She gave me lots of advice about Sinhalese/Tamil relationships and historical data on Sri Lanka, which was incredibly helpful. She knows a lot more about this stuff than I do. Then we had yummy Thai food for a late lunch -- gods, I miss shumai! Why is it that not a single Thai restaurant in the Bay Area or Salt Lake City (okay, there only *is* a single Thai restaurant in Salt Lake City, but anyway) seems to know how to make shumai? It can't be that hard! I'm going to have to learn how to make them myself just 'cause it drives me crazy not to have them. Eventually we walked back to her place, grabbed my stuff, and drove to O'Hare, where she dropped me at the Van Galder bus.
A pleasant and uneventful bus ride followed (in which I spent about half an hour revising "The Light at Dawn" to match the chronology and the rest of the time either dozing or reading that book (and yes, it was Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children -- kudos to those who guessed). The book is good but dense -- requires more attention than I generally have while travelling). Eventually I arrived at the Madison Concourse hotel.
Jed and I have a great room -- we're throwing a party, so they put us on the party floor, and in compensation (because the noise might make it difficult to sleep), they kindly gave us a lovely corner room. Great views, nice furntiure; very comfortable. He's not arriving 'til tomorrow, so right now it's just my stuff scattered all over the place. I dumped my bags, grabbed my key, and headed off for dinner at the brew pub, where the rest of the early birds were to be.
They were there indeed; I ordered a small pizza and only managed to eat half of it (breakfast!) -- I had good conversation with various sorts about Salt Lake and Sri Lanka and the new magazine. Everyone was a bit tired, I think, and it was rather loud, but I did end up hanging out for more than two hours, so I must have been having fun.
Came back to the hotel, ran into Victor Raymond (from the People of Color focus group last year), he pointed me to Nalo's room and I swung by and said hi. She's looking cute as ever, especially in her pyjamas. :-) We'll meet up tomorrow -- I'm looking forward to introducing her to Jed. I didn't pester her too long as she had a stack of manuscripts to review for a writing workshop tomorrow; came back to my room, plugged in my various peripherals (my new night-time ritual; check to see the laptop is plugged in, check to see the cell phone is plugged in -- what a geek!), and started typing. Talked to Jed briefly. Was meaning to swing down by the hotel bar where there are undoubtedly some con folk hanging out but am getting sleepier and sleepier. May not make it. Cons can be (and usually are) exhausting; I should probably get at least one decent night of sleep before things really kick off.
More updates as it progresses -- talk to you soon!