Wandering Shadows (Colombia, 2004)

My movie score: 4 (out of 5)    IMDB: 7.1

Two men meet in downtown Bogotá. One is Mañe, an older man missing a leg and the means to survive in a city that couldn’t care less. The other is a “silletero”, a man with a chair on his back, who carries people around for money. Their strange friendship slowly takes them to the exact place from which both tried to escape: their past. Continue reading “Wandering Shadows (Colombia, 2004)”

The Grim Truth About Living in Latin America

Life in Latin America is easy, if you are an expat. The people are nice and friendly, the culture is rich and vibrant and living is usually cheap and with higher standards than those you are used to. But there are also grim sides to the Latin American story, that no one is talking about. Well it’s time someone broke the silence and told the truth.

Continue reading “The Grim Truth About Living in Latin America”

Celestun – Flamingos and Mangroves on the coast of Yucatan

On our last weekend before leaving Yucatan, we took a bus from Merida to Celestun, to visit the Celestun Biosphere Reserve, where flocks of pink flamingos come for the winter. While every hostel and tour agency offers a tour to Celestun, there is really no reason to take them. These tours are usually pricey, and don’t offer anything of extra value. Instead, we took a regular bus from the Noreste bus station in the center of Merida, where the buses leave every hour. Continue reading “Celestun – Flamingos and Mangroves on the coast of Yucatan”

The Rose Seller (Colombia, 1998)

My movie score: 4.5 (out of 5)    IMDB: 7.4

Hillside comunas of Medellin. Children trying to earn some money on the streets, girls fending off casual abuse from their mothers’ drunk boyfriends, boys waging guns, everyone getting high on glue fumes.

Monica, a 13-year-old girl with a bouquet of roses and a cherished memory of her mother and grandmother lives on these streets. Continue reading “The Rose Seller (Colombia, 1998)”

Yucatan Less Traveled: Yellow Izamal and Cenotes of Homun

“I can show you a little bit of my Yucatan. Where do you stay?” This was the message I received from Luis Fernando, a young yucateco that replied me on Couchsurfing, where I was looking for locals to meet and befriend. A few days later we were speeding in his car outside of Merida on our way to Izamal, a pre-hispanic city, known today for its yellow buildings. Continue reading “Yucatan Less Traveled: Yellow Izamal and Cenotes of Homun”

White Sands, Mayan Ruins and Underground Rivers: One Day on the Caribbean in Yucatan

White sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, ancient Maya city of Tulum, underground rivers, and freshwater caves of Sac Actun. It’s all here, on the Caribbean coast of Yucatan, a result of an astonishing collaboration of circumstances, nature, and pre-hispanic Maya culture. Continue reading “White Sands, Mayan Ruins and Underground Rivers: One Day on the Caribbean in Yucatan”

On The Road in Yucatan: Colonial Valladolid and Mayan Coba

Having made Merida our base in Yucatan, for the first few weeks we limited ourselves to short day trips to Chichen Itza, Uxmal and Kabah. But it was time to venture farther east – where the white sands and turquoise waters of the Caribbean sea are the spectacular setting for an ancient Mayan city of Tulum. So Saturday morning we rented a car and headed to Quintana Roo for a long weekend on the Caribbean. Continue reading “On The Road in Yucatan: Colonial Valladolid and Mayan Coba”

Uxmal, The Ancient Maya City You Have To See to Believe

As everyone else visiting Yucatan, Chichen Itza was our first encounter with Mayan civilization. Advertising works – if something is recognized as a New World Wonder, you are going to go there first, no matter what. But while Chichen Itza may be the most famous Mayan site, the less-known Uxmal, in my view, is even more breathtaking. Continue reading “Uxmal, The Ancient Maya City You Have To See to Believe”

The Unexpected Side Effects of Traveling Slow

For the first time in my life I don’t have a physical home to return to. All the stuff that I ever owned is either in my suitcase, at my parents house or sold and given away. For 6 months now I don’t pay any monthly bills. I don’t have long-term rental contracts. I don’t receive spam calls – an unexpected benefit of changing the sim card every now and then. Continue reading “The Unexpected Side Effects of Traveling Slow”

Merida, The Colonial Capital in the Land of the Maya

After 2 months in Guadalajara, coming to Mérida was almost like visiting another country. Different people, different food, in some places even signs in a different language. On our way from the airport, the driver was telling me that his father is Maya while his mother is a mestizo. “Did your father speak Maya with you?”, I asked him. “No, my mother wouldn’t let him speak Maya in the house”. Continue reading “Merida, The Colonial Capital in the Land of the Maya”