Friday, June 22, 2007

"8 de la manãna, Havana, Cuba"

The taxi driver barely payed attention to the traffic. Anyone on the sidewalk could wave him down and asked him if he would go some place for some pesos. It was up to him deciding whether the small (or big) detour, since there were other people on board with different destinations, would compensate for the pesos he had been offered. No hurries. Moreover, nobody on board seemed to bother.

What could be an uninteresting shortest path from A to B turned out as an apparently random sequence of streets, with different persons hopping in and out. A man holding a mango (possibly is lunch), a couple noticeably in love... All of us (sometimes a total of 7 persons) fitted inside the typical 50's american car.

Once in downtown Havana, the cigar / rum / paladares (family run restaurants) / accommodation (and other "commodities"...) vendors are by the dozen. If you reject some or all offers, you get an unresented smile and a warm "hasta luego" in return.

In one of the busiest streets in Havana, this woman gently asked if we would go to the groceries store and buy powder milk for her baby. At first, we were kind of apprehensive: where exactly is the store? just there, she said.

For obvious reasons, it was difficult to deny such request... even though we figured a big-iron-muscled-cuban boyfriend was waiting for such pure souls in some alley... but sometimes a "western" mind plays tricks on you. We were/are so embarrassedly wrong... At the store counter, though, one other woman immediately joined us. Well, powder milk for two babies then... no problem. They told the man behind the counter what they wanted and he swiftly took care of the order. He looked busy... As soon as we started realizing that maybe they had (a lot) more babies, they said an embarrassed thank you and a quick goodbye, and walked out the door with their hands full of bags filled with powder milk packages.

The bill was steep. But a far cry from cubans' needs. It seemed more than fair.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Island hopping...

Finding deserted beaches in Greece is rather difficult if you don't have a boat. Really difficult. We already knew it would be even more so if we'd go to Lefkada's Porto Katsiki, often dubbed as one of the best Mediterranean beaches. It provides you a stunning scenery with its huge surrounding limestone cliffs. The sea has one of the most particular shades of blue I've seen, although the visibility underwater is terrible. If you could just ignore the crowds and the noise, it would be close to perfect. In this photo I hardly managed to frame two persons... that's how crowded it is.

Under scorching heat, we drove in search of beaches more to our liking, dodging the hordes of italian cars and motorcycles. When the italian license plates became more scarce, we drove a little longer... and found this beach... empty!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Back in 1999...

During my 2-week stay at Ilhas Desertas (11 nautical miles off Madeira), which can be translated to Deserted Islands, I saw... zero monk seals. I thoroughly watched the ocean for 5 hours a day on specific spots... still, not a glimpse. Bear in mind, though, that the small population of 20+ seals (in 1999) is spread in a natural reserve with 24000 acres.

Find the spot where this photo was taken in Google Maps:

To start with...

I still don't really know what first prompted me to create this blog...
Truth is this is one of those "projects" you manage the time to do, in spite of all the real projects you have to do. Classic.

The idea is somewhat similar to "Panoramio", but with the possibility to add some more words and... to have a black background (...).

I cherish all my photos (good and bad ones) of trips I have made, as they consistently remind me of good things ... sure enough, only a very small percentage makes the cut. These are the ones I will share on this blog.

Oh, and Mac is my boss/cat... to which a trip to the vet seems like traveling around the world.