Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Central America odyssey pt. 7 (Santa Ana)

I decided to spend a day getting to see a bit more of El Salvador, a few people recommended I visit Santa Ana, so I did. The city is quite quaint and surprisingly nice... I have to admit that I was a little worried for my safety (and that of my camera) but I really did not have any problems at all... everyone was very nice and helpful. After my day trip I went back to the capital to get some shut eye before the bus ride to Guatemala. On said bus ride, just after we had crossed the border to Guatemala the bus came to a halt due to a protest that went on for 22 hours! Thankfully I only waited 6 hours before I ditched the bus and got a ride (having crossed the barrier) with a VERY generous woman from Guatemala city who gave some french kids and I a ride in to town.

That´s all for now, but there is plenty more on the way!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Central America odyssey pt. 6 (Archaeology in El Salvador pt. 2)

Here we go! photos from "Casa Blanca" and "Tazumal" archaeological sites in western El Salvador. Tazumal was by far the most impresive archaeological site I saw in El Salvador, it really really reminds me of Tula (in Central Mexico) but ofcourse on a much smaller scale.

Central America odyssey pt. 5 (Archaeology in El Salvador pt. 1)

After Nicaragua I made my way through to San Salvador. The city was much nicer than I expected... although I was staying in what I was told was the most posh area of town (so that may have had something to do with it). Anyway I decided to get myself some private transport and hit as many archaeological sites as I could. Although not as monumental as those found in Mexico, Guatemala, Belize or Honduras the sites were quite interesting. One thing which became very obvious was that these were not "Mayan" sites as the brochures claim. It does not take a archaeologist or physical anthropologist to notice the heavy Toltec influences in this region. Aside from some pottery found in the area, there is nothing Mayan about these ancient settlements. The first set of photos are of "San Andres", while the last three belong to "Joya de Ceren" which was a small pre-hispanic settlement (and seems the most maya of the sites I visited in the country) which was consumed by the eruption of a nearby volcano. The remains of the setlement do not offer to much in architecture, however the seeds, tools and other remains shed much light on the day to day lives of these pre-hispanic peoples.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Central America odyssey pt. 4 (Nicaragua)

Nicaragua is the largest country in central america, but also the second poorest in the western hemisphere (after Haiti). That being said it is not without charm. I had the opportunity to visit Granada, were I was pleasantly surprised by a fairly safe and welcoming colonial city. I mostly just hung out in the town although I also made a daytrip to pattaya volcano. All and all is was a fairly succesfull few days. I also spent a night (reluctantly) in Managua... which is perhaps the ugliest capital I have seen in latin america.

Note: Nicaragua is the home of Pablo Neruda (one of latin americas most celebrated poets)

Central America odyssey pt. 3 (Costarica)

After Panama I made my way to Costarica. I did not really spend as much time as I would have liked in this wonderful country, but I am sure I will be back. San Jose itself was not really anything to exciting, but on the other hand it was not as lame as everyone made it sound... its basicaly just a big city, although not as scary as Managua or el Salvador. I eventually made my way up to monteverde were I was blown away by the beauty of the scenery and wildlife... really quite a destination. Anyway here are the photos, hope you enjoy them.

Central America odyssey pt. 2 (Panama city & Chiriqui)

Well I know I have not posted for a few weeks, but there sure is a LOT of material. During my travels I never really got around to posting, so I guess I may as well get started now. This next set of photos is still of panama, the first 3 are in Panama city and the rest are from Chiriqui province in the west (near the costarican border). I really enjoyed my time in Panama an was quite suprised by the size of the city and the beauty of its landscapes.

Dock over looking the city skyline

Another skyline shot

Nice moon shot

Daybreak in Chiriqui (Boquete to be exact)

Nice flower with little waterfall in background

Very wet jungle shots

I sure was soaked by the end of the day... my camera sure did not like all that rain and humidity, but it survived.