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.