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.)Always a challenge to leap in with the appropriate amount of interest and humility to make a contribution amid experts who've built their careers in this area, but perhaps an outsider can add something! At the very least the experience promises perspective and case studies for teaching sustainability and climate change. And there's always narrative in the absence of synthetic explanation! And so: Global travelers un-phased by the bad press, sharing tips; lost walking back from the bank to the office on day one, street names entwined in Oaxaca just like the cheese, Google maps unreliable and guiding me to block sequestered in netting as a paintball war zone (my fear of the paramilitary, safely realized), three men in a government office help me; at the market: cocoa nibs, chilies, and moist mole in mounds, enchilada meals for breakfast, whole yellow chickens with feet too close to my head, TVs amid textiles as Mexico plays Olympic soccer; wireless everywhere; buy this, buy that; Santo Domingo; light, color, predictable downpours, VW bugs, and fireworks; food a mix of fresh cuisine inspiring expat cooking classes, ubiquitous street food - pastries and quesadillas with salsa, guacamole and eek mayonnaise, dubious refrigeration, and a dose of economic reality; a dizzying tour of the Cultural Museum of Oaxaca, a primer for Monte Alban; and the Sierra in the distance.