Thursday, July 15, 2010
Maps, maps, maps
The interviews are going quite well. We [me and my assistant] already had a series of interesting conversations with people from the local university, and at regional government, where I was invited for a fishing trip -fingers crossed. For next week, we already have a series of promising interviews lined up. Architects, geographers, water-engineers, historians, surveyors, many people are willing to talk to us, somewhat cautiously, but friendly and helpful.
What proves much more difficult, is finding plans, old and new, and, even more basic, maps. It eludes me why Soviet maps and plans are so important, but that seems to be the implicit statement here. One of the few specimens I found, simply on the web, is the one posted here, American- made, dated 1963. It shows a landscape that clearly predates the agricultural reconstruction of the 40s and 50s; in other words, it is completely wrong. Caravan routes are indicated, desert boundaries that had changed drastically by then, and the new settlement pattern in the irrigated areas is simply not there. Secrecy now and then. But, maybe more things will show up. We'll see. As long as looking around and talking to people can give me a decent understanding of landscape change and organizational change, no drama.
[In the garden, amidst rotting apricots, a huppoo -a beautiful bird, that is. Other than this one, and a few terns hovering over irrigation canals, I didn't see too many birds. Maybe I should look better, and, first of all come out more]