Thursday, June 22, 2017

Lands End in Los Cabos


If you've ever traveled to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, you have almost certainly visited Lands End, also called El Arco or the Arch. These natural rock formations rising out of the Sea of Cortez are as significant a landmark to Los Cabos as the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. The best way to view the formations is by boat and I almost fell over the edge as I gawked at El Arco.


Experts say that these rock formations date back 30 million years and they mark the point where the Gulf of California meets the Pacific Ocean. The Baja California peninsula is the second longest in the world and El Arco is located at the very southern tip, hence the name Lands End.


Besides being an essential photo op, El Arco is a sea lion hang out. I spotted several bobbing in the waves as the boat glided by the rocks. Unfortunately, they were too fast for me to snap a pic!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fete Fever at Bahamas Junkanoo


Everybody loves carnival time and if you visit the Caribbean often enough, you can always find an island hosting these colorful celebrations all year round. Although the traditional Bahamian Junkanoo is  held after Christmas on Boxing Day (also known as my birthday) Junkanoo Carnival kicks off in May. I didn't get the chance to participate this time (costume MIA) but I still mingled with the revelers and captured some candid images. Yes, everyone loves carnival but as the Bahamas tourism site suggests, "it's best suited for those who have the stamina, rhythm, confidence, positive vibes and a free spirit!" Check out the evidence below.



Lots of  mas bands "wine up" all down the streets but this gal gave a close up demo.


I caught this guy as he stopped to gyrate in the street, right before the rest of his band caught up and blocked his photo.



Trucks with water hoses spray onlookers who don't move fast enough but these girls preferred the water bottle variety.


I loved the varying shades of blue of this group. They reminded me of the waves of the Caribbean Sea as they marched through Nassau. Have you ever participated in carnival?

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Next Stop: Los Cabos


I try to travel to a different part of Mexico at least once a year so I'm excited to visit San Jose Del Cabo for the first time this week. Located on the Southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, it's quieter and more relaxed than the party haven of Cabo San Lucas. I'll be hosted by Paradisus Los Cabos,  a stylish new resort that just opened in December.  Surrounded by mountains and sparkling views of the Sea of Cortez, this expansive property features one of the only swimmable beaches in the area as well as seven restaurants, with the standout being  the Basque-French cuisine of Gastro Bar, helmed by Michelin star rated chef Martin Berasategui. I'll also be checking out the famous Los Cabos coastline and view the majestic El Arco  rock formations, hopefully along with a few whales and sea lions during a cruise on the Sea of Cortez. Please stay tuned for details!

This is Havana


Havana is super charming. It's really difficult to step foot into this energetic, multi-layered city and not be swept away by its appeal. Music flows from every surface, the locals are warm and gracious and the streets are crammed with striking images. There's a lot to see and what you capture depends on how you look and what you're looking for. The colorful buildings of Old Havana are every visitor's fave but I was also taken by the modern structures. El Capitolo, pictured above, resembles the American capitol building but was actually modeled after the Pantheon in Paris. It's interesting that you don't see photos of this lovely building half as much as you see images of the old,classic cars. Notice that there are modern cars rolling down the street in front of El Capitolo.


Plaza de la Revolucion is another popular pic but the iconic portrait of Che' Guevara is almost always highlighted. I discovered that Camilo Cienfuegos, a revolutionary who led a key battle during the Cuban Revolution is also featured in the plaza, as seen above. Camilo, along with Che and the Castro brothers were the major heros of the revolution but Camilo doesn't seem get as much acknowledgement outside of Cuba.


I loved strolling the Vedado neighborhood where I stayed in an Airbnb. I passed parks and sculptures like this wherever I went.


The crumbling buildings and old cars are visual hallmarks of Havana but there are also well kept buildings and serene plazas like the ones pictured above.


The Cuban flag flies proudly over many buildings but I really loved the juxtaposition of this waving flag against the modern architecture.


Murals. street art and graffiti are also common sights in Havana but I especially enjoyed walking past this piece everyday. Viva Cuba indeed!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Next Stop: Cuba!


I can barely contain the joy and excitement that's bubbling through me. This week, I'm finally visiting the place that's topped my bucket list for years-- Cuba! My love of Cuban music has connected me to the culture for a long time and I feel like I'll be entering a vaguely familiar place, even though I've never been. As an American, visiting Cuba requires a few hoops to jump but it's not a big deal when compared with the reward. Except for an essential visit to the Tropicana Cabaret, I won't be doing many touristy excursions in Havana.  I'll be mingling and living with locals as I am celebrating the engagement of my talented friend Ugochi and her fiancee, Juan Miguel. I will  be supplying posts from a local perspective as well as tips on how to experience the vibrant Cuban culture when I return, so please be on the look out!



Thursday, May 4, 2017

Next Stop: Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival

Photo courtesy of Bahamas Tourism

It's that time again. No matter the destination, I never turn down the chance to participate in the joyful celebration of carnival. This weekend, I'm headed to Nassau for the Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival.  I was in Nassau three years ago when plans for the inaugural event  were kicking off and I'm excited to be able to experience the festivities in person. Junkanoo is a series of concerts, costumes, competitions and street parties that incorporate Bahamian cultural elements like rake n scrape folk music. One of my best Bahamian memories was hearing rake n- scrape for the first time at the iconic Elvina's on Eleuthera.  I can't wait to hear it in another setting and learn about the history Junkanoo traditions as well as possibly participating in the Road Fever parade, so stay tuned!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Adobe Adoration in Santa Fe


One of the hallmarks of Santa Fe are the beautiful adobe buildings that fill the city and supply a distinctive, organic vibe. I've never been in adobe structures so I was thrilled to see them up close, touch their smooth walls and experience their indoor cooling effects.


Historically, Pueblo Indians in the Rio Grande valley constructed expansive homes made from sun-dried mud and straw. Stone floors and rooms surrounding a central plaza was another aspect of the architectural style that has been preserved as Santa Fe  Pueblo style.


Santa Fe features so many adobe buildings that it's actually startlingly when you see places made from regular bricks and wood. I fell in love with gazing at the soft clay colors of adobe under the bright Santa Fe sun.


Many Santa Fe museums and galleries are made from adobe but when you consider the ancient history of  adobe architecture, the art and history is reflected not just inside but outside as well.