As y'all probably guessed, we did eventually make it to Columbus--our flight Thursday morning went without delays, though the aircraft we were on felt (and looked) fairly decrepit--as J said, like riding a big Chevy Nova through the sky. We arrived to hear how good the morning papers had been, and, as Nicol describes on her blog, that the hotel had given away our room with two double beds, so we had a king and a foldout for four of us. Oh, well--better roommates no one could wish for, and we had several fun room-picnics. In fact, J & I didn't eat any dinners inside a restaurant!
So--as for food (in case anyone gets stuck in downtown Columbus and needs to know): we actually did pretty well. Indian the first night from Indian Oven, which was a little overpriced but fresh and good, with lots of vegetarian options. The only problematic dish was Cleek's rice pudding. Then, Friday night, some acceptable but not exciting pizza from a place in the dead mall attached to the hotel. Saturday night Jenny & I had been planning to have a nice quiet dinner in an Italian restaurant called Due Amici, but inertia set in and we didn't get there in time, so we got takeaway sandwiches from Tip Top, a bar and restaurant with a delightful selection of vegetarian food. We returned there for lunch yesterday before our flight, and I got some spectacular corn chowder: nice and creamy, with all the usual ingredients, plus a kick of chipotle peppers. I almost got a second bowl. Their sweet potato fries were also very well-done: the oil was fresh, and clearly at the right temperature. I wish I'd known about Tip Top sooner--as well as Cafe Brioso, where several of us had sandwiches for lunch on Saturday.
So this SEM (Society for Ethnomusicology) can't compete with last year's in Honolulu for creature comforts, or even with Atlanta for all our trips to the Flying Biscuit, but I believe the meals I had in Columbus were more consistently edible and cheap than in previous years. Who knew?
From all this, you'd think I didn't do anything in Columbus but eat. Of course that's not true--I ran my mouth a great deal, and consumed a fair amount of beer. Saw some good papers--here's a shout-out to Jenny (doin' the good work and speaking out from American silence), Nicol (speaking out from Afrikaaner silence and setting some records straight), Allen (rockin' the new organology), Sean (CUNY piano sleuth extraordinaire), Ben (keeping it real in the 'hood), and Brett (never listening alone). I hope I'm not forgetting anyone!
SEM was (and always) is a great chance to make new friends and to deepen existing friendships. Particularly exciting was the chance to get to know some of the UVA people--it turns out we share more than several migrant faculty--and some of the Columbia crowd, some of whom are very cool. And it was great fun to hang out with several awesome prospective students--Cleek, of course (whose nametag initially read "CLEEN"!), Ben K., and Jeremiah.
And on top of all this, the Macy's in the dead mall was having a closing sale, and I got a new set of 300-count sheets for $15, a new dress, and a sweater.
So all in all, a successful weekend--but now I'm exhausted and have piles of work to do. Alas.