Category Archives: Photography

(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….”

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(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

Visualizing the Future in Puerto Colombia

Colombia has its skeptics.

On the one hand, most of the official news about Colombia these days – and for the past several years – is extraordinarily optimistic. Despite the worldwide recession, Colombia’s economy contracted only slightly at the end of 2008 before returning to modest gains. Last year’s 4% GDP growth exceeded the central bank’s forecast. In May of this year, Colombia ousted Mexico from its #3 position in the list of Latin American and Caribbean countries with the most foreign direct investment (Brazil is far and away number one, with Chile coming in second).  Last year, Medellín was named “Innovative City of the Year” in a global contest sponsored by the Wall Street Journal Magazine, Citi, and the Urban Land Institute. Just over a week ago, former President Álvaro Uribe – who, during his 2002 to 2010 time in office, led successful offensives against the FARC and ELN guerrilla groups – was voted “greatest Colombian in history” in a poll sponsored by the History Channel and the newspaper El Espectador.

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But for every hopeful account of Colombia’s present condition, there are those who would beg to differ. Continue reading

Divinely Human: Barranquilla’s 200th Carnaval (A Photographic Retrospective)

DSC00172In some ways, Carnaval is all about dressing up in outlandish ways — either to hide our true selves in order to temporarily be someone we’re not (and perhaps give ourselves permission to indulge in ways that we normally wouldn’t), to allow a usually buried part of our personality to take the stage, or to simply revel in the joie de vivre of life’s excesses, good and bad. And yet, even with all the feathers, the makeup, the glitter, what shines through most is our humanness, our oneness, our inherent beauty. So without further ado (at this point, I recommend cueing up “Human” by the Killers as your viewing soundtrack), I present you with a few of the faces, a few of the people — a few of all of us — who made Barranquilla’s 200th Carnaval an experience to remember. Continue reading

Prepare Yourself… This is Big

IMG_1218Something big is coming to Barranquilla. Very big. Bigger than Christmas. Bigger than New Year’s. Bigger than Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Bigger than the World Cup – oh wait, not as big as that. No one can compete with fútbol. But big. Very big.

It’s Carnaval – the traditional celebration that comes at the end of the church season of Epiphany and just before the belt-tightening of Lent. Continue reading

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Café en la Calle

Café en la Calle

Just about anywhere in B’quilla, you can get a cup of coffee right on the street. Vendors wheel carts with several thermoses. Using a wooden paddle like the one you see here, vendors can prepare several cups, large and small, at once. There’s milk and sugar to add in and you can get a pancito (small piece of bread) too. Who needs Starbucks anyway!

Barranquilla’s Pretty Birds

I have no idea what kind of birds these are, but they are very lovely.

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