Saturday, 29 September 2012

Bogota on a sunny afternoon

For my second week around South America I ended up in Bogota, which for once was not grey and wet.
Despite being so close to the Ecuator temperature in Bogota is always around 22, or so it has it felt to me every single day I have been here. As the city stands so high up, +2000 metres above sea level and close to the Andes it has always been cloudy and wet. In the past I have wondered why people settled here and not in Medellin, which is always at 25 to 30 degrees.
However, this time the weather has been on my side, and the sun keeps shinning through the clouds.

Bogota Main Square ( Double Click on Pic )
I have spent a lovely day going around the city, enjoying the free museums, and the sun, that I am surely going to miss back in London. And this Sunday the city was mostly closed to traffic, which makes it a nightmare to get in, but very enjoyable once you are in, or if like me you are happy to take the Transmilenium, their Bendy Bus system.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The Kuna Yala Islands or San Blas Islands

The more time I spend in Panama the more I am liking this country and the chance that I am getting on this work trip to do something else beyond the malls and spreadsheets.
The Kuna people live in three semi autonomous reservations in Panama and in a few villages in Colombia, and in some communities in Panama City, Colon, the Free Trade Zone in Panama, but the largest number live in Kuna Yala Islands or San Blas, a group of small islands off Panama in the Caribbean side.

So on Saturday early morning we took off and we drove 3 hours from Panama City, partly by motorway, main roads and dirt tracks. At 7 AM we reach the border of the reservation, where a small queue had formed, just in time for it to open.
The reservation is a world of lush greenery,of palms on an impossible on an impossible angle over pristine aquamarine sea which allows you think of Pirates of the Caribbean, but as every legend it has its dark side, the ever so young women with little babies.
Nonetheless the Kuna  proudly remember when in 1925 they stood against Panama and successfully managed to gain a degree of autonomy.
Poverty mixes with pride.

And how can you not be proud of this beautiful mix of sea and land, where I even saw dolphins jumping in front of our boat
As I emailed a friend from a boat in the middle off the Caribbean I could not help to wonder are we feeling more and more lonely the closer we get,

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

The Canal

About to turn 100 the Canal is one of the heights of human ingenuity and courage, that started back when the Spaniards first arrived in South America. They didn't only killed millions of Indians, forcibly converted them to Christianity and steal the resources. From the beginning they look at how they could cut short the route to Cipango and Asia.
I think he was not that impress by human ingenuity

However, it was not until 1914 that the Americans built the Canal, and in 1999 the Panamanians took it back, and despite all the doom and gloom that some people expected they have managed to operate it successfully and now expanding it.
The Canal helps the fight against climate change by dramatically cutting distances and the new expansion that will be finished in a couple of years will increase the size of the ships that can use it, cutting further emissions.

Miraflores locks, the first set from the Pacific

Friday, 21 September 2012

Cerro Ancon or the Beauty of Panama

Since I finished my year backpacking I have been worried about how close I am staying to the idea of traveling while I am writing from the Marriot,even if that is the Marrriot Courtyard. And today I came to realized that who cares. Travel opens the mind, by showing me the beauty the world has, and how much it has to offer.
The Mothercare Team by the Octopus
Some random pic
And a lot of this beauty has been man made, and today I saw a bit of both, I went up Cerro Ancon, and I saw the beauty of the jungle and then I saw the beauty of the Canal. 
The American Bridge above the Canal
Gleddis and Tai sweating up the Cerro

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Back on the road, but before that I would like to say

I am glad to be back on the road, three weeks travelling through South America. I know it is not the same than a year back packing, and I know that I am travelling with work. Nonetheless it gives me enough time to soak on life on the other side of the world. More importantly, it gives me time to remember how good life is, and how sadly sometimes I just forget that.

In the last month I kept feeling how I was letting myself down.

I watched the Paralympics, the superhumans, and I kept wondering what was I complaining about, what has life not given me. A challenge to overcome is to lose your arms and legs, to lose your sight. To be a child and lose your leg, not today when is trendy to be disable, but years ago, those are mountains to overcome, and so they did, and did us all proud

So from Panama I feel happy and in a great mood