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Back from Vacations

Well it has been a while since I last blogged. There are several reasons for this (well two main ones, really):

  • I was away on vacations to Colombia
  • I was (and still am) busy with Journal papers

That being said, I do believe it’s time to leave the now probably dissapeared reader a small note.

Usually I do not post personal messages, or at least try to reduce them to a minimum as they have little information for whatever casual reader that may pass by. In this specific instance, however, I will deviate from that self-imposed guide-line. If you’re interested, keep on reading :) (There are some semi-technical questions at the end, for those loving web-stuff)

Colombia was a blast! Well that is certainly the best way to describe it. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a fun trip. The reason I travelled there was for the wedding of my best friend, whom I’ve known since 10 years now. Having met a couple of friends of his future wife in the past, we decided to travel together to explore Colombia.

Thus in the 2 weeks we explored Carthagena, Bogota, Villa de Lleva and Leticia. It seems we caught the down-season as Carthagena was rather empty, though I did not mind it, not really looking for big crowds. Being the sort of person with a very small memory (I think I automatically compile all my experiences into background memory which is usable from an algorithmic perspective, but is quite hard to introspect).

Carthagena

There’s a stark contrast between Bocca Grande, the new part of Carthagena, and the old center. Both are interesting to take a look at. The old center is obviously a beautiful to place to walk around. On the other hand, Bocca Grande gives you a better look at the real life of Carthagena. Especially in the evening and at night, the place comes alive with many people going out to drink or eat.

Bogota

I think this city doesn’t end. When you drive with a taxi (Which feels more like a rally-race through urban surroundings a la GTA) the city just keeps on going and going. The old part is quite lovely to walk through and there are quite a few things to see within walking distance such as the Gold Museum and various other buildings whose name I forgot. You can then walk uphill a bit to see smaller streets with more typical buildings.

If instead you’re more interested in shopping and going out, then I can definitely recommend Zona Rosa, or Zona T (at least I think that’s how it’s spelled.) This is a little block with streets crossing it in the shape of a ‘T’ and filled with bars to go out. Surrounding the block are various malls and fashion stores, definitely worth a look.

Villa de Lleva

Due to certain reasons, I was only able to stay here for a very short time. That being said, I do think I caught the gist of the place. It’s a very tranquil pre-colombian town (which seems to be quite known amongst Colombians as they all praised it when mentioned in answer to the question where we were going). Cobble-stone streets (Which were quite crazy to driver over with the nearly rusted to pieces taxi that brought us there the first evening), low-rise white buildings, very green surrounding hills. It’s a shame I could not stay there another day for the hotel we were staying had a natural pool and was very quaint overall.

Leticia

What Bogota is to taxis, Leticia is to motor-cycles. Wherever you look, there are motorcycles. But if one figures that there is no actual road going to Leticia, and that the longest tract of road from Leticia is only 25km, it starts to make more sense. The town is rather small but definitely worth a look for the style of buildings as well as the way of life. It is indeed far more primitive than the other mentioned towns. From the way that the houses are built on poles, and the catwalks that connects some of them, it is clear that this town has to deal with the different seasons and heights of the amazon river.

One note to the reader, be careful with people that await you at the airport to give you an
amazon tour, even if the hotel says they’re trustworthy. They might not run with the money you have to pay upfront, but they could seriously overcharge you. And as always, make sure to bargain for the final price. These are the two rules that my travelmates and myself sinned against, and we ended up paying a lot more than the fourth person that joined us on the trip.

Aside from the price, however, the trip into the amazon forest was rather enjoyable. We traveled by small boat, just us 4 and three guides, into Brazil and Peru, taking a side-river to get to see a more authentic amazon forest.

Conclusions

As usual, when coming back from a vacation, I had a big todo list of things I’d like to do. We’ll see what comes of them. One of them was to start writing stories, though who knows how that will pan out. If I do, however, I thought I’d make a blog for them, but then the question arises: Do I use this blog? Do I start a fresh blog? An anonymous one or under a pseudonym?

Now onto the technical issue. I’d like to start some sort of site where everyone that attended the wedding can drop their pictures. I’ve thought about different solutions, though perhaps someone has a better idea. Ideally the solution should be easy to use for people not very familiar with computers. One option would be that everyone sends me their pictures and I then place them on some site (or even picasa/flickr). This is most likely not going to be possible due to the sheer quantity and size of the pictures. Another option would be to have one shared flickr/picasa account where I would share the login/password to all the people that attended, but a shared password is certain way to security leaks. Another option would be to start a blog through blogger, and share this blogger. Now this would require that everyone has a google account, but who doesn’t nowadays? Then everyone could write a little entry and link to their pictures. While attractive from a security point of view, and also giving the ability for people who do not have a login to place comments, this has one downside. It would make it harder to actually browse the pictures. Does anyone have a better idea?

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One Comment

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