miércoles, febrero 21, 2007


Felix, Rocco and GrisGris greeted me as I opened the door and deposited my luggage. Each stepped up for a petting, Rocco ran upstairs requesting that I turn on the shower. GrisGris hovered around the wall he loves to jump up on but I could not find his jumping toy (it was downstairs) and Felix started crying out for some treats. Within a few minutes of my return, normalcy (if you can call it that) was returned to 8317 Freret Street.

I drove over a thousand miles, ate numerous tex-mex dinners (mixed with other cuisines) and spent happy times with my Austin friends. Yesterday, I went to the Benson Latin American Library at the UT - surely one of the most important collections - and met with a librarian who gave me valuable tips for my dissertation research. They themselves do not specialize in colonial cartography but they do have the most extensive collection of archive catalogues - the place you need to start to chart a course of investigation. (I would have been so much more productive in France had I known that a catalog of the Eiffel collection had been published. Whether or not it is available in the States via Inter-Library loan is another question.) So, I will undoubtedly be back in Austin for research reasons. In addition, Clint's sister's apartment is pretty much at my disposition. I lived there during my Katrina stay. A traveling physician also uses it but is is normally vacant.

Meanwhile, 2 nine-hour drives in less than a week surely has taken its toll. When I close my eyes I see huge trucks pressing on from all sides.

Home sweet home.

domingo, febrero 18, 2007

Mardi Gras in Austin
Saturday, February 17

I made my way to Austin in about 9 hours including pit stops. Had it not been for Houston traffic, I would have been here far sooner.

Last night, my friend Pepe took me to a book-signing. His friend Paul Solares, a Peruvian journalist-novelist-UT Grad Student read sections of his spicey novel at a local art gallery. Then Pepe and his friend Drew and I went for dinner at a great Tex-Mex restaurant where they serve Avacado Margueritas - surprisingly good.

A good night's sleep. I hope to see Clint and his family tomorrow (Clint originally invited me to Austin and arranged for my apartment) and Gary Greenblum (my former student) on Monday. There's a lecture on the tango on Monday at the UT. But this is a great city to hang out in and enjoy many internet cafe's - a life not too different from my New Orleans life.

It's cold (cold???) here but, without the humidity, it feels brisk and invigorating.

The long drive was also a good thinking time.