Cuba, Havana, March 2002
Cuba’s capital city is a monumental town that lost its glory in the 50s. Tough degraded by decades of neglect, Havana’s buildings still stand proud. Strolling by the streets of this city is like diving in the past. We are surprised at every corner. Here a classical American car seems to be painted an improbable blue to match the building where it’s parked for good.
Cuba, Trinidad, March 2002
Most of the great colonial houses in town have wide windows in the Spanish style, which, when open, allow a view of the living room. From the outside, this room seemed irresistible. I decided to knock and ask if I could take a photo. Somewhat disappointed for not being a client, the owner Lidice Zeuera Mauri agrees on posing for the photo and confided: “You know, this house was built by my grandfather, he had a tobacco factory and we lived well. Nowadays, I rent two bedrooms, it’s the only way to keep my house, but I still have no right to a phone line. I only get customers when my neighbor, who has a phone, has no vacancies”.
Argentina, Viedma Glacier, Patagonia, 2003
Close to the small town of Chálten, Viedma Glacier, humbled by its famous brother Perito Moreno Glacier, gets relatively few visitors. After a boat trip on Viedma Lake where we learn how to use the crampons that will allow us to walk safely on the ice, we arrive at last at the glacier that, as so many others, is shrinking. After walking over the thin ice, avoiding bottomless crevasses and having drunk a whiskey (with natural glacier ice) we are in for a strange experience: we enter a lateral fissure and enter a cave bathed in an intense blue light whose roof is formed by ice of the glacier itself.
Argentina, Buenos Aires, March 2003
Caminito in Bairro La Boca is one of city’s major tourist attractions. But it wasn’t always like this. In the beginnings, it was the place where the poorest immigrants lived, where disreputable houses abounded and where danger lurked in every corner. With the oil strike all this area was regenerated and the artist Benito Quinquela Martin transformed La Boca in a colorful place that attracts all kind of artists. The cat in the photo goes through its daily routine: watching tourists strike a pose in front of the brightly painted walls.
China, Tibet, Ganden Monastery, April 2005
For a moment the snow stops falling. I grab the opportunity to explore the entrance to the temples complex, a true city. The brightly colored prayer sheets were in display awaiting the devout buyer. While I composed the photo, I noticed a monk approaching: it was only a matter of waiting for the right moment. This monastery, founded in 1409, had more than 2000 monks on the 50s. Bombed twice and reduced to rubble, it has been rebuilt with the donations of the faithful.
China, Tibet, Shigatse, April 2005
Basic maintenance and cleaning tasks are performed by the younger monks. It is an unseen, but vital work. This monk from Tashilhunpo monastery walks in the shadow, his broom on his back, trying not to be seen. When caught by the camera, he smiles.
Egypt, Alexandria, September 2005
At the end of the afternoon in the fading sunlight I walk in Montazah beach, in Alexandria’s east area. Women are allowed the pleasure of bathing as long as they do it decently, that is, fully clothed. These two, choose to lounge in plastic chairs, enjoying the rising tide while watching their children.
Egypt, Balat, September 2005
The oasis route west of the Nile, is a place usually overlooked by tourists who prefer to visit the splendors of Nile Valley Ancient Civilization. Over the last centuries few things changed on medieval Balat’s alleys. Exploring them is an experience not to be missed. I tried to visit the mosque but I was not allowed. I waited around until the mosque’s caretaker left. I tried talking to him but he wouldn’t have any of it and covered his ears!
New Zealand, Karekare Beach, November 2005
Set of the famous Jane Campion’s movie, The Piano. This beach is an obvious destination after visiting Auckland. The rain threatened and the wind blew strongly when we left the car. Its strength increased as we approached the deserted beach. The dry sand swirled as the wind blew and drew odd patterns on the dark wet sand canvas left by the low tide. Those drawings suggested giant bird wings that disappeared whenever we walked. Later the sky darkened, the rain started pouring and we had to get to the car on the run.
New Zealand, Rotorua, December 2005
We could smell the sulfur even before had sighting Rotorua. Here the earth’s crust is thin, making it possible to observe multiple geologic expressions of volcanic activity. Champagne Pool in Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is undoubtedly one of the major attractions of this area. A vast boiling green water pool, decorated with a bright orange shore inhabited by thermophilic algae. The boiling water releases gas bubbles like a just opened champagne bottle.
United States of America, Alaska, Harding Ice Field, May 2006
The real dimension and beauty of Alaska’s landscape can only be fully enjoyed from the air. Each of the three flights I’ve done in Alaska was an adventure in itself. The first one was in Seward and it was perhaps the most striking one, as I couldn’t foresee what awaited me, either visually or thermally. Ten minutes into the flight I was no longer feeling my hands.
United States of America, Alaska, Matanuska Glacier, June 2006
Imagine a glacier so convenient that the car park is only 100 meters away! Even better: a glacier where we you are left on your own without any restrictions imposed by the Rangers. Here the only limitation is our own good judgment. And you should really have it because the danger is there. I enjoyed it so much that I came back two weeks later.