The Chicken Bus to Granada

Granada’s iconic cathedral

This past year, I have been traveling a little more like a normal tourist than I did when I set out on my travels three years ago. Back then, I made a point to use the transportation used by locals, eat at the night markets and food stalls, and visit every kind of neighborhood. I was reminded of this in Managua when my taxi driver took me to the bus station instead of the meeting place for the tourist shuttle. Continue reading

Amazon Prime

The Amatista

Until I spent a few days on the Amatista, “Amazon” meant big river, impenetrable jungles and dark-skinned men with blow darts.  The vision is accurate as far as it goes – except that the blow darts are now mostly found in souvenir shops — but I learned this week how the Amazon is a lot more than a river. The Amazon basin, called “Amazonia,” is one of the earth’s natural superstars. Continue reading

The Charms of Cusco

Flying into Cusco (Peru :)), you know your landing is going to be a little tricky because the air is thin at 10,000 feet. As you approach the city, you see that there isn’t much room for error because you will be landing in a small valley surrounded by mountains, and the landing strip is flanked by 3 and 4 story apartment buildings. A modified helicopter landing! You land safely and wonder how this isolated place could have been the the center of an empire.

Continue reading

Cultural Acts in Bogota

Bogota, Colombia, is like so many of the world’s big cities — crowded, bogged down by traffic, leafy neighborhoods and the desperately poor, an interesting old town and, increasingly, a vibrant bar and cafe scene.  Lots of music, trees and churches. Bogota is also one of the most painted cities I have ever visited.  Art is everywhere.

Continue reading