Minutes Partially in the Style of Geoffrey West of the 17th Symposium of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum held in Martinique, March 1988
The meeting was held in a relatively accessible French Island in the Carribean. The Island of Martinique is renowned for being the birth place of Josephine, Empress of France, wife of Napoleon and having had a minor (in volcanic terms) eruption in 1902, which killed 30,000 people. This information was not revealed to the membership until the last day, at which point it was received with indifference.
To a casual observer, there were a number of potential Josephine’s in the immediate environment. Only history will record whether any of them made it or caught anything other than dreadful diseases. All the membership agreed that the place had unique attributes peculiarly suited to a CIA meeting. It had good food, good company, good sea, good sun and a certain style. For a department of France, the capital city of Fort de France was, to the outsider, somewhat bizarre in possessing apparently not a single outdoor cafe.
In giving way to panache, your executive secretary hired a rather small motorbicycle in which to view the island with his wife. The aforesaid motorbike went extremely well, especially downhill and with a wind for about 15 km before giving up its ghost on a hill somewhere north of the capital city. Your executive secretary can strongly recommend this form of transport for meeting the local populace which on perceiving his (their) plight, stopped in droves to converse, take the aforesaid motorbicycle apart and occasionally put it together again. An old man, who spoke an unknown language, stopped as did several other people of varying ages down to about six, all of whom it was immediately apparent could take the aforesaid motorbike to pieces and put them together again. All, it might be said, to no avail. Finally, a young man doing >wheelies’ in the road on a >full-blooded’ Yamaha was flagged down, did the same as the rest, started the engine and disappeared. He was gone for some forty minutes and finally reappeared, somewhat crestfallen, holding on to the rear bumper of a small Citroen. After a further series of discussions during which we discovered he knew somebody in Quebec, he noted that the aforesaid machine had run out of gas and that by adroitly turning a lever to the reserve tank, all would be well again. Your executive secretary and his accompanying person promptly turned the bicycle around in a southerly direction and rode, for all they were worth, towards the Hotel Meridien. Some hours later, fortified by several rums and finding it hard to walk on terra firma, they collapsed into the warm environs of a CIA meeting.
What follows are brief notes of a personal nature on various happenings perceived by your executive secretary on occasion through a telescope, and with considerable sound amplification.
First it should be said that the scientific quality of the meeting was, as usual, excellent. The social events were organized to a 'T' and the team from Lille are still to be congratulated for the whole arrangement.
The boat trip was a success as judged by the fact that no one this time received intravenous therapy after the journey. The blood sausage was greeted with mixed acclaim especially by the anti-vivisectionists and other cold blooded people. The grilled fish was unbelievable. A contract was put out on some people who were identified as not having paid for their lunch. The betting was at even odds that certain people would not make it back to the boat after setting out for the long swim. No one is sure if they indeed made it back to the hotel. Alain used the time wisely and was overheard, by a scuba diver, giving serious financial advice to Frank... immersed up to their necks in water to maintain sheer privacy.
Bird watching. That rara avis, the multiplumed bare-breasted female CIA member or spouse was rarely seen this year, although other members of this species were often viewed especially by that more common bird, the ogling leerer, known familiarly amongst CIA members as "the dirty old" leerer.
Stadler thought he saw a snake in the water while snorkelling. Madam Czarnetzki thought she saw a shark while snorkelling. Stadler thought he saw Madam Czarnetzki while snorkelling...
Lee Katz celebrated her 29th birthday for the umpteenth time.
Many lost their luggage on the way to Martinique except for the French contingent, but only Steve Galli lost his wife.
Report from the council: Peter Dukor sent regrets with Alain de Weck. He also sent a series of telefaxes. The first one, which luckily never arrived, read "Sell everything". The second reads, "All is forgiven. Do not sell anything." The third reads, "As to the account book in the Swiss bank in Alain’s name - I have found it under my bed. We are rich!" The fourth and final one received today reads, "Correction. We were rich. Regards - Peter, Rio de Janeiro".
Leila Lessoff allowed Maurice to go on the boat trip, but only if she could buy him a new shirt.
Helen Mitchell was admirably treated for urticaria , angioedema and a generalized photosensitivity reaction by her husband who was promptly acclaimed as a member.
Certain members and unknown persons demonstrated the ancient art of skinny dipping. Luckily, this was only recorded on an underwater camera.
It was generally agreed that a good time having been had by all, it was time to return to clothes, sanity and the vigors of everyday life. Recorded unemotionally under a palm tree at the time.
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