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!


  1. Gayle, I love hearing of your exploits with Dora and others. It sounds wonderful, in spite of the chuva. It's been chuvando a lot in the Mid-Atlantic area, too, except on the weekends.

    Un abraco, Raquel


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