Semana Santa, or Holy Week, is an important time on the calendar of the Catholics of South America and on Good Friday each year there are parades all over the continent to re-enact the introspection and sorrow of the Passion of Christ. Perhaps the most extraordinary is held in Quito, the capital of Ecuador.
Invariably heavy rains sweep across Quito during Easter, which many believers see as a dramatic metaphor of God’s tears for human sin and His Son’s passing. Luckily for us, Good Friday this year dawned clear and bright and the sun shone on the tens of thousands of people who flooded the streets to view this religious spectacle. Continue reading →
February 2016. Playa Larga – Cuba
The spartan consulting room has rather grubby walls sporting posters about how to wash your hands, the symptoms of Zika and a skeleton with the bones labelled in Spanish. I sit in a plastic chair opposite the doctor and my eyes are drawn to the wall behind him where the unprotected elements of the old air conditioning unit are covered in sticky looking grey dust. I feel small and despondent Continue reading →
I have been grabbed by the hand, twirled around and kissed full on the lips. Havana may be old but she is full of brazen charm and exquisite beauty. I am enthralled, enchanted, intrigued.
Havana, and Cuba as a whole, has a unique personality born from a tangle of influences ranging from her period as a Spanish colony, to African slavery, to her complex relationship with America and a chequered political past … and present. It’s a fascinating and at times overwhelming story and like all good tales I find myself being drawn further in to its spell. Continue reading →
Having crossed the border from Nicaragua at Los Chiles on January 2nd we bussed it to the town of La Fortuna which lies beneath Volcan Arenal. The plan had been to hike, but the weather was against us – rain and low cloud which obliterated any view of the imposing volcano. So, to the beach we went! All the way across to the Pacific coast and the Nicoya Peninsula. Here we hired a 4×4 and explored beach upon beach …..
I am used to the piercing crow of haughty, splendidly plumed cockerels waking me from my sleep, but this morning, deep in the jungle of the Reserva Biológica Indio-Maiz, it was the the throaty bark of howler monkeys that cut through the thick silence of the early dawn. Continue reading →