Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Elusive Peruvian Armadillo

I suppose I can blame it on being on the coast, far away from the Amazonian selva. The only armadillo I spotted in Lima was the subject of a children's book published in Spain but with an Andean flavor called La capa del tatú. Since I have a couple of other books about the armadillo, adult and juvenile levels, this one will be joining that part of the collection.

Wed. was a lovely day though it started with a fruitless visit to the Instituto Nacional de Cultura where they're not equipped for credit card purchases. They supplied me with a catalog that's annotated with what is and isn't available so that will turn into a purchase order. I met up with Roberto and the Iturriaga staff for lunch at a seafood restaurant called Embarcadero 41. I'd mentioned that shrimp is one of my favorite foods and Roberto wanted to be sure I got some Peruvian style. We all ordered and I had a lovely risotto with shrimp nestled in a Parmesan cheese basket. Rómulo insisted that I try his octopus (pulpo). At first I was reluctant but my philosophy is if you don't like it, you never have to eat it again. While the tentacles give it a chewy texture, the flavor is akin, pardon the cliche, to chicken! It was nicely seasoned with a spicy kick.

After lunch Sonia and Rómulo had to return to the office but Roberto and Ernesto offered a drive out to Callao to visit the Felipe Real fort. It's a long enough drive that I got to see a good bit of the coast on the way. It's fascinating to be able to compare the great forts that the Spanish built in San Juan, Cartagena, and now Peru. I need to make my way up to St. Augustine for a visit to their fort. I only glimpsed it in a brief visit in 1991.

Thursday I went to the Pontificia Universidad Católica campus which has a fantastic bookstore. I primarily purchased PUCP titles but since they carry others from around Peru, those went into the pile as well. The staff were very friendly in packaging my purchases for the Iturriaga crew to pick up later. They also took my business card and have already started sending updates of their new publications!

I hadn't realized that PUCP was also a good stretch away from the hotel so I was late getting back there where Roberto and Alicia were waiting to once again take me to lunch to a place that other salalmistas have visited, the Rana canta restaurant. We had a great ceviche to start. I was first introduced to ceviche in 1983 during the SALALM meeting in Costa Rica. I didn't know until arriving in Lima that Peruvians only eat it at lunch, never in the evening. Since it's a cold dish, they would consider it unhealthy to eat after dark when the temperature falls, and it would chill you. More chincha morada to drink, a nice steak and beans dish (which I've had at Peruvian restaurants in Miami), no room for dessert.

I returned to the Larcomar Mall for gifts, took daytime photos, and lingered at one of the restaurants with a balcony overlooking the sea for a snack. It was definitely chillier and I was happy I'd brought my jacket with me! That evening I went to the Italian restaurant around the corner from the hotel, and then from there a walk down the street to the Supermercado Wong. I enjoy visiting supermarkets and other local stores in Latin America to get a sense of what things cost, what products they carry, and so on. I found chicha morada candies to bring back to the Reference Department, and stocked up on some more water for the room.

I didn't have a set budget for how much I'd be spending on books during this trip. I still have some pending orders at work to wrap up and get paid out and I still have to figure in the shipping costs for the week's purchases. Any thoughts of a few final purchases got nixed when I woke up Friday morning. Something in my pizza from the night before didn't agree with me. I took it slow in the morning, nibbled some toast and water. By the time Rómulo stopped by for my receipts to photocopy and then go pick up the purchases, I was recovered and ready for lunch. I went over to the Parque Kennedy and enjoyed the Haiti Cafe that Paula Covington recommended from her time in March. It was fun to sit at an outside table and watch people walking by.

In the midst of all of this, it was a shock to get news of Marian Goslinga's passing. Marian befriended me from my first SALALM meeting in 1979 and we remained good friends. She was a warm, generous person who shared her formidable knowledge. We also shared an interest in the Caribbean (somewhat of a minority representation in SALALM) and the fact that we'd both lived in the Caribbean. She was thrilled to learn I'd gotten my FIU position and we kept in touch by phone. I will miss her so much.

Rómulo and his wife Paty took me on Friday evening to see a folk music exhibition at a place in Barranco. The M.C. announced we would see 12 dances from the start at 11:30pm until 3am! My hosts were very understanding when I mentioned that I had a very early flight and would be happy to take a cab if they planned on staying for the whole event. They insisted they would leave to take me back to the hotel when I was ready. I got to bed at a reasonable hour so I could head for the airport at 4:30am for a 7am flight. Last night was a very early bedtime (6pm) with a brief midnight snack and then back to dreamland until this morning. I'll be ready to give the libraries 2 days of me before I head out again on Wedneday!

OK, the burning question that Peruvians kept asking, and perhaps has some of you curious, "Why didn't you go to Cusco?." I really needed to concentrate on my bookbuying so I intended to stick strictly in Lima. Plus, I'd been monitoring the protests going on in the other parts of the country. Interestingly, Peruvians who bemoaned my omission of Cusco followed up that the recent troubles there really didn't make this a good time for a visit there. All the better reason to return to Peru!

So, time to turn in, remind my FIU colleagues of my face tomorrow and Tuesday and then head to Berlin! See you soon!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Choclo and chincha morada en Lima

The flight from Miami was an hour late getting into Lima on Sunday night. It's an hour behind EDT in Miami here but when it was nearly 1am when I finally got into my hotel room, it still felt like 2am.

My fatigue and the late hour almost made me wonder if this was the right hotel for me. I knew it would be a simple 3 star hotel for $50.00 a night. Still, the room was a bit small, the Internet access is free but only in some lounge areas in the building rather than sleeping rooms, and the ventilation in the room only seemed to be supplied by the shower window and leaving the balcony door open. I unpacked very little thinking I might ask Virginia García at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos to recommend something else. The place Paula Covington had recommended didn't have the right room that I wanted and I doubted it would have anything open for the week at this point.

The next morning I started sorting through my mind why I shouldn't give this place a chance. I discovered there are louvers above the balcony sliding door that provide plenty of fresh air so I didn't have to worry about cat burglars joining me in the night. I also found out that my room overlooks the garden courtyard and I'm in only 1 0f 2 rooms on the 2nd floor with a balcony. Now I'm starting to feel special!

Internet access is fine in the lounge area on the 2nd floor though the seating is regular living room furniture. Staring down at a laptop on a coffee table hurts my neck! I discovered the ground floor has a lovely big waiting area next to the dining room. There are good tables here, tile covered walls, paintings of colonial Lima so now I come down the stairs (no elevators), laptop in hand to catch up on mail and check the FIU online catalog and Worldcat against my printouts for my bookbuying this week.

Yesterday was a long but fruitful day at the Instituto de Estudios Peruanos. Vicky and I visited in the IEP Library and then she walked me into the bookstore. Manager Elizabeth there gave me free rein to stack books and go through what I needed. The Vergaray family kindly invited me to dinner with them. We had good chicken, fries, choclo, chincha morada, and yes, a Pisco sour. If I can't get a caipirinha, I'll gladly make do with a Pisco sour. After dinner, we drove downtown to see all of the beautiful colonial buildings. Roberto and Alicia's daughter Romina is an architecture student. She pointed out various distinct features in the buildings, particularly the balconies and churches. From there we drove by the coast into Chorrillos, and then back to Hotel San Antonio Abad for me. Yes, I'm staying put. The staff is kind, and I'm beginning to get the hang of things.

More purchases today at the Instituto Francés de Estudios Andinos. A smaller collection but I still found plenty to get. One thing I realized I have to straighten out with my printouts is that IEP, IFEA, and the PUCP (next stop tomorrow?) tend to co-publish titles with one another in all sorts of editorial variations. This meant purging out IEP purchases from the printout of IFEA titles. After lunch I returned to the hotel to go online and reconcile my lists so I can avoid duplicate titles.

Dinner was a cab ride over to Larcomar Mall. It's not visible at street level since the stores and restaurants overlook the beach and you go down a flight of stairs to get to them. It was an enchanting place to spend the evening. I took a few photos but it'd be nice to go back in the daytime for beach shots. They also have some nice stores for gifts. What I'm realizing is that I may not find a Peruvian armadillo figurine here. So far I'm seeing llamas and the other camelids, cuys, and even marine mammals. Any advice from the SALALM Peruvianists?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cidade maravilhosa...

The old song says it all, "Cidade maravilhosa cheia de cantos mil, cidade maravilhosa, coração do meu Brasil."

I'm now in São Paulo at my hotel and will fly out of here to Miami in the morning. This trip went too quickly as I feared by Friday. After Friday's rain, Saturday and Sunday became beautiful and radiant winter days here. Dora and most Brazilians couldn't get over the fact that I was quite comfortable and didn't use a jacket. The weather feels like January in Miami to me.

Saturday we were up and at 'em to go to PUC for LASA. Dora and I attended a lively Scholarly Resources and Research business meeting led by Holly Ackerman. Carolyn Palaima, Kent Norsworthy, and Virginia Hedley of UT-Austin, Tracy North and KD McCain of LC were also in attendance. (I bet I've omitted someone so don't take this as an official report!) Holly had a strong agenda for discussion calling up memories of this section in the 1980s. We want to re-engage the focus between LASA and SALALM through SRR and provide more support to graduate students. We also realized we could play more of a role with the LASA Secretariat. It will be exciting to see what comes of our discussion.

After attending some panels, I headed back to the hotel to change clothes. There was a reception for the Fulbright Commission and to my surprise,Dr. Fausto Sarmiento was their keynote speaker! Fausto is a faculty member at the University of Georgia. We worked together with the UGA Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute (it was called a center back then). He is one of 13 Fulbrighters designated as Fulbright Embassadors who will be promoting the program in a variety of discussions and workshops in the US.

The other big moment of the evening was the appearance at the reception of Pamela Howard-Reguindin with her husband Henry. Many salalmistas have missed Pamela since she departed Rio to head up the Library of Congress office in Nairobi. They arrived in Brazil from Mexico. After the reception, Dora, Pam, Henry, their friend Roseli and I went to a restaurant to catch up on old times. There was a car across the street whose alarm seemed to go off every 5 minutes but despite that annoyance we had a wonderful evening.

Sunday morning Dora and I headed back to PUC for the final panels of the day that ended at 1pm. We finally connected with Carolyn and Virginia for lunch but Kent was under the weather and stayed behind. We left the bus to dine at the Confeitaria Colombo at the Forte do Copacabana. While waiting for our table, we strolled around the fort museum which has tableauxs of Brazilian history as seen through military eyes. You can also go out on the wall to the cannons and get a beautiful view of Copacabana down to Leme.

Once we were seated and waiting for our food, we looked at the buildings on the other side and tried to spot where our respective hotels were. Carolyn and Virginia left to get their bags and head to the airport. Dora and I took more time walking around the fort, and bought souvenirs at the gift shop. We didn't make it to the Ipanema Hippie Fair but we had a nice walk down Copacabana looking at paintings for sale on display. A little boy appealed to Dora and we went into Bob's Big Burger where she bought him a hamburger. They have an interesting poster on the wall of the Redentor holding a Big Burger in his right hand. There was a slogan akin to 'Burgers made the way Brazilians like them.' I doubt that this type of billboard would fly in the US!

Dora headed out this morning for Brasília to pursue government documents. By the way, BRASA will hold their annual meeting there next July. It's close to SALALM's dates or I'd go to see if it's as boring as Dora and others claims. I checked out a short time later and took a cab to pay a visit to Susan Bach Books from Brazil. It's a short distance in Botafogo from Copa and they do business in a beautiful old house filled with books (my idea of heaven). Sandra, Malú, Alexia and I visited awhile, they showed me how the work is organized, and then Vera arrived. She's been under the weather the past few days so I appreciated her effort to see me. We walked down the street for lunch, and then I returned to the hotel to get my bags and was just in time to meet Jaldir, the LC driver who took me to the Galeão airport (but why the acronym GIG on airline websites?).

One observation I made during this trip. I seemed to see almost no one talking on their cellphone while driving. In Miami the opposite is the rule and not the exception. Jaldir confirmed it's prohibited by law and people take it very seriously. If only the US would follow this example!

I didn't get to do nearly enough on this trip but seeing a variety of carioca neighborhoods reimpressed on me just how lovely and special this 'cidade maravilhosa' is. I have to come back here soon to enjoy more caipirinhas (sorry, just not the same to have one in Miami where they are served), more passion fruit desserts (almost impossible to find in Miami), and maybe even get a Big Bob burger!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Chuva, chuva, chuva but the caipirinhas are good!

I got into Rio on Wednesday morning for LASA and it's going quickly. Dora Loh and I are sharing a room at the Windsor Miramar Hotel in Copacabana. Dora arrived before I did and had departed for a tour of the National Library by the time I got to the hotel.

I'd considered going over to PUC to pick up my LASA that afternoon but got a little tired. I walked around our street to see what stores there are and pick up some water. I had lunch at the hotel restaurant but the ocean view was somewhat obscured by scaffolding for some repair job. It's still better than our beach view from the room which involves sticking your head out the window and craning it to the right to see the ocean. Dora arrived from her tour. She's also doing some intensive bookbuying that's making up part of her trip. We went out for dinner to catch up on news and coordinate our plans.

I remember when SALALM met here in 1990 and we received many warnings about safety. I still take precautions when traveling but that first night we walked down to the Museu Histórico d Exército where Dora learned there was another confeitaria like the fabulous Confeitaria Colombo downtown. We felt comfortable walking by the beach side of Avenida Atlantica. It was getting ready to close so we chose another restaurant to dine in but we discovered the museum has an Aleijadinho exhibit I hope to see.

Yesterday there was a light rain and I waited at the hotel next door for the bus taking us to PUC. Pre-registration lines started turning into 2 hour stretches but I picked up my badge and program in about 40 minutes. I eventually ran into Holly Ackerman and Paul Losch. Cecilia Puerto is around somewhere but I haven't seen her since the airport where we'd been on the same flight.

Our friends at Susan Bach Books invited us out for a night of samba so last night Dora and I took a cab in ever increasing rain to go to Lapa to the 'Rio Escenarium.' By the time we got there, it was pouring and we got soaked! Alexia, Sandra and Malu were waiting at the table (plus Alexia's husband). Alas, Vera was under the weather and stayed home. Paul Losch eventually joined us but Holly and Cecilia had different plans.

OK, the next time you're in Rio, go to the Rio Escenarium. It's a 3 story building that used to be a warehouse that rented out furniture for movies. It put me in mind of the independent coffee houses in Athens GA. Lots of comfortable tables and chairs that included divans, chaise lounges, and soft chairs. The walls are filled with mirrors, old clocks, crazy displays of mannequins in old clothes, and many antique items filled shelves as decor. We heard they were all for sale!

The live band performs down on the ground floor but we could watch them from the 2nd floor through a large hole covered in transparent net and surrounded with a railing to prevent accidents. We could hear the music very nicely from our table but eventually Alexia, Dora and I went down to the dance floor for some samba.

I can't do justice in describing the Escenarium but I really loved it. Lots of energy, fun people to watch and beautiful Brazilian sambas to hear plus the conversations with my great colleagues (even if shouting was sometimes necessary) to be heard over the music. There were lots of people but Sandra told us it's even more crowded on weekends!

Today has seen lots of rain (chuva). My early start took me to the LC Rio office. I got a ride from their driver along with KD McCann and Tracy North. I now designate them as the 'go to' girls of the conference. Yesterday they were scheduled for an 11am workshop on using the HLAS Webpage (a new expansion to the regular HLAS site) to find sources on ethnology and ethnomusicology at LC. However, I'd learned the day before their flight had been delayed and it didn't seem likely they'd get to PUC in time.

They indeed went straight from the airport to PUC, changed their clothes in the ladies' room, and went into their panel. There were some technical glitches that involved a room change but I heard their presentation was a great success. Hopefully they'll share their Power Point presentation for all of us.

At the LC office, Deb McKern introduced us to all of the staff. Frida Garbati reminded me that FIU still needs to be in the Cooperative Acquisitions Program but our budget cuts will put that off for a few years. Tracy and KD talked shop with Frida. Paul showed up to finish reviewing duplicate books and serials. I also got to help myself from the duplicate shelves. I discovered that Holly, Dora, and Paul had still left plenty of great stuff I was happy to take (thanks, turma). Wisely, none of us took any of the many copies of the Portuguese translation of The Secret.

Deb McKern took us to lunch at the Confeitaria Colombo and the other 3 departed from there for PUC. I stayed behind to talk more with Deb since we have colleagues from our separate times at Emory. Deb has been wonderful with helping salalmistas in town this week and will be a boon as she gets more established in SALALM.

More rain on the way back to PUC. Dora and I couldn't find UT friends with whom we'd hoped to dine. She returned to the hotel; I went to the Brazil Section reception which had great finger food and 5 waiters offering wine, sodas, and caipirinhas. Back to the hotel to get ready for tomorrow.

Yes, I confess I've had a caipirinha every night this week but I'm not driving and I only have one each evening. Yum!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Getting Home

¡Ay de mí! Yesterday my flight from Kingston to Miami was supposed to arrive at 5:15pm. I walked through my front door at 11:35 last night. Why the difference?

I got to the airport in plenty of time to eat lunch, buy some Blue Mountain coffee and a Red Stripe t-shirt for Don, and a book of Jamaican ghost stories for me. The flight was full but I still relaxed. As we made the final approach to Miami, the pilot announced that the Miami airport had closed due to severe area thunderstorms. We'd be flying up to Orlando, refuel there, and wait for further instructions.

There were many people around my row that had connections in Miami to Orlando but they could not deplane once we arrived there. Since it was an international flight, we all had to stay on the plane plus trying to retrieve luggage for a small handful wouldn't work. None were too happy with the irony of the situation.

Finally at 7:10pm, the pilot announced the Miami airport was reopened and we'd be on our way. Sitting next to me was one of the Brazilian delegates to the Law of the Sea Conference that took place in Kingston. My Portuguese was stronger than his English so I confirmed when he asked if he understood the pilot correctly, and wouldn't it be a short time to get from Orlando to Miami? I assured him it was only a 40 minute flight. He was happy but I wasn't so sure...

Indeed we landed in Miami a little before 8pm only for the pilot to tell us there were a number of planes ahead of us on the runway and it would be at least 30 minutes before he could proceed to our gate. A collective arose from the flyers but there was really nothing we could do. I sat calmly trying to relax and wondering about a predicament I'd learned about when I called Don while we sat in Orlando.

When I called, he thought I was going to raise a ruckus because he wasn't on his way to the airport. I explained my situation and then learned he hadn't been able to leave for the airport because the car's battery died. He suggested once I arrived I should either take a cab home from the airport or use Tri-Rail to get to Metrorail and get a cab from there from south Miami.

I explained it would cost at least $100.00 to get home via cab from the aiport. Though I used to take MARTA in Atlanta to travel to the airport, I hadn't ridden Tri-Rail nor Metrorail and didn't want to learn how to use them while lugging a suitcase. Our landlords live next door and once mentioned we would always be welcome to borrow their car since they rarely go out. I asked Don to ask them to loan the car and he expressed discomfort since the car is a Mercedes-Benz but I convinced him to ask the husband to drive him to the airport to get me. He ran next door, and of course, Sr. Montalvo just gave him the car keys and said 'No problem.'

Back to me on the plane. I was remembering horror stories in the news about passengers kept waiting on planes stuck on the runway for 6 or more hours with no food and water and lunchtime had been many hours past. The pilot came on at 9:30pm announcing he would finally be able to move forward to a new gate. After a long walk to immigration and customs (I'll be glad when the Miami airport has all of its construction done), I was actually out in the pick-up lane by 10:15pm. However, we're about 30-40 minutes from the airport so it was nearly 11pm when Don arrived. I counted 4 white Mercedes-Benzes before he arrived in the neighbors'.

We stopped at the Burger King near the condo for late night dinner and I finally got to bed. This morning he got up, took the car battery to the chain where we bought it just last September. They got the purchase record from the location where I bought it since I couldn't find my sales receipt. My Matrix was up and running this afternoon so Don took a nap while I went to the store for a few items.

I've still got a lot of flying to do so I can only keep crossing my fingers that there won't be too many repeats of getting to my destination the hard way!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Last Details on Kingston

I've had breakfast, I'm not leaving for the airport for another hour so this is a good way to pass the time.

Wednesday there was an excursion to the Institute of Jamaica which is celebrating its 130th anniversary this year. IJ is the publisher of Jamaica Journal, and I realized I've been indexing it for HAPI since 1979. I enjoy reading JJ. It may not be a peer reviewed journal but the articles can be appreciated at all levels. Over the years it's featured articles on history, art, natural history and the environment, and belles-lettres of Jamaican authors. I met editor Kim Robinson who was pleased to hear of my long-term relationship with JJ.

We went to the Institute to view its exhibit "Xaymaca, Life in Spanish Jamaica." The curator took us through explaining it was a small exhibit due to the lack of documentation on the first Spanish settlement of Sevilla la Nueva. There were a few Taino statues on display as part of the background of the island, along with displays on Columbus' time on the island and the fact that it was ceded to his family.

A major part of the display included the font of the church in Sevilla la Nueva. There were also any number of fragments of statuary from the workshop of an Italian on the island who built the church. They think he also employed some of the remaining Tainos in the workshop. The remainder of the exhibit traced the eventual demise of the Spanish colony as the English set about taking over.

Our excursion tickets included lunch which was served in the IJ's green and yellow courtyard. The IJ is close to the waterfront and eating our lunch in the midst of some sturdy ocean breezes was somewhat of a challenge! Amazingly I ate my barbecue chicken with no spills and discovered the Fruta line of juices from Trinidad they served as our beverage. I can find Jamaica's grapefruit soda Ting in Miami grocery stores (Don loves it, not me) so now I want to see if I can find the wonderful Fruta mango/passion juice I drank!

It's often a small world. On the bus to the IJ, I met and talked to a young woman completing her Ph.D. in Public Health at the University of South Florida who's had extensive field work in Jamaica. Amazingly she went to Emory for her MA in Public Health but was gone by the time I got there. We shared experiences about Atlanta life, the names of faculty we know, and swapped stories about finding the best Mexican taquerías on Buford Highway!

It's been a busy week but I managed to get to a couple of bookstores. One was really more of a school supply store with children's books but there were a number of 'Miss Lou' books (Jamaica's premiere storyteller who passed away a couple of years ago) and some Jamaican cookbooks. Bookland was closer to the hotel and is a full-fledged bookstore. It primarily carries US books and magazines but it also carried the requisite books on Bob Marley, some UWI titles and some local publications on other Jamaican topics. I walked up to the 2nd floor since the sign for it indicated a 'bargain books' section. Alas, that corner had nothing on the shelves so there were no bargains to be had. I browsed their extensive children's literature section (mainly US) and noted they had every book possible on President Barama and his family in the non-fiction section. If there's a book on the new White House puppy out, that was probably the only one they didn't carry!

Time to finish packing, and then off to the airport. I've still got to buy Blue Mountain coffee for Don so wish me luck!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Our Gal in Kingston

I arrived Sunday in Kingston, Jamaica to attend the Caribbean Studies Association meeting. While I looked forward to the panels, I also came to conduct the Advisory Board meeting of the Digital Library of the Caribbean. 3 of the board were present and 2 of them and I organized a dLOC panel. I gave a general overview about dLOC activities and future developments (keep your fingers crossed while I wait to hear the outcome of the new TICFIA awards for which we submitted a proposal) while the other 2 explored dLOC's potential with regard to digital pedagogy.

My room is in the courtyard wings around the pool area and mine is called Ackee Court. My room isn't on the side overlooking the pool. Instead I have a balcony looking out on the hotel back parking lot! I can't complain too much. Between the hotel building, lawn and carpark, there's a tree growing tall that diminishes the view of cars. I'm guessing it's a breadfruit tree by the large, smooth green round fruits hanging from it. If Don were here, he'd simply find a branch with one of the fruits to swing over to the balcony to pick off and examine. I am not quite as adventurous.

If Don were here, they would probably have to cut him off from the free coffee stand one of the Jamaican coffee companies is providing to CSA attendees. I can hear it now with that lilting Jamaican diction, "Mr. Perry, we said you could have one coffee every 2 hours. We have to let the others have some, too."

Our panel went well. It was in a small meeting room but we had a full house. There were many questions about copyright issues and what we expect to add to dLOC in the future. A real treat was seeing a librarian from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine who came for my panel. Claudia de Four is the head of Technical Services there, and enjoying a sabbatical year working on an annotated discography of Lord Kitchener. I haven't seen her since I was at UWI-T&T in 2001 to do the Libraries' training as a new member of the Latin Americanist Research Resources Project. Claudia was incredibly kind as part of the group entertaining me at lunch and showing me the local sights around campus. There're a couple of other of her colleagues I get to see at SALALM so it was a pleasant surprise to see her name on one of the other panels. That panel took place today and was an informative discussion of the challenges of collecting music resources in Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and Barbados (whose music is less known in comparison) plus the repatriation efforts of field recordings to their respective Caribbean locales by the Alan Lomax Archive/Association for Cultural Equity. A further surprise on the panel was Bertram Lyons of the afore-mentioned project. It was nice to meet him since we're on a panel in August at the Society of American Archivists in Austin.

I've done a split between attending CSA panels and meetings arranged by Leah Rosenberg of UF, one of dLOC's Advisory Board members. Tuesday morning we were at the UWI--Mona campus where we met John Aarons, campus archivist, and Swarna Bandara, director of the Medical Library. John discussed the potential for several important Jamaican journals that scholars would like to see on the web as well as the Jamaican Historical Review since he's active in the Jamaican Historical Society. He gave us some contacts to reach with regard to figuring out copyright issues and the logistics of finding issues to scan. Mrs. Bandara gave us a great description of her role in leading all 3 UWI campuses in setting up open access space for faculty publications and electronic theses and dissertations. I was interested in learning it but Leah and I were also there to see if she would be friendly to the idea of digitizing the early portion of the Caribbean Review of Books for which her late husband was the founding editor. She said yes, and off we went back to CSA Land.

The UWI-Mona campus is lovely, and the grounds were once a sugar plantation. Tuesday evening we were all among the ruins at the UWI Visitors' Lodge for a welcome reception and musical performances. Part of the ruins also served as the stage. The highlight of it was an interpretive dance (complete with audio soundbites of the action) to commemorate Jamaica's gold medals from last year's summer Olympics.

Wednesday morning was down to the National Library of Jamaica to meet with director Winsome Hudson. NLJ is already a dLOC member but we wanted to discuss their activities and potential journals to add. She also provided some excellent contacts for further dLOC activities with regard to K-12 activities that we might bring to the Jamaican educational scene. After some afternoon panels I was content to get a sandwich from the coffee bar in the hotel lobby (they claim to be open 24 hours a day but I didn't try testing at 4am to see who was there) and then watch TV in my room which includes the Miami stations, 2 local Jamaican stations, 2 Canadian stations, an East Indian station (I could start getting hooked on one soap opera they have subtitled in English), and the chance to see 'Kung Fu Panda' on HBO (no thanks).

So, another meeting this morning with the director from UWI's Center for Caribbean Thought. They're very interested but will probably need time to assess what of their archival collections they might want to contribute. After the Caribbean music panel described earlier, and a tasty lunch at the swimming pool bar, I played hooky for a bit to go to the National Gallery of Art. Since I've indexed Jamaica Journal for many years in HAPI, I've seen reproductions of the gallery's collections. It was nice to see them in the flesh for the first time.

Well, there is another panel I'd like to make and then another cocktail reception at 6pm for the CSA Book Launch so time to stop here.

Monday, June 1, 2009


OK, why Armadillo Burrows? If you know me, you know that I have an extensive collection of armadillo figurines and other replicas. When I was in graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, armadillos roamed the campus (yes, really). It wasn't my first time seeing an armadillo. As a little girl, I saw one drinking out of the dogs' water bowl at my grandparents' farm in southwestern Oklahoma. It scared me because it put me in mind of the monster in the movie Gorgo that I'd recently seen. I was used to furry animals like dogs, cats, rabbits, skunks out in the country but that little armadillo was hard and tough looking like some type of big lizard.

If you've seen Gorgo, you know that the monster that gets captured turns out to be the baby, and when Mama comes calling, she smashes London up pretty good. I therefore equated that strange little creature out by the dogs' was the baby and its mama would come and squash my grandparents' house and barn! My mother chased it away and dried my tears.

So, after I left Austin, armadillo imagery stayed in my mind. When I took up quilting while living in Albuquerque, I became inspired to use them for my primary design motif. On one of my drives from Albuquerque to Oklahoma, I stopped at the famous steak house off I-40 in Amarillo to stretch my legs, not try the 72 oz. steak dinner challenge (even I am not that much of a carnivore). The restaurant has a gift shop where I discovered any number of armadillos curios and that's when I got started. Gifts from friends, my own purchases when in Latin America, and fierce bidding on Ebay continues the collection.

Armadillos dig into the ground to create the burrows they live in so this blog is my burrow in a manner of speaking. Wait for images!