May 10, 2008

It's Bordeaux!

My exchange had been confirmed 10 days before, it'll be in the southwestern city of Bordeaux, France! First seeing the word 'Bordeaux' rang a bell inside, but I can't recall whether it was in my encounter with Les Miserables, the French movie Les Choristes, or Jackie Chan's Rush Hour 3. Upon looking up in the internet, I found out that Bordeaux is synonymous with wine - right, I've seen the name on a wine bottle before.

According to Wikipedia "[w]ith a population of 1,200,000 inhabitants in the Bordeaux-Arcachon-Libourne metropolitan area, the fifth metropolitan area in France is known to be the world's wine industry capital, and it is considered Europe's main military space and aeronautics research and construction complex. Bordeaux wine draws its name from the famous wine that has been produced since the 8th century. The historic part of the city is on the UNESCO World Heritage List as 'an outstanding urban and architectural ensemble' of the 18th century."

Gate to Bordeaux, from

From the top of the church, from wikipedia

Bridge across the Garrone, Bordeaux's main river, by night. From

And Lonely Planet wrote "[t]he city has excellent museums, lively nightlife and beaches close by. Wide avenues, neoclassical architecture and well-tended parks all give the city a certain 18th-century grandeur. An ethnically diverse population and a lively university community of some 60,000 students complete the picture."
This made me realize how big the university in Bordeaux is. In fact, it is divided into 4 campuses, with Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2 University the campus for medicine and life sciences. It houses 15,038 students (2002).

Campus of L'université Victor Segalen

And now to the project I'm assigned to - I'd be following F. Mergaud and B. Bergey in Study of gyrA-gene mutations associated with unusual fluoroquinolone resistance profiles in Campilobacter species. To tell you the truth I don't even understand a single word from the project name. It may be as foreign to me as Russian. Nevertheless, my exchange officer wrote to me about it:

Technique: Bacterial culture, PCR, Sequencing, Susceptibility testing...
Your role :
to write a full project
to perform the tests
to interpret the results
to prepare a draft article.

Bacteria culture is not a problem - who doesn't know how to grow bacteria? Just stop bathing. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) in quite simple (basically it's a procedure used to amplify copies of DNAs), though it requires patience, and delicate hands. Susceptibility testing is something we'd only learn next year, and I'm still looking if any teacher at school might be kind enough to teach me before leaving.
Finally, I bought my French Railpass (Eurail) yesterday. For those unfamiliar, Eurail is a ticket specially tailored for non-EU residents that allows a passenger unlimited ability to travel on nearly all European railroads and some shipping lines at a fixed price per day of travel. There are limitations depending on your type of ticket, however. Mine is strictly French, and is valid only for 6 days in 1 month. This means during my exchange period, which is ngam-ngam 1 month, I can choose 6 days when I feel like traveling and take any train to anywhere, free of charge (of course the Eurail costs me RM700 already). Nevertheless, the TGV (French High-Speed Rail) and Lunea and Teoz (sleeping bulk trains) impose minimal fees for Eurail users (still much less if you're buying full fare).

Looks like most of what I need for France this summer is ready, except my exams before it. I'm so looking forward to traveling again, especially before I step into the 24/7 schedule of Anatomy next semester.