04 April 2011


From Tuesday to Friday this week I was in Seattle to present some of the findings from my research in Bolivia at the Society for Applied Anthropology Conference.  I flew out Tuesday afternoon after a half day of work and arrived there at 11 pm.  I couch surfed in Seattle, meaning I stayed at an apartment of a person who had a spare couch.  I had found the person through the couch surfing website about a month before leaving and we arranged everything through the website.

The next morning I got up early to take the bus to the conference and I spent the rest of the day attending presentations on applied anthropology (using anthropology for development or other purposes) and presenting my own findings. I'm happy to say our session went very well and I think my research appealed to a lot of people who attended. The rest of the presentations I attended gave me an interesting introduction into the American world of anthropology - some speakers were extremely dry, others quite interesting; some reminded me of the earlier days of anthropology and others seemed very cutting edge.  All in all, I found that there are actually quite a few people out there that think along the same lines as me - meaning that indeed I'm not crazy.  I'll post later this week on the content of my presentation.

After the sessions were over, around 5 pm each day, I had a chance to see a little bit of Seattle, guided by my host in Seattle.  We saw the University of Washington campus, which is beautiful, and of course Pike's Place market.  I never did see them throwing the fish, but it was cool to see the market and the first starbucks.  Living up to reputation, it was overcast the entire time I was there, but the weather was actually pleasant. A lot warmer than Boston at least. Except for Friday the only rain I saw was just a mist - what Venezuelans call 'rain that makes the foolish man wet' (because the fool doesn't realize that bit by bit he's getting wet until finally he's drenched).

On the last day, I left the conference around noon to take the flight back to Chicago and then Boston.  Thanks to the relatively short hours of the Boston transit system and the relatively expensive taxi system, I was stuck at the airport from 1:30 am when I arrived to 5:30 when the trains started running again.

All said, I had a great time in Seattle, it's a nice place to visit and I met a lot of anthropologists who are doing interesting work.

One of many libraries at U Washington

The famous cherry blossoms on U Washington Campus

View from Pike's Place Market

View of downtown Seattle

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