Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Happy 2015

Buenos Aire´s Middle Eastern conexion

I´m not one of going out to restaurants and I normally like to eat mostly local food when visiting different cities. Now when it comes to middle eastern food, I have developed a taste for it since it is practically a local food in places like New York,Ottawa, or Sao Paulo.
In Buenos Aires there is quite a big Colony of Lebanese,Syrians and Armenians, that used to live in the "Villa crespo" neighbourhood, around the Cordoba and Scalabrini Ortiz intersection.
Now the hood has changed and is an extension of the fancy Palermo hood. In any case you can still find good ethnic restaurants like "Sarkis" which specialises in Arab-Armenian food. If you crave for some sfiha or Kibe, this is the place to go. Located at Thames 1101 in Villa crespo, it serves most of the Armenian and Lebanese dishes that you probably know, and also the price is quite cheap considering its location.
Be advised that you will probably have to line up to get in, since the tourist crowds from Palermo also tend to go there.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

In Passing Snapshot - The street signs

Over the years I picked up a habit of photographing various objects in different cities like licence plates, traffic signs and street signs. Some I take for stock, or to remind me of the cities I´ve passed trough etc.
One consideration bout the street signs, something that is merely practical, but in many places they date back decades even centuries, is the way they replace the old with the new. Sometimes they keep the old ones, that as I said before have some historic value, and sometimes they just replace them with the new ones, or with new elaborate ones, and some times, like I´ve seen in south America, they just randomly ad them to the old ones that have´nt fallen off or been ripped off.

Saturday, 20 December 2014

From the Past - Lima´s Churches - Peru

In anticipation of my next trip, here go some pics of Lima´s most beautiful churches.
See the Pdf here.
Also seen at:

Top 10 pizza joints in Buenos Aires - El Cuartito - Tribunales

Located at Talcahuano 937 close to Estacion Tribunales (linea D). Here you can enjoy media masa and molde pizzas, even though they do not use a wood oven, which may offend some purists, they still turn out a fabulous pie. It’s always crowded with locals and tourists, hence its name, the little room, it boasts a very typical Italian pizzeria decor, They also serve a mean Flan co dulce de leche dessert.

El cuartito, es otra institución porteña en  materia de pizza. Una parada obligatoria para quien trabaja o hace tramites en la zona de tribunales.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

In Passing Snapshot - Retiro Terminal train station

As I get more acquainted with Buenos Aires, Baires as some locals call it, I have discovered that the urban trains get you faster to certain places than the subway, some times a couple of blocks off, but much faster. on arrival at the Retiro station of the Belgrano Railway y stopped to let the crowds that descended from the train pass by, and was left with this tranquil scene worthy of a photo.

Friday, 5 December 2014

In Passing Snapshot - The Christmas tree

Yes its December and here in the southern hemisphere it is summer and they still call it Christmas season, not Holiday season or any other PC nonsense. This Christmas tree is located at "Galerias Pacifico" located in downtown at Florida and Cordoba, one of the many shopping malls that you may bump into in B.Aires, Unfortunately the Christmas season here is quite bland, with everyone thinking on their summer vacation due in January or February, but there are still some beautiful nativity scenes to be seen.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

From the Past - Iglesias de Puebla, Mexico

Check out some of the nicest churches in Puebla, mexico. See the Pdf.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Jacaranda Time in Buenos Aires

When planting trees close to monuments always check with a photographer first ! Never the less I think the people that decided to plant Jacaranda  trees in Buenos Aires did a pretty good job.
The combination of nice architecture and colourful flowers  is soothing for the spirit besides providing excellent photo material.
For some ideas, check out this video.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Bosques de Palermo, a piece of Versailles

The "Bosques de Palermo" are a series of parks composed by Planetario Galileo Galilei, Jardín Botánico,Lago de Regatas, and el Rosedal. A kind of Central Park in Buenos Aires, but with a french accent, actually most of the garden were created by Charles thays, that also had rearranged the Versailles garden in Paris.

Its a pretty big area where you´ll find very nice french sculptures of animals and a variety of trees with beautiful leaves and flowers. Its one of those places to go running, walking or to read a book away from the hustle of the city.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

In Passing Snapshot - The Tiramisu

There are cities where you can loose weight, by easily abstaining from its bad food.Buenos Aires in not one of them, here you can find excellent food at any small restaurant. Such is the case of this piece of Tiramisu I ate last week at a small bar in Villa Crespo.

Five best places to eat meat in Buenos Aires - La Estancia - Downtown

La estancia is located  just a few blocks away from the "Obelisco"at calle Lavalle 941 in the pedestrian area of downtown Buenos Aires. It is a very well groomed tourist oriented "Asador Criollo" which is commonly used as a meat presentation card of the City.

Prices are fairly cheap considering its location, but I do recommend venturing into other "Parrillas" located deeper into the neighbourhoods for a better feel of the authentic parrilla.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Resting in "La Pampa"

When people talk about the pampas, they normally refer to its "empty vastness", an ideal place to rest while living the life of the"gauchos", the famed Argentine cowboys. Well i have to confirm that it really is an ideal place to rest, as experienced at an "estancia" (ranch) that I visited close to the city of Madariaga in the Buenos Aires Province.

there are many Estancias that offer hotel style lodging all over Argentina. The one I visited belongs to a friend and is a real ranch where they grow cattle and plant soy and sunflowers. Of course I rode horses, hunted, and did other rural activities, but as a photographer I also indulged in photographing the Pampean panoramas, that attract so many north Americans and Europeans  to this latitudes.

and also the chance of talking to the country folk that work the land and the herds. I recommend going there in spring, since all the animals are with offspring and it isn't as hot as in the summer.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Top 10 pizza joints in Buenos Aires - Los Inmortales - Downtown

Los Inmortales or "the Immortals" is dedicated to a generation of writers, artists and bohemians it Specialises in “pizza a la piedra” which basically is a hard crust pizza. Its flagship house is the one in Av. Corrientes which was founded in 1952. This is also a place to sit down and enjoy a full meal. The prices here are tourist oriented so you will pay the full price of a good pizza, this is the one on lavalle street.
 With 3 locations in the city of Buenos Aires, Lavalle 746, Av. Corrientes 1369 and Paraná 1209

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

In Passing Snapshot - the "San Lorenzo" Bus

Sometimes you snap a photo just cuz you like the shape or colour of something you see. On this occasion walking to a shoot in Villa Urquiza, y saw this red bus, and did some shots and was on my way. Upon further analysis,  I realised that this was an unique bus only to be found in Buenos Aires. First because its a classic Mercedes Benz "Colectivo" that circulated from the 60s till the early 90s in Buenos Aires. To such an extent that they even have one in the M.B. museum in Stuttgart. Secondly its painted with a red and blue theme dedicated to the "San Lorenzo" soccer club, that even has the Pope as one of its fans.

Monday, 20 October 2014

La feria Masticar - chew on that

Dropped by the 2014 edition of the "Feria Masticar" on its last day, since it ran only from the 16-19 October. As its name says, it specialises in chewable stuffs, as well as gulping fluids.

They had kiosks  with most of the famous eating joints in Buenos Aires along with others that sold raw ingredients, fruits and veggies.
Now the one that caught my Canadian eye was the beer tasting bar set up by Stella Artois, filled with thirsty customers waiting for a free glass of cold beer.
The guys tending the taps were quite friendly and instructed the drooling customers on the 9 step pouring ritual, which the beer maker uses on its worldwide add campaigns.
Overall the exhibition was well organised and the entrance ticket was around 4bucks. I definitely recommend checking it out on its next editions.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Top 10 pizza joints in Buenos Aires - La Guitarrita - Nuñez

Located at Cuba 3300 in the Nuñez neighbourhood home to the soccer team River Plate, it is worth visiting and can be accessed by subway.
I always like to try the house´s own pizzas when they have one, here you can check out "la Atomica" (Atomic) and the "Don Grillo", named after one of the pizzaiolos that worked there for decades, and also the fugazetta rellena, which is an onion pizza with cheese.

Decorated with a soccer theme, it has banners from most soccer clubs in Argentina, along with photos of their idols. The service is quite good and the place has transformed itself from a neighbourhood pizzeria to a fine eating institution in Buenos Aires.

Friday, 17 October 2014

The welcome wagon

Today I would like to share an unique experience which I only recommend to those with strong stomachs. It all started when I had to return to the city of Buenos Aires from Grand Bourg, a city in the province of Buenos Aires, named after the french city in which lived and died General San Martin, one of the heroes of Argie independence. So considering that the main highway that leads to the city was going to be blocked by one of the many protests that are regularly held here, I decided to do a train bike combo, that takes roughly 2hrs door to door, compared with the hour and change that it takes by car.
So I bike to the Grand Bourg train station that is part of the Gral. Mitre Line, which is one of the 7 train lines that serve the city along with the 8 subway lines and hundreds of buses, that puts Buenos Aires in the top ranking cities with good public transport, very similar to London or New York. Now having said this I will tell you the downside of the journey.

When the train arrived I was told that the bikes must go in the "Furgon" which translates to waggon, that is a section of the train reserved for cargo. So the train has one up front  and one at the back, which was the one I caught. First obstacle is getting your bike up there cuz its one of those all style waggons, like the ones you see in the movies, that stand a good 3 or 4 feet up from the platform. So you either chuck your bike up or ask someone to help you from above. This was´nt a problem cuz the folks that were already inside helped me up, even though the place was packed with goods and people. Just to give you an idea, the "Furgon Area" takes about a 4th part of the car, which is aprox 10 by 6 ft. Now in that small enclosure there were already two full size supermarket buggies, three huge bags with flowers, 4 bikes and around 15 people, so yor have to stay where you land. Now that was´nt the problem I´ve travelled in crowded buses,trains,planes, all over the world. The scary part was the on board service which consisted of joints and beer being shared by the passengers, so the gentleman on my right was smoking one, along with the chap on my right and the guy in front of me, which left me with little breathable air, besides that there was a 1litre bottle of beer being passed around.
The conversation ranged from, places where you can buy weed to the stations to watch out for cops with dogs.
This were the conditions for the hour long ride, so I decided to elbow my way towards the open sliding doors on the side, under pain of falling off, to catch some fresh air. Fortunately a couple of stops later  the Furgon was practically empty.
Now do´nt get me wrong, the people at the Furgon were working folk, and very friendly and solidary, and if  you ride on the passenger section of the train you can sit and enjoy the view. all this for around 15 cents American.
I thought I´d share this just so  that next time you complain bout your suffering on your daily trip to work, you know what others go through.

From Sao Paulo to Montevideo by Land - the banana hut

After spending the night in Curitiba we headed south towards Rio Grande do Sul, passing by some marvellous beaches that were empty at this time of the year, making me want to stop and dip, but unfortunately we were on  a tight schedule. One of my fellow travellers wanted at all cost to buy some fresh pineapple to take back home, cuz he had bought some many moons ago. Now as I previously mentioned Brazil is now a fully operational industrialised country, so forget bout the supermarket that carries fruit that was hauled from thousands of miles by truck. providentially we bumped into this Bar-hut at the side of the road that had some fresh produce including pineapple and fresh cut bananas from a variety that only grows here, besides that you can buy the whole bunch for a few bucks. We also had some pineapple "batida" that´s basically pineapple blended with water.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

In Passing Snapshot - the Ammo box saddles

Today I´m starting a new section on this blog, called the "In Passing Snapshot" to upload some self explanatory pics of people and objects found on my day to day trips.
I saw| this guy on a traffic light stopped right in front of my car, and I liked the cool ammo box saddlebags on his bike. This was in Montevideo,Uruguay.

Friday, 10 October 2014

From Sao Paulo to Montevideo by Land - The city of Curitiba

On the way back to Montevideo y stopped by Curitiba which is an ultra-modern city located in the southern state of Parana in Brazil, with a population approaching two million.
One of the fastest growing cities in the country, it boasts a brand new Bus Transportation system which has an exclusive lane with “central hubs” within the city, where the long buses with two connected coaches in tandem carry people across the city, like a subway above ground. It served as inspiration for cities in South America and in the states.
What called my attention. also was the new infrastructure courtesy of the World Cup budget, that resembles much more North America, than the usual sloppy south American standards

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Rua Santa Ifigenia, the gadget paradise of Sao Paulo

As I continued to roam the commercial area of downtown Sao paulo, I arrived at my destination, which was the Rua Santa Ifigenia a place that you must and will know if you want to buy something related with computers,audio,electricity or whatever you need, they will always send you to Santa Ifigenia.

Besides there being very colourfully painted shops in a city that primes for its grey buildings, you will find all types of Chinese knock off gadgets or legit parts for any electronic or electrical device.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

From the Past - Puebla - Mexico

How bout some photos of the city of Puebla in Mexico. see the Pdf here

The Bikes at the rua Gral. Osorio in Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo can be your average industrial over populated city, a place where you only go if you need to. Now being there, there are some places where u can find nice photo opportunities. I had to go downtown to fetch some lighting components, and in passing we encountered the Gral. Osorio Street, where apparently you can get any motorcycle part or gear that is to be found in Brazil,
There´s plenty of shops with shady looking characters, one of those places that you should´nt go alone or flashing your camera around.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Our Lady of he Rosary of Fatima Church in Coitia, Sao Paulo

As I have already mentioned on a previous post, there´s a beautiful Gothic church that is being built in Coitia, Sao Paulo. The church of the Rosary of Our Lady of Fatima, that belongs to the catholic  congregation of the Heralds of the Gospel. I had the pleasure of covering the first mass of one of their newly ordained priests.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

From the Past - Colours of Mexico city

A selection of colourful places and peoples from Mexico City, see the PDF

The stainglass window factory

Arriving in Sao Paulo, Brazil, I had the chance to visit a stain glass window manufacturer, located in the outskirts of the city. There they make all the windows for several churches that are being built in the Sao Paulo area by the Heralds of the Gospel. These windows are all custom made using hand tools, using american and german colored glass.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

From Montevideo to Sao Paulo by Land - The feijoada

Feijoada is a stew of beans with beef and pork, typically cooked in Brazil and considered a national dish, and served in lieu of a barbeque, when many people gather for a meal. It´s generally served with rice, mandioca Flour prepared as a dish called "Farofa", orange slices and Couve (Collard in English) which is a bitter green type of cabbage. The etiquette demands that you down a shot glass of Caipirinha (sugar cane eau de vie with lemon juice) to prepare the stomach for extra digestive action.      

Legend has it that the dish was invented by the slaves of the colonial era, and was made with the left over parts of pigs and cows. The stew contains pigs hoofs, ears and tails, most of the time boiled beyond recognition.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

From the Past - Colonial churches in Mexico City

Some photos from a report bout churches in Mexico City. See the pdf here

By Land from Montevideo to Sao Paulo - The Beer Garden

On the main access to the city of Joinville, S.C. you bump into an old windmill turned into beer garden. there you can sample the local beer "Opa", that is quite good for Brazilian standards. I was told that in summer time the city is quite hot and humid, so I´m sure that its packed full during the summer season.

By Land from Montevideo to Sao Paulo - The City of Joinville

The city of Joinville in the Southern Brazilian state of Santa Catarina, named after the Prince of Joinville in France, is a picturesque city colonised by Germans in the 19th century, that arrived there lured by a German colonising society, which promised them land in an area with German like weather, this second item being a hoax. Upon arriving the settlers promptly installed industry and built beautiful German style homes, which can still be seen in the downtown area.

Today the city has expanded enormously and is one of the fastest growing regions in Brazil, housing many huge industries like whirlpool and Randon.
Besides that, you can still buy good beer and German pastries among other European delicacies.