Tuesday 5 February 2013

Marrakesh... Sahara, what can I say?

Good friends come and stay and the not so good ones, come and go, amen to that!

Two years ago 4 very good friends met in Mumbai, India for a wedding and followed on travelling for a magical week around Rajasthan.  

It was time for us to meet again, so we got together through emails and organized our next get together. Marrakesh and the Sahara were the chosen destinations. This time it would be just three of us. So my friend Kathryn from Australia now living in London, Julie a Canadian living in Hong Kong and myself met in London, boarded an Easyjet plane and off we were to Marrakesh.

Upon arrival, an incident still at the airport quickly got me out of my comfort zone… our bank here in Panama had canceled my ATM card instead of husband’s who had lost his…. oops I was in Morocco with no money at all in a city where credit cards are not widely accepted… madre mia madre santa… but like I said in the beginning, good friends come and stay and Kathryn came to my rescue, thank you!

Mohamed was waiting for us with a nice smile and drove us to our beautiful Riad Aladdin, a really cozy hotel with very charming atmosphere and great people.

We had stupendous 4 days in the city and 3 in the desert… very hard to say which one I liked best… may be, just may be, the desert was nicer… don’t know, very close call.

In the city I was able to witness two friends meeting after three years of not seeing each other,
 Observe a lady opening her general store,
Go crazy and get lost in the maze that the Souks are,
 Be caught in the act by the lady selling her baskets,
 Realize the gentlemen were not so pleased I was registering their end of the day “nothing box”,
 Saw a mother taking her child to school,

… and the list of wonderful experiences in the city goes on and on, but I’ll stop here because I still want to tell you a bit about the desert, the great Sahara Desert.

The three of us left the hotel in a Land Cruiser, this time under the care of Fadil. I really can not describe the super dupar fun the four of us had in this trip… oh man, we laughed so much, cultural and language clashes all over! Fadil was just the perfect, patient and funny guide. He stopped for all our photo needs, explained about the places we were passing by and the best was when we were entering the desert itself.

The government puts up signs letting you know you are actually entering the great Sahara Desert, so they display signs like “You are entering the desert, do you have enough water?” or in the next sign they would ask “do you have enough fuel?” or “don’t litter the desert!” The scenery changed and voilá, there you have nothing else but the majestic and impressive Sahara Desert right at your feet! Ufa, still now, sitting here in my chair looking at so much water from the Pacific Ocean, I can still feel that dryness I so loved to experience!

Anyway, going back to the best part of entering the Sahara… at this pint, Fadil says; “so girls, in order for you to get in the mood, here I have some desert music for you. ”Wow, what a marvelous way he found to put us all, just in case we were not there yet, in the right mood. And there we had it, a tough 4 x 4 performing just like a 4 x 4 does and should in the Sahara, a guide who knew it all and three friends who were thoroughly enjoying the trip and its experience, all dancing to good Tuareg-Berber songs!
 We drove through the Atlas Mountains with snow,
Stopped and spoke to shepherds,
We slept and had lunch in Kasbahs,
Slept in typical Bivouac (a camp site)… what an experience!

Saw camels doing camel stuff with their “hey dude” face,
Woke up looking at this,

Witnessed the damages previous sand storms had made…

… and again I could go for ever and ever…, it seems those days had more than 24 hours, because I came back home with the true feeling of having spent a year or so in those shores!

Thanks for stopping by and as I always say, life is beautiful! 

Wednesday 18 April 2012

Looking towards and looking from - a photo exercise

The other day, Joel and I went with our good friend Pam to the top of a building right in the middle of Avenida Balboa (a boulevard in town right by the sea). We went there at the end of the afternoon, trying to get good shoots of the sun set. Unfortunately the sun set per say, did not happen, but we were able to take some photos.

Then, last night, inspired by a photo taken by my good friend Anselmo, I set the tripod in our bedroom window, which faces a bit of a neighborhood called "Punta Paitilla",  another bit of "Punta Pacifica" and the area of Avenida Balboa.

So last night, I had some free time on my hands and decided to go on a photo exercise, shooting from my window towards Avenida Balboa and place that photo next to the one I shot looking from Avenida Balboa with Pam.

Enjoy the result.

Looking from the window
 Looking towards the window

Sunday 25 March 2012

Facets of the same flower and their friends in Cerro Azul

The other day, a group of us, photo lovers, went up the hills to Cerro Azul. I shared the car ride with two sweet and funny young ladies, one from Panama and the other from Venezuela. We laughed a lot, almost got lost and came back down still in time for lunch. From the point of view of photography, it was not a great trip at all, a bit frustrating actually. The photos I liked best are here below, a bit repetitive, I know, but.... there you go....

Friday 9 March 2012

A photo outing with dad

While in Rio last month, dad and I decided to go for a photo outing. In actual fact, I had left Panama with some intention of doing something on those lines. Once I got to Rio I proposed him we went on some sort of photo shooting and he immediately agreed to it.

Choosing a place to go in a city that, excuse me for not being humble at all, is absolutely gorgeous and extreme charming was some how a bit difficult but we quickly agreed on going to the extreme point of Copacabana beach where one finds fishing boats, nets, kids playing around and Copacabana Fort. So what else could a Historian, who is now photographing whose inspiration started with her father's teaching, desire? Nothing else!

We met at 5 PM, which was still a 4 PM sun, as Rio had day light saving time. Dad was Big Ben punctual and I arrived some 5 or 10 minutes late. As soon as we got our equipment out and started setting apertures and what have you, two young brothers decided to be our models for the day... so cute... they were on a role and so were we.

After shooting the boys and the beach, we walked to the Fort and... yet again, another warm moment reminding me the extraordinary person dad is... to enter the Fort, one has to pay a fee. So, I approached the cashier but before payment, I had a thought. As we were in a military premise, I decided to ask if a navy officer had to pay to get in. The man replied that if he had his ID on him, he wouldn't have to. So I turned to dad and asked for his ID... dad, making a bit of a concerned face, gave it to me. At the time I didn't quite understand why the concerned face... maybe I have been away from Brazil and family far too long... I showed the ID and in the following second heard whistles, trumpets and the whole shabeng. The officers who were on duty under the entry arch formed a line. Surprised with the coincidence of us entering the Fort as a major officer were to leave the Fort I told dad, "oh look, I guess the big general is leaving the place now"... he than gave me a half smile and as a gentleman leads me through the corridor formed by the saluting officers.... oh boy... silly me... how did I not realize that the whole thing was for my own dad!! Oh my Lord help me here!

Anyway, have fun!

Darling Dad 1
 Darling Dad 2
 Father daughter bonding

Rio in an oldie format or...
... in a full colored format?