Why Autonomous Cars Will Never Take Us Home

I’m about thirty yards from the fire. The storefront is gone. Fire trucks are only now arriving – sirens screaming, red lights pulsating in the hot tropical night. Maybe it was a café. Not a store. Broken tables and chairs are strewn across the sidewalk. I go up on my tiptoes to see over the crowd, to see if there are bodies in the plaza, among the shattered glass and bricks.… Read More Why Autonomous Cars Will Never Take Us Home

Rice and Beans, Masato, Bad Potato Salad

A half hour out of Iquitos, a solitary cluster of stilt and thatched-roof houses came into sight. A narrow pathway continued to the houses, but Jorge cut the motorcycle’s engine and said we would walk the remaining hundred yards. Without the breeze from the zooming motorcycle, I was again aware of the oppressive tropical heat and the suffocating humidity. I also became aware of a new set of sounds: no longer the drone of the city, the honking, the shouting, the exchange of shipyard commodities. Now my ears were tuned to the laughter of small children, the barking of wary dogs, and the thrumming of a million equatorial insects.… Read More Rice and Beans, Masato, Bad Potato Salad

A Refugee in Cajamarca

I am about to share a pre-Lenten dinner with six strangers. They have welcomed me into their quarters, have set a place for me at their table. I’ve spent all day trying to reach them, trying to reach this very place.

Earlier in the day, riding in the back of a truck, I had closed my eyes, folded my arms around my knees, and let my head rest. The woman seated next to me had leaned into my ribs. I heard someone shouting from the roadside, and I sat up slowly…… Read More A Refugee in Cajamarca