Francisca grumbles in Central America

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Entering  Nicaragua was long and expensive, the most complicated crossing of the trip. Cala was so crossed: why the borders? she asks. There are big  differences between the borders of South and Central America. In Central America  chaos reigns, the buildings are gray and dirty, and inhabited by people  who tell us that with a good tip they can made  procedures easier, anachronic , useless procedures. Finally, we passed under heavy downpour. Very good Nicaraguan routes, lined with green trees and red flowers “malinches”. Then a sea on the right: is Lago Nicaragua , huge and chopped. We slept at the Hostal Suleyka. The owner was away but sent us a mail with the invitation. Thank You! Early in the morning we drove to Granada, a city of colors, cobblestone streets and many foreigners who chose to live there. Seeking a Wi-Fi to connect our telephone and computer we spotted a kombi and appealing to the sense of camaraderie we parked behind, in front of a laundry.  Sigue leyendo

Costa Rica: land of encounters

Reaching Panama was a milestone in the journey. Undoubtedly the most difficult point of the tour. While we waited in Panama City from the heights of the house of Fede and Maria, Catire was still overcoming obstacles. He traveled in a Colombian low cost who did not want to let him board because he had no return ticket. Although he gave all the papers that  showed the kombi was going by boat, there was no case. He had to make a fake reservation. Which of course he did not pay. At noon on Friday, when we went down after a dip to placate the Panamanian hit on the 51st floor (!) where the vertigo pool was he appeared tired but triumphant. The kombi would arrive the next day but we had to wait till Monday could to go and get it. A bit later. Tata and Juan Dodero, Catire fellow faculty who he did not see since 20 years ago, picked us up to go and visit the Panama channel. We also went with Juan’s parents and his brother Quique who were visiting and their three children. We invaded the facilities of this impressive feat of engineering linking the two oceans. The work was began by the French who could not find the way, after the Americans designed the system of locks that pushes the boats up and down through water stairs. Its been a short while that Panama is the owner and manager and there are still many traces of the years when the United States operated. We saw huge cargo ships passing paying fortunes for using this path of just over 80 km. The museum tells you the story and let you become a boat captain. The kids learned a lot. Sigue leyendo

From Bogotá to Cartagena

Bogota received us with a very fresh weather. Colombian people say  that their country is divided in cold and hot areas. Seasons do not exist. In any case there are rainy seasons alternating with dry seasons, although it seems that the phenomenon of El niño was somehow upsetting everything. We arrived by night but quite well thanks to the explanations of Manu and indications of several people that were leading us down the road. As a wonderful welcome  we were received with an splendid meal: ajiaco bogotano, a chicken soup with various types of potatoes, cream and capers. The Perrota-Mazzinni family has been living in Bogotá for almost two years. Three boys for Dimas’ joy, paper boards on the walls, “atrapasueños” … a creative and cheerful home. We did not know them personally but we were friends instantly and we expect to meet them again. With a splendid pic-nic we visited the Botanical Garden full of roses, sweet magnolias, tropical trees, huge palm trees, lakes and bridges. We discovered the monumental Salt Cathedral in Zipaquira, a church and a Via Crucis sculpted 200 mt underground in a huge salt mine.

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Discovering Colombia!

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We crossed the border without problems. It was drizzling and cool. We had lunch in Ipiales and took advantage to visit, along with other pilgrims, the Sanctuary of Las Lajas, a church that surprisingly appears in the middle of rocks on a dizzying bridge in the canyon of the  Guáitara river. “The interior is all made up with the rock itself, cut into slabs. In one of them is an oil image of the Virgin, the water runs down; rocky, bear walls; with the forest all around and all its shape it is presented with wild majesty ”  describes Manosalva Perez, president of Colombia in the early twentieth century. Perfect description. The church is neo-Gothic style which is not the style that I like most (following the pattern of my grandmother) but the place is unique to be in silence and admire.
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Ecuador a “BUENAZA” surprise!

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And suddenly the landscape changed completely. The dryness of the Peruvian coast became exuberance. We crossed the border without problems and Francisca stepped on the Ecuadorian Pan. On the sides of the road there was a parade of huge banana plants. Within 20 km we were stopped three times: papers, fire extinguishers, first aid kit, and finally a drug command. The burly and scowling police regarded us suspiciously… And wanted to take out the roof and see if we had a double bottom booty. A surreal scene. With a knife he intended to disarm the roof that had cost enormously to fix, Catire kept telling  him, “if you take it out, you put it in”. I pictured ourselves behind bars. Luckily he gave up and we drove on.
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Últimos días en Perú

[Translation coming soon!]  Llegar a la casa de los Echegaray fue un descanso después la caótica entrada a Lima. Mariano era hermano de Agus, amiga y mujer de gran amigo de siempre. Las “focas” sobrenombre de la pareja (Mariano y Mariana) vivían en Lima hace dos años con dos hijos varones. Gran noticia para Dimas. Hicimos asadito bajo el cielo siempre nublado de la ciudad. Esta nube casi perenne pocas veces da respiro y para los que vienen de fuera es una de las cosas a las que más cuesta acostumbrarse.

El sábado visitamos el malecón de Miraflores, una rambla larga que bordea un acantilado que cae en picada al Pacífico. Hicimos un picnic entre flores y parapentes que se tiraban al vacío y pintaban el cielo que ese día, milagrosamente, no era gris. Después, caminamos por un mall (centro comercial) al aire libre, empotrado en la montaña y nutrido de vidrieras de colores. Gran contraste con Buenos Aires, donde estos días apenas encontrás productos de fuera, las vidrieras se parecen y los precios suben y suben. Mariano nos contaba que acá el diario cuesta lo mismo desde que llegó, que los alquileres bajan y que a pesar de que el país no está en su mejor momento, en Lima sigue habiendo buenas oportunidades de trabajo. Mientras conversamos, los chicos se divertían tirando avioncitos de papel  que planeaban con estilo sobre el mar. No hacía falta entrar en las tentadoras tiendas para que lo pasen bomba.

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