For over a month, I've been sinking my claws into Buenos Aires, Argentina. Within the first two weeks, I found an apartment with a new roommate/co-worker in the beautifully-located barrio called Recoleta. Its coordinates in the city as well as decor and baller terrace(s) cause me to internally chant: I'm not worthy!Read More
One year of teaching in China and two years of Peace Corps in Malawi later, my dear friends from Semester at Sea and I finally reunited. Alexis and I flew to Burlington, Vermont within 20 hours of Garrett's homecoming, and these are the good times we enjoyed. When I'm not at work, I don't want to be continuously documenting my life in high def. That's why I played with Instagram this time around (click on the images to view in lightbox).Read More
After the Berlin trimester ended, I flew to Copenhagen to begin a wee Scandinavian tour. The best part of this week was being with friendly residents and visiting their homes. Yes, homes. Not houses, accommodations, hotels, hostels, or dorms. In both Copenhagen and Stockholm, I stayed in city homes and then visited vacation homes by the water. Both cities are impressive and relatively unknown to me, but I valued most those moments where I was experiencing someone's place of hat-hanging. Rarely did I want to venture away.
Landsort is a village on the island of Öja an hour south of Stockholm. It marks the southernmost point of the Stockholm archipelago. My new friend Kari took fellow TGS co-worker Andy and his two friends to his vacation home on the island of Öja by way of a flat-bottomed boat. The sky was gray and occasionally spitting, but we enjoyed some walks along the central road (rarely a motor in sight) and up by the lighthouse that gives the village its name.
To see more travel photography, view my Flickr collections.
Ten days ago, I descended into a brisk, foggy day at TXL, equipped with a new currency, my crusty old travel backpack, and a vague awareness of my new home's coordinates. In the time since my arrival, I've gotten familiar with the suburb of Kleinmachnow and explored my neighborhood on foot. Yesterday was my first wander around downtown Berlin, camera in hand. I've started my three-month exploration of the city at a popular hub, roughly the Williamsburg of Berlin: Rosenthaler Platz. Here are just a few moments.Read More
My entire summer was a jig-saw puzzle to assemble. Trips, subleases, weddings, births, and work were spaced out just so, as to make every two-week chunk a mystery until it was present. All flights were booked dangerously close to the week of departure, some including feline carry-ons and 12 hour durations. On top of air chaos, I often didn't know where I was going to be living or how to coordinate the housing of my cat (while she was still being a vagabond in New York). Newly cat-free and with a new job supplying accommodations for nine months out of the year, I decided against having a place in New York City and got a subletter lined up immediately.
There was a lapse of time between leaving my apartment and the start of work accommodations, leaving me temporarily homeless and living out of bags - something I tend to enjoy. During one of those weeks, I decided to rent a car and witness a region I've barely visited: New England.
Until I can whip up a fantastic video, here is a photoblog courtesy of my Blackberry.
Driving out of Queens in my first rental car
Reaching Mystic, CT at dusk to witness fishermen and draw bridges
Beautiful blue light at dusk around the marina
Stalked by a skunk while exploring Mystic at night
The woodsy Harbour Inn & Cottage in Mystic, CT where I soaked in a hot tub by the marina
French toast with apple and cheddar at Kitchen Little in Mystic, CT
Too bad I skipped the eggs
Cape Cod's Chatham coast where JAWS had some scenes filmed
First bowl of clam chowder in a fitting place - Cape Cod
Sunrise off Cape Ann, the filming location and real life setting for The Perfect Storm
Seasick while whale watching, but well worth it
Gloucester had that crusty charm I was hoping to find
Beautiful skies while driving toward Hurricane Irene and New York City
Await with bated breath the real deal documentation.
Flashing back to the June Mexico trip with ProjectExplorer.org, I thought I'd memorialize a fantastic project-closing meal we had at the W Hotel in Mexico City. We relaxed after a hectic day of capturing on film Mexico's complex and difficult history. It was a well-deserved and tasty spread. [All photos were taken by Vijaya Selvaraju.]
Guerrero Negro Seared Sea Scallops
Handmade Brie Cheese Baguette
Mexican Black Oyster Mushroom Soup
Citric Pesto Crusted Ahi Tuna
Coriander & Lemon Marinated Chicken Breast
Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Me Enjoying Myself
Flourless Chocolate Cake with Ancho Chilli
Not Jack Johnson's Banana Pancake
Pina Colada Sweet Pineapple and Cardamom Ravioli
Daily wake-ups as early as 4:15am, constant encouragement to produce content (or brainstorm more concepts), keeping up with another internship, e-mails, and friendships from home - this goes far beyond a full-time job. Week three on-location has been draining, frantic, but overwhelmingly delightful. No matter how plum-tuckered-out I get during production, I still find our daily activities and trials worth the sweaty days and gastro-hilarity. As Barney would remark, "The fun and learning never ends. Here's what we did (this week)!"
At Celestun Nature Reserve we jetted through mangroves and observed some flamingoes from afar. Post-nature experience, we saw our first Mexican beach for about an hour while having lunch with Alex, our accommodating and passionate host for Merida, and Jorge, driver extraordinaire.
A unanimous favorite moment on the entire trip was our training session with Lucha Libre stars. This is by no means the WWE of Mexico. Lucha Libre isn't scripted and is all about honor. We flipped and flopped with the self-proclaimed good and bad guys, received our own fighting names (mine being "Sexy Star" thanks to the resident fourteen year-old trainee in the vicinity), and honestly attempted to capture the essence of the sport.
While most film crews or documentarians like to cover Lucha Libre in a fluff or comedic piece, they were really touched that our presence was about knowing the sport and telling others about it. These guys are investment bankers (or something else) by day and honor protectors by night.
And a note to all of you wondering what makes a move complete: it's all about slapping the mat for a little drama.
While I could go on for pages describing the locations and experiences of Merida, I'll refrain and simply focus on the guy who made those moments happen. Alex isn't a tour guide but a key link in the Yucatan tourism chain. He's got mad power, connections, and responsibilities up the wazoo. On a more poetic note, Alex was an incredible resource and friend during that hot and humid week. He mentioned we opened his eyes to aspects of his own region he didn't know or had forgotten - providing him with the inspiration to do something good. Wonderful guy with a great perspective.
The Yucatan state offered things I hadn't anticipated and people I found endearing. Way to go, Merida. You overcame the blistering heat and humidity with your charm.
All photos © ProjectExplorer.org, 2010.
I'm not too interested in describing every detail of our week in Oaxaca. Well, maybe not now. I woke up nineteen hours ago for a market walk and just spent two hours dancing and flopping on the mats at a Lucha Libre training center. Arts. Crafts. Food. Style. Passion. Nature. Oaxaca, you've got it going on. And if you can identify any of the events occurring below, a big hand clap for you.
Oaxaca was a beautiful stop on this tour of Mexico and one in need of much explanation. Our accommodations at Casa Oaxaca were top notch and completely lush. Fantastic destination; I'm a fan.
(Boy, I'm brief on location)
All photos © ProjectExplorer.org, 2010.
Man, I'm swamped with ProjectExplorer. The amount of work we have to create and cover in our short three weeks on locations is deep and vast. However, I'm still loving it and virtually recovered from my bout of hilarious food poisoning. We have moved on to Oaxaca for the second destination of three on this adventure, and our digs are beyond this world. I've got a lot to share.
Two days after a little food poisoning, we boarded brightly colored boats in the man-made canals at Xochimilco. A woman dropped a bucket full of cerveza, soda, and water while our "gondolier" pushed off the dirt walls with his feet and striped pole.
We witnessed "tajin" at Xochimilco, which is a tradition to awaken the rain god and bring precipitation to their lands. It involved four guys flying around in circles from their waists - odd but entirely cool.
Frida Kahlo's Museum moved me nearly to tears. The artwork, the idea of her presence in that space, the colors and shadows of her garden - I could have spent days there.
Vijaya was a wee bit excited to find out the 27+ ingredients used to make mole sauce. Since Oaxaca is "the land of the seven moles," it was imperative we found out about the mysterious substance.
Have you been jones-ing for some video visuals from Mexico? Tomorrow, I'll show you some of the quick trips I've been churning out.
All photos © ProjectExplorer.org, 2010