That was the eerie impression I received from Brasília, the capital of Brazil. Founded in 1960, the capital was built on an immensely ambitious dream led by then-president Juscelino Kubitschek.
Suffocated by the violence and humidity of Rio de Janeiro and drowning in the vastness of São Paulo, Kubitschek, riding on a high train of economic prosperity developed a daring idea, to move the capital of Brazil to a climatically balanced and regionally convenient area. The expeditious construction of Brasília lasted 3.4 years, under the supervision of Lúcio Costa, and the architectural plans of Oscar Niemeyer. Niemeyer envisioned Brasília to be representative of its future, following the almost laughable flag motto of order and progress. Architecturally, each governmental and residential building has a sterile and clean finish that is properly referred to as Modernism. I later found out my judgment wasn’t far off, for Oscar Neimeyer was a die-hard communist.
Two weeks and some change. That’s it. I had only two weeks and a few days to travel Peru, north, and south, nonstop. Now that I look back at my pictures, I’ve realized how rewarding the trip was, even though by the end of it I was so exhausted I began considering my return home. I had only a list of the touristic destinations I planned on visiting but otherwise little knowledge of the culture (I find it much less disappointing and surprising to have zero stereotypes and expectations about a country and its people).
Like all the other countries I have visited, Peru differed greatly. From its arid landscape in the West coast to its tremendously breathtaking mountains and lush jungle in the East, inevitably became an astonishing destination. Its population is mainly indigenous or mestizos, a mixture of Spaniard and indigenous, with some Afro culture in the West.
Every year, in between those lazy limbo days after Christmas and before New Years, my hometown of Cali throws a week-long extraordinary salsa festival unlike any other. So famous is the Feria de Cali, that many around the world travel to see the almost supernatural dancers twist and turn incredibly fast, sprinkling flavor across the stage with an intricate agility. The salsa culture in Cali has become its most representative feature, schools ranging from ages 3 and up are easily found, always polishing and perfecting the next best dancers. The delicious dance entices travelers from all over, who visit Cali just to even get a whiff of the appetizing movements and have a stab at it. The Feria not only demonstrates the rich culture of Cali but also of Colombia in general, through one of the most joyous human forms of expression, dancing.
My trip to Colombia was not planned at all. But one thing and another piled up and it just happened to be that I spent Christmas, New Years, and a wedding in my beloved country. I could talk about Colombia forever, there’s a plethora of experiences and memories I could share. But I feel as though the time I dedicated to visiting this time around wasn’t for traveling but rather seeing loved ones. For this reason, I have little to share with the public, for now.
One day, I will pack my bag and devote my indivisible attention to one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
Before viewing the pictures it is of the utmost importance that you accompany them with this song. And don’t tell you I didn’t warn you, the music will make you shimmy. You may proceed.