Ballroom Pics

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Wrapping It Up.

Published January 16th, 2012

I was an avid reader from a very young age. This characteristic was fostered by a mom who was also a very avid reader. We didn't have a lot of money but the library was free and used bookstores were cheap.

It used to be that when paperback books didn't sell the covers would get torn off and returned to the book publisher for credit. Sometimes however, these damaged books somehow got misrouted and ended up on the 2nd hand book market floating from used book store, to yard sale to flea market and perhaps back to bookstore again.

When I was about 10 years old I found one such book. Who knows how long it resided on its dusty shelf before I happened upon it? It was old, and although it had been published long ago it was not in bad condition - the cover not withstanding. The book's subject was travel. It was chance that I stumbled upon it. While my reading interests were diverse I usually haunted the used bookstores for science fiction, fantasy and adventure novels. On the sci/fi-fan ...

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In The Morning

Published January 3rd, 2012

...I packed my backpack and walked the jungle trail back to the village in order to take the panga back to Big Corn Island.

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Shadows (Night Photography #1)

Published January 3rd, 2012

I had arrived to the island at the tail end of rainy season. For most of the nights that I was there the stars were not viewable. On my final night the clouds broke and the sky consisted of a combination of remaining clouds, stars and the moon.

I was restless and could not sleep. The next day I would be leaving Little Corn Island for Big Corn Island for one more night and then on to Managua to fly back to Kennedy Airport. I sat up for awhile on the outside deck of my Casita staring off towards the ocean. I then gathered my camera equipment and took several night shots. I did not have with me the equipment necessary for really great night shots. However, given the limitations of what I had with me I am satisfied with the results.

Around midnight I got up and walked down to the beach. A few minutes later a beautiful naked girl went wandering down the beach in front of me. She giggled said hello and I said good evening and she went on her way. However, what a great way to finis ...

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Coconut Trees

Published January 3rd, 2012

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View from the Casita

Published January 3rd, 2012

In the mornings, this was the view I woke up to.

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Jungle

Published January 3rd, 2012

The path connecting Derek's Place with the village. It is about a 25 minute walk between the village and Derek's in landscape that looks much like this.

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After The Storm

Published January 3rd, 2012

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Stunning View

Published December 30th, 2011

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Sign In The Village

Published December 29th, 2011

I should have asked about the specifics of of the story behind the story-teller. Is there actually someone on the island who is making their living as a modern day storyteller? I don't know.

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Morning Coffee

Published December 29th, 2011

Tom Oneal, one of the other guests at Derek's, enjoys his morning coffee while looking out towards the ocean. Back in the USA Tom is an organic farmer. This is his slow time of year at the farm in Tennessee which enables him to travel to distant places.

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Derek relaxes with a book at Derek's Place

Published December 29th, 2011

Taken at the edge of the dining room in the morning.

Speaking of dining...

Dinner at Derek's is great. There's no menu. Derek cooks and you eat. I ate at Derek's at least 3 of the 5 nights that I stayed there. The food was always very good. Everyone eats together. With many different people at the same table there is opportunity for varied conversations and chances to get to know other guests and the staff.

Dinner is in the vicinity of 8pm and people float in and sit down at the table slightly before then. The meal is placed on the table and everyone waits until Derek sits and he explains what has been prepared...and then everyone serves themselves.

I got to know Derek, Justin, Bree, Deborah who work there and Pam and her son Tom who were the other guests. Everyone was very interesting to talk to.

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The Miss Cherry

Published December 29th, 2011

..travels along the coast of Little Corn Island probably with tourists on board who are going for a pleasure ride or to a snorkeling location.

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Back at Derek's

Published December 29th, 2011

Bree takes Lola for a swim.

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On another part of the Island...

Published December 29th, 2011

...I came to some new construction. I have never traveled to the Caribbean before. What I consistently hear from others is that Little Corn Island is what places such as Saint Bart and Martinique and the Bahamas were like - when there were few hotels and little development.

I know nothing about the place pictured below.

I hope that the Corn Islands remain unspoiled. Human nature being what it is, I don't hold much hope. I know that a number of the existing hotel operators keep wanting to add more rooms. I am not referring to Derek's, Farm Peace and Love or Ensuenos...which are places I've talked about elsewhere in the blog and in Derek's case in spite of having a significant piece of land he has opted to remain a small operation. When Derek opened more than 10 years ago there were only two other places to stay on the island.

Now there are at least 12 hotels on an island that is only 1.1 square miles. One additional hotel is being built which will be intending to charge $400.0 ...

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An example of the artwork...

Published December 29th, 2011

...at Ensuenos.

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Ensuenos

Published December 29th, 2011

On the Grounds of Ensuenos there is artwork and there are some cabins.

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Totem

Published December 29th, 2011

On the north end of the island there are, to my knowledge, three sets of accommodations on the beach. They are Derek's Place, Farm Peace and Love and Ensuenos. Each having a different character.

Ensuenos, meaning dreams in Spanish, is populated with carvings and other artwork created by Ramon Gil the proprietor. This carving marks the entrance to Ensuenos.

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Farm Peace and Love

Published December 29th, 2011

A little ways down the beach from Derek's is Farm Peace and Love. In addition to being an operating farm they have accommodation for guests and they run a small restaurant in which Paola prepares traditional Italian meals.

I didn't get an opportunity to eat there, but they do have a reputation for good food. They also have an internet connection that one can rent by the hour.

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Bing Crosby

Published December 29th, 2011

This gentleman's name is Bing Crosby Downs. He, along with his wife Paola, is one of the owners of Farm Peace and Love and, I believe, the builder of the windmill pictured two frames down. I had stopped by Farm Peace and Love in order to rent their internet connection. While I was waiting for Bing's wife Paola to bring out the laptop I asked Bing if I could take his picture.

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Renewable Energy

Published December 28th, 2011

This windmill generates energy for Farm Peace and Love. And, as may be obvious, the windmill is homemade. I believe that Bing Crosby Downs (pictured above) built the windmill and that he is an electrician and master mechanic.

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Coastal Waters

Published December 28th, 2011

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Monkey

Published December 28th, 2011

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Two locals.

Published December 28th, 2011

These two boys called to me as I walked past. They called La Photo La Photo and they waited for me to take their picture.

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Nicaraguan Home In The Jungle

Published December 28th, 2011

This is a home that I passed in the jungle every time I walked between Derek's Place and the village. The ocean is just beyond the house.

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Coastline

Published December 23rd, 2011

Sometimes there's not a lot to write about the picture. It's just enough to show what I saw.

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Pam and Deborah

Published December 23rd, 2011

Pam is a guest on the island. She is the lady in the blue top.

Deborah is the dive master for Derek and she's from England. She's not wild about having her picture taken so I limited myself to this one shot.

She has an amazing and interesting story of self-driven change. For many years she was a nurse. She loved the work but not the politics of medicine in England. A personal event in her life, unrelated to her work, led her to take a vacation far away from home. During that vacation she was introduced to SCUBA diving and sailing. It changed her life.

Upon her return home, she sought her dive certifications and took it upon herself to learn sailing more in depth. All this while working and completing her masters program in nursing. She obtained a boat and sailed around the world. She has left nursing behind and now lives her life as a dive master for hire traveling to various remote locations for short periods of time, subject to work visa requirements I believe, and then m ...

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The Others

Published December 23rd, 2011

This is Justin and Bree. They're a couple and they are working at Derek's. Justin is a carpenter and Bree is teaching Lola (and Lola's brother as well although he was away during my visit). On this particular day they had put on the war paint from clay taken from the banks of the island.

They are both very cool people. I had several opportunities to talk with them during dinner as everyone at Derek's eats together. I think they are a new couple. From what I've seen they are very well suited to each other. I hope it works out for them.

And Little Corn Island...what a place to have a romance!

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Lola

Published December 23rd, 2011

This is Lola.

Lola is not a guest. She lives full time on Little Corn Island and is the daughter of Derek and Ana the owners of Derek's Place. Initially shy on my first day there she turned into a chatterbox by the 2nd day.

Very precocious. At 7 years old she is already fully fluent in Spanish and English. It helps of course that her mother is from Spain and her dad is from the USA. Most of the people that live on the island that I met are also at least bilingual. However, with many of them I had to concentrate slightly to understand their English. Not so with Lola.

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Lola, Justin

Published December 23rd, 2011

The little blond headed girl is named Lola. She is Derek's daughter. Although not obvious from the picture I believe that Lola is being encouraged by Justin to brush her teeth. A careful observer might note that it appears as if Justin has three hands and four legs. Standing immediately behind Justin is Justin's girlfriend Bree.

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Previously, On Lost

Published December 21st, 2011

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Sailing Ships and Freighters

Published December 21st, 2011

It is possible in Central America to travel very cheaply, albeit slowly, by freighter ship. I did not do this, but I met another traveler who had done it several times and was actually shipping out on this freighter with his girlfriend the night this picture was taken.

The way its done is this, you walk up to the boat, ask to speak to the captain. The captain will then tell you whether or not he'll let you ride with him and how much. The going rate in Nicaragua is $17.00 US. There is no haggling. The price is the price.

You do not get a cabin. What you get is an opportunity to string up your hammock in the cargo bay. You are expected to bring your own hammock. The traveler I met said the first time he did this mode of travel with his girlfriend she was ready to break down and cry and was convinced they were going on board to be killed. Apparently the first ship they got on didn't inspire confidence from a physical soundness of the ship point of view either. However, she con ...

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Boats at Anchor

Published December 21st, 2011

A view of the harbor from the village.

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Toting Rocks

Published December 21st, 2011

Here's how construction materials are delivered to their final destination. And, BTW, the average Nicaraguan is very physically fit.

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Construction Materials

Published December 21st, 2011

When there is a need for stones for masonry they are delivered by boat, left on the wharf and then hand loaded onto a cart and pushed/pulled to wherever it is needed on the island.

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The Approaching Storm

Published December 21st, 2011

I went into the village for lunch and saw that there was a storm approaching. This shot is a great composition, its unfortunate that its slightly out of focus. Nonetheless, the clouds are impressive.

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Casita

Published December 20th, 2011

Here is where I stayed. The thatched hut sits on four tree trunks, one at each corner, and the floor is about 6 feet off the ground. The interior consists of a double bed, shelves, a private toilet and a 'shower' which is actually a dousing barrel which does have a tap but also collects rain water. The shower is at the very back end of the Casita and is enclosed with walls but does not have a roof.

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Nor are there any...

Published December 20th, 2011

buildings visible in the opposite direction.

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And no succession of ...

Published December 20th, 2011

...high rise buildings along the shore!! Just the jungle and the Caribbean.

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Waking Up

Published December 20th, 2011

Having arrived in the pitch black night during a storm I had little idea what the place I was staying at looked like. In the morning, I awoke after a very comfortable sleep, stepped out onto my outside deck and saw the following...

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A Walk In The Dark.

Published December 20th, 2011

A plane ride to Big Corn followed by a boat ride is how I arrived, actually its the only possible way to arrive, to Little Corn Island. The boat ride is an adventure in itself, including three meter waves.

Upon arrival to Little Corn I collected my gear and walked off the wharf where I was approached by Risdale. He asked me if I knew where I was going and whether or not he could guide me there for a tip. I knew that Derek's was half hour walk through the jungle, I did not know which path to take so I agreed. On our way to Derek's we encountered Justin and Bree who were actually on the lookout for me. They let me know that there was no dinner to be had at Derek's that night and that I might want to eat in the village first. Risdale has a comedor, which is Spanish for a small restaurant. I ate at Risdales and had a great meal. Very well prepared lobster tails and sides for about 11 USD.

At this point it was raining and very dark out. My one moment of doubt in this whole proc ...

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Managua, the 2nd day.

Published December 20th, 2011

I was only doing an overnight in Managua. I had a flight the next day to take me from Managua to Bluefields and then onto Big Corn Island. A tourist took the below picture of me at my request. The plane in the background is what I flew on to get to Big Corn. I had this picture taken for my friends Mike and Bob, both of whom are into airplanes.

Mike is an avid amateur pilot and Bob is a professional pilot.

It has been years since I flew in a twin prop plane.

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Hotel Naranja, Inside Dining Room

Published December 20th, 2011

Hotel Naranja had been a private home. The owner converted it to a hotel about five years ago.

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The End of The Path...

Published December 20th, 2011

The end of the stepping stone path shown in the prior picture (below this post) ends at this patio/breakfast room. The room is enclosed on three sides. The fourth side, where I'm standing when I took this picture, is actually the jungle looking path shown two pictures below.

In the morning this is where I took my breakfast. The setup for my breakfast is actually in the picture on the table nearest on the right.

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Managua

Published December 20th, 2011

I knew very little about Managua. Usually in USA fictional films it is not depicted too nicely. With all the other countries I had visited I had had ample opportunity to investigate ahead of time. Nicaragua was a last minute addition. No homework done ahead of time.

As Nicaragua was the last country I was visiting before returning to the USA and I did not have time to investigate what the real safety issues were I did not waste any time trying to find a bargain hostel/hotel in Managua. I went to tripadvisor, was satisfied with the reviews of Hotel Naranja (Hotel Orange) in Managua and booked with them. It was the most expensive night I spent in my travels. A blazing $99.45 USD for a night.

Most of my trip I stayed in places that were usually $20-$30 USD per night. Occasionally I stayed in a hostel dorm at ~$10 per night. In Managua, due to lack of knowledge, I didn't mess around. I also arranged for a car from the hotel to pick me up. It was a half hour trip between the a ...

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Buenos Aires Redux / How I ended up in Nicaragua

Published December 20th, 2011

After three days in Montevideo I was ready to go. There are however a limited number of places that one can fly to, from Montevideo. I returned to Buenos Aires and performed my next and final round of planning. Buenos Aires has an international airport from which you can fly to many places.

I sat in a cafe, sipping wine and deciding where to go next. Initially I was deciding between Columbia and Chile.

I ended up in Nicaragua.

Before I had left the USA I had begun to read many independent traveler blogs. One of the best that I read for South American travel was that of Megan Lyles. Megan is a New Yorker who, with her boyfriend, traveled from New York to Buenos Aires overland in 2006. Megan diligently blogged their experiences and her boyfriend Michael (a pro photographer) photographed them. It ended up being a source of information for me on more than one occasion.

In addition to being intrepid travelers they also are good people. They were still in the USA but enroute to ...

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Montevideo, Plaza Independencia

Published December 20th, 2011

I decided to visit Montevideo, Uruguay because it is just a ferry ride from Buenos Aires. I spent three days there. I walked the coastline, watched a local parade of Candombe troupes, visited the old city and utilized Montevideo's internet cafe's to catch up on my blogging. Uruguay was one of the few places I visited where the internet cafes had fast connections.

It was a major boost to me catching up on the photoblog. At that time I was still writing about Peru - which was two countries ago. Now that I am back in the states I am writing about Argentina and Uruguay.

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Montevideo, Banks of the Rio Del Plata

Published December 20th, 2011

This is Pocitos Beach in Montevideo. The water that you see is the river Del Plata. The beach is very polluted. I walked along the edge of the water and saw piles of broken glass, condoms, and other unrecognizable but clearly man made objects.

Nonetheless, some people did swim. It wasn't for me.

The entire beach has an atmosphere about it as if perhaps it was at one time a big deal place to go to swim and to enjoy the summer. I feel that I came along at the tail end of it being a usable beach...at this point mostly just for sunbathing.

In 2006 Uruguayan authorities determined that the Punta Carretas pipeline that discharges partially treated sewage into the ocean 2.6km away had leaks close to shore which were raising the pollution levels along the shoreline as well as creating toxic algaes in the Rio Del Plata. In 2010 they began to utilize a flagging system at the beaches to let beach goers know when pollution levels are higher than usual.

The Punta Carretas has not been r ...

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Mate (Ma-tay) Accessories

Published December 20th, 2011

Mate is made from yerba mate leaves. It traditionally is served in a calabash gourd along with a steel straw. Drinkers often carry thermoses with them to keep hot water at the ready to be able to feed their need for mate at any moment.

Consequently, there are stores and kiosks that specialize in mate accessories. This kiosk as at the edge of the old city in Montevideo.

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Mate (Ma-tay) Drinker

Published December 20th, 2011

Sorry for the low quality photo. Its a crop of a much larger photo. The silver rod sticking out of the mate cup is not a stirrer. The closest thing we have in English is the straw. However, this is not to be thrown away after one use and it is made specifically for mate. The bottom has a flared shape and has perforated holes on it to filter out mate leaves.

I suspect Uruguayans have a mate addiction the way Americans have a coffee addiction. Uruguayans however take their mate addiction to an additional level. They carry around with them all day the mate cup for preparing and drinking the mate along with a thermos for keeping a ready supply of hot water. They periodically replenish the hot water at various restaurants or convenience stores throughout the day.

Mate is also drunk heavily in Argentina, Paraguay and Brazil...but nowhere else did I see the profusion of mate drinkers as I saw in Uruguay.

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Uruguayan Candombe

Published December 20th, 2011

This is another one of those posts where if you click the title the article will open up and show you additional photos of the dancers and drummers.

A Candombe performance consists of mulata dancers, three mythologic characters and a cuerda. The Candombe performances I saw were done in parade fashion. At the front of each Candombe group there are first the mulatas, then the mythologic characters and then the cuerda.

The mulatas are a group of female dancers that dance in a syncrhonized manner with each other keeping time to the music of the cuerda. The word mulata refers to a female of mixed ethnic heritage - usually with one black parent and one white parent. I do not know if there is a racial requirement to be mulata in order to perform with a group of mulata dancers in conjunction with Uruguayan Candombe.

Following the mulata dancers there are three mythologic characters. They are:

El Escobero - The stickholder. He makes good fortune for the future.

Mama Vieja - The Old M ...

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A Selection of Uruguayan Street Art

Published December 19th, 2011

Click the title or Read More button to see more graffiti/Street Art.

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In the Distance...

Published December 19th, 2011

Long before you arrive at Garganta Del Diablo the spray created by the impact of the water at the bottom of the falls creates a cloud of water vapor rising well above the falls. To reach the Devils Throat you must cross a series of rivers via these bridges at the top of the falls.

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At the Edge

Published December 19th, 2011

When peering out over the edge of the falls it is not possible to see the bottom due to the copious amount of spray and mist that are generated by the impact far below.

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Myself

Published December 19th, 2011

Upon reaching Garganta Del Diablo, you peer over the edge unable to see the bottom of the falls due to the amount of spray and mist that the impact far below creates.

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Turmoil

Published December 19th, 2011

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Garganta Del Diablo

Published December 19th, 2011

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Garganta Del Diablo

Published December 19th, 2011

A sole individual walks across a catwalk adjacent to Garganta Del Diablo. The catwalks are well constructed, very steady and allow you to get right up close to the edge of the drop without the risk level the german tourists experienced ...which you'll read about in another post.

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German Tourists in 1938

Published December 19th, 2011

According to Lonely Planet, a publisher of guide books upon which I rely when traveling, tourists in the 1930s use to hire locals to take them out in a boat close to the edge of the falls...at the top!! The local would then paddle like crazy to keep the boat still against the current while the tourists peered out over the edge.

Inevitably, some years into this practice one of the locals lost his battle with the current and eight German tourists and one local were swept over the falls. There were no survivors and the practice was immediately banned by the government.

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Jana

Published December 19th, 2011

Jana poses for a quick snapshot near one of the minor falls.

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Mist

Published December 19th, 2011

A perpetual mist exists within the immediate vicinity of the falls.

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Iguana

Published December 19th, 2011

One of the many lizards that are roaming the park. They often seem very sluggish. However, I did have opportunity to see two move at very very quick speeds when one got too close to another.

The interloper was chased around in circles until he gave in and left the area. The area in question was strategically located near to where the tourists eat. A prime location for picking up scraps.

This chase that I witnessed was the first time I realized that they are faster than I am. Luckily they are not aggressive towards humans without provocation.

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The Steppes

Published December 19th, 2011

Not the official name. Just what I called them.

There are multiple, nearly continuous, overlooks that allow greatly varying perspectives of the falls. The environment really is awe inspiring. People keep telling me that it is now (newly) one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. I can believe it.

Does that mean that something else got the boot from being on the list when Iguazu Falls were added? I don't know. Will google that topic when I have a moment.

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Lower Circuit - Catwalk

Published December 19th, 2011

The park has a really cool catwalk which brings you up close enough to the falls while still on land that you get soaked from the spray. People crowd around to take pictures in the spot that I am standing at in this shot. I was fortunate to come along during a lull in the crowd.

Usually there are too many people at this spot to get an unobstructed view.

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Lower Circuit Panaramic Shot

Published December 19th, 2011

Note the boat heading into the falls.

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Panoramic View

Published December 19th, 2011

The park has three paths for visiting the falls. The lower circuit, the upper circuit and a train ride to a set of catwalks that lead to Garganta Del Diablo.

This photo was taken from the upper circuit path.

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Boat Ride

Published December 19th, 2011

We signed up for a boat ride into the falls. The boat that we took is pictured below. The pilot gets us right up into and underneath the falls - very close to the rock cliff. Its a great deal of fun. I have no idea how the pilot is able to see to navigate and not hit the wall. He's wearing rain gear but no visor of any sort. Visibility shrinks to zero while you are inside the falls getting pummeled by the water.

The boat below will get much closer to the wall before it is done. It will in fact disappear into that wall of white that is behind it.

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A Boat Ride Into The Falls

Published December 19th, 2011

Jana intrepidly takes photographs as we approach and, eventually, enter the falls. We were given dry sacks in which we could, upon being warned, place our cameras and other equipment that we would not want doused with water.

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Iguazu National Park - Its more than just the f...

Published December 19th, 2011

The falls are located within Iguazu National Park. The park was founded in 1934 and possesses an area of 212 square miles. Within the park there are, in addition to the falls, jaguars, ocelots, tapirs, coati, toucans, caimans, iguanas, alligators and other animals - some of which, are endangered.

We did not see all the animals listed above. It is not a zoo, it is a preserve so the animals are roaming free. So yes, you could encounter a jaguar face to face. They are extremely elusive so its unlikely...but possible nonetheless.

We encountered iguanas, various birds, coatis and one alligator. I stood about 5 feet from him when I took this picture.

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Iguazu Falls - How I found out about them.

Published December 19th, 2011

Don and Marcia are friends who travel to remote places in the world. Don is an avid videographer who often captures segments of their travels on film/digital. On more than one occasion, and at my request, they have shown me a video that Don put together consisting of a collage of places that they have been in the world. This video contains footage of them in such places as base camp at Everest, Greenland, Nepal, Australia, Antarctica, Cambodia, Vietnam, Borneo and many other places. In the final film segment he switches to showing still images from their travels. One image was a picture of Don with Marcia in front of some falls. The text at the bottom of the screen read Iguazu Falls.

Several years later when I began to plan my trip I thought of this image, got online and read more about the falls with the result being that I decided to include them on my trip. The falls are a stunning place.

Usually I refrain from showing more than a few photos from any one specific location ...

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Out of Sequence...Nicaragua

Published December 14th, 2011

Everyone, I am currently in Nicaragua. I am having a great time. It has been safe. Internet connections fluctuate between nonexistent and poor, so it has been hard for me to even send emails let alone edit and post pictures.

Here's one below. When I return to editing and posting pics I will pick up where I left off in Iguazu Falls and continue forward in chronological order.

In the meanwhile here is a view of my front yard.

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Status Update

Published December 9th, 2011

I was in Montevideo, Uruguay for a little bit and then returned to Buenos Aires for a few

days for the next round of planning. I have decided to go to Nicaragua

for about a week and kick back at the beach before returning to

Northeast winter. I will of course be home for Christmas.

I am once again behind on my posts. When I get opportunity to update I'll

be covering

Iguazu Falls

San Antonio De Areco

Uruguay/Montevideo

And eventually Nicaragua

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Iguazu Falls - Brief Introduction Part 1.

Published December 5th, 2011

I´ll have to tackle an in depth coverage of the falls at a subsequent time. I need to go accomplish some other things. Here however are two shots. One of me and the other of Jana by one small section of the falls.

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Iguazu Falls - Brief Introduction

Published December 5th, 2011

Me by the falls.

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At the Japanese Gardens

Published December 5th, 2011

In Recoleta district.

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Jana enjoying a few beverages...

Published December 5th, 2011

..at one of the many cafes in Argentina.

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Jana

Published December 5th, 2011

Jana joined me in Buenos Aires and we toured Buenos Aires, Puerto Iguazu,and San Antonio De Areco together. There will be forthcoming pictures (a few have already been put in) from each of the those places.

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Museo De Eva Peron

Published December 5th, 2011

This was a small but well organized museum whose sole historical subject matter is Eva Peron. Eva was married to Juan Peron a President of Argentina. She was known also as Evita (little Eva). I cannot summarize the Peron´s or even just Eva in a blog post. The politics are way too complicated and I don´t understand all the nuances of it anyway. If an Argentinian wants to comment - feel free.

Although the museum is well organized and offers a lot, it lacks any criticism of Eva or Juan. I think Argentinians are themselves schrizophrenic about them. Some hated them, many loved them. She did champion many charities and causes. She also wielded the power of censorship of her opponents or critics. When Time magazine stated in an article that she was an illegitimate child (she was) she banned the magazine from the entire country. On the other hand, she and Juan instituted social security for the elderly and orphanages for abandoned children. Something that had not been available ...

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Evita´s Dresses

Published December 5th, 2011

It may seen odd to present a group of photos that highlight the clothing of a political/charismatic powerhouse. She definitely had a sense of fashion, but she was also a really intelligent woman who had many accomplishments. I just can´t really surmise her policies and accomplishments via photography.

These were however, well lit and easy to capture in an environment that did not allow flash.

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Evita´s Hats

Published December 5th, 2011

Including a portrait of her with Juan Peron.

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Jana views short documentary on Eva Peron

Published December 5th, 2011

At this point in the video it is being explained that Eva was the first ´first lady´of Argentina to be included in the official state portrait of the president.

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Old Man Willow

Published December 5th, 2011

When we set up this composition all I could think of was Old Man Willow from Lord of the Rings trapping Merry and Pippin when they fell asleep leaning against his trunk.

Neither of these pictures is particularly technically good. However, they´re okay composition wise and they do fulfill the intent to show scale.

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Old Man Willow w/Jana

Published December 5th, 2011

I have a similar photo with me in it, but since Jana is so much more attractive I used the version with her.

The two photos were composed with Jana to show the scale of the rubber tree and its roots. This thing is massive.

Disclaimer: I know the tree is not a willow. Its a LOTR reference.

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City of The Dead

Published December 5th, 2011

The following posts and pictures will not be for everyone. However, I find the architecture of Recoleta Cemetery intriguing. It is artwork.

The cemetery in its current form was created in 1822 in the Recoleta district of Buenos Aires. Recoleta district became the refuge of the rich and powerful when a yellow fever epidemic swept through San Telmo and Montserrat district in the late 1800s. Consequently, Recoleta cemetery became the final resting place of many of Buenos Aires most powerful/notable people.

For example Eva Peron (aka Evita (little Eva)) is buried here.

The result of all these wealthy families utilizing this cemetery is an incredible collage of mausoleum architecture. The only place I have seen that is similar is Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow NY.

I didn´t have the patience to upload each picture as its own blog entry. In order to see all the pictures associated with this post you´ll need to click on the title above "City of The Dead"

As you will note, ...

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Bombaderos With Early Ladder Truck Circa 1884.

Published December 5th, 2011

Firefighters in classic uniform with classic fire trucks on display at the Italian Festival in Buenos Aires.

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Steam and Water Gauges

Published December 5th, 2011

Early water tanker for Fire Department

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Amazing murals on the side of a hotel.

Published December 5th, 2011

On the Ave 9 De Julio exists a hotel with these amazing murals on the outside. This is not a hotel I stayed at. These were taken while I was exploring Buenos Aires on my first day there.

What I initially took to be graffiti on the mural is actually the artist´s name. Pelado. There is a little bit about him here.

http://www.buenosairesstreetart.com/2011/11/pelado-paints-tony-valiente-in-flea.html

He paints a lot of murals in Buenos Aires. Unlike the graffiti artists of new york city El Pelado is welcomed to create his art.

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Artwork - same building...

Published December 5th, 2011

...but around the corner.

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Homeless in Buenos Aires

Published December 5th, 2011

In 2010 there were a reported 15,000 homeless in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. 4,500 of those are reported to be children.

Being very familiar with New York City I am not unused to seeing the homeless. Buenos Aires had an added dimension of many of the homeless camping out in the quad out front of the Congresso. There is no attempt to move them. A local Argentine couple (Sandra and Jose), who we were very fortunate to meet and have dinner with, explained that an attempt to move them would be considered cruelty by the government and therefore they are left alone as long as they do not commit crime or bother the tourists. Some of the homeless have even dragged mattresses onto the quad.

In the USA I don´t think it would last five minutes if the homeless started camping out on Capital Hill, although it would make quite a political statement.

I have never seen hands as blackened as this homeless man´s. It was unclear whether it was from smoking, disease, dirt or a combina ...

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Tango

Published December 5th, 2011

On a bus stop wall in Buenos Aires.

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Smaller than a Smart Car

Published December 5th, 2011

At a traffic light in Buenos Aires.

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Buenos Aires

Published December 4th, 2011

...where its COOL to be able to play the accordion.

This was taken at the Italian festival in BA.

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Santa Catalina Monastery Courtyard

Published December 4th, 2011

Some of my posts here may seem out of sequence. Currently, I am in catch up mode for Arequipa and subsequent destinations. I had earlier provided an overview of Arequipa and am now providing some detail on individual elements.

Below is one of the courtyards within the Monastery.

A limited number of nuns still reside within the monastery but are now semi-cloistered. Vatican II (the reformation) allowed some rules to be relaxed. To the nuns personal discomfort the church eliminated the personal servants of nuns that had been provided by their families - who were usually wealthy.

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Santa Catalina Monastery

Published December 4th, 2011

SCM is located in Arequipa. Until 1974 the nuns were entirely cloistered. This means that they were not allowed contact with the outside world. This has changed. They are now allowed to leave the convent to seek medical attention and visit family.

There are currently 24 nuns in the monastery plus four or five noviatates. The youngest noviatiate is about 19. The oldest nun is 100. Yes, 100.

In the beginning the nuns tended to be second daughters of aristocratic families. They came to the convent with servants. Those servants, barring any irregularities, stayed with the nun for their entire life. All servants were of course, female. I was disappointed to hear that if the nun died before the servant then the servant would be turned out. That is, the servant would be expelled from the monastery. No pension, no assistance. Often the servant had been with the nun since a very early age. In other words, the person being expelled would be ancient and without good prospects.

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Laundry and Bathing

Published December 4th, 2011

In the background are the cisterns within which the nuns would wash their clothes by hand. In the foreground is where they would bathe. They were required to wear clothes while they bathed - even though it was for hygiene purposes, because seeing their own bodies naken was considered a sin of vanity. This last statement I have taken direct, verbatim, from the guide who took me around the monastery.

This bathing area was for the less important nuns - see next post on topic of ´less important nuns´.

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Funerary Rites and Ranks

Published December 4th, 2011

The Santa Catalina Monastary had two ... well, I don´t know what to call them. They are not caskets. They are two ´carts´ where a deceased nun´s body would be placed during ´wake´.

The foreground cart is for the more important nuns, the background cart is for the less important nuns. I was not clear, from the guide, what determined a lesser or more important nun. Of course mother superior (or abbess as the case may be) was in the ´more important´category.

I am not clear if family was allowed to visit during the wake. Once the girls entered the convent they were not, until Vatican II, able to visit in person with family other than through a screen not unlike a confessional screen (for those of you who grew up catholic).

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Santa Catalina Monastary

Published December 4th, 2011

Kitchen

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Local Legislature

Published December 4th, 2011

I don´t know who they are. The hostel owners said only that they were part of the local legislature. About 25 feet above their heads is a miliatary observer.

If anyone reading this post actually knows who the players shown below are - let me know and I´ll be more specific about their roles.

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Military Oversight

Published December 4th, 2011

...in the above post I note the politicians presiding over the Sunday parade in Arequipa. Above the politicians, and I mean literally above the politicians on a balcony there was this officer monitoring the events of the parade.

I don´t know what, if any, significance that has.

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Symmetry

Published December 4th, 2011

In the below photo the oval shape is NOT a mirror. There are two nearly identical and symmetrical staircases in the Los Andes Hostel in Arequipa.

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Anachronisms

Published December 4th, 2011

Yes, I am familiar with typewriters and I´ve even had the opportunity to play with an electric typewriter...but I´ve never actually used a manual one. Something that I have encountered in Peru at least four times is the use of a manual typewriter rather than a computer.

The gentlemen below posed for the shot. He was sitting in Plaza De Armas in Arequipa. Arequipa is produced most of Peru´s high end novelists, historians and poet laureates. They have also produced ALL the leaders of rebellions within Peru. That includes Abigail Guzman, founder of Shining Path.

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Smurfs - Yes, I said Smurfs

Published December 4th, 2011

I don´t know why, but south americans, or at least their children, have a fascinations with smurfs. I haven´t photographed it everywhere but I have seen a lot of smurf related products in Peru, Argentina and even Uruguay.

In addition to the toys I have three times seen people dressed up as smurfs. I´m usually very curious, in regards to this particular topic I didn´t ask. This photo was taken the same day and time as the military parade through the mayor´s plaza. Smurfs and machine guns were there at the same time.

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Falling further behind

Published November 29th, 2011

I've got more Arequipa to post, all of Buenos Aires and now I'm in Puerto Iguazu spending my days at Iguazu Falls. Yesterday I shot over 400 frames at the falls along just two of three park trails. Specifically the paths known as the lower and upper circuits.

Today, we'll (Jana joined me in Buenos Aires and is now traveling with me) visit the third trail which is accessible only by train to a section of the falls known as Garganta del Diablo, the Devil's throat in English. After that we'll take a boat ride into the area near the bottom of the falls.

The two most awe inspiring places that I've been on this trip have been Machu Picchu and Iguazu Falls. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find a suitable terminal to upload pictures from for several days. This post is being done via Droid X and a wifi connection.

Btw, at home I use cs4 to do my edits. On the road I've been using picassa 3.8. I've got to say it's not a bad choice. The cyber cafes allow you to perform installs, pi ...

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Arequipa - Peru

Published November 25th, 2011

The time had come to leave Cusco. Both before I left Cusco and even before I left home there was this universal thing that if you go to Peru you have to visit machu picchu and Arequipa. I had already seen Machu Picchu and had been very very impressed. I was now looking for a cost effective way to get to Arequipa. Flying was too expensive, Which was odd.

My flight between Lima and Cusco was 86USD (yes 86) and eventually my flight between Arequipa and Lima was $60 USD...but Cusco to Arequipa was nearly $900 USD.I wasn't prepared to pay that. Instead I went via the night bus for about fifty some US dollars.

These night buses are in many ways as comfortable as first class flying. The seats recline almost to fully horizontal. They serve a meal and have an in transit movie. They are also very secure. Your bag is searched before you get on board, they run a metal detector over you and take your picture. The bus has a police officer.

I did not have to show ID while on board, but inter ...

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A Tree Grows in Arequipa.

Published November 25th, 2011

This massive tree juts up into the sky of Arequipa. The tops of the houses that you see within the photo are probably 30 feet up from street level. The tree is located in a private courtyard of a building that is an architectural school.

I did not see any other trees this tall. It is impressive and it is unique to the area.

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Female Soldiers

Published November 25th, 2011

Taken during parade on Sunday in Arequipa. While sitting in the square on Sunday morning I started to hear, from the other side of the square, a voice with a drill sargeant demeanor. Sure enough, there was a platoon practicing their 'present arms'. Later on this platoon was part of a parade around the square.

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The White Tuba (EDIT: Specifically its a Sousap...

Published November 25th, 2011

Every Sunday in Arequipa there is a parade in the main square. Soldiers march, military bands play, speeches are made and the flags - both Arequipa's and Peru's, are raised.

I've never seen a white tuba before.

EDIT: This is not exactly a tuba. Someone following the blog told me that this is actually a Sousaphone. Like a Tuba it also has a deep rich sound and is useful for marching activities because it wraps around the players body.

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Restaurant ZigZag and Gustaf Eiffel

Published November 25th, 2011

I ate at three really great restaurants in Arequipa. Zigzag was my favorite. The mood was perfect, it had this really really cool spiral staircase that was designed by Gustaf Eiffel of Eiffel tower fame.

The food is excellent.

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ZigZag 3

Published November 25th, 2011

View of restaurant bar from spiral staircase.

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For both Jana and Hanna

Published November 25th, 2011

...who love both travel and culinary photography.

This was my meal at restaurant ZigZag in Arequipa. Steak, cooked on a slab of volcanic rock, papas fritas (french fries), and ratatouille (like the Pixar cartoon) along with a fine bottle of Argentinian Malbec.

In total it cost me about 35 USD.

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Taxis in Arequipa

Published November 25th, 2011

As cities in Peru go, Arequipa has one of the lowest crime rates. It is usually safe to walk about in the evening, say on the level of safety in the Village in Manhattan. You have to pay attention, but keep your wits about you, pay attention and you´ll be okay.

With one exception...the taxis.

Do not flag down a taxi in Arequipa. There is a significant problem with foreigners being abducted and then held in an outlying neighborhood while someone goes and depletes their bank accounts around town before releasing you. The guidance is always to have your hotel or restaurant call a cab for you. Not only did my guide book advise me of this, but at the good restaurants they come around to your table near the end of your meal and ask if you would like to have a taxi called.

The problem extends as far as little cars that are painted yellow, like a cab, being rented to people who do the abductions. If you must flag a cab, make certain they have company name, license number and phone n ...

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Pepe 1

Published November 25th, 2011

While wandering some of the side streets of Arequipa I came across a native woman standing in the shade of a building attending to her bird. The bird´s name is Pepe. I approached and ask my traditional

¿Puedo tomar la photo?

I got a Si, Si and then proceeded to take a couple of frames.

Pepe is Falcon, her owner an indigenous woman (see next frame). I wanted to ask if Pepe was more than a pet, was he trained to hunt or do other things but I did not know the words to ask these things.

I did understand that Pepe is 3 years old, will live to be about 40 and that he is very dear to her. The lady was friendly with kind eyes. I asked her if she was Collagua woman (there was a photo in my guide book of a woman who looked remarkably like her with a falcon). I realize that more than one indigenous group trains-uses birds but it was the best way for me to get her to tell me which group she did belong to.

I don´t know correct spelling but it sounded like she said she was Cabanna woman. ...

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Pepe 2

Published November 25th, 2011

This is Pepe and Pepe´s owner-trainer. I did not catch her name but gather that she is native from Colca Canyon area. She trained Pepe since birth and he will live to reach an age of about 40.

Pepe was very calm and well behaved. She allowed me to pet him and he was not at all upset about the idea although once I was in contact with him he became extremely still and his eyes did not move from my face. I was being studied/watched.

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Catch up.

Published November 22nd, 2011

Still haven't found the time to get to an internet cafe and upload pictures. I'm managing this post via my droid and the hotel's wifi. Hoping to find the time tomorrow to at least wrap up Peru.

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Status

Published November 17th, 2011

I'm running behind on my photos and posts. Still need to publish photos from Airequipa Peru but now I am in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

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From Ollantaytambo to Cusco

Published November 15th, 2011

After my visit to Hearts Cafe I met up with some other travelers from the USA and Australia and asked what was the best option for getting from Olltantaytambo to Cusco. In a broad view I knew that a collectivo or taxi would be the best bet. A collectivo is a small bus or van that seats about ten people. The bus leaves only when all the seats are full. What I didn´t know was how to pick a bus or taxi that was safe and what a fair rate was. In my initial travel to Olltantaytambo from the airport, because I didn´t know what I was doing, I arranged for a private car via the hostel I was staying at. The charge for this service was $40 USD to travel about 55 miles. Now in New York this would be an excellent deal. In Peru, not so much. However, for my first trip this was an okay thing.

It turned out that the other travelers were also returning to Cusco. I asked if I could join them and they said yes. We hailed a taxi in the main square whose driver told us he would only go as far as Urubamba ...

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A Contrast In Happiness

Published November 15th, 2011

Background to Fore.

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Locals, Cusco

Published November 15th, 2011

Not Plaza De Armas. One of the smaller plazas very close to the hostel.

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Cusco from Up The Hill

Published November 15th, 2011

For some unknown and probably unfair reason I look at thi image and thnk of Mos Eisely Spaceport from Star Wars.

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A Typical Street in Upper Cusco Colonial District

Published November 15th, 2011

There are no cars up here as the streets are too narrow to allow them. Everything is foot traffic.

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Rosy O'Grady

Published November 15th, 2011

Yes, there is a Rosy O'Grady´s Irish Pub in downtown Cusco. The staff are Peruvian. There are also a couple of English pubs as well.

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Hostel Courtyard in Cusco, Peru

Published November 15th, 2011

All this for less than $20 per night.

There is also an entertainment room, a bar, a pool table, and internet stations.

Eco Packers Hostel is located inside an old Spanish mansion.

What you are seeing below is a private courtyard not accessible unless you are a guest of the hostel.

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Vino De Coca and the Museo De Coca

Published November 15th, 2011

The following three shots were all taken at the Museo De Coca. A small museum dedicated to the history of the Coca plant and its derivative products. In Peru although Cocaine is illegal the Coca plant from which it is made is not.

The most common form of consumption is Coca Tea and many locals chew on the leaves. The most popular use is to combat altitude sickness. I didn´t try any. However, three of the hostels did offer it for free. Its left out along with the regular teas. Its just one more option. I have also seen it on numerous restaurant menus.

From what I understand you do not get the same effect as taking cocaine and it takes an awful lot of coca leaves to produce even a small amount of the illegal substance. I think a useful analogy is the relationship between the poppy seeds you get on your bagel and opium. You are not going to get impaired by having a bagel - although you may trip a drug test.

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Spaghetti

Published November 15th, 2011

...with Coca.

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Coca Based Toffee

Published November 15th, 2011

Coca Candy

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Classic Pontiac, Cusco Peru

Published November 15th, 2011

I wonder if there is a special story about how this car came to be in Peru. At this point I´ve visited three major Peruvian cities with populations in the millions, but thi is the only classic American car that I´ve seen.

In fact, it might be the only American car that I´ve seen.

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Pontiac in Cusco, Peru View 2

Published November 15th, 2011

Detail of Front Grill

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Musician

Published November 15th, 2011

I was walking in the upper part of Cusco which is all narrow alleys and very colonial styled when I saw this man walking with this big stick.

I asked this gentleman what it was that he was carrying. He responded that it was for music and that it was called a didgeridoo. .

He did blow into it for me and it produced a bassoon like sound. Very deep bass.

It took me a while on google to figure out how to spell that and I wasted some time asking another local at an internet cafe to give me the Spanish word for it. The gap was that its not a Spanish instrument. Its an Australian Aboriginal one

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Street Performer - Juggler

Published November 15th, 2011

This street performer has captured the attention of a couple of children as he juggles four balls. Three are visible in the air and the fourth is in his hand.

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Plaza De Armas, the Broad View

Published November 15th, 2011

On the left is the Cathedral De Santo Domingo. It was built on the location of the palace of the last Incan ruler. The stones to build the cathedral were taken from the Incan fortress Saqsayhuamin. It took about 100 years to complete.

The church on the right is Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus.

I took this picture while having lunch at La Retama restaurant's balcony overlooking the plaza.

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Fountain at Cusco's Plaza De Armas

Published November 15th, 2011

If you haven´t guessed by now every city in Peru has a Plaza De Armas the translation of which is the Mayor's Plaza.

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Living Hearts

Published November 14th, 2011

On my way back from Machu Picchu I stopped for lunch in Ollantaytambo. Lunch was a grilled cheese, tomato and pesto sandwich at the Living Hearts Cafe in the main square.

Living Hearts is a non profit organization started by Sonia Newhouse, a Brit who moved to Peru in 2002 at the age of 71. She fell in love with the country and eventually settled in Ollantaytambo where she founded the Hearts Cafe and Living Hearts Peru a non-profit organization recognized by both Peru and the UK.

All profits from the Hearts Cafe go to help women and children in higland communities. The following is directly cut and pasted from the hearts cafe 'about us' page located here; http://www.livingheartperu.org/lhfounder.html

If anyone from Living Hearts stumbles upon this page and objects to my use of the below quote they can contact me and I will take it down. I did not ask permission but felt it was unnecessary (and likely falls under fair use doctrine anyway) as it can only benefit the Living Hearts org ...

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From The Brochure

Published November 14th, 2011

#1

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From the Brochure

Published November 14th, 2011

Not the best photo, but certaily readable

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A Tale of Two Cities and Why I didn't get Altit...

Published November 14th, 2011

Altitude Sickness can occur in some individuals as low as 6,500 ft. However, on average most people can tolerate going from sea level to 8,000 feet without issue. 8,000 feet is the level to which commercial airlines pressurize their planes. An individual who will experience altitude sickness usually does so within 24-48 hours of ascent.

Many tourists who come to Peru start in Lima by necessity of its international airport and eventually head from sea level in Lima to over 10,000 feet above sea level at Cusco via plane. The majority of human beings who do this wil experience some degree of altitude sickness. Mild forms behave like the flu, extreme forms can result in death. Indeed, the hostel I stayed at in Cusco kept an oxygen tank at the front desk for tourists who get themselves in trouble by ascending too quickly to Cuzco - usually by plane.

I too traveled from Lima to Cuzco by plane. However, I did not experience altitude sickness. Why? Because the first thing I did when ...

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Machu Picchu

Published November 12th, 2011

After three days in Ollantaytambo (Oi-yen-tie-tahm-bow) I was ready to move on to Machu Picchu. I walked down below the main square of Ollantaytambo to the Peru Rail office and purchased my ticket to Aguas Caliente the nearest town to Machu Picchu.

I did not have reservations in Aguas Caliente for a place to stay. However, AC has become so much of a tourist spot that reservations are not necessary, at least not during the off season - which this is. The town primarily consists of hostels and restaurants. The best restaurant in my opinion is Indio Feliz. I chose to eat there twice.

Upon arrival in Aguas Caliente I walked from hostel to hostel looking for a private room at a reasonable rate. Reasonable rates for Peru are well below what reasonable rate are for the USA. The first place wanted 90 soles a night, the second wanted 60. The rooms were about the same so I chose the second place. El Tumi Hostal.

60 soles is about $22.00 per night. If I wanted to stay in a dorm arran ...

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Top of Machu Picchu

Published November 12th, 2011

This structure is near the top of Machu Picchu but below the guard house.

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Through a Window

Published November 12th, 2011

Staircase asending the residential section of Machu Picchu.

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Machu Picchu

Published November 12th, 2011

The most densely built section of Machu Picchu that I saw. None of the Andean cultures had any form of written communication. How do you do engineering like this without written language? Very impressive. No photo I have ever seen, really captures Machu Picchu properly.

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Machu Picchu (Continued)

Published November 12th, 2011

A dramatic cloud shot of a section of Machu Picchu. I arrived quite early in the morning and had opportunity to photograph very misty, somewhat misty, and not misty at all as the day warmed up.

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The Temple of The Sun

Published November 12th, 2011

This temple, with altar, is called the Temple of the Sun. When the winter solstice occurs the light passes directly through one of the windows of the temple illuminating the altar. This might have been simple coincidence except that other windows on the same temple line up with the autumnal and spring soltices as well.

Other religious structures at Machu Picchu, including a large sundial, are arranged in a similar manner. This gives scholars reason to believe that the Incas did construct their buildings with thought to at least the seasons.

Scholars however are considerably divisive on the purpose of Machu Picchu as a whole.

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Machu Picchu

Published November 12th, 2011

A section of the residentla section of Machu Picchu.

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Waynu Picchu

Published November 12th, 2011

Machu Picchu does not just consist of Machu Picchu. There is also Wayna Picchu which rises above Machu Picchu 1180 feet and contains ruins of its own at the top as well as another mountain whose name escapes me at the moment. I did not go up to the top of Wayna Picchu.

Tickets for entrance to Machu Picchu are in three price points.

The most expensive includes ascent of Wayna Picchu.

When I arrived to Aguas Caliente I did try for the most expensive package for the next day. However, the government, in summer 2011, imposed a quota. I missed the quota for that day for Wayna Picchu.

Should I ever return to Aguas Caliente I will purchase tickets for Wayna Picchu, and as soon as the gates open at 6am I will make a beeline for Wayna Picchu in order to get pictures with minimal tourists.

Pictured immediately below is Wayna Picchu which means Young Peak.

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The Guard House

Published November 9th, 2011

At the end, or the beginning if you prefer, of the Incan trail stands the guard house. I commented on this in an entry titled the tall view. This is that same guard house but the picture is taken from behind the guard house.

All traffic to Machu Picchu in it's heyday passed through this point in order to enter the city. Passport control if you will - but without the passport.

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The Tall View

Published November 9th, 2011

I had originally considered purchasing a small P&S camera to take with me instea of my DSLR as the full gear would require an additional bag and makes it difficult to move around with a 65L pack on your back and a camera backpack attached to your front. I am very glad I did not go the route of the P&S. I would have not been able to get some of the pictures that I am collecting now. I'm carrying a Nikon D80, 28-80/5.6, 17mm, 50mm, and a 80-210mm as well as a small gorillapod tripod.

The ROI in terms of photos taken/created has been well worth the hassle of the 2nd bag.

As big as this composition is, this is only one small section of the ruins. Note the small hut near the top of the picture. That was a guard house that sits at the termination of the Incan trail. If I recall correctly my guide told me that it was used to track people coming and going to Machu Picchu.

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Indigenous Child

Published November 9th, 2011

On Sundays Peruvian citizens are allowed access to Machu Picchu for free. Some of the local indigenous people will come in traditional garb with their child and pose for pictures in hope of getting tips. Their life is often hard. They have chronic-perpetual health problems due to endemic parasitic water. There is little opportunity for advancement. Many only speak Quechan but the language of education in Peru is Spanish, without which their life can be, most likely will be, marginalized. Many of the small mountain communities do not have schools. I usually turn away most people looking for handouts but on this day I made several exceptions while at Machu Picchu. Handout may be the wrong word as I did get some nice photos of the locals. i.e. There was exchange.

I have a picture that was taken of me with a mother and daughter but it did not come out all that well so I did not post it.

This shot was a candid taken when the child wandered away from mom. Mom is only slightly out ...

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Looking Into the Abyss

Published November 9th, 2011

I thought this composition gives a nice sense of scale of the people to the mountain behind them.

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Machu Picchu, Industrial Section

Published November 9th, 2011

According to my guide this was the 'industrial' section of Machu Picchu where various businesses resided. There was no money in Incan culture. Most transactions fell into various forms of barter.

1. Exchange of goods

2. Exchange of services

3. Each inhabitant was required to work for the community for three months per year.

I'm not clear how #3 would work for those that had their own businesses...did they shutdown for three months? Did they get an exemption?

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Cusco

Published November 9th, 2011

I have now arrived to Cusco. The internet connections are better and I may be able to upload more pictures and compose more text regarding my experiences by tonight.

Now off to breakfast.

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Machu Picchu - The Beginning

Published November 6th, 2011

I spent the day at Machu Picchu taking lots of pictures. Unfortunately, due to slow internet connections and difficulties completing uploads I will probably only show a few before I return home in December.

I hired a guide, something that I usually do not do. It was worth it. The guides are officially licensed and have to pass examination to become so. Haviar spent a couple of hours with me explaining the significance of different sections of Machu Picchu. The cost was $45 USD.

UPDATE: Now in location with better internet connections, will be able to post more pics and explanations.

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A Nod to Owen Winston Link

Published November 6th, 2011

Was a resident of North Salem, NY - now deceased.

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Soliciting the Train

Published November 6th, 2011

These ladies know when-where the train has to stop in order that a track switch can be pulled. They are hoping that the customers will offer them a few soles (so lays) for the flowers.

The track switch incidentally was done manually using a type of switch we would only see in a museum in the states.

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The Train To Aguas Caliente

Published November 6th, 2011

This is called the VistaDome due to its overhead windows designed to let the tourists see the panoramic view of the wildlands between Ollantaytambo and Aguas Caliente.

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Something You Won´t See In The States

Published November 6th, 2011

...At least not without someone being arrested or at least ticketed.

I´m currently in Aguas Caliente, the nearest town to Machu Picchu archeological site. The below photo was actually taken as I was leaving Cusco for Ollantaytambo but thought it might be amusing to some of the viewers.

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Overview of Incan Ruins at Ollantaytambo

Published November 4th, 2011

This was taken from the opposing mountain accross the valley.

Olltantaytambo consists of two parts. The ruins and the town. The town is still occupied and has been so since the 13th century. According to the guide books the ruins, pictured below, are 2nd only to Machu Picchu in grandeur and complexity.

The location is famous for being one of the few places where the Incans won a major battle against the Conquistadors in the 15th century and the best example of an authentic Incan town.

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Olltaytambo

Published November 4th, 2011

Incan Ruins

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Local School Children

Published November 4th, 2011

I took a photo of these school children using their camera so that all members of their group could be in the picture and then took one of my own. This was taken at the very top of the ruins.

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From Up High

Published November 4th, 2011

Taken from near the top of the ruins.

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More Ruins

Published November 4th, 2011

Incan Ruins

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Incan Ruins

Published November 4th, 2011

This is located at the base of the steppes comprising the Olltantaytambo Incan Ruins

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Incan Ruins - Granary

Published November 4th, 2011

This is in nearly inaccessible place. Extremely steep rock scramble combined with lots of loose shale like rock pieces.

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Olltantaytambo

Published November 4th, 2011

Ruins with dramatic sky

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Senor Lucho of Ollantaytambo & Santa Fe New Mexico

Published November 4th, 2011

In one of the many narrow coblestone streets of Ollantaytambo is the potter´s studio of Senor Lucho. I walked in and asked, in my very broken spanish, if I could look around. He said Si and then proceeded to speak to me in extremely fluent English. He asked me where I was from and then told me that he had resided in Santa Fe, New Mexico for 25 years. He is both a Peruvian and US citizen.

He had pursued his art of creating fine ceramics in both Peru and the USA but had, since 2001 resided primarily in Peru. 9-11 was one of the precipating factors for his change of primary residence. He felt that the USA was heading for a dark time both politically and financially. He went on to say that when the economy is in trouble art is one of the first things that people stop buying. Artists friends of his back in the USA are now having trouble selling enough art work to make a living as artists. He also told me that the scale of pricing is of course different in Peru to the USA. Pieces ...

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Senor Lucho´s Work

Published November 4th, 2011

All pieces created by Senor Lucho

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A Preview of Things To Come - Incan Ruins

Published November 3rd, 2011

As I said in an earlier post OllantayTambo is quite a different type of place from Lima. Here is a preview of the type of shots you will see from me soon.

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Magical Circle of Light

Published November 3rd, 2011

I took this shot on my last night in Lima. Myself and several other travelers walked to a show called the Magical Circle of Light. I did not capture any of the actual show, which was quite impressive. I didn´t think this shot would come out properly and was surprised that it was this good.

I am no longer in Lima. Currently I am in Ollantaytambo. A completely different type of environment. The posts that come after this will have images that are very different.

I have hundreds of pictures so far, but not the time or tools to edit and present them properly being constrained by the tools available in internet cafes.

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Balloons

Published November 3rd, 2011

The little boy is literally jumping up and down with excitement because his father said yes when he asked him to buy him a balloon.

It is this photo and the two that follow that highlight that as much as we may differ culturally across the world children are the same everywhere.

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Children Chasing Pigeons at San Francisco Convent

Published November 3rd, 2011

The courtyard at San Francisco Convent is perpetually filled with pigeons and children, and some adults, who chase after them creating clouds of birds flying everywhere.

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Turista Turista

Published November 3rd, 2011

These children saw me walking with my camera and starting yelling "Look A Tourist!" in Spanish. When I raised my camera to take a picture they all spontaneously posed for me.

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Francisco Pizarro´s Tomb

Published November 3rd, 2011

The tomb is located in Lima Cathedral

Initially this tomb contained the wrong body for nearly 100 years. In the 1970s workers renovating the foundation found a lead box inscribed with the message

Here is the head of Don Francisco Pizarro Demarkes, Don Francisco Pizarro who discovered Peru and presented it to the crown of Castile.

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Archbishops Hallway

Published November 3rd, 2011

Taken by the museum guide. The Archbishop´s palace was completed in 1924 but is no longer the residence of the current archbishop.

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A Random Street in Lima

Published November 3rd, 2011

This building´s architecture and color caught my eye.

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Blind Musician

Published November 3rd, 2011

This gentleman is blind. The cup strapped to his knee is for ´tips´

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Santa Rosa Church

Published November 3rd, 2011

Peru has three Saints. Rose of Lima is one and this church is named for her. I was fortunate in having the dramatic sky available behind tower.

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Plaza De Armas, Lima

Published October 31st, 2011

On my first morning having breakfast at the hostel I sat and studied a 6 ft tall map of historic Central Lima that hangs on the wall in the breakfast room. I made some decisions to visit San Martin Plaza and Plaza De Armas.

The below 5 images comprise different perspectives/compositions of Plaza De Armas. The plaza is enclosed on four sides by Lima Cathedral, Archbishop´s Palace, Government Palace, Municipal Palace and Palace of the Union (not pictured). The oldest of the buildings is Lima Cathedral which was completed in 1622.

This is a very photogenic location. There are plenty of police around to ensure that the tourists and locals are safe and I even came back at night to do some night photography with a tripod. Something I would not do in some parts of the city.

This is also the location at which all three times someone tried to scam me it originated here. In the first case I was approached by a man who said he just wanted to practice his English. This would be fair enou ...

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Plaza De Armas

Published October 31st, 2011

Lima Cathedral by Night

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Plaza De Armas

Published October 31st, 2011

Archbishop´s Palace with Lima Cathedral to the Back.

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Plaza De Armas

Published October 31st, 2011

Muncipal Palace

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Plaza De Armas

Published October 31st, 2011

Government Palace

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Rod Stewart in concert...

Published October 31st, 2011

Apparently Rod Stewart recently performed in Lima.

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Home of Peruvian Super Heroes

Published October 31st, 2011

Forget the Justice League´s Hall of Justice, the Peruvians have us beat with their own version...the Palace of Justice.

In short, the Palace of Justice houses the Peruvian Supreme Court. It was completed in 1938 and is considered neoclassical in style.

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The People of Lima

Published October 30th, 2011

My days in Lima have been spent walking taking pictures of both people and architecture. For the people shots I am finding that the folks here are much more friendly than are people in the USA, say in NYC, when it comes to posing for a shot taken by a stranger. I´ve encountered objections in NYC.

No one has gotten upset, although two ladies did hide beneath their vendor stalls. I did not insist on taking their pictures. I usually signal that I would like to take their picture by pointing to the camera and then pointing to them and then I wait for the nod. Other than the two ladies people have been quite happy to have their pictures taken.

People by and large have been friendly and helpful. It is however defintely a eyes in the back of you head required type of town. There have already been three attempts to scam me but they didn´t work. I´ll post on those attempts at a later date. They involved a fake tour guide, a potential pickpocket and some girls who were most likely up to no ...

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Parque De Lima

Published October 30th, 2011

These ladies were quick to show their artwork for the camera. The picture had been laying down and they picked it up when I asked them to pose.

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The Gentlemen of San Martin Plaza

Published October 30th, 2011

The Gentlemen of San Martin Plaza

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South American Travel

Published October 29th, 2011

29-October-2011

Introduction

In 2009 I was notified that my job was being eliminated due to an internal initiative to centralize services to another location. I was eventually asked to stay until September 30, 2011 to assist with transitional projects that were corollary to this initiative. With two years notice I was also able to prepare for some extended independent travel to take place subsequent to my exit from the company. I decided on a time interval of travel of two months and then began to narrow down where in the world it was that I wanted to go.

Europe, Asia, The Pacific, Latin America and even Africa were on the table. I eventually settled on South America and then began narrowing down the countries that I would like to visit. Peru w/Machu Picchu and Argentina w/Buenos Aires and its tango salons were a must. The in between is being filled in as I travel.

At the moment that I compose this introduction I am sitting at a terminal in a hostel in Lima, Peru. The 1900 Ba ...

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