Category Archives: Cultures

Your Cookies or Your Life! Colombia’s Wild West ‘Tollbooths’

Guajira Tollbooth

Children, some cute as a button and others subtly menacing, come running as your vehicle approaches the leather band strung across the desert road. Tires on either side mean circumvention is impossible. Adults, parents or other family members, sometimes wait in the distance…just in case. Just in case you don’t have cookies. Cookie Tollbooths That’s right. These…

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7 Quirky, Cool (and Colorful) Things About Colombia

Maceta Festival sweets

Colombia is a gorgeous country, one that’s colorful in a literal and a figurative sense. lt’s also uniquely itself and quirky in certain ways. Some of these quirks, whether cool or colorful or both, are easy to notice when traveling there. Here’s just some of what I encountered… 1. The Pinwheel/Sweets Festival When I first…

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To Eat, or Not to Eat, Big-Butt Colombian Ants–That Was the Question #ttot #food #Colombia

Colombian ants as snack

I’d read that hormigas culonas, ants with big butts, are a common snack in the Santander region of Colombia. After the wings and legs are removed, they’re roasted or fried.  For some reason, but  I was curious about what they might taste like… Not sure why, either. I’m not the most adventurous eater. Sure, I once…

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Cultural Traditions or Animal Cruelty? Many ‘Games’ Still Being Played Worldwide

Plaza de Toros Bullfight and Folkloric Show Cancun, Mexico

Cock fights. Bull fights. Dog fights. Rodeos. And yes, even insect matches. These and other animal-focused sports—created for human entertainment and most often, financial gain—are still in existence today despite activists’ best efforts to eradicate them. Are these ‘sports,’ some of which date back to Roman times, merely ‘cultural traditions’ or outright ‘animal cruelty’? Or…

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Blindfolded and Force-fed Baby Food in Mexico! (Random Travel Moment #9)

Blindfolded and Force-fed Baby Food

How It Began… “Want to go to a Mexican baby shower?” asked Jeanne, a woman I’d just met hours before. We were at a bar in La Paz, Baja Sur, and she was a friend of a friend–someone I’d met randomly on a shuttle bus (click here for that story). The mother-to-be was her (Jeanne’s)…

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Indigenous Ecuadorian Woman Chatting on Cellphone at Market (Photo of the Day)

Indigenous Ecuadorian Woman at Market Near Cuenca

Today’s photo of an indigenous Ecuadorian woman was taken at a market somewhere near Cuenca. I think I shot it at Gualaceo, but it might have been at Chordeleg. I visited both that particular day. What Inspired the Shot? I love taking photos of people and I liked the expression on this woman’s face; she…

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Yogyakarta Arts Festival Parade 2012: a Colorful Cultural Experience (photo/video essay)

Yogyakarta Parade Participant

Got a minute (OK–1.5 minutes!)? Then, check out this video I made of a parade at the Yogyakarta Arts Festival–aka, Festival Kesenian Yogyakarta–which I recently saw in Indonesia. I created it so that you’d have a quick vicarious sampling of the colorful cultural experience I had. Note: My favorite part is at 0:30–the jesters! (Video…

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Borobudur Buddha and Stupa, Central Java, Indonesia (Photo of the Day)

Borobudur Buddha and Stupa

Today’s photo is of one of the Buddhas and bell-shaped ‘stupas’ at Borobudur, the Mahayana Buddhist monument in Central Java, Indonesia. With approximately 500 statues of Buddha, it is one of the largest Buddhist monuments in the world. The monument, which was built between AD 780 and 840, resembles a mandala–a wheel-shaped symbol of the…

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‘Shinta’ and ‘Rama’—Ramayana Ballet Couple—at Prambanan Temple (Photo of the Day)

Rama and Shinta

I took this photo of ‘Rama’ and ‘Shinta’, the famous couple in the Ramayana Ballet, during the dance-drama performance on stage at Prambanan Temple–with the nearly full moon in the distance. It was a nice way to end the day, which began with a visit to Borobudur…

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Kindergarten Party Fun in Western Sumatra, Indonesia! (photo/video essay)

Payakumbuh kindergarten dancer

It’s not every day that I attend a kindergarten party/celebration–especially in a village in Sumatra! So I shot many photos (and some video), which I’m sharing so that you can get a sense of what it was like to be there…

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