I bumped into Jane Goodall at the Grand Hyatt - Taipei earlier this evening. She was in town to promote her Jane Goodall Institute on Sunday, and just happened to be in the executive lounge, where I was waiting for a couple customers for a meeting.
At first, I didn't recognize her - my colleagues in the Taiwan office told me her Chinese name, but it was meaningless to me until I clued into the fact that it was some elderly white woman holding a chimp doll (replete with fake banana) while still managing to look dignified.
My colleague (Glenn) all but dared me to go ask her for an autograph, so I went for it after she finished what appeared to be an interview and headed for the cookies. I introduced myself and was somewhat taken aback when she turned out to be friendly, even to the point of being slightly chatty. She asked me for a card, recruited me for the local branch of her Institute, and then agreed to snap the above photo with me (it's just a camera phone picture, so cut it a little slack).
I have to say that she was quite a nice lady. Having read about her quite a bit back in my Academic Decathlon days (we read "Woman in the Mists" - a book about Diane Fossey, written by Farley Mowat), I felt that I knew something about her, and got a real kick out of the fact that I was actually fortunate enough to bump into her on the 23rd floor of a hotel in Taipei of all places.
Now, if I can just figure out how I can get away with giving interviews holding a stuffed primate...