apete's apage

A place for me to speak and be heard.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Flor de Cana Rum

One thing that we did discover is the Flor de Cana Centenario Rum. It is aged 15 years and is so smooth. If you put it on ice, you can almost barely tell it is there. We've had it the past two evenings. We'd like to get a tour of the factory now. The two big beers are very Latin American, Tona and Victoria. Very late with little flavor. I am disappointed that they don't sell the liter size that is common in many of the Andean countries.

American Food Elsewhere

Today, we went to a restaurant called Hippo's that was pretty close to the hotel. It was American. I didn't think I'd know what an American restaurant really was but when you find one in Nicaragua, you know. They had curly cheese fries, potato skins, several burgers, and clam chowder. I had a blue cheese burger with curly fries and clam chowder. The burger was pretty good although the blue cheese was not very blue at all. The clam chowder tasted as if it came from a Campbell's can. Oh well.

Infomacion v. Infomatica

So, I've discovered another problem with being from the School of Information and being horrible at speaking Spanish. Whenever, I tell someone that I am from the Escuela de Informacion, they always correct me and say Informatica, or information technology. Fortunately, I have been in the field of informatica for the past 9 years. I just say, 'No, Informacion.' Then they expect an explanation of what a school of information is. I can barely do it in English.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Libraries and My Spanish Sucks

Day 3 -
Introduced myself as 'una estudiante...' today in front of about 20 high school kids. They laughed, I turned red. It was...fun.

For my library readers out there: We did our morning focus groups in the school library. It is a poorer school that is just down the road from the Managua telecenter. Between the focus groups, I chatted with the librarian who was actually a Spanish professor at a local university. She volunteers at the library when she can because she loves the kids, parents and books. She loves having the kids say hi to her on the street and being useful. I guess there isn't a library educational program in the country. She has taken classes and read up on it on her own. There was a bunch of new donations that were on the shelves but not cataloged yet if anyone is looking to volunteer.

Managua -- Day 2

First day of work - Day 2 Nicaragua
Today was the first day of work. I didn't get to see much of the country or city today. Oh well. I am also not sure how much work, we actually got done. We had several people talking at us. I was ok with the Spanish until about 2PM when I became really glad that we had a translator. The Managua telecenter was really large. There were 12 computer cubicles and a large auditorium which is where we spent most of the time. The internet was so slow and we ended up buying a wireless router so that all of us could get laptops online. Earlier in the day, we had all been on one side of the auditorium in which our cords couldn't reach the outlets. By the end of the day, we all moved to the otherside for power, displacing most of the local workers.

As for work, we ended up developing a script for a focus group with questions for the groups that we are meeting on Tuesday, PTA and administrators from the next door school, student groups and university students. We also listened to severl presentations, some of which were just more than we needed.

For dinner we were taken to a mall so that we could eat at a food court. We're americans afterall, right? Ugh. We need a bit more communication. I did have some traditional Nica food from one of the places: beans and rice, pork, fried cheese and fried bananas. It was ok. We then went to the supermarket which was the highlight of the day. I love seeing products from other countries, not to mention all the cool fruits and vegetables.

More tomorrow, hopefully.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Greetings. Day 1 in Nicaragua.

Well, I have arrived safely. Everything went well except for a run between gates in Houston. The arrival in Managua was nothing like I've ever experienced. We were captured by a guy holding a whiteboard with our names. He took our passports and baggage claims and then took us to the diplomatic waiting room where we were served drinks as our customs and visas were taken care of. It was great! No lines, no police. Just a few friendly places. They came to get us once we were taken care of and we were off. They then took us to get some chicken and to grab some water before we got to our hotel. So far what I've seen looks really nice. The neighborhood that I am in right now reminds me of the neighborhood that I stayed in Quito the first time I was there. The final thing was that all 4 of us have our own room. Nice. A little much but that is cool also meaning it has air conditioning.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Random DC things

So, I am in Washington DC doing a week long internship for the Library of Congress which is a SI program called ASB. It has been ok so far. I had a lot more fun last year in making the continental maps clickable for the Federal Research Division's country studies. Last year, I also got to see a lot more behind the scenes of the LC including the stacks, preservation lab, and the vault with the cool maps and atlases.

This year, I have been working with the National Digital Newspaper Program which has been ok. I have done some different types of processing, quality checking and usability analysis on the documents.

Like last year, I've also been enjoying the walk to and from work. It is just really refreshing to be able to walk to work. It takes about 35 minutes either way.

Outside of work, I've mainly been eating as usual. I discovered the National Museum of the American Indian has an interesting and tasty cafe. There are a couple of different regions to go visit and they all have a couple of main dishes and side dishes to choose from. I've now had some venison, buffalo and salmon along with several salads that have been quite good. The only down side to this is the expense. This place is not a cheap place to eat.

Last night was also a good food night. We went to a place called afterwards which was part of a bookstore called kramerbooks. It was really good. I had a crabcake with avocado and tomato salad. After that we went to a bar called Saint Ex which was also really cool. We only had a drink there but we caught the end of this one movie at the bar that none of us had ever seen or heard of. It had Richard Pryor, Sidney Poitier, Bill Cosby (w/beard) and a couple of other recognizable faces in it. We couldn't wait to get back to the hotel to check it out and make plans for a viewing once we returned to Ann Arbor. Right after the movie they started playing the Muppets. This was even more entertaining.