Sunday, December 24, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
But the butterflies on the wing are only a tiny percent of the Monarchs overwintering in this small mountain zone. We could look into the fir forests and see branches of trees weighed down by thousands of butterflies clustered together. This clustering in the winter allows the monarchs to sustain a state of semi-dormancy until it is time to return north in the spring. This curious quirk of nature was only described to the world in 1976, in a memorable article in National Geographic. Naturally, the locals had known about the butterflies forever.
With binoculars we could see the incredibly intricate and varied pattern made by thousands and thousands of wings in such a small space. We couldn't get close enough to photograph this ourselves, nor could we understand the complexity of the Monarch's migration pattern without help. This final photo comes from Monarch Watch, an excellent web site where you can read more about this quirk of nature.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Morelia: Old and New
Last weekend, we journeyed to Patzcuaro and other places to the west of
"I write because I am afraid of being forgotten."
From the Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech of Orhan Pamuk, as posted on http://www.moleskinerie.com, 20 December, 2006.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Morelia: Saturday Night
Friday, December 15, 2006
Life in Morelia: Water
This is a densely populated area, and only by climbing up to the second or third floor can we begin to see exactly what is packed into each square block. We took the photo above from the roof of one of our school buildings (the terra-cotta colored building on the left is more of the school, and the place where our classes are held). While looking out from this vantage point, we noticed all the round jars and tanks on the rooftops you can see in the photo – some very handsome. Later we learned that each dwelling or business has its own rooftop water tank. The pressure and supply in the city water system is inconsistent, so each building has its own system to pump up city water when possible, keeping a full tank and delivering water to the taps and toilets below via gravity.
This all seems to work, even if the flow is a little less robust than back in the land of pressurized water systems. Technologically less sophisticated, maybe, but elegant in its own way. And you have to love those great big round jars.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Quiet is a relative term, since December 12th is the fiesta for the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron saint of
Our daily routine revolves around Spanish classes, which occupy the morning and early afternoon, and roaming around the city. We are pleased and impressed with the classes, which are moving along at a challenging pace. Already we can make ourselves better understood in the markets and other conversations. Both of us find that searches for Spanish words have crept into our dreams. This little monk decorates one of the doors in the school – maybe he is a patron saint of los estudiantes. Regardless, we are immersed in
Monday, December 04, 2006
Introduction to Morelia
Early Saturday morning, after a night flight from
We are housed in an old but recently renovated building in Morelia’s historic Centro, a town center which is amazingly intact and made up of buildings dating as far back as the sixteenth century, all of the city center being a UNESCO World Heritage site. (Note for the Google Earth users: the lat and long above will put you right above our building, and give you an idea of the density and unformity of the center of Morelia.)
Saturday and Sunday we walked for miles, exploring markets and restaurants and providing ourselves with basics for cooking, studying, and relaxing here. We are, of course, on information overload, but here are a few things that have amazed us: One, we see hardly any Gringos; there are tourists here, but they are mostly Mexican, visiting from the rest of the country. Two, we must speak Spanish, or we won’t discover how to cook these beautiful vegetables and fruits. Three, in terms of the street life, events scheduled, and the way people dress and move about, this seems a very cosmopolitan place (there are three universities in
Today, Monday, was our first day of classes. Best thing we learned was the Spanish word for being retired – jubilado – seems just right.
Special note to Rob – we lost your e-mail address. And we want to be in touch. Please post it here, or send it to us at the Captain’s OHSU address.