Category Archives: Photography

(Friday Fotos) Recoleta Cemetery – Buenos Aires, Argentina

In honor of Halloween, el Día de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead, closely associated with Mexico), and the Catholic Church’s All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day, today’s photo tour will take you on a brief trip through Recoleta Cemetery in the heart of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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Elaborate mausoleums line one of the cemetery’s tight corridors.

Recoleta Cemetery really is a site to be seen, for several reasons. First, there’s the history. The cemetery, which was the first public cemetery in Buenos Aires, was founded on November 17, 1822. Its grounds, which house between 4,800 and 6,400 vaults, depending on who you talk to, include the sacred burial places of major players in Argentine history: politicians, writers, military leaders, former presidents, sculptors, explorers, priests, athletes, and more.

Among the most famous is María Eva Duarte de Perón, or Evita, considered by many to be the nation’s spiritual leader. Continue reading

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Colombia + Rain + Football = Epic Adventure (with photos and videos)

Picking up where we left off in the ongoing saga of World Cup mania in Colombia, I had just bought tickets on the street to Colombia’s sold-out September 6th Qualifier against Ecuador. I bought the tickets literally a few hours before the game, and paid a hefty price.

Marcello's nursery school class on game day.

Marcello’s nursery school class on game day.

The purchase was dicey in two respects: 1) tickets are all too often found to be counterfeit, which can mean a colossal waste of money for the purchaser, and 2) my husband Gio had to work until just before the start of the game, which meant it would be no small miracle if we were able to arrive at the stadium on time. We made the leap anyway because we realized at the last minute that we would not be in Barranquilla during the remaining home World Cup Qualifiers. This would likely be our only chance to see our team — the number 3 ranked team in the world no less! — in action. It didn’t seem like an opportunity to miss.

So you can imagine our dismay when, just as we bolted out of the house to rush to the stadium, the storm clouds let loose.

The arroyo at the corner of CR 47, our street, and CL 85, the nearest cross-street. The wall that is submerged behind the tree is probably five feet tall.

The arroyo at the corner of CR 47, our street, and CL 85, the nearest cross street. The wall that is submerged behind the tree is four or five feet tall.

A torrential downpour just before a major sporting event is a problem in any city; it’s bound to cause traffic snafus. But in Barranquilla, a major downpour doesn’t just slow things down — it stops everything. This is because Barranquilla has no drainage system other than the streets themselves, which means the streets become whitewater rivers — called “arroyos” — that are capable of sweeping cars underwater and (sadly) killing people too. Gio and I donned plastic garbage bags in a (failed) attempt to stay dry and ran down the street desperately trying to hail a cab before the streets became impassable. With each step we took, the rain came down harder. We made it about two blocks from our house before the water began rushing down the street and over our shoes. At that point, we knew it was too late. Just when we decided to turn around and head home, and just when I thought it couldn’t rain any harder, it did. We were starting to feel waterboarded when we finally made it to the shelter of a nearby apartment building’s porch and a small store on the ground floor.

That’s when the fun really began. Continue reading

(Friday Fotos) World Cup Hootenanny – It’s Game Day!

Let me set the scene. At this very moment, I’m sitting at my desk in my fourth floor apartment a half block away from one of the most happening streets in the city, which has now been closed to car traffic. The intersection that I can see is filled with people in bright yellow T-shirts, and more are approaching from all sides. Never mind the storm clouds that are also gathering. Yellow, red, and blue Colombian flags stream from every building, and music pounds from monster speakers. This is Colombia, and this is all about the World Cup.

A local taste of what the World Cup is about to bring - and what B'quilla will bring to the World Cup!

A local taste of what the World Cup is about to bring – and what B’quilla will bring to the World Cup!

We’re in the middle of the “Selección” — the series of games that countries worldwide play in order to secure a spot in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. As you know from the post Fútbol, not Football, Colombia chooses to play its home qualifiers right here in Killa. The last time Colombia made it to the Copa Mundial, they played the home games in Barranquilla, so our fair city is considered good luck. Plus, rumor has it that the visiting teams can’t take the heat (literally).

I’m convinced the decision to play here also has to do with Barranquilleros’ extreme love of fútbol. Even in Colombia, a country with no shortage of fútbol aficionados, Barranquilleros rank at the top on the scale of devotion. For example, at all games of the national league, the  División Mayor del Fútbol Profesional Colombiano (Dimayor), the home team has a “barra” in the stadium end zone where the most die hard fans congregate. Barranquilla’s club, which is called Junior for reasons that nobody can explain to me, is the only team in Colombia that has two barras — one in each end zone. You’ll see what I’m talking about in the photos that follow. Continue reading

(Friday Fotos) Barranquilla’s Wildlife

What’s that you say? When you think of Barranquilla, “wildlife” is not the first thing that pops to mind? The association is a little bizarre. Barranquilla is the proverbial “concrete jungle,” but guess what? This particular concrete jungle does in fact have a few truly jungle-y inhabitants. Check out the below and you’ll see what I mean. And no, I did not take these pictures at the zoo – although the zoo here is pretty good. More on that later…. Happy Friday!

Mango? What mango?

"Look at that body... Ah... I work out...."

“Look at that body… Ah… I work out….”

Continue reading

(Friday Fotos) House Hunters International Take Two!

I knew it! You’ve been sitting around moping for the last three months because you missed our June debut on HGTV’s House Hunters International, Reconnecting family ties in Barranquilla, Colombia. Well, chin up, my friends because we’re back! Yep, we are officially a rerun. If you missed the show the first time, you can catch it this Saturday, August 24th at 10:30 PM and 1:30 AM Eastern/Pacific (click the above link for details).

To whet your appetite, below are a few screen shots of our TV during the June 10th airing. Apologies to all who were expecting some real, if amateurish, photography. I promise to do better next Friday. In the meantime, you can also check out these cool behind-the-scenes photos by Milena Thinkan, a member of the crew. If you watch on Saturday, you’ll get a pretty good sense of what Barranquilla is like these days. Thanks for tuning in, and happy Friday!

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(Friday Fotos) Minca: A Tiny Treasure in the Sierra Nevada

Minca – a tiny town perched in the highest coastal range in the world, the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta – is one of my favorite places to visit on Colombia’s Caribbean Coast. Minca has an artsy, communal spirit and a culture grounded strongly in the area’s indigenous roots. Minca is also a bird watchers’ paradise. True birders (think The Big Year) can take multi-day tours to scout out rare varieties; the rest of us can see some fairly spectacular feathered friends while enjoying lunch at Hotel Minca.

Coffee lovers, too, will find their home here. La Victoria – an organic coffee plantation dating back to the mid-1800’s – will show you how they grow, harvest, and process coffee through environmentally friendly, organic, and sustainable methods that use much of the original equipment. After you get your caffeine fill, you can take a hike or four-wheel-drive ride to a nearby waterfall for a swim. Finish it off with a frozen limonada or some Spanish tapas at a restaurant overlooking the lights of Santa Marta far below. If you’d like to make a night of it, rent a mountain cabin, or even just a hammock. You’ll have memories that will stick with you for years to come.

Logistics: Minca is about 30 minutes by taxi or 1 hour by bus from Santa Marta’s city center. Fidel Travels helped arrange our visit and got us to places that most 2 year-olds have never been. I highly recommend them! The folks at the Casa Loma Hostal were also incredibly helpful.

(Friday Fotos) Deliciousness: Colombia’s Eje Cafetero

If I try to describe my trip last weekend to the Eje Cafetero – Colombia’s “Coffee Axis” – using words like “enchanting” and “magical”, you’re going to groan.

Cocora Valley, as seen from just outside Salento.

Cocora Valley, as seen from Salento.

You’ll think that I’m just one of those tired travel writers who can’t be bothered to come up more descriptive words, or who wants you to believe that I am having amazing experiences no matter how mediocre the reality. Or worse, you may think I’m the realtor trying to entice you with a “charming and quaint” (read: terribly cramped and lacking any renovation since the turn of the century) apartment. Normally – my being a terrifically (read that adverb as you see fit) skeptical person – I would agree with you. But in this case, you’d be wrong. Continue reading