Monday, March 19, 2012

Walking to work in Mexico

For a change of pace, I'll show the walk to work while I was in Mexico last week, in lovely Coyoacan, where I lived for a while many many years ago. It is still lovely, perhaps even more so.

 Walking down sidestreets -- colorful in all ways.
 Well maintained colonial buildings, which means rich folks live here.
 Signs for real estate appear everywhere here too.
 Some things are new, such as bike lanes (although I didn't see anyone actually using them).
A garbage truck, with a sign saying that we'll catch you if you throw your garage in the street.   Certainly more modern trucks than twenty years ago, or than we see in India.
 The entrance to main square, again, with those bike signs.
Then, the view from the office was also wonderful.
 How can you not be inspired by this?
 And then, the B&B where I stayed.
Muy mexicana.

 The artwork, the plants, the glassware, the colors.
I wish I could say that I had time to enjoy this. Unfortunately, I wasn't here much, but having breakfast here was a great way to start the day.

I hadn't been to Mexico since I have been living in India.  It appeared cleaner and wealthier, with a better appreciation of its heritage buildings and spaces (perhaps some lessons for India), but with continuing political challenges (like India).  Many differences, but many similarities too. In short, it was great to be back there, even if only for a few days.  I wonder though, will I ever feel as fond of Bangalore as I am of Mexico City?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A long time, and a visit to Calcutta/Kolkata

It has been almost three months since I've posted anything -- I hadn't realized it had been so long -- so I guess I should explain.  The last few months have been tumultuous with many changes.  Our adventure at CSTEP ended. That deserves an entire book. But for now, we can say that there were differences in opinion about the what and how a think tank should run, and the role of social science within it. As I say, it deserves its own space, some day.  It was a roller coaster ride, with lots of ups and downs, and I learned a lot, and like to think that I contributed too, to CSTEP's meteoric rise. Not clear that all share that opinion, but ....

Anyway, I have started a new adventure, and job, with bundles of positive energy, enough to offset the previous setbacks. EMBARQ is the Sustainable Transport center within the World Resources Institute, and I will be working as Director of Urban Development and Accessibility. So remember all those posts about broken sidewalks/footpaths, poorly planned construction, and massive construction that seems to forget about people? Now my job will be to do something about them!  I have been very impressed with the caliber, experience, and passion of my new colleagues. And I will be working here in Bangalore to start and then shifting back to the US during the summer. The job will let me keep coming here as well as work on Latin America again, so it is a great next step.

But in the meantime, there is much to catch up on. So I'll start with a trip to Kolkata/Calcutta and the pleasure of street food and sweet shops....

 A food stall.
 Amartya and Vinay enjoying a samosa.
Well displayed, and with rapid turnover.
 Buying food on the street.
 All kinds of options, day and night
 Enjoying the food while dressed up for a wedding (the reason we were there).
 And on to one of the sweet shops that the city is famous for.
 Testing a new innovation with chocolate.

And then of course, the wedding reception that was the reason for our travel. That will be next.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Do these buildings look real to you?

We spent the last few days at the Infosys Training center in Mysore at the India Urban Conference that was a great chance to meet fascinating people.  The site, like the conference itself, was large and sprawling. Here are some shots of some buildings that seemed, even right next to them, not to be quite real.
Looks like it could on top of a cake, don't you think?
The top of the facade seems a bit too abrupt for me.
A huge building.
Yes, this is India ... outside of Mysore.
Sorry there haven't been many posts lately, too busy doing other things. But I will try to post more in the upcoming several weeks and months, with writing along with more pictures, as I'm wrapping up my job at CSTEP and moving on to new adventures (but still in India, for a while).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Ganesh Chaturthi this year

Somehow this didn't get posted in September, so we are on the next holiday, but I'll put these up now anyway.
It's time for the big Ganesh festival again, with decorated idols and offerings of his favorite foods. We were invited to spend the day in the house of our driver, where we participated in the puja and partook of the food.
Everyone took turns at the puja.

 Including me:

Farewell to Steve Jobs

There are all kinds of great articles (and images) all over the Web paying tribute to Steve Jobs, and although I can't hope to be very original, I feel like I must join in. He blended technology and design in such an artful way to produce elegant products and services that let us focus on what we want to do, not how to do it.  We can only hope that his spirit (and products) will live on in others who will continue to innovate ... but maybe yell a little less.  

Some of my favorite statements (thanks to the Huffington Post, that provides a lot more): 
"Picasso had a saying: 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.' We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas...I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians, poets, artists, zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world."
-- 1994
"That's been one of my mantras -- focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it's worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains."
-- BusinessWeek interview, May 1998
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. ... Stay hungry. Stay foolish."
-- Stanford University commencement address, June 2005.

--written on a MacBook Pro ....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Some sights on the streets of DC

During a recent short trip to DC I saw these sights and had to share them.  Things getting scarier by the day.

On a rainy street.

 Obama is the tyrant? Seems to me that he may not be that effective a leader, but tyrant is not what I would call him.
More proof of the range of wackos found in America today.  Yikes.  A reason to stay in India?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Welcome back to Bangalore

The end of an active monsoon means roads that are converted into lakes of different sizes. Here are some images of our trip back from the airport to Jakkur, and then our road (which doesn't have a name that I know of).

Driving from the airport .... on Bellary Road converted to a lake in several sections.

Then, folks are trying to fix the road by pouring in construction garbage and trying to roll it into a road.