyone sat and had dinner and we got a cab back to the hotel at 2:30. I did photos until 4 AM and I said now time for internet. The room is perfect and quiet and I find I have 305 emails and I worked on it from until 6 AM and sent Chapter 37. Went to bed at 6:30 AM.
I woke at 11:20 in time to make it to Mass at St. Eugeni I Papa and arrived during the homily in Español. I get back to hotel and do email and finish it all at 1:30 PM. I go for my run through the Eixample again, then we pack up, get the bags in the car, order a to-go jamón and cheese sandwich and then head off to Orba to meet our friend Brian.
KJH Go To -> NEXT DIARIO #41
Kenneth J. Hoffer, MD
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