I was attending a geophysics conference in San Antonio. Monday 10. September I had an oral presentation, with approximately 50-100 people in the audience, and 3 or 4 questions from the floor after my twenty-minute presentation. The world was normal.
The day after, I had a poster presentation, at 8:30 in the morning. I was very disappointed that no one showed up. It was a somewhat special subject, something about non-linear waves (similar to the breaking waves on the beach), but it couldn't be that bad?
After my scheduled presentation time, I went out to the big exhibition hall were the geophysical contractors run their software demos. Big crowds were gathered around the computer screens, all of them displaying the CNN broadcast.
There was a big discussion about what to do with the conference; proceed or cancel? In the end, they decided to skip all the social events, and run the technical program as planned. All the participants from Europe, Asia and South America would be stuck in San Antonio anyway. And those who lived within driving distance could not get rental cars.
When the conference ended, it was impossible to get on a plane back to Europe. So we decided to take it easy and drive around in Texas for a while. We went down to Big Bend National Park, to Austin, and the strange "German" town Fredericksburg (where a friend of mine took the picture above, outside a mall).
In Del Rio, we crossed the bridge over Rio Grande, to look around and to buy some Cuban cigars on the Mexican side. The border police told us it was no problem to get back, with our Western Europe passports. After a couple of hours, we returned to USA, smoking happily on our cigars. But when the border police found that one of my friends had three visa to Iran and one to Libya in his passport, Hell broke loose ... we spent the night in the police station.
Where were you on 9/11? The day the world turned crazy ...