BucketTripper is a fun site with short articles that focus on one task over one day in one great place. I started working for them in the spring of 2012 (stopping over a year later) and wrote loads of stuff, especially covering the Moscow area, where I lived for nine months, and Latin America, where I've spent several years as a wondering expat. Some of these are written from the standpoint of a tourist and many of them--those about Russia, Turkey, and Guatemala--are from the perspective of an in-the-know resident. Thanks for reading.
Centered between the cities of Cali (famed for dancing) and Popayan (famed for colonial architecture), Silvia is an unassuming village that requires a good, curvy detour off the main highway and offers a decent market of fresh vegetables and household wares. On Tuesdays, market days, the village fills with locals doing commerce as usual, but it also gets an influx of curious backpackers.
When we reached the end of the tour, I was already thoroughly impressed. And then we rounded the corner to discover four massive graffiti murals that just sung of revolution, of angst-y political statement and dissatisfaction. They were commissioned pieces from the some of the top artists around Bogota, and by that time, I’d seen all the best: stinkfish, Bastardilla, DJLU, Pez, Rodez, Lik Mi and more. But these last pieces really were showstoppers
Chichen Itza may be the most famous ancient Mayan city in the Yucatan Pennisula. It may have garnered all the big titles, like New World Wonder, but that doesn’t change the fact that the older Mayan site of Coba, the region’s capital before Chichen Itza, boasts Mexico’s most monstrous pyramid.
In total, over 500 millennia-plus year-old statues have been rediscovered in the area around San Agustin, many of which are now refurbished and have been returned to the official park site a mile or more outside the town. What’s really cool, though, is that there are still statues throughout the countryside, some untouched, in situ, and available for free. You just have to be willing to walk or ride a horse.
Having traveled quite a bit in Central America, with some unfortunate soirees in the rather gruesome metropolises, the first surprise I got from Cartagena was that people — droves of people — were still out on the streets at night. My flight had touched down after dark, approaching nine o’clock, yet when the taxi driver realized he didn’t know where my hostel was, he’d put the cab in park and began wandering the sidewalk, asking folks. This would never happen in Guatemala City.
Watching mating turkeys was never really how I envisioned my Caribbean paradises. Nonetheless, as the morning sun turned my tent all aglow, I started my first full day in Tayronait to the ruckus of a horny male gobbling after an uninterested hen. The courting had gone on much of the previous afternoon until the both finally disappeared, for some privacy maybe, at dusk. The tropics are full of surprises.