Also, can anyone help me make my blog look decent without me having to switch to wordpress?
The text over my face is just junky. I need help. But I don't feel like doing a blogging tutorial.
I also need to learn to do websites. I want to totally redo BIC's website...

Indian-theme movies I want to see! And other India chatter.

BBC.com had an article about movie makers portraying India in a different (read: less "slumdog") light as of late.
I want to see these.
I think the first one about Calcutta sounds particularly interesting.

Speaking of India, BIC had our first Int'l Business Afterhours of the season tonight.
Monty Newport, the Director of the Americas division of Command ALKON, was our speaker.
The technical stuff about the business (concrete, shipping, etc.) was not too interesting for me...
but I was interested to hear about their office in India and how market maturity affects the business they do there.
Basically, the company's sophisticated technology doesn't resonate in an Indian market where scaffolding is made from tree limbs and buckets of concrete are put on a pully...all done manually. And they mix their concrete on-site. But, when India's market "matures" it will be THE place to be for a company like Command ALKON. The infrastructure opportunities are huge as is the human capital. I wonder if they need a cross-cultural consultant???

Last India thing for the day:
I'm reading Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani, one of the founders of Infosys. Mom had picked it up for me a couple weeks ago...then I saw that Foreign Affairs listed it as THE book to read this year. It will make you want to invest in India. My Indian friend Rishi thinks it's too hopeful and doesn't speak enough about dalits. It is more of a city-man's viewpoint, not the view of most Indians. Which is probably true. This is a very Westernized, successful businessman who speaks of capitalism, democracy and potential. But the facts and figures you get and the picture of India...a country on the brink of great things...is pretty inspiring. If India can get its Northern population educated and use its human capital for good, I think its potential is unlimited. This book would be inspiring, informative and important for anyone planning to work in this global economy.

BIC Kickoff Reception/Visit of Irish Consul General/ Chulrua concert

Tracey Morant Adams giving keys to the city to Consul General Martin Rouine.
Chulrua concert (Paddy and Pat Egan)- Paddy O'Brien knows about 3,000 Irish tunes by heart, plays accordian.
Me and the Irish Consul General at the Tutwiler just prior to touring the B'ham Civil Rights Institute.

DC (Ethiopian food and gardens outside the Nat'l Cathedral)


In my life.

I have so much to catch up on here! This blog is going to have to become more general as I'm not traveling to distant lands...and won't be at least until December. But as I've come to find as of late, Birmingham has plenty for locals and visitors alike to discover. On that note, what would YOU, dear reader, have on a top 5 must-do/see list for foreigners coming to Alabama? In a couple weeks I'll be doing a little rambling in reverse...as in showing off my city to someone who has never visited our great state! Suggestions welcome! I'd love to hear your favorite eats, bars, events, areas, neighborhoods and happenings!

As many of you know, I'm currently working at the Birmingham International Center. Just loving it. There is probably nothing more "up my alley" in Birmingham, and I have the privilege of working with amazing, interesting, dynamic and traveled people. Two women collaborating with BIC have blogs: www.theinterculturalpost.blogspot.com and http://sportswoman.wordpress.com/ .

I'm planning some events, many related to our 2009-2010 Spotlight on the Isle of Ireland. (The BIC used to be the Festival of Arts, and we still spotlight/salute a country every year).

This weekend we hosted the Irish Consul General, Martin Rouine. He visited with Governor Riley and the Alabama Development Office in Montgomery, Hoover Mayor Tony Petelos and then joined us for a fabulous reception in his honor. Saturday morning I accompanied him to the Birmingham Civil Rights Museum. He was impressed and I think a little taken aback by the Institute. It is truly a well-done, educational and thought-provoking place. It shouldn't be missed. And it should probably be revisited often. We got to chat one-on-one about his visit to Birmingham, civil rights and Ireland. There are striking similarities between the Southeast and Ireland. I don't think it will be Mr. Rouine's last visit to Birmingham.

And speaking of the Southeast, did you know that the states of the Southeast USA comprise the world's 6th largest economy? I think that's pretty awesome. It is more and more becoming THE place to live in America. I'd love to help bring foreign companies to Alabama...and I plan to meet with ADO soon. Bob Riley has recently been named the head of the Southern Governors' Association. He has been an outstanding leader in economic development. I've yet to hear a complaint about him from either side of the fence.

So. Enough of that. I really plan to get back in the groove with stories, pictures and other fun stuff ASAP. I'm currently trying to plan a trip to Ireland through BIC, putting together a "Streets of India" night and a "Streets of France" night about Chantilly. The plan is to get someone here from American Friends of Chantilly and perhaps a renowned Birmingham chef to talk about the French culinary tradition (the event is scheduled for Nov. 19 which happens to be Beaujolais Nouveau day ;)

I'll also be speaking to a class at UA Law about my experience in India as a white, American female. So I'm putting together a little presentation.

I hope y'all will all get involved with the BIC. It seems that everyone in Birmingham has a tie to Ireland somehow. I'm personally very excited about our genealogy lecturer, Alister McReynolds, who is coming in October. He's the preiminent Scots-Irish scholar...has written books, etc.

And as far as my personal travels, I'm looking to go to Argentina later this year. I'll keep you posted. Buenos Aires , the "Paris of the South," has long been on my top 5 travel list. It just so happens that I'll have some dear friends there this December, so I'm looking into that. Re-reading In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin, as well.

That's all for now. Just a glass of Molly's leftover wedding Syrah and I'm off to beddy bye.


UP next

Pictures from DC, St. Louis and my Tibetan rug!


Ethiopian foodstalking aka Mom just drank a bottle of Benadryl

After my morning meeting, Pamcakes and I took a taxi out to the U corridor area. An Ethiopian cab driver had said there was a great Ethiopian restaraunt on the corner of 12th and U...better than the ones I'd read about in Adams Morgan.

So of course we had to go. I've been hearing great things about Ethiopian fare for a while. Even tried to eat Ethiopian with Molly in Tanzania to no success. Dukem, "the best Ethiopian food ever," as the menu says, was really good. Mom and I concurred on that. It had some of the familiar cardamom of Indian dishes but nothing was too spicy. It was served like many Indian dishes are served as well, on a big tin plate with smaller portions of many different things. We ate with our hands, using injera bread (which is like a thicker, softer dosa) as our scoops/utensils.

I don't know where mom went wrong, but it must have been her "spiced tea." A couple minutes into the cab ride to our next locale, she said she felt sick. Then i noticed her face was a little red. She got some Rolaids and used the Benadryl strip I had on hand. Neither worked, for by the time my next meeting had finished she had drunk 1/2 a bottle of Benadryl and had a tongue too swollen to talk!

On another somewhat foodie note, I've never seen as many Starbucks drinkers as I've seen here.
I've also never had such fun cab drivers. Ethiopian, Eritrean, Punjabi and Ghanaian- all very hard to understand, but full of laughter and good advice.
Friends and other randoms who read my blog religiously,

I half-way apologize for not being in blog-think mode as of late.
You know, you are either thinking as a writer/blogger...or you're not.
Kinda like taking pictures with the aim of putting them on Facebook versus
taking pictures where you look normal, boring and not 45% better than you normally do...
I've been doing the literary version of not sucking in, putting my chin down and using a coy, aloof grin.

Not that anyone has mentioned missing my postings. (Not even Mom).
But for myself I need to get back in the habit of writing...even if my most
adventuresome traveling takes place in Washington D.C. or revolves around Alabama
away games to places like Lexington and Oxford (both of which I'll probably miss by the way).

So here goes. It's midnight-ish here in Dupont Circle. My first trip to our nation's capital.
Which is pretty blog-worthy if I do say so myself. So far I'm quite impressed with this city.
Some of that has to do with the fact that the bridges crossing the Potomac closely resemble
those that cross the Seine. No coincendence considering a Frenchman by the name L'Enfant
helped design the city. I like roundabouts, too.

There is a lot of character here. And beauty. And I'm loving Kramerbooks
and Georgetown. Tomorrow I'm going to foodstalk an Ethiopian restaurant.

Updates to come...