Saturday, February 27, 2010

Moon over Lincoln Park

Washington,  DC

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quiet streets in Vila Clementino

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
I don't know if it's always this quiet on a Sunday, or if it's just because it's the Sunday before Carnaval ... but it was eerily quite around "my neighborhood" of Vila Clementino on my last day here.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Tripping hazard!

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
The sidewalks and streets of Brasil are one giant tripping hazard, especially for someone as clumsy as me! Not only do you have the broken sidewalks that you see on the left, but there are whole stretches of sidewalk that seem to purposefully defy the logic of trying to be flat and instead try to pack as many changes of altitude and angle as possible in as few steps as possible.

Then there are the areas that are either trying to be interesting (or devilish!) by creating dizzing patterns (see below). Less than a day left in Brasil, and I haven't actually fallen yet, but have come close!

Crossing my fingers for the best!


Presentation at XXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia, Belém, Brasil

At the conclusion of the Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial, I travelled from São Paulo to the northen city of Belém to attend the XXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia. Belém was founded in the 17th century and served as a major trading port and capital of the rubber boom of the 19th century. A key gateway to Amazonia, Belém is a fascinating place with an abundance of exotic fruits and freshwater fish.

At the Congress, I presented on the Biodiversity Heritage Library. The Congress was attended by over 2,500 zoologists from around Brasil and the world. My session. which focused on various aspects of scientific literature. My fellow presenters were: Abel Packer, Director of BIREME and Hussam Zaher, Director of the Museum of Zoology, São Paulo. Our session was introducted by Dr. Nilson Gabas, director of the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi (in Belém). There was also a presentation by Bráulio Dias, Director of the National Biodiversity Program, Ministry of Environment.

Here's my talk:

Building a Global Library of Taxonomic Literature. XXVIII Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia. 9 February 2010. Belém, Brazil.

The villages of São Paulo

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
They say that though São Paulo has 20 million plus residents, you should not be overwhelmed by the size, but to think of it as a series of small villages.

Easy enough to think, but harder in practice!

The picture here is what I came across when going from one "village" to the next. Eventually found a route that was only, oh, half as confusing.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial, more slides

Here's some quick slides I gave at the Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial. 3-5 February 2010. São Paulo, Brazil, to explain file format specifications ...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Sweet toothed in Brasil

So, native Brasilian told me, "Yes, we Brasilians love our sweets, we have quite the sweet tooth."

I'd noticed this in the street vendors (with the sugar coated treats), the long lines at ice cream vendors all around São Paulo, when given coffee having it already sweetened, and numerous candy stores (and, our course, the incredulous looks from wait staff when I would decline "sobremesas" (desserts).

The most striking example (ayedunno why) is when shortly after taking your seat on a plane, the flight attendants walk through the plane with baskets of toffees and nearly everyone grabs a handful. The usual safety presentation is drowned out by the crinkle of upwrapping!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Ver a Peso: An amazing market place

A few days ago, I was at the Mercado Municpale in São Paulo (see post). It was an amazing site, but one trumped by that of the Ver a Peso in Belém. Though the Ver a Peso lacks the amazing meats of the Mercado (with the added exception of a large selection of LIVE poultry, rabbits, and parrots), it easily surpasses it in the variety of fruits and other produce.

The that stars are cleraly the fish. Fresh caught on the offshoots of the Amazon, catfish over six feet long are cut and gutted right before you. A host of other amazing fish are spread about the large, 19th century cast iron building that holds the fish market.

Overall, Ver a Peso makes the Mercado look more like my local Whole Foods than the exotic market it is.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Door lessons!

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic

After a meeting with Elizabeth Conceição de Oliveira Santos, director of the Instituto Evandro Chagas in Belém, Brasil, I went to open the door to let myself out. Dr. Santos quickly took my hand from the door and pushed it closed.

Whoops, I had made a faux pax. It seems that it is customary for the host to always open the door to let guests out. That way, it is assured that they will come back again.

It was an interesting visit with the library staff on the large campus of the Institute.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

JJ (TAM) 3444: BRA to BEL

Brasilia seemed almost chilly, off to Belém where it will be quite warm!

JJ (TAM) 3702: CGH to BRA

Heading north from São Paulo to Brasilia

Mercado Municipale, São Paulo

On a day off, I took the subway up to the Mercado Municipal. I was expecting something amazing, but it was even bigger and full of more interesting foods than I thought.

The fruit rows had a wide selection of things I'd never seen before, as well as crates of pineapples, papayas, and bananas. The smell on those aisles was simply intoxicating!

In the meat areas, the most interesting shop was the one devoted to the "rest of the animal". No chops, steaks, or even legs. Just organs, feet, heads, faces, you name it.

In the fish rows, huge fish I'd never seen or heard off, both salt as well as freshwater.

Working up an appetite, I had the famed Mortadella sandwich from Lanchonete Tigrão. Huge mounds of mortadella, cheese, and sun dried tomatoes piled high on bread and served warm.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

A hard rain's gonna fall ...

Well, in this picture, it's done a-falling'.

For the first two days in São Paulo it rained precisely at 5:30 pm for 60 minutes. So today (February 4) when there was a loud crack of thunder at 4:23 pm, I was a bit surprised.

Now, this wouldn't have been a problem, but this was a really big thunderstorm, so big that it knocked out the power in the hotel where I was having a meeting.

And to make it worse, I needed to step out at 4:30 pm to Skype back to work. No go, no power, no wifi, rain to heavy to make a dash back to my hotel and see if the ethernet was working.

All's well in the end; thanks to my great colleagues, the last minute project details were all nearly in place when I finally got back online to check in around 5:45 pm. We were able to wrap up all the details of the proposal with time to spare (and I'm sure not toooo much hair pulling and heart palpitations back in Washington)!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Bring me another caipirinha

I don't know if was the bad mime hand motions or simply bad Portuguese for "a glass of water please" but whatever it was, the waiter thought we said "bring me another caipirinha".

It seemed a shame to waste ...

BHL presentations in São Paulo

Here's the slides for my presentations at the Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial.

An Overview of Activities and Projects: The Biodiversity Heritage Library. Martin R. Kalfatovic. Workshop Coleção de Obras Raras Essencial. 3-5 February 2010. São Paulo, Brazil.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gifts from Brazil

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
I've had some requests to bring people back something from Brazil. My offers of toucans have been generally turned down.

So far, after day one, the only shops in my neighborhood are medical supply shops.

I'm not seeing anything suitable.

Brazil, São Paulo, arrival

Originally uploaded by martin_kalfatovic
Had an uneventful flight from IAD to GRU. Economy Plus on United 861 was pretty full, primarily because of a large group of Brazilian teenagers. I gave up my seat so a group could sit together (good travel karma).

We arrived a little late, went through customs and grabbed a cab to the hotel. São Paulo is huge and has amazing traffic - haven't seen anything like it since Cairo. Cab zipped through traffic, avoiding scooters and huge trucks and voila, there we were (one hour later!).


Tom and I checked into the hotel (Travel Inn Live & Lodge) and Chris was right behind us (arriving in a different terminal). After figuring out how to turn on the lights, a/c, and get on the Internet, I took a stroll around the neighborhood. Lots of hospitals and cab offices.

Stopped for a treat of fried something or others with sugar and some bottled water. Explored some more and then back to the hotel to rest up a bit before heading out with Tom and Chris for dinner.