Sucre 044

Hotels, Rooms, Hostels & Beds – The Best of 2013

This was at the CasArte Takubamba hostel in Sucre, Bolivia, one of some fifty places where I laid me down to sleep in 2013. All things considered, it was my favorite accomodation of the bunch: comfortable, welcoming and staffed by genuinely nice people. If I ever return to Sucre, I will be returning here.

Since I moved to Europe in 2004 and began traveling extensively, I developed a road routine that includes taking a quick snapshot of my hotel room promptly upon arrival. I haven’t always succeeded, and have probably missed a few dozen over the years, but I was pretty good about this year. When I was putting this little slideshow together — accommodations from Ushuaia in Tierra Del Fuego to my hepatitis A bed in Boquete, Panama  —  I noticed that I only missed a couple, not counting the beds and couches of friends and relatives later on.

Viewed separately these snaps are fairly mundane. Viewed quickly, and with a soundtrack by the jovial and energetic Asian Women on the Telephone, they become slightly less mundane.


In order of appearance:

Buenos Aires, Argentina | Ushuaia, Argentina | Punta Arenas, Chile | Puerto Natales, Chile | Calafate, Argentina | El Chalten, Argentina | Los Antigos, Argentina | Chile Chico, Chile | Rio Tranquilo, Chile | Villa Castillo, Chile | Coyhaique, Chile | Puyuhuapi, Chile | Chaiten, Chile | Puerto Montt, Chile | Puerto Varas, Chile | Puella, Chile | Bariloche, Argentina | Mendoza, Argentina | Santiago, Chile | Santiago to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile | near Laguna Colorada, Bolivia | near San Juan, Bolivia | Uyuni, Bolivia | Potosi, Bolivia | Sucre, Bolivia | La Paz, Bolivia | Copacabana, Bolivia | Copacabana, Bolivia to Cusco, Peru | Cusco, Peru | Cusco to Lima, Peru | Lima, Peru | Zorritos, Peru | Puerto Pizarro, Peru | Guayaquil, Ecuador | Puerto Lopez, Ecuador | Manta, Ecuador | Jama, Ecuador | Quito, Ecuador | Popayan, Colombia | Medellin, Colombia | Cartagena, Colombia | San Blas Islands, Panama | Panama City | Boquete, Panama

And if you’re still interested, here’s another similar hotel room & view slideshow consisting of 124 snaps taken between 2007-2011.

And if you’re planning to visit Sucre, check out CasArte Takubamba. A brief write-up with plenty of photos is here.


This post was added to the Sunday Traveler blog linkup which made its debut today. Visit one of the co-hosts, Chasing the Donkey, to check out other blogs or to add your own throughout the week.

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Isla del Sol, Lake Titicaca, Bolivia

Isla del Sol: In Color, or Black and White?

Here is a 90-second video notebook from Isla de Sol on Lake Titicaca, the island were the Inca believed the sun was created and their dynasty born. After spending part of a day traversing the lake’s largest island, it wasn’t difficult to imagine the spiritual connection the setting inspired.

The sublime beauty of the island and its immediate environs imparted in me a connection and inner peace than not even Machu Picchu, where I would visit about a week later, was able to match.

I didn’t shoot much during the hike across the island’s spine, just these half dozen handheld scenes under the strongest and brightest sun of the day. I’ve watched several black and white films in recent weeks so I decided to render this in both color and monochrome to see what iMovie throws back.

Which do you prefer?

Music via the Free Music Archive is a portion of this beautiful piece, ‘Appel à la prière’ (feat. Eddie Wagner), by Montreal-based musician YlangYlang. You can also check out more here.



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Valle de la Luna

240 Seconds in the Valley of the Moon

Your mental health break for the day comes in the form of this four minute collection of shots and panoramas from the Valle de la Luna, or Valley of the Moon, in the Atacama desert of northern Chile about 15 kilometers from San Pedro de Atacama. Its name comes from the variety of landscapes, colors and textures in the area, likening it to the surface of the moon. (The bright side.)

It’s an absolutely stunning area and one of the driest places on the planet. Some areas haven’t felt a raindrop in hundreds of years. I posted a few times briefly on the area, here and here.

The music in the video notebook is ‘Luz‘ by Universildo from the album, ‘Luces del Aire‘. Check it out.

Footage shot on 24-Mar-2013.
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Poas Volcano, Costa Rica

Trekker FX Monopod Field Test, or 30 Seconds at the ‪Poás‬ Volcano

As the title suggests, here’s a very short piece of video from a visit this past June to the ‪Poás‬ Volcano, located in its eponymous national park in central Costa Rica. Less than two hours’ drive from San Jose, it’s a popular day trip; it’s also very much active, adding to its allure.

My friend Drew, a journalist and video producer who’s been based in Costa Rica for nearly 20 years, brought along a hiking pole, a Trekker FX Monopod by Mountainsmith. I had my Canon 60D so we decided to combine our stuff and do something somewhat useful – resulting in this impromptu field test.

I used it to shoot a few stills while Drew shot the video: considering its lightweight design (14oz/400g) and relatively low sticker price (29.95 USD), it performed reasonably well – well enough to serve the second of its dual functions in a pinch. I got the feeling though that my DSLR with its 18-135 lens pretty much reached the pole’s load weight limit.

I’ll post more pics and info about the park later in the week.

By the way, if you’ve got a few minutes to spare, check out Drew’s production company, Ami TV. He’s done great work covering a wide variety of subjects over the years, from history and culture to alternative energy and environmental conservation. [ Website ] [ Facebook ] [ Vimeo ]

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March Against Monsanto in Quito, Ecuador

March Against Monsanto – Quito: Vidblog

Quito, Ecuador – As promised, below is about four minutes of video footage from yesterday’s March Against Monsanto demonstration here in the Ecuadorian capital. Nothing fancy – but it’ll give you a general idea of how things transpired here. And like just about everything I’ve come across in South America over the past four months, the demonstration had a terrific, infectious beat.For some background: I posted some photos and a notebook on the event yesterday.

I’ll be posting a few post-march videos, some excellent music and dancing, later in the week

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26 Seconds at Guayaquil’s Malecon Gardens Fish Pond


The amount of plastic I continue to see –strewn about, blowing about and haphazardly piled about– as I make my way north through South America is staggering. Whether at home or on the road, it’s one thing I simply can’t become immune or jaded to. Who throws bottle caps, candy wrappers, spoons and sporks into ponds in public gardens? Or flings plastic bags and bottles out their windows?

Does anyone know these people? If so, can you please ask them to stop?

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