Saturday, January 26, 2008

Ciao, Medellin!

Medellin is a burst of enthusiasm hidden in its seams of contemporary architecture, progressive art, experimental theater, and high ambitions for the future. Actually, this city is so ambitious, it has mastered a form of time travel. The local guidebooks for tourists denotes places like a butterfly house, aquarium, interactive exhibit, theaters, gardens, and other things that do not exist yet! Yet, this has not stopped us from enjoying our time here greatly. We have been occupying our time with free shows at the Lido teatro in Parque Bolivar. Their revenue encompasses events from ballet to african to Colombian Antioquia folk dance (check for insight). There are also jazz, concerto, mambo, and salsa concerts. We even caught a French anime flick. The local Metro has taken us from the MAM (Museo Artiste Moderno) to the Cisneros parque with luminated pillars and a majestic biblioteca. We walked among Botero´s voluptuous sculptures, and smelled the paint of Diego Rivera. There was live mariachi music at our tiny Palm Tree Hostel, and dancing in the Lido to African Contemporary Spanish drumming and choreography. We climbed the Nutibara Hill whilst admiring the 1983 Modern art installations, then slid back down on marble slides. We have footed across the city to lounge in the Parque de los Pies Descalzos (barefoot park) with bamboo forests, zen sand garden, artistic and interactive water fountains, foot jacuzi, and high beches to swing you feet while you rest! I was even infected with some tonsil eating virus, and Manuel labored over my every need for six days. Now that I am back on my toes, grimacing at Bull fights, and drinking champagn we are getting our bags zipped up and our bums on the bus again. I´ve added more to my pictures, so look again. Ciao-

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Me amor Medellin, Colombia

Medellin is fantastic. It has much of the beauty found throughout San Fransico (various patterns of cobbled steets and wide walkways, streetside venues, transit, hustle and bustle), yet cleaner, and full of a people unique to the Colombian ways. Everyone here seems to eat the same thing. We havent found one restaurant in Colombia that serves anything gringo. Everywhere is horribly embellished sweet pastries, deep fried cheese balls and empanadas, Fresh Jugo is easily available, but the popular meat is chorizo (a mix of pollo and carne res leftovers), eggs are prepared icky, and tipica soup contents are mysterious but nourishing. I am living off fruit and beans. Had an alergic reaction to suscreen (its getting close to summer and hard to stay away from direct sun), even though I finally found some ´hypo allergenic´stuff. After a couple days of suffering I gave in and bought some antihistamine and hydrocortisone cream. My lips are cracked, swollen, but itching less and less. My spoken spanish is improving rapidly. Still having trouble understanding people. I think this is mostly due to moving from region to region so frequently that my ear hasnt had time to define regional dialects.
Our journey from Cartegena led us first to Teganga. A beach community near Parque de Tyrona (which we never visited due to over pricing and the crowd of tourists flocking that way). However, it was the fates which led us there, as our bus took three times as long as it should have out of Cartegena. We didnt arrive in Santa Marta until after dark and thought it best to just find a hotel close by. As I hailed a cab a friendly face obstructed my vision and said "Are you headed to Tenganga?" With a look at Manuel I agreed, and off we went with two odd Norweigen folk. The hostel they had "booked" for the night (no one in central or south america holds reservations, they only tell you they are holding a room, and if your lucky, it is still there when you arrive. Your best bet is to call the morning you need a room, and hope that if someone checks out that day, the establishment will keep you in mind) had no room, so we met up with a local boy who walked us a couple km from town through the dark dirt road neighborhood of the locals. Women crossed in front of us with red buckets piled high with fresh fish on their heads, and children danced in the street holding dead fish by their tails. Artists sold their jewelry on the sidewalk, and eventually we came to our lodging. It was a thatched roof hut complete iwth mouse, and lo n behold, our amigos from the Stahratte, plus one Colombian New Yorker, were sitting outside drinking vodka-soda mixes. We all went out to eat (after doing some macreme with Irena) and then dancing at a live reggea show. It was a full and laughable evening. I hope to meet up with more friends along the way. Having familiar people around boosts our spirits and livens our moods.
We arrived in Medellin after a days journey from Teganga in the Carribean coast on January 12th at about 5:30 AM. We waited in the bus station until almost seven for the sun to rise, then failed to find the Metro and caught a cab to the central area where we found Hostel Odeon, which isnt really a hostel, but doubles as an hourly hotel for the local nightlife. It is situated off Parque Bolivar within easy walking distance to various teatros and the ongoing festival of lights on Calle del Playa. Spent the day exploring parques and trying to find the metro. This transport system in invariably like the SF Bart, but cleaner, cheaper, more efficient, with more art in the terminales. You can ride over the city center and enjoy impressive veiws of Cathedrals and glorious brick/sculpture architecture.
This morning we went to San Antonio Parque, situated near the museum housing numerous works by Botero (Mom, remember the copy of one of his paintings I gave you?). Posted within the whole area are many huge sculptures of his. Included here is a photo of one that survived a bombing durring the revolution. Botero insisted on it remaining intact in its current state to remind the citizens of the devestating violence and cost of war. To emphasize this point futher, an second installation of this same peice is juxtaposed. Later we went to the theater and saw a free showing of a French anime sci fi flick in spanish. Then we halled our bulsas to the Metro and transferred succesfully to the Suramericana area of Medellin. Here, there is Palm Tree Hostel. We are thinking of spending some time here in Medellin. It is a very exciting city, with great transit, daily street cleanings, very little touristas, a lot of art and theater, and now we have a kitchen.

My love to you all. Stay in touch! Im curious who reads this.....Light and bliss---

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Land ho! Cartegena

It took five nights over seas to reach our destination, Cartegena, from San Blas, Panama aboard the Stahlratte 40´ sailboat. Everyone (crew and passengers) were sick. The crew implied it was the worst journey in over twenty years. They had trouble steering the ship with rocking back and forth. What a ride! It took a full day to abort the plagued ship, check in with immigration, find hotel with affordable accomodation, and then retreive our passports which had been witheld till that evening (why!?) It was Dia Del Torro so town was festive- and packed. There were wonderful native dancers in a nearby Parque in El Central (Old town). More filthy cobbled streets, old colonial architecture crumbling under car exhaust, Mambo music, central squares of respite but a whole new territory to cover through South America. Our Hotel Familia has kitchen, so we are pleased. Today we move Norte towards Parque Nacional Tyrona on the Carribean coast. Small fishing villages, jungle, desert, and beahes. Finnally found some pretty string at a little friendly shop and am going to make sea shell things for sale, hopefully. Maybe earn our air ticket to Buenas Aires that we cant afford!

Congratulations to Cynthia and Pedro on their new little Neva child!

And all my love to Grandpa- who passed on this January the the 28th at 10pm. I love you. I miss you. May you rest peacefully- and journey safely by my side. Adventure for adventure. Playing bones on the sands of distant seas--Your gonna love it!