Photo Essay: Mystifying Stone Statues and Other Scenes from San Agustín, Colombia

May 15, 2014 captured on memory card
San Agustin, Colombia

Not much is known about the stone statues left behind in San Agustin. Everything you read about the San Agustin Archaeological Park will eventually you that. The people who created these statues had no written language and they were long gone before the Spanish arrived. It’s hard to get a sense of who these people […]

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The Case for Being Rained In in the Middle of Nowhere with Little to No Internet Access

May 11, 2014 Colombia
La Casa de Francois in San Agustin, Colombia

You plan a trip to do this and see that, but often the best travel moments come unexpectedly between this and that. I go to San Agustin solely to visit an archaeological site, but when I arrive, the weather delays my plans and the setting, characters, and atmosphere align to replace them with subtle magic. […]

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Popayán to San Agustín: Driving into Colombia’s Soul

April 30, 2014 backpacking
Drive from Popayan to San Agustin, Colombia

When we walk into the Popayan bus station, I predict that I have another memorable overland trip ahead of me. The bus station only has half of its concrete floor. The other half is dirt. Although we see no one repairing the floor, we quickly learn that someone has recently been working on it. My […]

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Photo Essay: Exploring Oakland in the Spring with Localite Tours

April 24, 2014 California
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On a balmy Sunday morning in March, I crossed the San Francisco Bay to join Localite Tours’ Picnic Tour in Oakland. It was a relaxing day by Lake Merritt and our group got to experience some lovely sights and tastes of springtime Oakland. Here’s what we did: Our first stop was The Gardens at Lake […]

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Three Vignettes from a Room with a View in Popayán

April 21, 2014 Colombia
Overlooking the main square in Popayan, Colombia

By day, Popayan’s main square looks like many colonial towns in Latin America. There is a cafe, a bank or two, and a church on the perimeter of it. Inside the square, you’ll find people watching the day go by from a park bench, city maintenance workers keeping everything tidy, and vendors everywhere. You can […]

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Photo Essay: Scenes from Popayán, Colombia

April 7, 2014 Colombia
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It’s only been a few hours since I left Cali, but the big city feels far away as I arrive in Popayan on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I’ve reserved a quaint little hostel room that’s decorated in shades of blue and overlooks the main square of Popayan. It exemplifies simple perfection. I settle in and […]

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Songs for the Road No. 22: A Soundtrack for a Road Trip on the West Side of Colombia

April 2, 2014 Colombia

In Colombia, there are distinct Afro-Colombian cultures on both the Caribbean and Pacific Coasts. The Pacifico Afro-Colombian culture is even more obscure to outsiders and harder to access than that of the Caribbean Coast. Perhaps because of that, the Afro-Colombian culture there is quite strong. African rhythms and call and response singing are combined to […]

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Punk, Skate, Salsa: A Weekend in Cali, Colombia

March 29, 2014 Colombia
Mural in Cali, Colombia with stencil graffiti

As my bus meanders through the Valle de Cauca, I can tell that I have entered a different Colombia. Throughout my trip, the landscape and atmosphere have varied wildly from place to place, but something about this region feels entirely different. The tenacious hands of tourism haven’t yet reached this corner of Colombia. We drive […]

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