Commuter bus, Panama City, (no,not Florida, you spring breakers!) Panama, yes, Central America, last country before South America, just to sneak in a geography lesson for us geographically challenged Americans.
The bus owners in Panama and much of Central America, for that matter, take great pride in their means of livelihood as evidenced by the intricate and arguably beautiful artwork a la Keith Haring they adorn their buses mit. Often on my first morning in a new locale, as this was, I’ll have a general direction in mind, fling open to the hotel doors to see where my RAT leads me. A bit skeptical of safety issues, I stay well aware of my surrounding and, even in shorts and polo, walk with determination as if I am heading to my dot.com business office. You, obvio, cannot miss these traveling works of art not just for the colors but for the sound and sight of pollution belching from the mufflers. Two days wandering Panama (remember, stress the ‘ma’ not the ‘na’ to sound like you’re a local or, at least, an in the know pronunciator ) and moi, I’m hacking away like a 3 pack a day Camel smoker. Next time I’ll bring my hospital mask and save myself and scare off would be thieves! I guess I should talk to everyone, every day about loads of my pix as I was talking to my sister just 2 days ago about above bus belch issue and, voila!, the pic sells.
The FDR or West Side Highway of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, fortunately sans the morning traffic as one white man stands in middle of highway, Nikon on tripod, snapping the highway bordered by coconut trees and with lovely new benches on left side to peruse the seaside.
The whys? Somehow I found myself booked into a typico fancy international could be anywhere in the world non-descript expensive hotel on this malecon, with casino next door, hookers for take-away like a taco. Doing the first morning wander and me thinks “hmmmm…some photo buyer somewhere in the world is going to want to prove that Santo Domingo is a modern city” with good perimeter highway system. Me thinking this as the farmer in horse drawn wagon clip clops down past me with his produce heading to market. So, I was right and people do buy the pic now/then. By the way, on that morning’s stroll, I made it several miles into the historic district, found a native hotel overlooking the Central Park replete with large, old church, shoe shine men and hair cutters and friendly dark skinned gorgeous Dominican girls smiling that smile sitting on the tree shaded benches and I booked a room immediately and moved within hours to Central Park hotel to be in the thick of real Dominican life and not having to talk to the chiropodist from Chappaqua about pilates at the club back home who I met over my one and only breakfast at the casino-international caliber hotel.
Although behind a tree works in many of the lands I frequent, the kind management of of the Bequia Turtle hospital and sanctuary, Brother King, his name is, and a friend of mine for years, took it upon himself to construct a more official structure than ‘that tree over there’ for when nature calls.
No reason to be piss-shy here as the gentle lapping of the waves will bring the necessary results quickly. Let’s not ask about where the refuse goes after the flush and let’s also remember not to swim within 300 feet either side of this outhouse in Bequia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines.
These two lads are 2 of the 4 children of my good friend Marva who lives in a small cinder block house with her 4 offspring by 4 dads, mom with a bit of dementia, maybe, and dad who likes to sit most of the day, and now with dad of the younger boy, Oscar, a very nice and very talkative, thoughtful speaker of a man who, fortunately did not pull his machete out when I came to visit Marva and explained she had been only my platonic friend for years and nothing more.
Lovely Marva with the best smile in the world, bathes the youngest lad in the cement basin built next to the house outside with water that gravity flows from the cistern above the house. To utilize the facility, the family crosses the bridge over the water run off from the hills canal to the jungle seen in background above and communicate with nature under the palm tree leaves as the body takes care of natural business. Oh, failed to mention that Marva at 32 is now a grandma as her 16 year old had her first baby last year so we can add 1 more mouth to the house bringing the count to 9. Lovely, lovely people from my neighborhood called South End in Corn Island, Nicaragua. As I ride my motoscooter down the local dirt roads, the kids will yell out “Mr. Robert! Mr. Robert!” Not much makes me happier than that, honestly.
The famed international destination: South Beach, Ocean Drive, Miami early one morn. As you know, often I’ll book a one night layover, n/c, in South Beach merely to get some work done and not for the hot night life which certainly does exist. Nice for a day if you get the chance: wander with the crowds, take a little Miami swim, eat the overpriced, over hyped by pretty Eastern Bloc foreign girls promoting the eats at that restaurant. Me? There’s a fine pizza joint one block back from the beach that makes a NY pie better than a NY pie.
In any case, this fine morning I noticed the comfortable seats and thunked to meself ‘that’s a seller’ and set up and snapped. If I’d had a coupla’ model couples, any age, any ethnicity, any sexual preference posed on benches in variety of emotions, the pic would sell probably 20 X more frequently but I did not have so I did what I could and viewing the pic brings back nice memory of walking in the early morning peace of South Beach before Russian and Spanish and Italian and Portuguese dialects are heard up and down Ocean Drive.
This lovely Peruvian gal smooching her son in my photo studio made it to America the Beautiful after a donkey ride over the mountains from her little farming village in the Andes hills to fulfill her dream in the land of dreams where the streets are paved mit gold. Once in NY, she did the nanny thing, saved her $$, went to school to become an RN, wisely bought a condo and had this baby with the lawyer who helped her with her green card amongst other matters.
She secured the position of head nurse at the nursing home where my mother spent her last years which is how I met her.
Honest, hard working gal who could cook a lomo saltado to melt in your mouth. Mildly obsessed ( I guess those two words could be considered an oxymoron) with having children as she was all of 32 with only one child. A no-no for Latin women and a no-no for me without yet being madly in love with her. Great lady and I hope her life is meeting her expectations now and that she has at least 2-3 more kids now.
I shoot architectural work as you may know. Had this local gig without a set designer and set up the kitchen as I saw fit for promo purposes. Think I used 3 lights for the shot and had to balance the interior light with the ambient in order to show the lovely view as one prepares their baguette quaffing a first growth.
Fun job. Architectural photog takes lots of work and knowledge and expensive equipment, all of which
—————————————————————————————————-Tel-aviv, Israel is a particularly fine place to take an early morning bike ride, swim or jog or just a cool breeze stroll on the 8 mile beach which now features a spectack promenade, albeit without the history of the Promeade d’ Anglais I’ve featured from Nice, France, but a gorgeous promenade nonetheless. Israel, in general, is beautiful and the plentiful condo developments that I passed in the shared van enroute ‘tween Tel-aviv and Jerusalem are quite a site to behold with townhouses, fresh and new, bathed in flowers and tropical landscaping. You do know why Israel is called the land of flowers, don’t you?
There’s a Rosenbloom on every corner!
I’m particularly proud of this sold photo for a number of reasons with, perhaps the main reason being I actually made it to this island that none, yes none, of my over-educated friends have ever heard of. SABA is one of the Dutch Netherlands Antilles islands about a 30 minute flight on a really small island, uh, like tiny,miniscule, small hopper from the popular St. Martin. Why a tiny prop plane? Here from Wikipedia:
"The airport’s infamy arises from its physical position and layout: it is flanked on one side by high hills and at both runway ends cliffs drop into the sea. Additionally, the runway at the airport is relatively short (400m);this creates a slightly higher risk for landing and takeoff since the safety margins are not as great as would be found at a typical commercial airport.
Although the airport is officially marked as closed to traffic (X), regional airline propeller aircraft are able to land there under waivers from The Netherlands Antilles’ Civil Aviation Authority." OFFICIALLY CLOSED to traffic (X). You got that part. The prop plane lands and jams into reverse engine. Think 400 meters=1300 feet, maybe from the movie theater in Bedford Village to the spectack Bedford Presby Church (which even after living in this community for more than 3 decades still knocks me out with it’s beauty)? Me, not afraid whatsoever. Danger in travel is my business plus I am studying/flying out of Danbury to get my pilot’s license so I have not qualms but I will say the landing and takeoff are quite a breathtaking experience.
The photo from Saba that sold is of the National Museum shown above. For islanders (and me,now) Saba is called ‘The Rock’ and the typical islander must escape from “The Rock” at least once/twice a year as it is a small but incredibly (to me) beautiful island which is, in fact, just that, a rock, very hilly and filled with valleys the best known one called “The Bottom” as that’s where it is, the bottom. I drove the whole island seeing many unreal landscapes with almost all the houses in a quasi gingerbread style as the museum shown above. I drove the ‘road that couldn’t be built’. Honest. That’s what the one main road is called with the reason self-explanatory. Engineers determined in the 1920s-30s that a road could absolutely not be built on the rocky cliffs and natives would have to continue to traverse from one of the only 4 communities to another on foot or on donkey as they had done for centuries. Well, one determined Saban would not stand for this as cars were coming into popularity throughout the world at that time. He sent away for a correspondence course, that’s like a mail order lesson book for you younger folk, and taught himself how to build and engineer “the road that could not be built” which I have the pleasure of saying I drove one end to the other. I’ve got many more Saban stories, such as the honesty of the people with no locks in use, but that will have to wait for the next Saba photo to sell.
The Dom Rep,as you know, is a very popular winter get-away with most of my peers as there are gorgeous and luxurious resorts such as the famed Casa de Campo which really, to me has a quite humorous website: well to do looking guy with modelesque wife watching as he shoots an expensive trap shotgun with, of course, a Range Rover, in the background. The next pic on the site is of guys playing polo, just like down the road in Greenwich. I guess all the hedge-fund guys are moving to the Dom Rep! Me? Prefer the real Dom Rep or the real anywhere for that matter and when I adventure in the D.R., I always make a stop in Santo Domingo„ the lovely historic capital. Surprisingly, the armed guards let me stick my nose and my Nikon lens through the fence surrounding the National Palace to take this tripod mounted shot of the pride of the country.
———————————————————————————————————————Having adventured in about 20 different Greek Islands, I must say that my favs are the smaller, lesser known and, often, more traditional “Greek” than the usuals of Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete and even Santorini.
Syros, the capital of the Cyclades, is still relatively small and is not much visited or known by Gringos. After I read about the capital building in marble and the marble tiled streets surrounding same, I had to make my way to Syros recently where, in the mid-shoulder season, I booked a room with, yes, you got it, another Giorgio, non-English speaking other than “50 euros. 50 euros!” which I negotiated down to 25 for a three bed room mit a/c, hot water, tv, coffee maker, fridge and huge patio directly overlooking the yachts in the port. Locked meself out of my suite one night, thoughts of sleeping on the patio as Giorgio was not in residence, but a neighbor down the hall was English speaking Greek man and could read the sign that said ‘in emergency, call Giorgio” with phone number and Giorgio told us where the master key was hidden so I could open my room and quickly pour a much needed ouzo!
The marble capitol building just sold. Nice place to do government business and then have a Greek coffee under the finikas trees, wouldn’t you say?
——————————————————————————————————————And another view of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin from the Reichstag side
. I prefer the one of the other side that sold the other day, but this one works too.
———————————————————————————————————————Zagreb, Croatia is a lovely, safe and clean city. Let’s secure tickets to an upcoming show at the National Theater just to be there. Hello Bob! Quite the incredible structure, wouldn’t you say?
—————————————————————————————————————-This was a commissioned assignment in Oia, Santorini. No set designer so I created the scene in what’s called a traditional cave house where the owner’s grandpa actually used to live with his donkeys. Grandson, my good friend Spyros, moved the donkeys and rebuilt the literal cave house into a flat with view of the caldera over Oia. Note the curved arch over dish area which is how the old abodes were constructed thousands of years ago. Kitchen is small but it works.
Took me 3 different light exposures as I was only traveling with one NIkon strobe. Took lotsa thought.
A load of my photos were sold on these 4 days but I must get on to other projects so I’ll leave you with a bit of food for thought, an authentic Latin Ceviche photographed in Nicaragua. Kerry Morgan’s restaurant doesn’t always have the jumbo shrimp in catch, but when they do, one ceviche per day is a necessity!
—————————————————————————————The world awaits you and I hope you found this edition of One White Man Travel informative and perhaps a bit humorous as well.
robb lerich sept. 15, 2013
My dear readers, The original purpose of this blog journal was not to make sales from my photos but to merely entertain a few friends and family with stories behind my worldwide images. I am hearing from certain parties that they have an interest in owning some of my works. As such, I’ve listed just two of my ten sales agencies just below where my photos may be purchased at unbelievably low prices in a variety of sizes. Click on the links (which are totally safe as I would never betray the trust of my readers/friends/family) and you will go to my galleries where you can review my portfolio and search for any particular image/subject you want to view or purchase as a DIGITAL DOWNLOAD.http://www.shutterstock.com/g/hellobob?rid=7258http://www.dreamstime.com/Rjlerich_portfolio_pg1#res18732
PROFESSIONAL PRINTS ARE AVAILABLE VERY REASONABLY PRICED ON MY PERSONAL WEBSITE. IF YOU DON’T SEE THE PRINT YOU DESIRE, LET ME KNOW AND I WILL MAKE IT AVAILABLE ON THE SITE. http://www.rjlerich.com/
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