About Me

yo-por-la-cascada

I have been living in Mexico for over four years now (this was written in late 2008). Most of this time has been spent living in Ciudad Guzmán, a small city of about 100,000 people, which is the principal city in the region of the south of the state of Jalisco. For me, it has a great location, being midway between Guadalajara (the second largest city in Mexico), and beautiful Pacific coast, both about an hour and a half away, and is surrounded by hills, a large lake and two volcanoes. One of these volcanoes, the Volcano del Fuego (Fire), is the most active volcano in Mexico.

volcan-del-fuego

I have also lived in Cuernavaca for a year, where I worked for the Mexican Institute of Public Health, and have travelled extensively in Mexico, mainly in the centre and south. I have yet to find the interest and motivation to visit the north, especially with the recent wave of violence engulfing the northern states. The picture of me above was taken at one of the eight waterfalls at Las Pozas, an extraordinary surrealist garden and collection of buildings created by my fellow Englishman, Edward James, in the Huasteca region of the state of San Luis Potosi.

I am involved in four main areas of activity:

  1. As a ‘Profesor Honorífico’ at the regional centre of the University of Guadalajara based in Ciudad Guzman. Profesor Honorífico means that I give one class per term – in the Masters in Business Administration Programme – without being paid (though this is set to change soon), in return for which the University gives me an office, and use of the facilities, which means I get to hang out at the University. For a short clip of my recent teaching, see the video below.
  2. Working with local organizations, including the university, to set up and support social and environmental projects.
  3. As one of four investors in a business called TEFL Training Mexico, running four-week Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses which are internationally validated by Via Lingua.
  4. Continuing the consulting work I was doing in England and Europe before I came to live in Mexico in leadership, teamwork, organizational development and sustainable development.

In August 2011, I moved to the Peruvian Amazon in Pucallpa to become the Director of Intercultural Education of a newly formed NGO, Alianza Arkana, dedicated to helping preserve and strengthen the culture of the indigenous Shipibo Konibo people and protect their natural environment – the Peruvian Amazonian rainforest. See: http://www.alianzaarkana.org

32 comments so far

  1. Lupita Martinez on

    Felicidades Paul, empleaste muy bien tu tiempo, me parece que creaste un sitio interesante y ademas con tu estilo muy personal.
    Ese es mi amigo!!!!

  2. erika on

    hello there!
    My name is Erika and i was surfing the web and somehow came across your page, you see, i live in buena park california but i am leaving to ciudad guzman in a few days for the rest of the year. I would like to get in touch with you via email and maybe you can give me some pointers or advice on looking for a job down there. By the way, your blog is outstanding!! Thank you

    erika valdovinos
    erika31684@yahoo.com

  3. Ricardo Verde on

    Nice to meet you Paul. Here’s my email and if I am ever in Ciudad Guzman I will look you up. I didn’t have time to mention that I am an independent journalist, videographer, producer of films and documentaries and would be interested in your different projects, especially with youth. Perhaps there is an imporatant story there to be told. Most of my pragraming has been aired on public television in Taos but I am lookin to branch out from that limited audience. Comments and or suggestions? Paz Y Libertad

  4. Isaias on

    HOla Paul…

    Veo que tienes mucho entusiasmo en esto del blog… me gust mucho… y si lo que dices de nuestro trabajo en equipo… por lo del foro del campo sustentable.. si… no sabemos trabajar y compartir informacion… en fin.. ojala que logremos otro tipo de trabajo en lo del Rally… cuidate.. un abrazo… y nos vemos pronto…

  5. Rich on

    Paul: Great write-up. I was in Tzintzuntzan for Semana Santa in 2007. It was a great experience. I had previously been there once in July 2004. I am trying to go back this July. You can see some of my photos here: http://tzintzuntzan.shutterfly.com

  6. Jim Miller on

    Do you have any further info on the environmental and development projects you’re involved in (email me privately if you wish)? I’ve had quite a bit of business background and tried to get involved with a number of organizations when we moved to Guad ten years ago,but nothing worked out.

    Several years ago I was offered a position teaching business at Monterrey Tec here in Guad but in the end I declined it because the amount of work required was just not worth it.

    I do have an English language conversation class twice a week at a nearby seminary.

  7. paulrobertsmexico on

    Jim

    The main projects I am involved in are:

    1. An ecological rally with students at the University of Guadalajara here in Ciudad Guzmán.

    http://www.rallyecologicoguzman.wordpress.com

    2. A conservation project for turtles that I wrote about in this blog:

    https://livingandworkinginmexico.wordpress.com/2008/12/20/ixtapilla-turtle-sanctuary/

    3. An Asociación Civil in Ciudad Guzmán involved in the ecological park here:

    http://www.amigosdelparque.tk/

    4. Another Asociación civil charged with the management of the Natural Park of the Nevado de Colima:

    http://www.patronatonevadodecolima.org/index2.html

    I have also written two posts about aspects of this park:

    i)https://livingandworkinginmexico.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/parks-and-partnership/

    ii) https://livingandworkinginmexico.wordpress.com/2009/02/12/conservation-and-climate-change-at-a-local-level/

    Please write to me if you would to communicate more about any of this. You can also write to me at my email address
    surdejalisco@gmail.com

    regards Paul

  8. Moira Laidlaw on

    I and Robyn Pound are putting together a document to mark Jack Whitehead’s “retirement” (he says he’ll never really retire) from tenured employment in August. We are asking people to write up to 1000 words about their experiences of working with Jack. In whatever way suits you. You might want to write general urls or submit youtube video urls to accompany what you write. It’s up to you as well in whatever style you want to write. I hope you will feel able to contribute. Comments by 20th July please. Thanks. Moira

  9. jim johnston on

    Hi Paul, I’m enjoying your Peru posts–are there more photos of Iquitos?
    Also, if you’re inspired to weite about the ‘trip’ there, I’m sure I’m not the only one
    interested.
    Best wishes, Jim Johnston, Mexico City

  10. paulrobertsmexico on

    Jim, thanks for your comments. I was restricted in the number of photos I could take – which I need to change by at least buying another memory card for my camera!- but a friend I met on the workshop has some great photos of Iquitos as well as of the floods in the Cusco region, which Im trying to get hold of

  11. rudy on

    PAUL, I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU THAT I ENVY YOU BECAUSE I WAS BORN IN CIUDAD GUZMAN AND I WISH I HAD THE MEANS TO GO BACK TO LIVE THERE WITH MY FAMILY.

  12. Peggy Langdon on

    Wow!! I just dumbed onto you site, how wonderful! I live in a small village south of Guadalajara and north of Chapala called “Cedros”. My husband and I are the only Norte Americanos in the area and just love it.
    I just got back from the Michoacan coast scouting out places for a womens retreat with approximately 12 women. I really like the Parador Turistico Ixtapilla and did not run into any indigenous indian problems during my travels. Do you have any input on that area including Santa Maria de Ostula? Appreciate any info you may have…

  13. Federico Anguiano on

    Sir,
    My name is Federico Anguiano. I was born in Guadalajara in 1976 and migrated to Los Angeles when I was about 4 years old. Prior to my move to California I lived in Juquilpan, where my mother is from. I have spent the last 16 years of my life in the Army having spent time all over the United States as well as two tours in Iraq. As I approach the last few years of my career I have really started to think of a place to retire. i would love to ask you a few questions if its possible about the place where I spent the first 4 years of my life. Most of the people that we knew there are probably gone by now. Thank you very much.

  14. Margarita Luna on

    Hello Paul,
    My name is Margarita Luna, I was born in Guadalajara Jalisco . I found your site while looking for Eugenia Leon information, I am also a singer . Next week I will be performing in Guadalajara. I am not as famous as Lila Downs and Eugenia Leon, but I am doing my part to promote the same kind of music that they sing. Thank you for showing the world the positive side of my dear country Mexico. Gracias!!!

  15. Ricardo Vazquez on

    Saludos señor, no se como comenzar este comentario, pero bueno, la cosa es que conocí su sitio gracias a mi novia (maestra de la escuela primaria de la Becerrera) Cinthia, mi pregunta es si puedo tener alguna forma de contacto con usted? algún e-mail, saludos y gracias

  16. Paul Roberts on

    Hello Margarita

    Thanks for your comment on my blog

    Unfortunately I am going to the USA for nearly three weeks next Tuesday so will miss the chance to hear you sing in Guadalajara

    saluditos Paul

  17. Erica Almaguer on

    Hi,

    I accidentally found you blog and find it very interesting. My family is from Cd. Guzmán. I lived there when I was younger and I have been thinking of going back to live in Cd. Guzmán or Guadalajara. I read someone else’s post about getting some pointers about jobs out there. I would like to ask you the same favor. If you could give me some ideas of what type of jobs you think I should look for and in what fields. I have finished my education in the U.S., I have a B.A. in Cinema Television Arts but I am pretty much willing to do anything else that is not in my field. I know the first option that comes to mind is to teach english. I was thinking of going to school in Guadalajara to become a “perito Traductor”. I need some advise! I would really appreciate it!

    Thank you for your time,

    Erica Almaguer Chávez

    ericaalmaguer@hotmail.com

  18. Leonardo on

    Hello luke im doin some research on the veladas in huautla de jimenez and i found your comment in a blog. Im in san cristobal de las casas now, im from brazil where i do ayahuasca sometimes and i didnt even knew about nothing of these before last night. A random guy on the streets told me about all this and i cant stop thinking about it. So how was your journey? You could Hello paul im doin some research on the veladas in huautla de jimenez and i found your website. Im in san cristobal de las casas now, im from brazil where i do ayahuasca sometimes and i didnt even knew about nothing of these before last night. A random guy on the streets told me about all this. Is it easy to find ines? What about the other curandeiros in town? I could use any kind of information. I only have a few days left in mexico and im afraid i go all the way there and find nothing. Also, i know its not fresh mushroom season, you got to take them or the dried ones? Please id really appreciate any kind of information. Thanks in advance and best regards!

  19. paulrobertsmexico on

    Leonardo. To find Ines go up one of the hills to the Centro de la Cultura. She lives very near there. Ask people there where she lives. I think now you will only find dried mushrooms as you suggest. saludos y suerte Paul PS Im now living in Pucallpa, Peru

  20. berkeleywomenvote on

    Hi Paul,
    Thank you for posting this excellent blog! I have been researching one of the original settlers of California who was born in Ciudad Guzman in 1747, when it was Zapotlan el Grande. I was wondering if you could tell me the name of the oldest church in the city. I want to try to contact them to see if they have any information, and so far my internet searches have produced little information.
    Thanks!
    Daina

  21. paulrobertsmexico on

    Daine

    Im now no longer living in Ciudad Guzmán but in Pucallpa, Peru. I remember that the oldest church is the one on the other side of the road to the cathedral but I don’t remember its name. If I find out I’ll contact you. best wishes Paul

  22. Alan y Lynda on

    Hi Paul and Hi Everybody.
    We have been Mexican travellers for decades and for the last six years in semi-retirement we have been travelling Mexico by truck camper. A few years back enroute between Melaque and Guadaljara we made a side trip to Ciudad Guzmán to find the Orozoco (??) mural in the jardin. Well, we fell immediatley in love with Ciudad Guzmán and we have been back several times since. Now, we are starting to think of acutally buying a winter home in Mexico and we have primarly focused on Melaque and San Miguel de Allende. Thank-you Paul for getting us thinking about Ciudad Guzmán. We have been there already once this year and now we are thinking of a second trip to stay for a few days to really consider . . . is this a place where we can spend our winters? If anybody knows of an RV park or campgroud close to Ciudad Guzmán please let us know.
    Cheers.
    Alan y Lynda

  23. George Stetar on

    Hi Paul!
    Stumbled upon your blog today and found it very informative. I’ve traveled back and forth between Los Angeles and Cd. Guzman for nearly 14 years now and so happy to see that others feel the love that I do for this great city and it’s people. It would be a pleasure to meet you one day and learn more about your work at the university and new info on the city.
    All the best!
    George

  24. Zaitzev on

    Hi Paul, hey I used a photo of your blogg for a photoshop practice, thought you could have it since it’s your work.
    nekronatho@gmail.com

  25. Jennifer Keller on

    Hi Paul,
    I was wondering if it would be possible to e-mail you irectly to ask you some more questions about living in Cuidad Guzman rather asking them via the blog?

    Jennifer

  26. tim on

    Hi
    I’m visiting Guzman this July for 10 days – 2 adults, 2 kids. Any chance you still have connections there who could help me find an apt?
    Thanks

  27. George Stetar on

    Hi Tim,
    My friends (an elderly couple) live in Guzman where they keep a rustic one bedroom on top of their home which is where I stay when in Guzman. It’s clean and the the Mrs. is a great cook. They might be interested in renting short term if you’re interested in experiencing the real way of life. I can tell you more if you email me directly at george@stetar.com.

  28. Paul Roberts on

    Hi Tim and George. Thanks for your suggestion, George. My other suggestion would be to get in touch with Ignacio Gonzalez or Savannah Rae Stannard-Seda both of whom are at ICTC language school (you should be able to find this easily on the web) and ask them. They often know people who do short lets for their language students.

  29. Elana on

    We may be headed to Valle de Bravo this summer and are seeking a volunteer opportunity nearby while we are there. Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks!
    enwconsult@gmail.com

  30. CosmicDrBii on

    I am no longer living in Mexico and also don’t know this area well so I cant really advise you.

  31. Lane Morgan on

    Hello Paul,
    I wonder if you still are in touch with Juan Fett Molina, whom I hope to contact. My parents–Murray and Rosa Morgan– were close friends of his parents in the 1940s and after, and I have some letters and other materials he might want to see.

    If you could contact me by email, or pass mine on to Juan, I would appreciate it very much.

  32. manuel alvarez on

    hi there i grew up in california but my whole family is from ciudad guzman and i have been living there the past 5 years and i want to tell you you nailed it ,it’s a wonderful place with great weather and people. People misunderstand mexico to much and think it’s dangerous but most areas like cuidad guzman are not thank you for being in our country.


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