I got back to Arivaca yesterday. I am still finding it very difficult to connect to the internet. I gave up last night after trying for three hours without any positive results. I need to get a new ISP. Other than bad internet access the ranch in Arivaca is still the Garden of Eden. That is if Adam and Eve grew mesquite beans and prickly pear.
I had a great time on my trip to London. I ran into an awful lot of interesting people both new and old. I saw alot of old friends I did not expect to see. I thought they would have left SOAS by now. I am still the only person from my contingent of history Ph.D. students (starting date 2002) that has completed the degree. So I managed to run into half of the other members of our group. I also met with my supervisor for about an hour. He gave me some good advice and wished me luck.
The conference itself went well, although as the only historian, indeed only person from the humanities, I felt a bit out of place. My paper went well. I roped in some of my friends to come see my presentation so I would not be merely addressing policy wonks from NGOs, IFIs and other acronyms. Thanks alot to James, Valentina and Abdulhadi for showing up for my talk.
I am still digesting the information from the other papers and presentations. But, I will have more to post on issues of cotton in Central Asia later, provided I can get online. Among other things I will be writing about are migration, child labor, fair trade and the role of women in the cotton economy of the region. It will probably take a couple of weeks before I manage to cover all of these topics.
I will also have some posts on the contrast between urban London and rural Arivaca. I love both localities for different reasons. Urban and rural life both have distinct advantages and disadvantages. Suburban life on the other hand has all the disadvantages of both and none of the advantages of either. You have to make choices in life. If you try to have everything you will end up with nothing.
Finally, thanks to everybody for making me welcome again in the greatest city in the world. Special thanks go out to Djene for the Turkish coffee and narghile on Saturday. An even bigger thanks goes out to Abdulhadi for the great party he hosted at Casa Blue on Friday night. Thanks alot, Habbash I really appreciated it. I hope to get to London and see everybody again sometime soon. Until then best of luck to everybody and stop on by the ranch if you are ever in the Gadsen Purchase region of Arizona.