September 26, 2008

Cajun Fever

Just back from Texas and the post-storm calm that followed Hurricane Ike. Thank goodness, my family's fine. It was kind of fun to live without power for a few days and great to fly into an empty airport. During the week I visited my 96 year old grandfather and met one of his elderly neighbors from just outside Lafayette, Louisiana. A 100% authentic Cajun girl (maiden name Thibodeaux), she told me all kinds of great stories about the little villages in the back bayous of Cajun country. She also spoke in Cajun to me and sang me a refrain from the song Jolie Blonde. It was a wonderful little coda to my recent trip to Quebec and my growing interest in all things French-American.

I am now in search of more examples of recorded Cajun French (spoken, not sung). I recently found this clip from the 1948 movie, "Louisiana Story" in which a father tells his young son that he's "trop canaille" (too much of a scoundrel) before handing him his very first shotgun. Now I just gotta see this movie.

September 12, 2008

Going to Ukraine (in my mind)

Attended a reception for Ukraine's independence day at the embassy in Georgetown. Two weeks late (August 24th is the official day) and with lots of added tension. Let's just say that if there was elephant in the room (and there was), it was speaking Russian. I went for the Ukrainian music and of course, the varenniki--fabulous potato-filled dumplings. I love embassies in Washington because the minute you step inside, it's like being in that country. So on Wednesday night, for about one hour, I was in Ukraine. Made me miss it really. I truly do wish I was there.

Two days later I attended a fantastic music and image presentation on the Crimean Tatars. Both the researcher and photographer used my book while traveling around Crimea this past summer, so I was flattered. Overall, a really quality project that really captured the essence of the place and the plight of the people. You can check out some of their fantastic pictures here: [Photo Credit: Alison Cartwright].

September 4, 2008

(an actual) POST CARD: Tblisi, Georgia

This post card showed up in the mail last week from my friend Alex. He's been working in Tblisi all summer, a city that's at the top of my "need to get there soon" list. The card talks of a "beautiful street cafe" and women selling vegetables. It arrived with Turkish stamps, so I'm guessing Alex is no longer in Georgia. At least, that's my hope. I'm pretty devastated by the whole, ugly situation and look forward to a better day for that country. We have enough wars right now and I would hate to be banned from yet another post-Soviet country. For the record, it's my dream to open a Georgian restaurant in Washington, DC someday. You know, dream big.