Sunday, March 11, 2007

Run into Jim Deutsch at the Ethnology Museum of Vietnam, Hanoi, Mar. 11, 2007

We took a taxi from the Fine Arts Museum to this museum about 4 miles outside the ancient quarter of Hanoi. It explains and illustrates the many ethnic groups who populate Vietnam, including their traditional houses, skills, and crafts. A SE Asia Bamboo Festival was in progress, to our delight. Little did we know how delighted we'd end up being!

The MOST amazing coincidence was that the Smithsonian Folklife Festival staff were in residence (this day only) to arrange the July festival in DC. My dear, old friend, Jim Deutsch has long worked for the Smithsonian. I casually asked if the guide knew Jim Deutsch. "Yes, he's here." I said "Here in Vietnam, or here at the museum?" "He's right across that field in the next exhibit."

We could NOT believe it.

Jim and I have been friends since 1980, when he and I were both young librarians. Jim was then in Billings, MT at the Parmley Billings Public Library, and I was in Richmond at Virginia Commonwealth University's Cabell Library. Jim and I served together on an American Library Association committee, and we've kept our friendship over 27 years. He now works for George Washington U. and the Smithsonian in DC, while I'm in Ohio at Denison, but we've kept in touch through it all.

To unexpectedly run into him in Hanoi at a museum was almost unbelieveable. Louis and I were thrilled. Tomorrow night we'll have dinner together. What amazing luck!

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