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The writing’s on the wall

5 Jul

The tricky part of public service announcements – reaching the public! Public communication can be especially challenging when large segments of the public you wish to reach live in poverty and lack education.  In Kathmandu several awareness campaigns have circumvented problems of illiteracy with clever and colorful graffiti displays.  As you walk by many walls of the city – ringing parks, schools, government buildings,etc. – you can see graphical messages inspiring everything from health practices to environmental concerns…

Wow!  Who knew hand-washing could inspire such creativity?!

Wall murals for World Handwash Day ring the walls of the central parks along Drubar Marg

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Peaks of Pokhara

14 Jun

The road to Pokhara is one of the best traveled highways in Nepal – but a sleek expressway it’s not.  The pavement is worn, the bus bounces as it careens around mountain passes.  The sun glares in the window.  The black exhaust and dust of the traffic billow in.  After just the few hours’ journey from Kathmandu you arrive in Pokhara sweat-soggied and soot-covered.  Nothing in world could be more inviting than the lake that shines in the bottom of the Pokhara valley!  Brightly colored row boats welcome you  to town and beckon you into the water.

Wooden row boats line the lake shore – invitingly colorful, deceptively innocent!
Photo credit – NOT ME – thanks E.P.

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An olfactory tour of Kathmandu’s streets

6 Jun

The streets of Kathmandu are crowded!  Not just with people, or traffic, also with smells.  Walking the narrow stone-tiled alleyways of a Kathmandu neighbor is like a roller-coaster ride for the nose.  One minute alluring, the next disgusting.

No rules and no right-of-way. Traffic in Kathmandu is jam or be jammed.

Overwhelming on main roads you notice the traffic!  Motorbikes zip in and out between motor-rickshaws and cars as buses barrel down the road belching pure black exhaust.  The smog gets so bad it’s actually hard to see the mighty Himalayan mountains ringing the Kathmandu valley. Continue reading

Ancient religions rise out of the thin air of Kathmandu

30 May

Ask a Nepali whether he/she is Hindu or Buddhist, and the answer you are likely to get is simply “yes”.

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Viva Puerto Rico

16 May

Hola from the island!

For a little change of scenery the science geek is taking to the road this summer.  So these posts might be taking a turn away from musings on nature, and toward a some great travel sites.  First stop Puerto Rico!

An afternoon strolling through the rich historical sites of Old San Juan.  Over 500 years ago Spanish explorers came to Puerto Rico and established a fortress in the Caribbean.  The city was founded in 1521 and fortifications promptly began in 1533.

The coastal vista of Old San Juan.

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Film Review – Life and Debt

13 Feb

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are notorious for exploiting the fragile economies, natural resources, and even people, of developing nations. In the documentary film “Life and Debt” Stephanie Black tells the story of her native Jamaica in a powerful critique of the organizations clutching the international purse strings. Interviewing everyone from IMF executives, to a former Jamaican Prime Minister, a university economist, village farmers, factory workers, fire-side Rastafarians, the documentary provides a range of perspectives.

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Living simple and hanging loose in Hawaii

23 Nov

This is me dissertating!

Well, OK, so I was supposed to finish up and turn in the last paper before The Wildlife Society conference whisked me away to Hawaii (and subsequent island vacation).  Well, turns out dissertations seldom run on tight schedules.  So, what’s a gal to do?  Find the most serene and remote location that still has some semblance of computer hook up, that’s what!

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