Tag: Photos

In Colombia, they love trees…

by Alex on Mar.21, 2010, under Blog

They must do.

Look. These trees are obviously ill and they’ve put drips in them to make them more betterer.

I’ve never seen tree drips before…

tree-drips tree-drip
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Takashi Murakami

by Alex on Dec.22, 2009, under Blog

I first came across the work of Takashi Murakami at the Serpentine Gallery in 2002 and instantly loved it. I can’t tell you why and have long got over the small-penis syndrome that I once had in being absolutely useless at any kind of art critique be it literary, performance-based sculpture, paintingy stuff or other. My opining can be extended with relative ease to such prosaic genius as ‘I like it’ and perhaps my favourite – ‘it is nice’, something that would probably have my secondary school English teacher turn in her grave (assuming she’s dead, which she probably is).

Takashi Murakami [singlepic id = 709 h=150 float = left] Takashi Murakami  (26)

From pure Tove Jansson through Smurfs on acid to melting Mangaesque monsters his art is seen on ‘canvas’ and in sculpture, on shoes, vehicles, buildings and to my surprise he’s the guy what done Louis Vuitton’s Monogram Multicolore.

Takashi Murakami  (62) [singlepic id = 759 h=105 float = left] Takashi Murakami  (57) [singlepic id = 750 h=105]

I’ve also read about some Kanye West stuff but have little interest in that after seeing Mr ‘West’ prancing about on stage supposing that he was very cool sporting frankly ridiculous glasses at Wembley, and it wasn’t even sunny!

I’ll not rehash easily googleable biographies but after failing to to find a decent single repository of his works I’ve created a gallery here, I hope you enjoy it!

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Día de las velitas

by Alex on Dec.08, 2009, under Blog

I was both surprised and happy to find out that the ‘day of the candles’ is a specifically Colombian thing. Surprised as being of Catholic origin I’d have thought that it would be celebrated in other Catholic countries and happy as being specific to Colombia means that you probably know nothing about it.

It is said that celebrations vary across the country but it seems they mostly consist of lining the streets with millions of candles and hanging lanterns from everywhere, either on the eve of the 7th or morn of the 8th of December. My friends told me that the tradition is one of celebration of love and friendship and that on their balconies and from their eaves, on their doorsteps and on their streets, people place and hang the candles and lanterns as individual dedications to those for whom they care and it’s pretty. For me the candles will always mean this – I’m quite happy to ignore the alternative (religious) explanation.

From our apartment, we watched the fireworks explode from the top of the Colpatria building then went out for a wander. The streets were lively and indeed were lined with lanterns made from paper bags, sand and candles with paper lanterns hanging all over the shop. Front doors were open with families hanging out on what would be their stoops were they a little bigger – this in itself is unusual as doors are normally securely locked in this part of town. Septima, the main street, was packed to bursting; I’ve never seen it so full, nor Plaza de Bolívar. Rammed with sightseers and vendors selling hot drinks food and stuff with flashing lights on, the massive Christmas tree was lit up as were the buildings around the squares as you can see from the pics below:

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I couldn’t find anyone selling (cell phone) minutes though, which seemed odd as you can go there on a day when it’s mostly empty and find at least 30 people selling calls. I’ve dug around on the interweb and found these pictures from around Colombia.

Well, they certainly like to celebrate here. So far not a week has gone by without learning of a new festival or celebration or at least a big event of some kind, which is great as far as I’m concerned!

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The next level in carpark convenience services

by Alex on Aug.17, 2009, under Blog

It was a few years ago that I first remember seeing the ‘I’ll clean your car whilst you shop’ guys in UK carparks. A great idea – you’ll be in the supermarket for at least 30 minutes, you’re not of the volition to actively seek out getting your car cleaned unless it’s stinking stinking dirty, which it’s not, but hey, it could do with a clean it’s effortless and cheap, so why not?

This is taking carpark convenience service to a whole new level:


Brilliant – you can get your oil changed, wheels balanced or alligned and I’m sure other stuff too, all whilst you stock up luxury imported foodstuffs in Carrefour.

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Why would you put an electrical socket in a shower?

by Alex on Aug.15, 2009, under Blog

Well, to plug the shower in.


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Bogotá at night, from on top

by Alex on Aug.02, 2009, under Blog

I’m sat in the kind of living roomy place in the Platypus Hostel in Bogotá and of the 9 of us here there are 6 with laptops – what a change since my last traveling stint in 2002. Robbing a backpacker in those days meant you’d be looking at a battered copy of Lonely Planet, some useless travelers cheques, at best a soon-to-go-out-of-date APS camera, some fisherman’s trousers and a couple of pairs of skidded pants. Nowadays you could jackpot it right up with a laptop, iPhone and massive 12 megapixel SLR. And, to be fair, robberies are pretty rife around here – La Canderaria in Bogotá. It’s a pretty place: an old colonial part of town close to the historic centre with lots of little eateries, hostels, universities and I guess guys with blades judging by the number of people I’ve chatted to recently who have been robbed at knife point. Now, don’t worry mum I’ve not heard of anyone getting hurt, it seems as if the local ladrones have discovered the easy targets that are non-attentive tourists wandering round a nice yet poor area supposedly laden with phones, cash and cameras. To advertise the fact that I’m not such an easy target I’ve recently purchased a tambo – an extendable baton that fits neatly in the pocket and can be drawn at a moments notice to suggest that they might like to seek out a less potentially violent source of profit.

Anyway, that is not what this post was to be about. I’d taken some lovely photos of the lights of Bogotá at night, was struggling to think of anything to say about them and now seem to have run away on several tangents. Oh well, back to the pics…

I’d not been out to a good good restaurant since leaving the UK – coming on for a year ago, and the other day booked a table at the restaurant on the Cerro de Monserrate, the big hill thing overlooking Bogotá with both a cable car and funicular railway to take you to the top. The decor, ambiance and general quality of service was fantastic which is a rare find in Colombia. It’s perfectly usual to go into a shop, bar or restaurant here and be consummately ignored for minutes on end and I’m sure hours were you to be happy to stand about unattended for that length of time to see if it would really happen.

There was a slight down side, and of course when I say slight I mean reasonably significant – it was a French restaurant which as a vegetableanarian is second only in the ‘what can you knock up for me’ stakes to dining at an abattoir. The meat looked pretty high-level though and value-for-money-wise at less than 11 quid for a Chateaubriand, anyone spending pounds, dollars or euros and not yet scared of all the zeros involved in spending pesos would be well happy with the set up. Wine though is a different matter, it being easy to spend 10 times the cost of your main course on a bottle, which amounting to significantly more than half the minimum monthly salary here in Colombia seems a little odd, especially considering how much wine is produced a few countries down in Argentina and Chile.

Anyway, all of this has nothing to do with the photos, and it’s getting late, so:

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