Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Colors of Barichara

The chapel of  Santa Barbara is at the top of the hill.
Is that door colored "Barichara Green?"
When you enter the city of Barichara, the very first colors you see are white buildings with dark green trim including the doors and windows with terra cotta tiles on the rooftops.

The plaza is laid out in a NESW square; here you are looking west.
I am not sure when these colors first came into existence, but they are considered the ‘original’ colors of the village along with dark brown or, in a few cases, dark blue. 

All around the central plaza, that is the only acceptable color. There are places like the Mayor’s office with wood doors and windows that have been stained darker or oiled, but if you want to see more color, other than flowers and plants, you will have to look a little farther.
The only truly 'yellow' doors & windows I found.
On the outer fringes of the city, people have gotten bolder and more colorful. 

This faded blue door  is one I noticed when I first came here.
I recently roamed around and found many variations of the basic brown, green and blue, as well as white, black, ochre, lavender and pink, but no red doors. When I asked someone who has been here for 20 + years about this, she said "Oh no, this would never do. Red is a political statement." Except with flowers.

Here is an updated link to the 2012 FICBA site, so you can check in to see what the offerings and activities are. If you are planning to be here for the film festival and you don't have a room yet, contact the Casa de Cultura as they may have people who will open up a room in their home for that weekend.

Brilliant blue, like the skies some days.

Purple, purple door - I love it!
When the village was designated a national monument in 1975, it was determined that certain standards of color and design would be adhered to within the village, even with houses which were being reconstructed or added as new houses to existing lots. Thus, like nationally protected villages or structures in the U.S., there is a board of over-seers who make sure when you arrive, you are visually transported back 400 years. It is worth the trip.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Myeloma Buddy Maker Goes on Final Holiday

Myeloma Buddy dolls were sold from Paula's Etsy shop
and all profits went to Myeloma UK or IMF
(International Myeloma Foundation).
(Photo taken by Paula from her blog.)
There are many of us who have the "Myeloma Buddy," created by Paula Kilgallon of Rainsford, UK, in her efforts to raise funds for, and awareness of, the disease that she tried to manage for a little more than three years. It was never a 'fight' for her, but a constant opportunity to bring a different perspective to the various experiences she faced with an unswerving positive attitude. She deserved to overcome MM if having a remarkable sense of humor was the way to do it, because Paula had that in abundance.

Her blog "Feresaknit" is a chronicle of her sewing, knitting and crocheting her way through tests, procedures, hospital stays that she referred to as 'holidays,' and the untrammeled, ram-rod test of character that she passed with flying colors when her support system of medical transport failed to show up or kept her waiting for hours when she was clearly ill, or her mother-in-law called to insist that she needed to have Paula come over to take care of some niggling task(s), or her Professor wanted to 'discuss something with her,' and she refused to delay hearing the very bad news. Only she gave it to all of us with her usual aplomb, trying to prepare us for today. She never gave up; she was released.

The circumstances that connected me to Paula back at the end of December of 2009 gave us both a chance to share some laughs, some insights as well as photographs as we became pals on a journey none of us expected to take. Please take the time to read her second posting here of her search for the testing bureau for her license to drive. Paula should have been writing scripts for Comedy Central.

We followers were enthralled by the entrance in January 2010 of the Jack Russell/Staffordshire Bull pup "Tommy" in her life who immediately ate one of her crafting needles requiring a hefty vet bill for the stitches required to sew him up after retrieving the needle from his stomach. Tommy was paving the way for her very own Buddy in September - who would end up sleeping on her bed, in the fresh laundry basket, really anywhere it was convenient for him and Paula indulged him, adored him, and shared him with us, too.

Paula's husband, referred to as "B," has a mother who would have tried the patience of Job, but Paula was stronger - for awhile. Some of her postings about the M-I-L were riotous about repeated phone calls and misunderstandings that were reminiscent of the once popular British weekly comedy series, "Are You Being Served?" (A dear friend of Paula's posted this about her.)

Along with the Buddy antics, we worried about Paula driving "B's" car, losing her keys and being afraid to tell her husband, discovering Buddy had chewed through the seatbelt in the back seat of B's car, and a myriad lot of other aspects of the life she was living and letting us in to be like Nosy Neighbors, peering over the blog fence at everything, listening at the keyhole of her existence. When she completed her stem cell transplant and the numbers, at first, seemed to be heading in the right direction, we were her cheering section.

Paula shared many of the various treatments she endured which left little, if anything, to the imagination. But her ability to see the humor in some of the grimmest situations pulled us all through with her. And who among us forever after will refer to PJ's or pajamas as "jim jams?"

Paula received a well-earned reward of the Inspirational Cancer Blog badge and Top Health Blogger for her blog. Her blog readers were seldom disappointed as she wrote about her life - the good, the bad, the frustrating, the bizarre, showing photos of many of her projects and the precious 'postings' of her own Buddy - with us often. We were privileged confidants about her enduring marriage to "B" whom she clearly loved with the same vibrancy she lived. Her creative artistic energies won her first place in local contests and her many gifts, both of actual creations or her thoughtful comments, won her first place in our hearts.

When you look up at the stars shining brightly from the heavens, perhaps you will join me in imagining one of them might be Paula who certainly was a star while she was with us. I will miss you, dear friend.

Some Pretty Views in Barichara

This is part of the Cordillera Oriental of the Andes,
stretching from Bogota, on the equator south of us,
all the way north near the Caribbean Ocean.
After some intense posts, I thought it was time for something a little relaxing, a rest for your eyes and maybe other parts of you if you have been having a tough week. It is hard for me to believe it is the week-end again, as the days seem to be rushing by with increasing speed.

This is what the Andes look like around 9 a.m. These mountain ranges are relatively young, geologically speaking, and if you look closely you can see that although they reach upwards to 13 or 14,000 feet, the red, clay-based rocks are underneath the green growth. It is for this reason that preserving trees and other soil-holding plants is so important to Colombia. That muddy bit in the lower left corner is the Rio Suarez.

This balancing act of stone and wood and tile really
captured my eye on my morning walk.
I occasionally start out walking either in the morning or late afternoon (it's cooler at those times) and don't exactly know where I'm headed, but go looking for something interesting to take a picture of or to explore my neighborhood. There is a lot of construction going on here, but there are also a lot of very old walls, gates, paths, houses and lovely flowers just waiting to be noticed.

We are passing out of the rainy season so there are more and more mornings when the sun is shining brightly - and intensely - as soon as it clears the horizon to the east.

In a little less than three weeks, the second annual film festival will take place here: FICBA II. That will bring lots of new folks to see this quiet village, only for five days it will be anything but.

I don't quite understand the point of trying to make this into a mini-Cannes or Berlin or Los Angeles with an all-night dance hall, bright flashing lights everywhere and rivers of alcohol lubricating everyone so they can go and sit on uncomfortable folding chairs and pretend they connect with some weird filmmaker who thinks its cool or artistic to do a handi-cam film following some suicidal teenager around.

Last year I created a bit of a stir when I insisted that the people at the entrance to the various films be more diligent in assuring that the films were age-appropriate. This came about when I saw two pre-teens heading into see something I was pretty sure they were not ready to see. I hope they do a better job of that this year.

But some of the films did warrant a viewing so I'm looking forward to seeing the schedule.

Because vehicles are so very expensive here, older ones
are preserved very well. This is one of my personal local
favorites; totally NOT the original color but still cool!
My art classes are going well, and it helps me with my Spanish. Yesterday my art teacher asked me to use some words in English because he's decided he needs to have some basics. This is the trend in Colombia. There is an ad that runs on the TV showing two guys talking in Spanish to each other. One is obviously the 'up and coming one' and the other is a sort of 'doofas' who wants to be more like his buddy. They are promoting an on-line English class. Personally if I was promoting the classes, I would show different classes of people, different circumstances where knowing English would be advantageous.

Thanks for stopping by and I will close with the sunset taken at the end of this day.

The same view of the Andes at sunset. You can see the Rio Suarez at
the lower left heading off to meet up with the mighty Magdelena.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Changing the Energy

 Yesterday I received this story in an e-mail, asking me to send it on. As an Intender, one who attempts to change the world through energy, I ask you to join me in the intention that follows this story, if you align/agree. And I also intend you are seeing the value in sharing this intention with others.

Mientras los periódicos y las televisiones hablan de la vida de los famosos, el jefe de la tribu Kayapo recibía la peor noticia de su vida:
While newspapers and TV talk about the life of the famous, the head of the Kayapo tribe received the worst news of his life:

Dilma, la presidenta del Brasil, ha dado el visto bueno a la construcción de una planta hidroeléctrica enorme (la tercera más grande del Mundo).
Dilma, the president of Brazil, has given approval to build a huge hydroelectric plant (the third largest in the world).
Es la sentencia de muerte a todos los pueblos cercanos al río, ya que la presa inundará 400.000 hectáreas de bosque.
Más de 40.000 indígenas no tendrán donde vivir.
La destrucción del hábitat natural, deforestación y la desaparición de multitud de especies es un hecho.
It is the death sentence to all river towns, as the dam will flood 400,000 hectares of forest.
More than 40,000 indigenous people have no place to live.
The destruction of natural habitat, deforestation and the disappearance of many species is a fact.

¡40.000 seres humanos!...
¿Y nos preocupamos por 6 o 7 o 10 que llenan las revistas?
¿Qué llevan puesto?
¿Con quién se casan?
¿De quién se divorcian?...
¡Por Dios... qué vergüenza, sentimos los que valoramos cada VIDA COMO ÚNICA!
40,000 people! ...
What we care about 6 or 7 or 10 that fill the magazines?
What are they wearing?
Whom do they marry?
Who gets divorced? ...
My God ... what a shame, we feel that we value each LIFE AS ONE! But do we?

¡NO hay vidas "MAS DIGNAS" que otras!... todas estamos en este mundo para vivir con la misma dignidad... y no habrá una "guerra justa"(si alguna lo es...), simplemente ante este imperdonable, habrá un silencio:
¡el de los fuertes!
Lo que conmueve y hace que algo se retuerza por dentro, lo que genera vergüenza de nuestra cultura...

NO lives are "more worthy" than others! All of us in this world are entitled to live with the same dignity ... and there will be a "just war" (if there is ...), just before this unforgivable, there will be silence:
That of the strong!
What makes something touching and twisting on the inside, creating shame in our culture ...

La "impresión" que tuvo el jefe de la comunidad Kayapo al enterarse de esa decisión, su gesto de dignidad y de impotencia, bajando la cabeza, llorando... ante el avance de "nuestro progreso", hipercapitalista, la modernidad depredadora, la civilización que no respeta la diferencia ...
The "impression" that had the chief of the Kayapo community to learn of this decision, the gesture of dignity and impotence, lowering his head, crying ... before the advance of "our progress", a hypercapitalist, modern (??) predatory civilization that does not respect the difference ...
¿Hasta cuándo aún?...
¿Y qué va a ser ahora mismo tambien de los Dongria Kondh? en la misma situación, y tantos y tantos seres humanos oprimidos...
¿A nadie le importan....?
How long still? ...
What will happen now also the Dongria Kondh? in the same situation, and so many human beings oppressed ...
What… no one cares ....?

Sólo podemos cambiarlo nosotros, cada uno de nosotros, no ellos...
Por favor haz que esto circule
y sintamos vergüenza...
 We can only change ourselves, each one of us, not them ...
Please send this story to as many as you can
and feel ashamed ...

I intend there is enough reaction to this news that the President of Brazil sees the value in changing/reversing his permitting decision and that other solutions are found for electrical energy so these indigenous peoples and other native peoples are continuing to live and love and feed their families on their lands and the animals and birds and insects continue to do their destiny work on these lands and this is for the highest and best good of all concerned, so be it and so it is! Whoooooooooo!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

These Sands are not Shifting

Not the greatest shot of me at the entrance to the Marvels
of the World in Sand, but it's not really about me.
The last time I was in Bogota, I had time enough to go and visit Maravillas del Mundo en Arena (Marvels of the World in Sand), an amazing collection of sand sculptures on display in a series of tents covering 32,000 square feet, created by sand artists from around the world. It took over 6,000 tons of sand from the Rio Sumapaz, determined to be of the right consistency to build sculptures that are over three stories in height using only water to hold them in place.

10,000 foot mountains surround Bogota
which is at 8,000 feet of elevation.
This is another good reason to check into events that are taking place when you are traveling. The event was over at the end of March and I would have missed it if someone had not said to me, "If you have time, make sure you see "Maravillas" and I am glad I did.

The first sand sculpture seen upon entering
the show.
Sand artists have been building castles and other structures for decades and some of them probably got their start at a beach, building moats and then watching the tide take their work away. You can see some of the internationally renowned sand artists and their work here. I was unable to get a list of those participating in the Bogota event, but am fairly certain some of them were among those displayed at that web site.

All of the "Wonders of the World" were re-created in sand, including the Pyramid at Giza, the Sphinx, the Great Wall of China, the Buddha, the Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and more. There were tableaus of the U.S. Space Program, a nativity scene, South American indigenous archeological finds, the Tower of London and Big Ben, a giant chess set in sand and other artistic creations.

What follows are some photographs of the sculptures. The lighting was difficult for taking photos, so some are not as clear as I would have liked. I could have done a better job if I had taken a tripod with me, but this is not something I normally do. This presentation of more than 100 sculptures was sponsored by Foto Urbano, an international training company which has sponsored similar events in other places world wide.

Sand Sculptures - Wonders of the World in Bogota 1
This photo of the Buddha is credited to

If you look closely at this you will see the 'shadow' of
the Twin Towers in this NYC structure in sand.

The U.S. space program featured in sand. Notice the
people to the right, giving you an idea of the size and
scale of the sculpture.

One of the artists at work near the end of the exhibition.

The Nativity scene was given a place of honor at the end of the show,
taking up about 10 meters in length - very impressive!

Close up of the Nativity scene. The standing Joseph is,
in my estimation, approximately 18 feet tall.

If you are interested in learning more about sand sculpture, here is a short video of the 2011 world competition in Washington state.