Monday, August 1, 2011

Sensus update and a drizzly weekend among the no-longer-"quick"

You have a fairly good idea that your quesadilla is not going to be overly authentic when the guy taking your order pronounces it “kway-sah-dill-ah.” …but it’s likely as close as you’re going to get in Denmark, where the only consistent non-Danish population is Middle Eastern (who, incidentally, tend to be the folks making your “Italian” pizza and manning your “Mexican” restaurants). Take what you can get- it wasn’t bad for a “kwaysahdillah.”

This little “Mexican”-Middle Eastern-Danish encounter fell between 1.my taking the afternoon off to collect some thoughts and wander and 2.my laptop stuttering out its last breaths before my very eyes, so I’m using a temporary Danish replacement from the office. Until the laptop fiasco, though, the afternoon had been a successful one: train to Copenhagen, train back up to Helsingør, ferry to Helsingborg (Sweden) where I was pleasantly surprised to find the town in the midst of a little festival, and another ferry back to Helsingør, at which point I hopped the train back to Hillerød and wandered around town before stopping for the kwaysahdillah dinner.

One week left at the office before I head out for a week of exploring Berlin and Munich, and things are winding down (for me, at least). Managed to track down and – through a fair bit of persistence and determination – get in contact with various associations and NGOs working with the blind and visually impaired in Egypt, arranging meetings for Lars’ upcoming trip to Cairo as the project there comes to a close. Exciting development with that: RoboBraille now includes Arabic services, including text-to-speech for now and with plans to expand in the near future.

Other office goings-on have included write up reflections on my week at summer camp (for the RoboBraille newsletter and for Synscenter Refsnæs) and testing out/helping prep for the newly running RoboBraille/ ”Scribe”  service for Stanford University, Sensus’ first real foray into American institutions. As part of that, seeking out potential Egyptian contacts has been accompanied by seeking out potential American contacts and brainstorming a plan of attack for spreading RoboBraille services into the privatized world of US institutions.

Beyond the office, the laptop fiasco, and the Sweden and “kwaysahdillah” excursion, things have been rather low-key. Finished Paul Theroux’s Old Patagonia Express (fittingly, while on a train) and David Grossman’s To the End of the Land (while lounging in the Frederiksborg Castle gardens)- both excellent but in very different ways, so I highly recommend both but with the understanding that it’s a matter of personal taste and they’re not meant for everyone. Grossman’s is particularly intense, but in a fantastic and poignantly human way…. Also made use of last weekend’s drizzly weather to check out Assistens Kierkegaard (current home of Hans Christian Andersen, Søren Kierkegaard, and Niels Bohr) and Roskilde Domkirke, a 12th century Gothic cathedral and UNESCO World Heritage site, inspiration for the spread of the brick Gothic style in Northern Europe and the main burial site for Danish monarchs since the 15th century. 

Should be another (potentially brief) post soon with news from this past weekend, which was much more, well, lively, if you can forgive the terrible pun. Friday night in Copenhagen and watching the sunrise behind Rosenborg Castle before taking the morning train home, visiting the Statens Museum for Kunst (National Gallery) on Sunday, etc.

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