Stylocycle’s Blog

Away, and Home again…
September 29, 2009, 6:00 pm
Filed under: Get outta town!

We ran away from home for the week-end so that I could present a paper at the Society for Medical Anthropology at Yale, in New Haven. Dear Spouse and I rarely get away together, so this was an especially cherished conference jaunt. I did a fair amount of work, intaking the wisdom of several plenary presentations, being choosy in attending sessions, connecting with new folks and re-connecting with colleagues from long ago.
There will be loads of developments that arise out of the week-end, no doubt.
However, I’m first going to have to get over the flu that I seem to have picked up from the coughing jerk on the plane. I had to leave my grad students to their own devices with a film and email comments yesterday while I tried to sleep off much of the fever, hacking, sniffling etc. Thanks mister.
[Side note: I am so grateful I do not live somewhere that the desperation levels are so saturating the general population that purchasing cold medication requires handing over my passport and having my purchase logged onto my passport.]
Anyway, it was a great trip. We flew into Newark and rented a car (because it was cheaper and gave more freedom for two people than if we had just taken the shuttle to New Haven). We drove along the coast on Saturday and got in some time on the seaside, and a stop at a roadside clam-shack. We also did a little shopping and I was delighted to get a new Dooney & Bourke canvas tote. I’ve nearly worn my old one out; it’s threadbare at all the edges.
We had some really horrific food on the night we landed. It was one of those situations in which you pick what’s close to the hotel. It was a step back into the heyday of 1970’s steak and seafood. An iceberg wedge with Ranch dressing was part of the meal!
Far better were the deep fried clams up the coast.
In town, however, for the duration of the conference we did manage to get well acquainted with a Yale institution: Claire’s Cornercopia, a vegetarian café. Claire’s was great, though I’d say that it still adheres to the general principle that everything in the US needs to be bigger, sweeter and/or saltier. I’m thinking of getting some Claire’s recipe books, but if I do, I’ll cut the sugar and the salt by half.
We had dinner with colleagues at Thali Too, a lovely Indian restaurant behind the Yale bookstore. I think, however, that I’d have been less likely to get hit with the flu if we’d not been sitting outside on a fairly chilly night.
Finally, Dear Spouse and I had dinner at a little place on the Green called ‘Zinc’. Zinc restored my faith in tortellini. Neither tough nor mushy, the tortellini were filled with savoury local cheeses, and served with a parsley and walnut pesto that was divinely flavourful. And astringent braised plum, with frozen plum mousse and fried pastry crême was a lovely desert for us to share. I was only disappointed by the wine selections — mostly middle-range and predictable wines from France, California and Italy. I love all those regions, but I want to have the good stuff with a good meal. I also think that Canada produces some gorgeous wines now, and there wasn’t a single one on a list that was 2 pages long.
Anyway, I enclose some photos from the trip, including one of an Electra outside Claire’s. Dear Spouse thought the Electra pretty adorable, and I admit it’s got a very cute styling to it, so even though I don’t generally find the Electra’s worth the money (IMHO, they are overly pricey bicycle-shaped objects, built for visual appeal rather than the long haul). On the upside, at least *someone* in New Haven is riding a commuter bike instead of driving everywhere. And that’s my last observation from our trip: it’s nearly impossible to get from a-to-b by foot or by bike in many US cities — even if they are short distances apart. Expressways cut off pedestrian routes, sidewalks may be completely absent, and public transit is made marginal in the grand ideology of the middle-class. New Haven has the potential to be a beautiful walking-city and cycling city, but for now, it isn’t.

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