Saturday, September 22, 2012

what I think

it is funny-  when you travel you never know what you are going to get- and sometimes the places you expect the most of deliver the least... as I think I said in a Bolivia post- I actually had always wanted to see Bolivia but wasn't all that fired up about Colombia. Pretty much I went to get to Bolivia.

but Colombia had a diversity of sights that made it a much better trip than I expected, as I mentioned- the musuems of Bogota (espcially the GOLD Museum- which is world class) were super...Bogota itself - was a surprise in a good way- I would definitely put it on the list to visit again- maybe bring Phil- lots ot see and do and good food as well - a world class capital city...

but as we traveled along the Caribbean coast I was struck by the desire to be in Cuba rather than here.  In Colombia there are many poor people living in the coastal areas (no need to really have houses or pay for heat etc...) and honestly much of the area is a pigsty of garbage- in Cuba (along the coast outside of Havana - as we traveled to Cienfuegos and Trinidad) they also were poor people with little to call their own but they did not have yards full of garbage- there was pride in the places they lived no matter how humble that I didn't see in Colombia. 

I wondered if it had something to do with the vast spread of wealth that Colombia has (which Cuba has less of but for a very small minority of "connected" people) - in Cartagena for instance in the Miami Beach style neighborhood of Bocagrande people lived in luxury high rises for costs virtually unimaginable to the bulk of our "relatively" wealthy American group.  I don't exactly know but I can say I wondered why people who were unemployed couldn't be bothered to take some of that time they had on their hands to clean up their yards and pick up trash along the roads...

I said to our Texas couple "where is Ladybird Johnson when you need her?"  This is learned behavior- when I was young we had roads with litter strewn along the sides but then Ladybird had a big public campaign to Beautify American and stop littering.  And I thought of Rudi Giuliani who started his clean up of NYC with graffiti busters.  Colombia is emerging from dark times and I wish it success in developing tourism and my first two suggestions - are clean up the trash and make the walled city taxi free... everyone gets their two cents - that is mine...

now some final photos that I liked but that didn't fit into the narrative along the way-

the bird lived in the back courtyard of the Bantu, the coverlet is from the bed there and the courtyard in the evening light is the middle courtyard of the Bantu. and finally I just like the lines and colors of the closeup view of an old town home...

and because it was my number one choice of memories to take home- a few more photos from the amazing Gold Musuem:

so that is the story of Bolivia and Colombia- up next - a week of theater, food and fun with friends...then off to see friends in Copenhagen and on to Helsinki and Stockholm after as I always say- Watch This Space...Coming Soon....LOL

Safe Travels everybody!

final day of cartagena

early on our last morning we walked to the "regular folks" neighborhood of Getsemani and while more of a range of housing levels than the old town - it mostly seemed up and coming to me...

 the entrance to the old town from the outside
I couldn't have gotten this one if I tried!  


then on to the Fortress San Felipe- where several opted out of the climb in the noonday sun at 98* and 99% humidity - BUT- Jairo had water if we needed it... we looked so bedraggled he had taken pity on us at this point and right around the corner from the photo above got us to a stop for beers and sodas (his treat!)

from there we headed to the water to see the city from that view:


including the quickly disappearing eco-system for the waterfowl and wildlife-

one more post on final thoughts and miscellaneous photos and we will end our trip.  Good thing- because in the upcoming week we have one night at home - theater, Chicago Gourmet, a meal long awaited at Goosefoot (reservations three month out and a wait list) a birthday party for our friend Arno, a dinner party here for friends, a couple of "business" related lunches and in ten days we are off to Scandinavia!

a view from above

later in the morning of our city tour, we walked to the school to visit with the kids and after we were done there, we came outside and there was a bus waiting for us- with AC! yea!

we rode to the top of the highest hill near Cartagena and walked up to a convent where there were great views of the city below and also a lovely photogenic courtyard and a small museum. (experience the serene beauty of the hilltop La Popa Convent, which honors La Virgin de Candelaria, Cartagena's patron saint, and offers sweeping vistas of the city.)

Our discoveries continue with a visit to Bocagrande, a modern hub of activity situated between Cartagena Bay and the Caribbean. Bocagrande is known for its restaurants, shops, beaches, and sophisticated flair. One of its quieter neighborhoods is the residential Castillo Grande, which boasts of some of the most stunning water views, as we’ll discover today during a panoramic tour. We'll also visit an emerald workshop to see items made from this gem, for which Colombia is famous. OK - we stuck close enough to the itinerary that I didn't need to do my own narrative- LOL

Regroup late this afternoon for a ride on a traditional chiva, a rustic, but vibrantly painted bus. We’ll be joined by some live musical entertainment, which will make our ride all the more memorable. And it was memorable- the Chiva (which I called the chicken bus- is actually named the goat bus for the same reason--- what gets carried on the roof in the traditional rural use of the buses...)

we meet the bus near the city walls

a brief storm brings rainbows... as we ride around the city yelling Ola! to pasersby--- and our band plays local and traditional music...

the following day ten of the group go to the Rosario islands to relax and swim- six of us opt out and do our own thing... I dragged Kimo around for some photography where I didn't have to fight to keep people from stepping into the picture to "get their special shot" LOL and Kimo went off to the torture museum while I took more photos... being a two time skin cancer survivor I am very careful about sun exposure... everyone was happy with their choice of activity and we all ended up at one of three home hosted meals to end the day at "leisure"

street vendors

like everywhere- there are vendors for locals and vendors for tourists- in this post I have photos of both the old town vendors and ones we saw outside the old town walls in the neighborhood of Getsemane. 


chinese food anyone?

next up - the view from above and lovely monastery pictures---