Donnerstag, 21. Juni 2012

mote of dust

We succeeded in taking that picture from deep space, and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam.

- Carl Sagan

Samstag, 1. Oktober 2011

Do we travel to fill the gaps in our own cultures?

Finally, a world where meaning and magic exist, yet to be chased out by scientific certainties and the chase for consumer happiness.
There are mantras to be learned, herbs to be smoked, meditations to be absorbed, abstruse texts to be pondered – in short, we swallow it all.
The Hindu priests are sometimes on the make, the religious rituals maintain hierarchies, the sacred herbs are another form of escape and those ancient texts are often so hard to understand because they’re trying to express something that can’t be expressed with words.
Try as much as you can, but totems and spirits of the mountains will only ever really be fairy tales to our minds.
And so we search and search, hoping to fill that cultural gap in our own societies.
they seem so much more content, is it bc we are 21st century orphans, amazed of the rituals, ceremonies and beliefs that hold a society together?
Standing in a circle with joined hands, singing songs of thanks to Mother Nature and Ommming before each meal, they try to bring the moments of appreciation into the daily routine that passed out of our culture so long ago. But knowing it’s all made up makes it hard to take it seriously. Even the kidnapping of the Om, the sound that precedes all sounds – does it really mean anything to us? Can we really just try to believe?
We’ll see that all is one, learn to live in the moment and lose all fear of the imminent return back home that stares every traveler in the face.

Montag, 26. September 2011

Caribbean Coast

and of those coastal buses which lavishly blow freezing temperatures right in your face. no escape and pure bliss. at least for the first 30min. when the nose starts to get blue and your fingers get rigid, you almost yearn for the unbearable heat of the caribbean coast.
when we finally made it to santa marta, we planned our trip to parque nacional tayrona.
the hike to the national park is about 3 hours and we made it to cabo san juan del guia, were soaked and with sweat dropping off our foreheads. and it was totally worth it. it was the most breathtaking and most amazing thing I have seen in my entire life. not just the boulders rising above the turquoise water, but also the deserted beaches that just look like paradise on a postcard.
we stayed there for a night, sleeping in hammocks and woke up in the middle of the night because of a caribbean thunderstorm. try falling asleep with rain whipping in your face. not that easy.
we took the boat back to taganga and a bus further to santa marta the next morning.

besides all the wonderful little sights on the colombian coast, we also saw a lot of poverty and the terrible sight of kids sleeping on the street is just heart breaking. no matter what country you are in.. even if you put your water bottle aside of the sleeping kid, you feel helpless...and just like in other countries.. this is a city and all walk past and let it become just one of the day's memories that you try not to remember.

the next day we made it back to cartagena where we we stayed another night and then took the bus to tolú, a sleepy little fisher village right on the coast. we were pretty much the only tourists in town who weren't from colombia. we drank fresh juice, ate arepas con queso and did pretty much nothing the whole day besides being at the beach.
The next day we took a tour to the archipiélago de san bernardo... and again... the caribbean storm hit us the minute we arrived there, but just lasted a couple minutes (yes, still enough that my clothes didn't dry until the next day). but the sun came back relentlessly and we could dip in the caribbeans for another hour or so.

now we are back again in cartagena and hope we finally make our way to playa blanca tomorrow to spend the last couple days at the beach and then fly back to BOG on the 1st of october...

Samstag, 17. September 2011

Sonntag, 4. September 2011

Cuenca - Bogotá - Medellín

After three weeks in Montañita, we went further south to Cuenca.. Beautiful little town and the capital of the Azuay Province...We stayed there for 4 nights and finally saw the sun for a couple hours. It's called the grandfather of Ecuador, with great colonial architecture and cobbled streets to walk round in.
The hostel was great with a little backyard and we had a great time together. We celebrated my birthday with sweet cake, sweeter sparkling wine and the sweetest presents. (Si, mi corazón vibra por ti. haha)...

After Cuenca we took our flight from Guayaquil to Bogotá with a bad start since someone stole Nora's rainjacket our of her backpack..
Besides that Bogotá seems safe during the day. Well, at least until sunset.
First of all you can't just flag down a cab since Scopolamine, Burundanga and other “knock out” or incapacitating drugs are used by criminals to drug and rob unwary victims.. Second night in Bogotá and we met a Colombian who ended up somewhere in the south of the city, not knowing what happened to him in the past 6 hours. The only thing he knew was that he got robbed and that they took everything.

So we are standing there trying to catch a cab to bring us to our hostel and no one wants to take us... Empty cabs just pass by and as soon as they hear our address, they refuse to take us there.
Also the nearby cafè refuses to call us a cab, so we end up flagging down a cab and the first taxidriver throws us our of his cab because we wanted to see his license (apperently it's a must for them to make them visible for everyone). Finally someone takes us and after he almost gets into a fist fight with another taxidriver who called him "a horse", we arrive safely at our hostel while releasing lots of stress hormones during the whole ride...
Since then Nora kept her little knife in her sock and we took the bus the next morning to Medellín.

We arrived in the biggest gringo hostel in town and end up sleeping in a dorm with an australian guy who is snorting cocaine 24/7... Afterwards he talks a lot of bullshit. A LOT! He keeps telling us that he is 33 and did everything in his life besides cocaine and will probably never do it again as soon as he is back in Australia (yeah right!). And he is super rich and is collecting cars back at home (who gives a fuck).
So he sits there, totally drugged on his bed in our dorm with his laptop until we come home from meeting up with some people after a couple hours and I still don't get it.. I have no clue why people are traveling to the end of the world and end up seeing the country through the blurry visions of drugs. I don't mind if you smoke up or have some happy cake, but snorting three lines in a couple minutes to sit all by yourself in a dorm while being hopped up on drugs and having nose bleeding from all the cocaine you just did?
Apparently for some people it can be fun to add a little excitement to their nights out in town but as an everyday thing it can make you a really obnoxious bastard I guess. Coke users tend to feel themselves as superior to everyone else around them and so it’s not really a drug with great personality...
I don't want to be a moralizer, but if he continues with his tripping out on drugs and bullshit talk, I will let him know how annoying he is.

Besides that, I'm looking forward to see more of the city. We met some friends of a friend of Nora who showed us some parts of the city and showed us how you don't die while crossing the street. This is one of the few countries in the world where people look actually scared before they cross the road. I read the panic in their faces and wonder why no one is selling pedestrian crossing insurance...

Besides that..never say anything bad about Medellin to a local here. They think it’s paradise on earth... but one wonders how so much violence and crime could exist in Eden. But then, every Paradise has it’s flaws.

Donnerstag, 18. August 2011

Montag, 15. August 2011

jungle fever

The last week was different than the other weeks here in Montañita. The other day we came back from our spanish class and heard that there was a shooting right next to the school. Apparently two colombians got shot during the day. They said it was about drugs and mafia, even though this was the first time that it happened in Montañita. Right afterwards they said there is a tsunami coming to Montañita in the afternoon bc of another earthquake in Japan.
So the whole school was standing on the roof terrace of the school watching the waves. We weren't allowed to go surfing afterwards bc of the really high waves. I couldn't go surf anyways since my knees are totally messed up bc of the surfing the week before. Surfing is a great, but really painful sport.a) you can break your knees or b) you can step on a stingray believe me.. my foot wasn't really happy about it. it burns like crazy.
Our dive instructor made up for this though with showing me a living starfish which he put on my hand.

We also went to Isla de la plata, which is called the Galapagos for the poor man.
We drove an hour to Puerto Lopez and then further to the Island which is like an hour away...
On the way we saw the whales which are on their way to the south right now with their babies... it was amazing. We also got to see dolphins and huge tortoises..

On thursday we left for our long weekend to Baños, a city is the mountains of Ecuador..It is known as the "Gateway to the Amazon", as it is located on the Pastaza River in the Amazon River basin. The first day we arrived at 6am after sitting in the van for 12 hours and went straight to bed. But just for about 30min bc then they started roofing on the house opposite of our hostel. nice. Plus we were 10 people and they had 6(!!) beds for all 10 of us. Which meant that Nora and me were sleeping for 3 nights in a single bed. great.

But the trip was totally worth it.
We went to the jungle for one day were we swang on ropes over the canyon of the jungle, ate termites and lemon ants, which really teaste like lemons. Some of us did swing jumping, which is almost like bungee jumping...
Diego, our guide, was amazing. He showed us what to eat when we are lost in jungle (you never know, right?), which tree gives you shadow and how you can call for help...Then we got to swim in a sensational waterfall until it got dark... I wouldn't change it for anything. The way back was again a ride of 12 hours but one of the most beautiful I have ever seen.
Our little group was great and we had tons of fun. thanks guys!