Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I will miss the energy of public spaces in this small city. And my morning walks, among other things. (Click title to see more.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Few More City Views

CEPCO coffee collaborative. Think real latte no Nescafe no sugar. Amy Winehouse and white leather couch. (Excuse the upper left corner.)
(Click title to see more.)

Circa 3000 Meters

This short hike off El Mirador on Mexico 175, past the turn-off to Comaltepec and opposite their new sawmill spans three forest types due to elevation changes on a climb that starts at 3000 meters. There was plenty of strategic stopping to take photos, hiding gasping. Views to either side of the ridge, to the Pacific and the Gulf of Mexico. Striking the lack of sporting and tourist infrastructure given the landscape but maybe not given other context. (Click title to see more.)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Adaptation in Comaltepec

View of the Sierra over a roof primed for future construction
We descended 40 minutes down a winding dirt road off Mexico 175 to the Chinantec community of Comaltepec, population around 2000. We joined the last day of a conference on adaptation to climate change in indigenous communities held by COMET LA, Community Based Management of Environmental Challenges in Latin America. As I understand it, COMET LA is an EU-funded research initiative based in Cordoba Spain and involving collaboration with academics, NGOs, and practitioners in Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia. Comaltepec was hosting as a sort of model for participatory and successful community decision making enabling effective natural resource development and economic gains. (Click title to read and see more.)

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Timber in the Sierra Juarez

The mill in Ixtapeji
Wednesday I traveled with the Rainforest Alliance crew into the Sierra Norte, home to many indigenous ejidos and communities (Mexico's two forms of communal land ownership), some examplars in community forestry. Winding up into the mountains 1000 meters or more from Oaxaca City's 1500m, green precipices on one side or another, signs note obviously "dangerous curve" and "winding road." A sign states, "Welcome to the best managed forests in Mexico," one that's evidently drawn the ire of the rest of Mexico. The brutally simplify, the community forest model holds that forestry provides the key for combined economic development and cultural preservation within Mexico's rural indigenous communities. (Click to read and see more.)

Hot and Cold, Water

A friend writes that Las Vegas is hot, so hot it almost feels like extreme cold, the way it dries out the mucous membranes. There are some interesting parallels between hot and cold, such as a competition one year between my archaeologist friend in Tucson and my brother in Fairbanks about which “icebreaker” would occur first – Tucson hitting 100 degrees or the ice on the Tanana River thawing. There are some parallels too with regard to water between Oaxaca and Fairbanks, as I pump water from the ubiquitous blue jug to make coffee in the morning on a burner. Many hours later, Stefan, water procured from an essential "water station," does the same in his Fairbanks cabin. Only I have running water… (Click title to read and see more.)

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Mercados and More Street

Diving might not have been her favorite Olympic event.
Oaxaca is famous for its crafts and food markets. I find them overwhelming - so much stuff, so many people - buying and selling and consuming day after day after day. (Click title to see more.)


Not sure what - the point may be that this dome is not even noteworthy.
My museum life is a bit unrealized, a casualty perhaps of too-long visits as a child. I'd like to visit a museum 20 minutes per day, in my ideal world. But being here, especially in the absence of sporting distractions and on a rainy day, I'm hard-pressed to make excuses. And so, the Museo de Arte Prehispanico Rufino Tamayo, showcasing the painter's private collection of pre-Columbian (I'm slowly learning bits of language and history) art. Way too much for a private holding- and people worry about art in Arkansas?! - and once again sort of overwhelming. (Click title to read and see more.)

And More

On my walk to work.
I've shown you Oaxaca as architectural paradise, cradle of early civilization, pinnacle of artisan culture, incubator of nouveau Mexican cuisine, explosion of light and color. At risk of appearing a TED groupie, there's danger to a single story, in the words of novelist Chimamanda Adichie, her talk hyped to fatigue among my colleagues. The city is stunningly beautiful, and more. (Click title to see more.)

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Spaces Between

Monte Alban, elevation 1900m
Tourist bonanza yesterday, eight-hour combined sight-seeing / shopping racket worth every minute: Monte Alban, black pottery, seven-mole showcase, Cuilapam monastery, and alibrijes. Most interesting of course the spaces between: scenes from the van, snippets of conversation, the people. Guide Clemente went to high school in Pasendena, right near when I lived one winter training, prefers it here. And such light, air, and color! (Click title to see more.)

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Oaxaca Journal

I plagiarized that title from Oliver Sacks. Now I’ll proceed with some reductionist explanation of complex reality of a location buzzing for millennia and understood through a language I speak terribly. At least I’m not a staff writer at the New Yorker. In Oaxaca for three weeks working on a project with Rainforest Alliance, which works in the region in community forestry (don't you tell me your country did it first!) and forest certification under FSC. (Click title to read more.)

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Click title for more images.