I accidentally deleted the saved photos in this post; mourned over it for awhile, the view was gorgeous! I can still recall some of these visual memories. Will take Sis’ collection when I’m free.
The 85,000 year old volcano-ringed Lake Atitlan, the deepest lake in Central America. Or as Aldous Huxley had said, ‘too much of a good thing’, this crater lake ‘with additional embellishments of several immense volcanoes’.
It’s been a few days since Flores.
In Antigua, we didn’t meet anyone and I thought we’d spend some parts of the day actually using my laptop in a productive way. Sadly these days have passed and no work was done. I know, it’s the holiday! But it was also a conscious decision to travel this Long. :p
Antigua was mostly exploring the city (and the artisanal market), buying this cute set of Guatemalan earrings, and finding our transport to Lake Atitlan. It was beautiful there, we took a boat to San Marco (full of hippie things – yoga and meditation retreats, mindfulness workshops, green schemes (selling upcycled products), clean food, that sort.) The crowd there was also distinct, which wasn’t surprising as we had read about it.
Seems like meditation tourism is pretty evident in Guatemala.
San Pedro was a backpacker’s town, we mainly took pictures by the docks and walked around the markets. Lake Atitlan was pretty much like Lake Toba, the similar styles of backpackers bars and hostels, some shops with paintings (gorgeous ones of the volcanoes and the Guatemalans, if I may add). It’s funny yet unsurprising how similar these places are across the world, how ideas transmit across distance, or perhaps just the way humans adapt to their physical environments. Oh but here, people could rent a kayak and go kayaking in the crater lake.
Grabbed from Sis’ facebook, for memory’s sake:
the hammock life. i need
i remember lying down, lazing. and knowing it wouldnt last. fleeting joy, fleeting moments of tranquility before i would be plunged back again.
i relished that moment where I sat, rocking, chilling, by you
perhaps it was sweeter though, knowing it would not have been forever
i tried to grasp that moment tightly while it lasted
perhaps that’s why i still replay that moment fondly
why so many pics of me? ha ha
morning view, we woke up to this at our doorstep
Cruising along the Great Ocean Road: Before these limestone pillars were named the Twelve Apostles, they were known as the Sow and Piglets. Rock stacks that erode and collapse, erode and collapse with the lapping waves. With the unstoppable forces of time, whether their names change hundreds of years from now, the view will never quite be the same.
Laguna Guanaroca had apparently experienced a massive flood last week. It had rained for 3 consecutive days and the place had flooded, the pier destroyed. They were closed last week and had only opened 3 days ago. ‘One of the most important things I have in my life are my computer’, the guide had said. I smiled, that was not uncommon. And you get the wifi card for 1 CUC too? I asked. Isn’t it expensive?
I don’t use the wifi that much. If I need something I go into one of the paladar and get a USB storage for the information that I want. Such as manga. Some information are more expensive than others. For example, one chapter of manga could cost 1 cuc. And you know these manga chapters, there could be hundreds of them! With the money I earn here I could probably buy about 2 chapters a week.
Actually, we were lucky enough to spot some pink flammingos taking flight for some time in the high skies, but the pictures turned out low quality. it was interesting to watch nonetheless, as i tried to communicate with my boat rower – who generally bemoaned the cuban economy, to garner sympathy / get more tips from me at the end, you think? i think? i don’t know
It’s been more than 2 months now. It’s lovely looking back, pictures of Che, Fidel, and this Caribbean island I had the opportunity to spend about 2 weeks exploring.
In these 2 weeks, I spent a lot of time reading, chatting, observing, sometimes immersed in the comfort of my solitude. On more than 1 occasion, I painted. I walked along the streets alone, curious, and conversed in Spanish in most parts that I went. I walked till my legs were tired, before I sat at a malecon and listened to the choral voices and the Cuban beats. Watched movies and Netflix (downloaded for offline viewing) in the evenings, sharing secrets with my Latina Lissette on some nights.
How lovely! As much as I liked my friends and my people, I still immensely enjoy the ease and comfort I felt when I went back to my big rooms, my cooling casas, all on my own schedule and space and the company of my book.
I still remained somewhat connected to wifi, almost daily.
My first thoughts in Cuba:
Some pictures to begin this series:
Overall expenses in general: (2 weeks – 2ksgd inclu. flight)
3cuc on taxi
Dinner ytd 2cuc and 25 pesos
Water 70 cents cuc
Viazul 17 cuc
Drink – 10 pesos
The bread thing starts with c with guava filling – 2 pesos
Postcard 1.5 cuc
Ice cream 5 pesos
Cups and statue 6cuc total
Dinner 7.80 cuc
5 cuc taxi for viazul
Peso pizza and drink 20 pesos
Tour Vinales 15cuc
Fanta orange 1.50 cuc
Ice cream 0.10cuc
Sandwich breakfast 15pesos
Dinner – bread and 2guayaba 25cup
Breakkie – 25pesos
Cuevo del Indio 5cucs
Ice cream 1.2 pesos
Lunch – 6.60cucs
Bananas – 50 cents cuc
6cuc for casa
Lunch 20 pesos
Postcard 1.50 cuc
Water – 1.25 cuc
6cuc for bus to santa clara
Breakfast – 18 pesos
Tip – 40 pesos
Entrance and laguna – 10 cuc and2 cuc for bus
Ice cream – 1.75 cuc
Lunchner – 20 pesos
11cuc accom and brekkie
8cuc bus to Trinidad
1 cuc bicycle to viazul station
20 pesos for food, 15 pesos for drinks etc
Food – 11 pesos (8 pesos bread with egg and ham and cheese, fruit juice 3 pesos)
Souvenirs – 11cuc + 4 cuc = 15 cuc
Tmr dinner – 5 cuc
30 pesos for street food
25 cuc for viazul to habana
Movie ticket for 2 pesos
Hamel Hostel 5.25 cuc
Ice cream 2.50 cuc
Ice cream 0.40 cuc
Taxi to airport 20cuc
It’s been almost 5 months since my first step into Southern Africa. It’s so different from Morocco though, and at the same time many of my conceptions towards the continent has been challenged. It wasn’t as… frightening as I thought it would be. I didn’t see starving children, malnourished, mud cookies, which were part of my Geographical Imagination of the continent. It almost surprised me to see those huge supermarkets with shiny floors and rows of fresh fruits, french fries and meat and cakes and SUSHI behind the glass counters, tall air-conditioned malls, inter-city buses that were just like all the others – air-conditioned, sometimes promising wifi, with music occasionally blasting in the trip. Was I that ignorant, to feel this surprised? I suppose so. Nonetheless I do acknowledge that as a tourist, I saw the shiny bit of things.
Some things poignant to me was how my notion of animals have changed. Wild animals, not the ones I’m accustomed and largely exposed to, locked in the zoo. My notion of fearing wild animals, and the idea that I do not have to worry about HIV in my home country, and the large network of land transport services in my homeland, these were great.
Summing up my first evening in Johannesburg – emerged unscathed, had a Joburger, and listened to the various stories about getting and avoiding attacks/carjacks (18 times, he counted). Despite these, the driver and Peter both shared the sentiment that they enjoyed the energy of the city, and loved the city in ways – a ‘un-boring’ place amidst the ‘chaos’, they found a place for themselves.
Free education, free healthcare (even the HIV pills are provided by the government) unemployment benefits, pensions. 11 official languages.
Observing blacks speaking English, or Zulu (the next most common?) language to each other. Medium in schools dependent on which schools you go to.
So many cars, seemed like everyone had a car because of a lack of public transport systems. Didn’t see any bus stops around (although there were those mini-buses), nor motorbikes (too unsafe, Peter suggests).
Sibebe rock was quite an easy hike, we didnt really need a guide, to be honest. Nonetheless we did – and we would have been pleased to support the local economy, if not for a grumpy guide that wanted to leave us halfway, while overcharging us from the start which got us off to a rather unpleasant vibe at the beginning.
Nice view at the top, breeze.
Swaziland! A small, landlocked kingdom, an absolute monarchy, where the current King was crowned at the age of 18, and married with 14 wives (his father had more than 70, and an estimated 180 children and 1000 grandchildren). People are friendly, weed grows freely in the wild. I feel like lazing all day in this cooling climate, surrounded by all these hills and greenery. Love this place!
Tucked in a corner of Mbabane, Cz found a shoe repair shop owned by a Deaf man and operated by two Deaf employees. In 10 minutes, the loose and broken seams were fixed for $1. I tried to sign ‘thank you’, he smiled and I think he understood.
It’s funny though, how our notions of ‘modern dressing’ and ‘modernity’ immediately shifts to that of the States. Cultural outfits are perceived as ‘traditional outfits’, even ‘primitive’ was my thought when I think back on the Swazis with their animal skins loosely draped over their bodily parts. The good place