Colombia has it all! Part of Ands with 15 mountains with altitude over 5000 m, Pacific Ocean in the west and warm Caribbean sea in the north with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. There are huge areas of Amazon rainforest in the south and savanna in the east. In addition Colombia is the second country in the world by the number of different species of animals and plants, right after Brazil. It has over 50 national parks.
Fear and prejudice, which I had before the trip were dashed as soon as I first walked across the colorful streets of the old colonial neighborhood “La Candelaria”, the heart and cultural center of the 8-million-Colombian capital. The warmth and openness of the people does not give the impression that the city was not long ago one of the most dangerous cities in the world.
Main attraction of Los Nevados park is Valle de Cocora (with amazing small town Salento), a beautiful valley and the only place where they grow up to 60 m high wax palms (Ceroxylon quindiuense). Protected palm trees are one of the Colombian symbols.
The path through the valley can be seen on foot or by horse. When haggling for the price of renting horses definitely helped the fact that we were in the company of locals so we got a good price. Good mood was further lifted by the sun, which has shown from behind the clouds and a small bottle of local spirits Aguardiente, that we have been brotherly passing one to another. In this valley you can see the reserve where hummingbirds live freely in the wild. Manager of a hut in this reservation was happily telling me that with this company he doesn’t miss TV at all.
Me and my companion Csaba from Hungary quickly found ourselves in a company of Colombian students who were also intending to explore their country. Together we visited 5300 m high volcano Nevado del Ruiz in Los Nevados National Park, famous especially after desolated moon look alike rocky landscape. In a time when we were there the volcano began to show signs of activity (February 2012). On March 2012, the Nevados National Natural Park authority decided to shut the reserve to visitors, following the increment of the threat level from yellow to orange. The orange level means the volcano could erupt within days or weeks.
Later I read that volcano erupted on June 30, 2012. They had to evacuate 2,300 people from nearby villages and suspend commercial flights in the cities of Armenia, Manizales and Pereira, but there were no reports of casualties, injuries or property damage.
In 1985 when Nevado del Ruiz erupted, it virtually erased the small town of Armero in Tolima, which lay in the Lagunilla River valley. Only one quarter of it’s 28,700 inhabitants survived. The Armero tragedy, as the event came to be known, was the second-deadliest volcanic disaster in the 20th century, being surpassed only by the 1902 eruption of Mount Pelée.
The second largest city of Colombia, Medellin, was two decades ago known for Medellin’s narco-cartel and charismatic leader Pablo Escobar and today is one of the safest and most modern cities in Latin America.
Due to a favorable climate locals like to call Medellin “the city of eternal spring”. Today it blooms, both economically as well as literally. It is known for growing flowers and lately also as Latin American Milano, due to its’ high-fashion prominence.
Despite the fact that the city has much to offer, it drove us more in the nature. So we withdrew for a few days in the green village Guatapé, a popular weekend destination for people who lives Medellin. Cities would not exist, if authority would not build a huge dam in 1970. From the extremely rugged terrain is the resulting 56 km2 artificial lake full of small islands and long capes.
Guatapé is also known for its colorful facades of their small houses which are still being built in a somewhat colonial style. Each house has its’ own special drawings or decorations on facade, normally in vivid colors. On these facades they can present their loyalty to their country, their jobs or it can be just a decoration.
Touristic most developed part of the country is north with the Caribbean Sea. With a tropical climate, beautiful beaches and an average annual temperature of about 30 ° C to attract American tourists, as well as tourists from the south of Latin America. North among other things boasts with two oldest cities: Santa Marta, founded in 1525, and eight years younger Cartagena. Santa Marta is especially interesting for tourists due to its proximity to the national park Tayrona and Taganga village.
Cartagena, due to poor suburbs and leisurely inhabitants doesn’t fascinate at first glance, but the old city center with extremely well-preserved colonial buildings take you to a time when this city was one of the main ports on the entire continent. Due to the exceptional location and booming economy, this city was often the target of French and English pirates. You can still visit several fortresses that were built for protection of the city on the nearby island. One of the reasons to visit Cartagena is also proximity to the beach with white sand, after which it was named: Playa Blanca and coral underwater national park Rosario y San Bernando, ideal for underwater tourism.
Tayrona Park charms with impenetrable wilderness, 108 species of mammals, 300 species of birds and heavenly beaches, which are due to the absence of tourist complexes throughout the year mostly desolated. Taganga is a quiet fishing village, but in the nights turns into a wild partying place.
Safety and general quality of life improved significantly in the last decade in Colombia. Although the country has a turbulent and violent history and a long way to harmony among Colombian people in the future, the visitor has the feeling that, this time they are on the right track and that touristic slogan which says: “the only risk is wanting to stay” is absolutely true.
Simon Černe / Ježni Vrh, Slovenia (currently living in Wellington, New Zealand) / age: 32 yrs / IT developer
Simon is my old pal. I met him ( among others students ) in student housing when we were still teenagers, 14 years old. We came to Ljubljana ( our capital city ) from all parts of Slovenia to continue our education on chosen high schools. I could say that we were bit scared and lost in the begining – first time on our own without parents. But we adopt quite quickly and we start enjoying our new lifestyle, with much more freedom. We are good friends since then.
If I could write only one sentence to describe him I would write that he is quite unhappy if he waste his day foolishly. Carpe diem could be his motto and it doesn’t matter if this include: mountain biking, diving, windsurfing, climbing or something else. I took this photo last weekend when we were hiking together with friends in beautiful Slovenian alps.
Last few years we hadn’t seen each other much. I was in Canada for a year and before I came back he moved to New Zealand where he is living now. This summer he came back to Slovenia to vacations after more than 2 years. He said that he was very happy when he realized that relations with “his” people haven’t changed at all even after such a long time. He is still the same – nonstop in action. He was one of the reasons that my summer this year was more active than usual 😉 Right now he is somewhere in the air, flying back to New Zealand. Thank you for your visit and come around sooner than last time. Good luck and have a nice trip.
Matthew Dundee / Brampton, ON (Edmonton, AB), Canada / age: 28 / Business Analyst
Matt. My homie. He is the kindest and gangsta I know. Well, he is not real gagster. This is just how he rolls – inspired by his favorite rap music. We were roommates just for few weeks but long enought to build true friendship. He came to Edmonton from east side of Canada – Brampton. He is freshly married and prepared to settle down here in Edmonton with his beautiful wife and raise a family.
SLO: Tokrat sem imel priložnost sodelovati z eno izmed najbolj uspešnih glasbenih skupin na slovenski glasbeni sceni – skupino Kingston. Na obali so snemali glasbeni spot za nov komad Danes je moj dan z nadarjenim in vedno bolj priznanim režiserjem Nikom Karom. Moja naloga je bila, da naredim kratek video o zakulisju snemanja videospota.
Vroč poletni dan, lepa dekleta iz skupine Mystique show group, pozitiva in veliko profesionalcev vse naokrog od katerih sem se lahko marsikaj naučil. Več kot dovolj razlogov za obisk Portoroža.
Spodaj si lahko ogledate končni produkt.
ENG : This time I had opportunity to cooperate with one fo the most successful bands on slovenian music scene – band named Kingston. They were filming music video for their new single Danes je moj dan (Today is my day) with talented and increasingly recognized director Niko Karo. My task was to do “making of” video.
Hot summer day, beautiful girls from Mystique show group, positive vibes and many pros all around to observe and learn from them. More than enough reasons to be there.
Please check below my final product.
foto : Robert Zabukovec
Tukaj si lahko ogledate tudi novi uradni videospot za komad Danes je moj dan. Deljenje dobrodošlo 🙂 Hvala / Check also official music video of Danes je moj dan (Today is my day) and feel free to share 🙂 Thank you!
Yeaaaah!!! Another milestone, another dream come true in my strange career of doing-whatevah-I-like-doing. This time was in field of a graphic design. My old pal Simon Urbas – guy who is living his life like true rocknroll dude and who likes to follow his dreams no matters what, decided to publish his debut album caled Dnevnik (Diary). He honored me with his request to design album cover with booklet for him.
As much as I like graphic design and album covers I wasn’t too sure about it. I did couple of posters and logos before, but album cover is whole different story. Because it’s printed in many copies, because it’s (as far as I am concerned) first ID of an artist who is starting his career in the cruel world of music industry, because I was leaving the country (and continent) at that time for a year and the only contact we could have was half an hour a day on Skype.
I didn’t want to make a lousy album cover and I didn’t want to be partly responsable for the end of his fresh rocknroll career so I said no, but he insisted and I said yes.
He trusted me whole creative process on how the album should look like. After couple of unsuccessful tries I decided for diary theme (since album is called Diary / Dnevnik). For this purpose I made special font with his handwriting (Urbasava). My idea was that each song is just an adventure in life of Simon. Every song has its own page in booklet with lyrics and photos / illustrations that are related to adventure /song. I know him quite well and I know that he usually don’t like to keep things too tidy, so I add some wine glass stains and I intentionally make bit chaotic look of booklet to achieve authentic ” retro diary” look. I must said that I spend many hours, working on small details, so the whole thing wouldn’t have that cheap-look.
Colours of the album are mostly pale brown. Like an old diary. Except CD itself. CD is intentionally out of context and it’s rich in colours because with music all the old rusty memories come to life.
We made whole graphic design over the internet conection: Logatec (Slovenia) – Edmonton (Canada). You are welcome to check it out below our final product.
Thanks for watching. Fell free to share 🙂
BIG thanks to everyone who were involved in this project in any way.
Some of unsuccessful tries I made between creative proccess, searching for concept:
And final product:
Simon invites you to check his music on this link. You can download this album for free, or even better, if you like what he is doing you can support him with voluntary contribution 🙂
Leo Inocellas/ Cebu, Philippines (living in Vancouver, BC, Canada) / age: 55 yrs / hotel employee
I met him at English Bay Beach in Vancouver while I was taking some photos. He came around out of curiosity and we started to talk. He likes to walk along the beaches of Vancouver and just enjoys free sunny days and hang out with people. We became friends on Facebook later and I can say that I found him to be one of the kindness persons I know.
He came from Philippines and after 32 years living in Canada, he feels that Vancouver is his home now. You can listen below why is that so.
Olakunle Oduntan / Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria (living in Edmonton, AB, Canada) / age: 38 yrs / Electrical Integration Technician
Ola, the crazy Nigerian guy (in good sense of course). Always prepared to have fun. He doesn’t need alcohol, he doesn’t even need music. He can just start singing and dancing whenever & wherever, or as he likes to say…to shake some booty 🙂 We are co-workers and good friends and he usually puts me into good mood, except when he is sharing excess of his positive energy too early in the morning.
Matej Malc / Koper, Slovenia / age: 27 / explorer
Matej is typical Primorc (Inhabitant of Slovenian region Primorska); Open-minded, open-hearted with special (primorski) sense of humor and positive attitude. I had pleasure to be his roommate for more than 2 crazy summer months in Vancouver. He is always caring that boredom don’t come close to him and to people who are around him. He loves traveling, Vancouver and big city life and as such he took care that I get to know all cool places that were worth to visit there. Meanwhile he also revealed to me some of the secrets of his other passion: fashion. You can listen bellow what he has to tell about that.
Jamie Arron / Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada / age: 25 / Community Animator/ Project Manager
Me and my friend Davor were hitchhiking under the shelter of giant Douglas fir trees at Cathedral Grove park when we met him. We had the same destination : Tofino! And before we reached it we figure it out we have also the same plans: discovering nature of magic Tofino and having great time while doing it. Reaching the peak of Lone Cone island, karaoke, wild camping on towns parking lot, surfing. With his open and positive attitude, he was a magnet for all kind of cool people. And before we knew it, our group grew so big we hardly squeezed into his rented car. I guess its ok that our adventure lasted just few days, otherwise we would have to rent at least a van:)
You can hear below our short conversation about popular question : happiness vs. (material) standard of living
Tomaž Kosmač – Kosmo / Godovič, Slovenia / age: 48 / Writer
Being categorized as an artist in our relatively small municipality of Idrija is not necessarily a compliment. Often such nicknames are given to people who are bit different, who are not swimming with the stream of routines of ordinary people. Clowns who are here to entertain us and give us a reason to talk about something at our coffee breaks.
I must be honest, between friends we also called him “Driskič” (after his first collection of short stories entitled “Driska” (Diarrhea)). For us he was just a funny guy who we met sometimes at some students parties, usually dancing alone in a first row with plastic bag and few PET bottles in it.
I didn’t know nothing about him and I never really took a time to read his work. He was just an local artist after all.
Until recently when I found his collection of short stories “Punk is dead” by accident and read it in one day, often caught myself laughing out laugh. In a week or two I basically read also the rest of his work. I was amazed and addicted. All of his stories are based on autobiographic experiences. In them he is sharing his colorful adventures of jobless person often enhanced with great deal of humor and “bevanda” (mixture of white vine and water). In them he always take a role of anti-hero and he writes with such a honesty that you can’t blame him for anything when he is reveling his deepest doubts and things that most of wouldn’t dare to admit to anyone. Very easy reading but with intelligent thoughts that keep makes you thinking; who is really clown here?
I wrote him if he would be willing to take part in my little project and he invited me to his home. We spend couple of hours talking and exchanging opinions. I was impressed: such a great guy; simple, kind and honest but intelligent and educated.
You can listen here what he has to say about epilogue of his novel: Varnost (Safety). He didn’t want to philosophize about it but I was insisting and at the end he relented and share his brief thought. Unfortunately it is just in Slovenian language. So for those who don’t understand this “widely spread” language I invite you to check bellow what his novel Varnost (Safety) talks about.
Tomaž Kosmač – Varnost (Safety)
In his novel ‘Varnost’ (Safety) Tomaž Kosmač along with his autobiographical lead character takes us into a world of first working experiences of a young boy, who decides to swap his high school degree and a guaranteed office job for a bohemian lifestyle of vegging out in a doorman’s lodge under the light of a transistor radio, with a bottle in the drawer and a typewriter on the desk. The job is aimless, and so are the lives of the proletarian heroes interrupted occasionally by days-long drinking-sprees and the absurdity of alcoholism. Witty, grotesque stories from the social bottom, crossed with the belief that something more is out there somewhere after all, even if it only shows at the bottom of an empty bottle. Gostol – Mercator – Zidgrad – Kolektor – Rudnik živega srebra – IMP – Avtoprevoz – Zdravstveni dom – Gostol, are the names of companies our hero works at, with Čipka and MIP added as a bitter end. Together with the companies he is being kicked out of in a role, stories are strung about how one can experience failure even in the seemingly simple category of sitting down.
This was my main project of the first half of this year and now when it’s done I can say that I am satisfied with the result. I know that is far from perfect and there are many things that I could done it better. But in many ways this was a step forward for me. Before I was always capturing videos partly spontaneously and than created music video afterwards. This time we (me and Simon) created story first, we had to choose locations, gather people together (assistants and actors) and shoot scenes. Because we needed for our story spring and winter time we had to wait 4 months to capture all the material.
Welcome to check out our final result. If there are no subtitles you can turn them on with CC button in youtube (english).
Thanks to everyone who helped me in any way
Thanks for watching. Enjoy!