Guavate, the name just sounds flavorful. From Ponce it’s a quick hop on the San Juan highway to the rural, hilly village beside the Carite Forest Reserve. Once you turn onto Route 184, Puerto Rico’s Pork Highway, you can smell the burning flesh. Large open-air restaurants each with an entire hog roasting in the front called lechoneras sit side by side for several miles. Most are open only on the weekends and by the afternoon turn into dance parties. Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations was here, as was Andrew Zimmern and every other adventurous eating show. Tourists however, rarely make the trip.
A few months before the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico began, I was traveling around the Amazon rainforest observing the contamination that occurred there as a result of petroleum for an article with Penthouse magazine (forthcoming). One of the most highly publicized cases against the oil industry in the Amazon is in eastern Ecuador, where Texaco (now owned by Chevron) operated for decades. The case of Aguinda vs. Chevron/Texaco has been in courts for more than a decade and seems to be nearing an end. A judge in Ecuador estimated the damages caused by Texaco to be about $27 billion, making it the largest environmental lawsuit on earth (though the BP Gulf spill will likely dwarf this one), though Chevron continues to fight against that verdict.
It’s a tiny speck of land sitting a short ferry or yacht ride from Cancun. There’s a point where the ferry lands that has become a sort of satellite Cancun atmosphere where 2×1 margarita specials and crummy t-shirts are dime a dozen, but the rest of the island is still enchantingly pure and quiet.
Cartagena, Colombia has transformed over the past decade to a faded colonial port visited mostly by Colombian vacationers to a chic hangout for the beautiful and wealthy (and occasional cruise ship). While Getsemani and other neighboring districts are looking better and better, the old walled city built by the Spanish, a UNESCO world heritage site, is the place to be. It is somewhat reminiscent of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan, though it lacks the American chains and tacky cruise ship shops that have diluted the scene there. With the addition the addition of Colombian fashion designer Silvia Tcherassi’s new hotel and spa in late 2009, Cartagena seems to have entered a new phase in its evolution. Old world charm and jetset style have merged.
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR. When most picture Peru in their head, the image of Machu Picchu and the high Andes or the lush green Amazon comes to their mind. Most forget that the entire coastline from Tacna near the border with Chile all the way up to Piura is desert…. Read More →
The first time I went to Southwest Bolivia all I had was a 7.1 megapixel point and shoot digital camera. Yet, I still was able to take some of the best photos of my life. It is hard not to. Everywhere you look you see something more exotic and un-earthly than the place you were just staring at and the light just gets better and better as the day changes.
Las Cholitas Luchadores, or the Fighting Cholitas, are a WWE style wrestling organization that operates in a small stadium in El Alto, about 25 minutes from the center of La Paz. In the approximately two and a half hour “show” you’ll see half a dozen matches between men and between women and men. The men’s costumes are outlandish, while the women perform in traditional Andean dress. In a world where Andean women have traditionally had fewer opportunities than men, in these wrestling matches they become the crowd favorites and heroes to the local community in El Alto. It’s a symbolic fight that has as much cultural relevance as La Diablada in Oruro.
Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.