Panama

The City of Panama Old and New!

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From the vibrant city of Panama City, the rainforest, friendly tribes, to the amazing experience of the Panama Canal, Panama has it all!

Taking an incredible journey on the canal makes you feel humble. You have plenty of time to think about the adventure that it was to create the most important waterway in the world a 100 years ago.

Spending time on the Panama canal is quite an experience. It starts first by watching the boats lining up on the Pacific side waiting their turn to enter the canal and the locks to make it to the Atlantique, accross Miraflores and Pedro Miguel locks raising the boats 85 feet above sea level (26 meters) to the man made lake Gatun, the last lock, Gatun locks and finally to the Atlantique. Between 35 and 40 boats cross the 80 kilometers of the Canal each day through a 8/10 hours journey making an incessant dance from one side to the other side of the Isthmus.

The Canal: from a simulator experience to the real deal!

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But Panama is also a huge ecosystem, rainforest, animals and tribes like the friendly Emberas who share their traditions and way of life with eager tourists or the famous Kuna and the art of the Mola.

Tribes:

On the Chagres River live the Embera tribe.
Kuna indians sale their Mola, colorfull tapestry in the markets of Panama city taken turn.

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For further informations on the Panama canal I will recomand watching the excellent Nova movie: “A Man, A Plan, A Canal – Panama”.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/education/programs/1415_panama.html

 

 


“Before They Pass Away…”

I was reading and admiring the amazing photos and experience that Jimmy Nelson and his team took on their incredible journey of documenting some 29 tribes “Before They Pass Away“. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to do so:

This has been one of my dreams since I started traveling 25 years ago, sharing even for one short time the life of those people who chose to live their life the same way than their ancestors…I have been fascinated by anthropology for years and read a lot about this subject. Lucky enough I was able to spend some extraordinary time with 8 of the tribes that Jimmy visited (except that I didn’t have and still don’t have the same budget ;)) and some others that he didn’t mention.  (more…)


2012 Rewind: Berlin, Germany

I have wanted to go to Berlin immediately after seeing “Wings of Desire ” by Wim Wenders….that was long time ago. This summer I had the chance to go to visit a friend who lives there now. I understand why! Even with the worst weather, cold and rain, Berlin was everything  that I have dreamed of and more… (more…)


2012 Rewind: Israel

I have been putting this trip off for so many years. This summer I crossed the  border by feet from Aqaba, Jordan and enter finally the Holy Land! I took a bus through the Negev desert all the way to Tel Aviv, the white and Bauhaus city, to salute old friends. From Jerusalem, Masada, the Dead Sea, Caesarea and Jaffa there was so much to discover…take a pick.  (more…)


Celebrating the Winter Solstice at Caracol, Belize with the Mayas!

“Where were you when the World Began Anew?”

I was lucky enough to have found through the grape-vine that Caracol, the biggest Mayan ruins in Cayo district, Belize will open exceptionally during the equinoxes and solstices of 2012 to 100 lucky people and let them camp over night.  I chose to go there to celebrate the winter solstice but also one of the most important date for the Mayans, the celebration of the passing from the Maya Calendar 13th Baktun to a new era or 14 Baktun. I couldn’t offer to wait an other transition like this …in 5,125 years!

So on the night of December 20 to the 21 I was with two of my best friends and their 14 months old (plus few people from Belize, Mayas groups and other parts of the world) ready to live one of the most incredible and humbling experience of my life.

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What Gets You Out?

People ask me, how does it start? what make you chose a place, a country, how do you decide?

Well , it depends….sometime a picture will trigger the desire to go to a place, sometimes it is a movie, a book, a encounter with another traveller and sometimes I just follow my heros. From Ibn Battuta, to Marco Polo, T.E. Lawrence, Alexandra David Neel or Nicholas Bouvier, the list is long of people that I admire for their writing and their journey around this world. Long time gone, they were like me, travelers. They walked the same road centuries, years ago. They were pioneers in their field. They left the comfort of their home to follow their dreams. I could stay at home but like them the world is my playground. I love to discover new places, leave the main road and see what I will find.

What is yours?