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Old 11-04-2013, 07:23 AM   #76
arjones
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Originally Posted by ac_elite View Post


Thanks for tagging along Arjones

It is our responsibility to learn, at the very least make an attempt to comprehend why things are the way they are. How Neo-Liberalism is just the extended arm of 400 hundred years of exploitation. That before Sept 11, 2001, there was Sept 11, 1973. As such we can hope that our Latin hosts see us for who we are and not simply the extension of the politics of the land we live in.

I must make a note about the fact that we are not American, Canadian maybe and again not so much...



“The history of interactions among disparate peoples is what shaped the modern world through conquest, epidemics and genocide. Those collisions created reverberations that have still not died down after many centuries, and that are actively continuing in some of the world's most troubled areas.”

― Jared Diamond, Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies
Thank you. Don't worry. You will be amazed by the fact that most of latin americans can see the differences between people and their governments (and foreign politics for that matter). You will experience warm welcome, hospitality, pride of our countries and their beauties and find a very large number of people ready to offer help and what ever you guys may need in your journey.

Safe travels.

Arjones.

P.S.: my bad... I should look carefully so I could know where you guys are from...
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:56 PM   #77
Blader54
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I like reports that make me think as much as entertain me and those that make me think AND dream are even better. Yours is better.

Development without exploitation.....is that a contradiction in terms? It seems like a very complicated issue, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try to understand it. Looking at history I am struck by how often it is the case that a society more technologically advanced tends to see less techno societies as "backward" or "uncivilized" or "savage." I think this judgement leads the higher tech society to see the lower tech society as "other." "Other" in the sense of "not our kind", "not one of us", "less evolved", or even "non-human." I think once this sense of "otherness" is established then the natural resources of the lower tech society are taken by the higher. In the best scenario the high tech society takes a paternalistic attitude toward the lower and helps them to some extent, while in the worst scenario the people of the lower tech society are systematically exterminated through various means. After reading many ride reports and doing a fair bit of traveling myself, it seems to me that one of the transformative aspects of a long ride such as yours is that by interacting with the people along the way they cease being "other". That they are "just like us" is no longer an abstract concept but visible, auditory reality. If only this could be applied on a societal basis!
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Old 11-05-2013, 05:00 AM   #78
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Laugh

Yes Blader45, thinking is good! When it comes along with the opportunity to travel and see the world by your own eyes... That's why it is so hard to find any kind of prejudice among those who take the world on their hands and spend time giving it a closer look.

But, I must admit, this conversation is so interesting that we could hijack this great thread because of it. So, let's just hope our brave Jack and Valentino have another great run today and may they post everything here!
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Old 11-05-2013, 08:48 AM   #79
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Looking forward to their next update!
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:47 PM   #80
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Thumb Transformative indeed



Riding through the villages that separate Flores and Antigua give you plenty of opportunity to think and reflect how fortunate we are to be born where there is running water, electricity, and that our most important preoccupation of the day has nothing to do with thinking about what is going to be our next meal.

Ferry to cross the rio to Sayaxché




I still want to make a post about Chiapas and Tikal, I will need to backtrack.


Just a tease.




This one could go in the bikes in front of cathedral thread




Tikal was not as splendid as Palenque but the height of the Pyramids was still quite impressive.













And don't worry about hijacking the thread, I enjoy the conversation, and I have a feeling a few others are enjoying reading it. If it keeps going I just might start a discussion about authenticity.

We are in Antigua after riding from Flores. Last night we stopped in Coban.


A few from Flores











It was the 2nd day of Dia de los muertos, so we went to the "cementerio"







Our "eco cabaña" you know the kind, real estate agents call them rustic, character home with old world charm, airy with expose beam throughout, great panoramic view.




Suicide shower incuded



The road today



It was laundry day



About 50% of the population of Guatemala is Mayan, however saying so does not mean much as the Maya people constitute a wide range of ethnicities, languages, and cultures.



Here is an interesting article by Johan Normark titled Culture and Ethnicity in Mayanist Discourse


Colourful bus belching black smoke



Quote:
Originally Posted by arjones View Post
So, let's just hope our brave Jack and Valentino have another great run today and may they post everything here!
BTW arjones Liliane aka Jackie is asking who is this "Jack" person you keep on referring.



More to come...
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The Southern Episode

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Old 11-06-2013, 07:25 AM   #81
arjones
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_elite View Post
BTW arjones Liliane aka Jackie is asking who is this "Jack" person you keep on referring.



More to come...
Oh God, the beautiful JackIE !!! My bad, once again. Foreign language and names... Great tease, I'm wondering what's next!!!

And, by the way, lots of suicide showers ahead!!!

Cheers guys,

Arjones.
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Old 11-07-2013, 06:59 PM   #82
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Going to take another hack at the development question. Back in the day when the Cold War raged it seemed as though America would support almost any dictator as long as he was "anti-communist." If the country had some valuable natural resources then foreign money would pour in to build infrastructure to allow the dictator to better control those resources, which he would then ensure were sold for the benefit of his western friends. And the money that flowed in to build the infrastructure flowed back out to the huge western construction companies hired to do the building. And of course there was a huge rake-off by the dictator, his extended family, and his closest friends. There would also be quite a lot of US military equipment given to the dictator so he would be better able to fight communists. Another money-making oppo for the ruling elite, and then they could use the helos, jets, guns, and small arms to stamp out any complaints by the common people (who weren't getting any benefit from all of this western largesse) by simply calling them communists. Which seemed to often be a self-fulfilling sort of thing, because really, what other political philosophy was there for them to turn to? see Jonathan Kwitny, "Endless Enemies", Congdon & Weed, 1984.

But now the USSR has fallen. The cold war is over. The west won. The situation Kwitny wrote about has fundamentally changed. But have things changed? Does the aid money now actually go toward improving the lives of the people? Or is there a new enemy to oppose all over the world, a new enemy that leads us to support corrupt dictators all over again? I'm not sure.
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Old 11-07-2013, 07:15 PM   #83
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Imagine if the truth was far worse then that. Wouldn't that be something.
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:34 PM   #84
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Talking Small truly is beautiful

I think that unless you are a philanthropist with bottomless resources "à la Bill Gates", and dedicate a specific plan of action to eradicate a specific ailment. Development tends to be successful when it is from within, small scale, and transformative. Record shows that micro to medium scale projects spawned from harvesting local knowledge, and adapting local skills to address community needs; especially when spearheaded by small women lead organizations have demonstrated a higher, and more sustainable rate of success. Here the success is measured by the community itself, where an individual is actually able to directly reap the benefit of their own implication in the development effort.

Here is a piece I did on development communication; I guess it's ok to push you own stuff in your own thread

We are the caste system
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Old 11-07-2013, 08:43 PM   #85
Blader54
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Working my way through the Normark piece, though it seems written for a specialist audience familiar with his terms of art, which I am not. But it did lead me to delve into the Maya movement. Seems that there is a group of indigenous people in Guatemala seeking to unify an array of indigenous peoples who can be defined by being both in a Mayan language group and by a history of discrimination practiced upon them by Ladinos and Europeans. I think that Normark is going to eventually say that there is a danger here that the Mayan Movement will attempt to create a Mayan history that supports their current political goals and that this is as detrimental as the archaeologists who have tried to force-fit Mayan history into pre-existing archaeological worldviews.

I think it is on his blog that Normark discusses National Geographic as using ahistorical elements to portray featured groups as exotic or primitive in order to meet the expectations of their readership. He uses the example of using the term "warriors" rather than "soldiers" because the former carries a connotation of primitiveness and savagery. I find myself questioning this argument. It seems to me that "soldier" would to most readers suggest that the fighting force was organized into squads, platoons, companies, etc just like the military in their own country. Seems to me the best thing would be to try and find out how these fighters view themselves, and let their self-definition stand, with explicatory words for the reader.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:24 PM   #86
Blader54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac_elite View Post
Development tends to be successful when it is from within, small scale, and transformative. Record shows that micro to medium scale projects spawned from harvesting local knowledge, and adapting local skills to address community needs; especially when spearheaded by small women lead organizations have demonstrated a higher, and more sustainable rate of success. Here the success is measured by the community itself, where an individual is actually able to directly reap the benefit of their own implication in the development effort.
We are the caste system
That is a very nice presentation, and I agree, that real change is possible on a local level or even an individual level. We have to change the way we "see" development. And we have to change the way we see people.
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Old 11-07-2013, 09:49 PM   #87
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Meanwhile... in Antigua



We stayed three days in Antigua meandering its cobbled streets, regaling in local and international delicacies, even had a home cooked meal. Tomorrow we have an early wake up and we head for El Salvador, crossing at the most southern border point at La Hachadura. We had initially planed to cross further North and ride the ruta de las flores, a 40 km stretch that would take us to Juayua, but we got news that one of the main bridges to the border was out of commission due to recent storms.

On the note of storms, it is interesting to note that our last days of riding in the rain was between southern Washington and northern Oregon, not a drop since. We did have a couple of heavy thunderstorms one in Guanajuato, MX and the other in Puebla (with hail), but they happened when we were pleasantly enjoying a local barley beverages.

Sometimes timing is on your side.

Here comes the pics








I love the bikes against the city colors













La gente



















A colourful bus




This little guy was happy to see us





Doors and locks













Just like at home




The friendly Lucky




Angela was neatly tucked away





Churches and Arches

Day




Night













A few more











Thank you Antigua, tomorrow we ride




__________________
FEAR ===> False Expectation About Reality. GSA08
Work is just the time you have to spend between rides.

The motorcycle chronicles of Jackie & Valentino
The Southern Episode
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Old 11-07-2013, 10:05 PM   #88
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Right you are

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blader54 View Post
Working my way through the Normark piece, though it seems written for a specialist audience familiar with his terms of art, which I am not. But it did lead me to delve into the Maya movement. Seems that there is a group of indigenous people in Guatemala seeking to unify an array of indigenous peoples who can be defined by being both in a Mayan language group and by a history of discrimination practiced upon them by Ladinos and Europeans. I think that Normark is going to eventually say that there is a danger here that the Mayan Movement will attempt to create a Mayan history that supports their current political goals and that this is as detrimental as the archaeologists who have tried to force-fit Mayan history into pre-existing archaeological worldviews.

I think it is on his blog that Normark discusses National Geographic as using ahistorical elements to portray featured groups as exotic or primitive in order to meet the expectations of their readership. He uses the example of using the term "warriors" rather than "soldiers" because the former carries a connotation of primitiveness and savagery. I find myself questioning this argument. It seems to me that "soldier" would to most readers suggest that the fighting force was organized into squads, platoons, companies, etc just like the military in their own country. Seems to me the best thing would be to try and find out how these fighters view themselves, and let their self-definition stand, with explicatory words for the reader.

This is where this whole notion of authenticity comes into play, the hispanic couple sitting next to us at the restaurant said they wanted to taste authentic Guatemalan cooking and the lady asked her server what she suggested; her answer was:
-"toda la comida que servimos aqui es Guatemalteca", I don't remember if there were cheeseburgers or french fries on the menu, but I am pretty sure they would both have been "Guatemaltecas tambien".
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Old 11-08-2013, 07:51 AM   #89
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Authenticity....yes...an interesting subject. Perhaps the food at that restaurant, even if it had cheeseburgers and fries on the menu, could be termed "authentic food of Guatemalan restaurants whose intention is to attract tourist diners?"

I was once invited to have a business dinner with one of our managers and a group of clients. We went to a local chinese restaurant. Everyone began looking over the menus, perhaps trying to decide between General Tso's Chicken or Kung Pao. Our host, my manager, who was a Chinese-American, told us to put our menus down. He then carried on a somewhat lengthy conversation in Chinese with our waiter. When they finished talking the waiter collected the menus and departed. One of the clients asked him, "Kenny, what was that all about?". "Those menus are for white people," Kenny answered. "Chinese people never order from those menus. I want you guys to have real Chinese food, not that stuff on the menu." Was the meal that followed authentic? Well, Kenny grew up in the family home in Shanghai, so I have to respect that his satisfaction with the dishes that were served must serve as authentication, at least at that time and place.

In Anti-Hero's first ride report "Coast to Coast with an Italian Supermodel" he touches on authenticity as well. If I recall correctly, at one point in his journey he attended a Science Fiction Fan gathering, where seeing people who were not superheroes and did not have the bodies of superheroes wearing superhero costumes led him to muse on the concept of authenticity, and ultimately, again, if I recall correctly, the challenge to be authentic to one's self.

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Old 11-08-2013, 09:26 AM   #90
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Are tomatoes Italian?
Are potatoes Irish?
Is Chocolate Swiss or Belgian?
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