Word and Image

Archive for September 24, 2011

David – Mira Flores Park Hotel -Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru. We had just had the last supper with David. In the restaurant our mood was good humored and we all made guinea pig faces. Maybe, I’ll post these pictures later. His mother and I would not see him again for about a year. And his sister, well, that’s another story entirely. In the meantime he would survive long grueling bus rides and at least two robberies. What an adventure he had making his way through many South American countries, finding his way alone, and growing up on life’s experiences. Here, just before we parted, David posed in the Mira Flores Park Hotel lobby. He looked confident and ready for his big adventure. No one, neither his mother nor David showed any of the concerns that they would later admit feeling. It turns out no one wanted to admit they were terrified of his leaving and his striking out on an unknown adventure. The only thing that I can say is, “Thank goodness for the internet and Skype!” And when David called home explaining that the youth hostel owner had given him a free phone call home, his mother inquired, “Are you in jail?”

Tango, La Boca, Buenos Aires

La Boca is a neighborhood in Buenos Aires that is famous for it’s colorfully painted buildings. It is said that the poor did not have money to buy paint so they used paint from the port’s ships. The colorful kaleidoscope is in a dangerous area if you judge from the folks who told me not to have my camera out on my shoulder. On a warm sunny day the color really pops and is all the more garish. Everything says tourist trap. Tango is the national signature dance. Here, you see tango demonstrations everywhere, from street impromptu to formal shows. On the streets of La Boca, many dancers performed exhibitions to lure tourists into sidewalk cafes. The dancers were so serious and stylish. This couple was clearly enjoying the moment.

Iguazu Falls, Argentina

When we finally visited David in Argentina, it was my second trip to South America. Remember, we visited for the wedding in Peru, where we parted from our favorite son. And yes, he would still be the favorite if there were another son. Fortunately, Julia is our favorite daughter, but she was in Africa, simultaneously, teaching. Lisa set up a trip to see some of the sights in Argentina. In retrospect it was like coming to America and traveling to Washington, Chicago and New York. Argentina is a large country. The plane flights were long and demanding. Iguazu Falls is Argentina’s comparison to Niagara Falls. But, I have never been to Niagara as you know from my rugby post. Iguazu was very large, the largest I have seen. And it was wet! Not just the falls but it was raining when we set off to visit the falls on our day and a half stay. Mostly it rained steadily and in between it poured – as in deluge. I shot this sepia processed image on the Canon G11. I let the camera do the work of converting the image. It’s not sharp because it’s raining. There’s rain everywhere. I’m soaked. We had just returned from a boat ride under the falls. Rain slickers and umbrellas were no match for that. The spray from the falls is mixed in with the steady rain. The hotel towels, which I brought were soaked so there’s rain on the cameras and lenses as well. In fact when we went into the hotel dining room for lunch, my Nikon and our two Canons were so wet, condensation could be seen behind the from lens element glass. Fortunately it was clean water and evaporated as the cameras adjusted to the cool air conditioning. I was still more than a little concerned to see the moisture collecting where I had no chance to disassemble the lenses. Otherwise, neither cameras nor lenses have given any problems since.

Sunset, Palermo, Buenos Aires

This view is from David’s apartment in Buenos Aires. He lived on the sixth floor with a view from the roof overlooking the city. He had a pool and hot tub. All of this was for so little money that I’m not permitted to reveal the truth of it. We were there to relax a bit before dinner. In Argentina no one eats before 9PM. Experimenting with the preset dial on the Canon G11, I dialed up the sunset setting. Alas, Julia discovered that the G12 no longer has this. Pow! A great sunset – saturated, glowing, and wonderful, it just showed up on the preview screen, magically like this. My Nikon D200 would compensate for the low light and color producing a low contrast washed out sky. I have subsequently realized that simply dialing up the saturation in photoshop will increase the effect to get a comparable photo on the Nikon. Still, it was a great trick on the Canon and one that I continue to use. Sunset, sunrise, what nice color you can have with little effort. I finally made use of the presets, which I have always ignored till now.

Submarino, Argentina

You know how you mess up words you hear but don’t see. Well, at least it happens to me. Like, ‘I pledge-of-allegiance’ was just a single word to me in elementary school growing up. I was pledging before I could read back then. Argentina has its own custom of serving up hot chocolate. David introduces me to it when we visited. He called it a ‘submariner’. Ok, ok, I laugh, too,  now that I checked on the spelling. Submarino is a style of using steamed miilk and then serving a chocolate bar on the side. Actually, it’s customary to serve two bars! They are dipped into the hot milk and quickly melt. It is a highly satisfying drink. We had it everywhere from the airport to the glaciers.

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires. We were stranded. One of the flights on Aerolineas Argentinas was canceled and we missed our connection. As a result we were in Buenos Aires for an unexpected layover. The airline gave us accommodations in a ‘flea bag’ hotel. No go. David called and threw out the girl staying over in his apartment and we crashed there for one night. His mother never said a word about the utter mess and chaos in his apartment. Obviously, it was the girl. It was the first evening and my first experimentation with the capabilities of the Canon G11. We got a little silly. There are many street signs, advertising posters, and graffiti displays.

Graffiti, Palermo, Buenos Aires

Graffiti is big on the streets of Buenos Aires. You see it everywhere. It is widely accepted as a form of street art. I watched a woman one-day painting an elaborate design in front of a school. In another instance I saw a man return and apply a clear coating to his graffiti artwork to protect it from rain. One shop even sold a book devoted to the graffiti artwork around Buenos Aires. There is a lot of talent and imagination. In this photo the pedestrian adds some extra interest.

Le Recoleta, Buenos Aires

It’s Good Friday. Lisa had just recovered from dengue fever symptoms. We still don’t know for sure if that was the diagnosis. There were warning signs for dengue fever all over the airport when we landed in Buenos Aires. Anyway, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. David had been ‘under the weather’ – low grade fever, malaise. No one had spoken too much the past two days. But now that they were mending, they decided to visit the large central cemetery, Le Recoleta. Eva Peron, ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,’ is buried there. Her tomb had many visitors and flowers. Wandering the pathways this image just appeared. Many of the mausoleums are in severe disrepair. Others are maintained and have glass enclosures to protect the contents and allow visitors to view the interiors. This stained glass window juxtaposed with the gray tombs and skyline. I credit Lisa with visualizing the image that I captured. By the way, it was warm and humid. The pathways were filled with pursuing mosquitoes. We never tarried long.