Saturday, April 27, 2013

Booking in Lisbon

Collecting foreign language translations of the Canon always adds another level of adventure when Joyce and I travel. We usually come home with an additional suitcase full of books. It looks like this trip will follow the established pattern. I have already written about finding books on the first day at the café down the street from us and about visiting Bertrand’s, the oldest bookstore in Lisbon. I soon discovered that the used book market on the street beside Bertrand’s is there every day.

The famous Café  Brasileira, established in 1905, is a place located a half a block away from the used book market and not too far from our apartment. This is where Joyce and I enjoyed breakfast the most and went there several times. One morning I stopped at the used book market and struck up a conversation with one of the sellers. As usual, I explained I collected translations of Sherlock Holmes. The gentleman, António Palma, apologized for not having any Sherlock Holmes books with him that day but assured me he had some at his warehouse, which held more than 200,000 books. As I looked through his stacks of books, I found two different Canonical books! I bought them both. António and I had a good laugh over me finding the books and the we exchanged email addresses.

António Palma and me in front of the Used Book Markets, Lisbon, Portugal
That afternoon I had an email from António referring to me as 'Telepathic Don" for finding the books when he did not think there were any to find. He assured me he would find more and did not need GPS or ESP to find them in his warehouse. He also told me he was a retired commercial airlines pilot. That evening, Joyce and I decided to go to a different section of Lisbon to a  Napolitano Pizza place. While searching for the obscure little place, I discovered yet another used bookstore. Joyce and I both marvel at the abundance of them in Lisbon. I asked the proprietor about Sherlock Holmes and she pointed me to that section. As I was going through the titles, she brought out six more, so I ended up with eight books. She then pointed out where the restaurant was located. As I leave the shop, loaded with two sacks full of Portuguese Sherlock Holmes, I step off of the curb into the path of an on-coming car that I never heard or saw. The driver screeched to a halt and rolled down his window and grabbed me by the arm. Joyce and I both expected to be screamed at instead we heard those familiar words, “Oh my God, it’s Don Hobbs!”

The driver was none other than António Palma! How freaky is that, of the 2,000,000 people in Lisbon, I nearly am run over by someone I know! I had to memorialize the occasion with a limerick.

In Lisbon, bookstores are there makin’
Lotsa Portuguese Sherlock I’m a takin’
On a day of good bookin’
I stepped without lookin’
But thank God for António’s fast braking’

As one of my friend commented on Facebook, it would have been stranger if I had stepped in front of someone I did not know!

Happy Blogging!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Sherlocking in Portugal

Joyce and I arrived in Lisbon, Portugal on Friday April, 19. We rested up and explored a bit around our neighborhood before crashing for the evening.

When Saturday dawned we were energized and ready for discovering our new city. Down the street a block and a half was Há café no Alfarrabistra “Old Books and Coffee”, a fine place to break our fast. This little coffee bar served pastries and local Joe called bica. They also sold old books. A quick search netted a copy of Sherlock Holmes in Portuguese, a book already in my collection, but I bought it nonetheless.

Há café no Alfarrabistra “Old Books and Coffee”

My first Sherlock Holmes find in Portugal and alas I already have a copy.

Our main goal on Saturday was the Flea Market at Feira da Ladra. We had to climb the local equivalent of the Alps to get there but it was worth the climb. Joyce found some nice tile pieces and I found more Sherlock Holmes, another one that I already owned. I did pass on a copy of Jô Soares’ pastiche, O Xangô de Baker Street. At least the return journey was a downhill saunter.

Next up was a visit to Liviraria Bertrand, the oldest bookstore in Portugal that was founded in 1732, the same year George Washington was born! This beautiful shop fills an entire block. The outside of the building is nearly as awesome as the inside. The blue and white tile exterior is stunning in the Portuguese sunlight. I bought Obras Completas de Sherlock Holmes #1: Um estudo em vermelho/Os sete mistérios  which is a part of a six volume set. It was the only volume missing in my collection. As luck would have it, on the street beside Liviraria Bertrand, there was a street market selling books and I found and bought  the same book only it was 9€ less.

In front of Liviraria Bertrand, founded in 1732.
On the diagonal corner from the Liviraria Bertrand was yet another bookshop. I ventured in there and came out with another five volumes of Sherlock Holmes. The fellow working the counter and I started talking as he spoke perfect English. I explained that I collected Sherlock Holmes in translations and he offered to help me find older editions. We exchanged email addresses and now I will see if he is as good as his word.

We made it back to our apartment in time to do some Face-Time with the Crew of the Barque LONE STAR, back in Dallas. It was the monthly meeting so we were able to present the toast to the Queen.  All in all, our first full day in Portugal was a success, especially on the Sherlockian front.

Happy blogging!!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Panjabi Kemo Sabe

I love being a Sherlockian in general and collecting foreign translations of the Canon in particular. Being a Sherlockian has opened up a very interesting world full of interesting people.

Filed under the snowball effect:

My friend and fellow Dallas Sherlockian, Joe Faye, asked me to speak at The Second Tuesday lecture series at Heritage Auctions on December 11 and this led to The Dallas Morning News interviewing me. That article ran on December 31, 2012. From that article I was interview by WealthPoint, a site dedicated to collectors. I was also asked to speak at the Annual Gathering of Mensa in July and at the University of Minnesota Sherlockian conference” Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place.”
You can see the snowball growing.

In January, after the DMN article, a girl from my little town of Flower Mound emailed me and offered to look for a Telugu book, which is her native tongue, when she traveled to India in February. Last week, I was following up on some older emails and realized she never contacted me again so I sent her a short message. As I expected, she was not successful in her quest to locate the elusive Telugu translation. I decided to search. In a series of emails between us, I suggested that I might not have the exact spelling of the one known Telugu Sherlockian translation. With that being said I did a search of the title, Neraparisodhana and discovered the exact title was listed on the National Library of India’s webpage.

As an added bonus, the library listed a second Telugu translation, Sherlock Holmes kathalu published by Jaihind Pracurana. The contents of this book are not listed. As I searched the rest of the library’s entries for Conan Doyle, I found a Panjabi title, Rase/ Arthur Conan Doyle. I am not 100% sure if this is a Sherlock Holmes title or simply a Doyle title. I have taken the liberty to add it to The Galactic Sherlock, bringing the total of known translations to ninety-nine, if it holds up as being a Sherlockian translation.

See the snow ball effect just continues to roll down the hill, gaining mass and weight as it goes. I will be glad when the Panjabi translation is either confirmed or denied. Regardless of the outcome, I will still love being a Sherlockian

Happy blogging!!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Too Busy to Post

Well, recently  I have been too busy to think let alone post on my blog. I will try to do better in the future.

I have been working on my two talks that are fast approaching. On July 5, I am speaking to the Annual Gathering of the National Mensa Society  in Fort Worth. On August 10, I am speaking at the Sherlock Holmes Through Time and Place conference in Minneapolis sponsored by the University of Minnesota

Next up on my agenda  on April 18 is a 2 1/2 week vacation  in Spain and Portugal with my wife, Joyce. Madrid, Lisbon, and Oporto are on our agenda.

I continue to have visitors to my library. T.D. McKinney stopped by the other night. She is the co-author of Kissing  Sherlock Holmes. It can be purchased on Amazon  at the link listed below:

This is TD McKinney and me in my library.

The same night that TD came by, Joe Faye, member of the Crew of the Barque LONE STAR, was present helping dispose of bottles of  red wine from Spain and California. TD and my wife Joyce joined in the partaking and this was all before homemade limoncello started flowing. This fact might explain why I have such a goofy expression in the photographs.

Joe Faye and Don Hobbs - red wine does not affect us.

Happy Blogging!