September 25, 2010 § 4 Comments
As one of Colombia’s two main coffee shops, Oma is a nice place to go to get out of the heat (assuming you’re on the coast) or as a ‘third place’ to go after home and work. Just like the Juan Valdez shops, they offer coffee+liquor drinks, too. For additional information, see the facts below or visit their site!
- Started in 1970, OMA owns shops selling all the usual hot and cold coffee drinks, and snacks.
- The shops also feature books and music.
- In addition, OMA owns a restaurant chain and a manufacturing facility for OMA Coffee Roasters.
- The name OMA is derived from German. OMA is an endearing word for “grandmother.”
Oma – Official Site
September 25, 2010 § Leave a Comment
September 24, 2010 § Leave a Comment
IT’S not called the Parque de Los Novios — Park of the Newlyweds — for nothing. Young couples lock arms as they stroll past rows of freshly planted flowers. A Sinatra love ballad sung in Spanish echoes from a corner dive bar. Aside from a few mustachioed, sombrero-clad men playing a board game, it seemed as if everyone on this breezy August evening was on a romantic sabbatical.
Yet this square in the center of Santa Marta, a port city along the Caribbean coast of Colombia, was not always a streetlamp-lighted refuge of romance. Just a few years back, the park was a tumbledown area trafficked mostly by prostitutes and petty criminals.
Wedged between the sea and the snow-capped Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta peaks, the city may be Colombia’s oldest, but it has always been seen as the grittier and more industrial counterpart to nearby Cartagena — at best, a stopover point for visitors looking to trek through Tayrona National Park or hike to the Lost City, a well-known archaeological site nearby.
“Until five years ago nobody would come here because of the guerrillas,” said Michael McMurdo, a New York City-trained chef who recently opened a Mexican restaurant, Agave Azul, in Santa Marta. “While there is still some sketchy stuff going on, I like it here because it still feels real and Colombian.” – Source (more here)
September 21, 2010 § Leave a Comment
“Police in Colombia have detained a parrot which they believe was used by drug-dealers to act as a look out. They say Lorenzo was trained to squawk as soon the dealers were in danger of being caught. Now, he’s no longer free as a bird as Lisa Knights explains.”
September 20, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Systema Solar is a somewhat new group on the Colombian music scene and from all I can tell, they are quite popular, at least among the youth (according to my friends).
September 15, 2010 § 1 Comment
“After more than 30 years of speculation among Colombia’s biologists, unusual titi monkeys there have been confirmed as a distinct species new to science. The cat-sized monkeys at last get their own scientific name, Callicebus caquetensis, in a description posted online August 12 in Primate Conservation.
Unlike neighboring titis, the population discovered in the Caquetá region lacks a white facial stripe and white hands, and has a bushy red beard, says primatologist Thomas Defler at the National University of Colombia in Bogotá. The Caquetá titis’ chromosomes also have structural differences compared with other titi species.
“It’s important that people know we’re still finding new monkeys,” Defler says. A handful of species have been named in South America alone during the past decade.
Primatologists have been curious about the Caquetá titis since at least 1976, when a biologist traveling through the region proposed that the titis there might deserve recognition as a distinct group, Defler says. But the titis’ home became an insurgent stronghold, and decades of political violence discouraged primatologists from venturing in to follow up.
Travel became less risky in the past several years, and Defler seized on a lucky chance. A student native to Caquetá, the son of a veterinarian well known in the area, arrived in Defler’s lab eager for a primatology project.
Starting in 2008, student Javier García traveled in search of titis. He has tracked down more than a dozen groups by listening for their morning calls. Garcia even brought back two Caquetá titis that had been kept as pets so that Defler and his colleagues could observe the species alive.
The downside of resolving years of speculation about the titi’s existence is that the population appears to be tiny and under threat. Garcia’s data so far suggest merely 250 individuals, and Defler does not expect there to be more than 500. What had been a forest species now lives in fragments of forest in a largely agricultural landscape. At the same time that the Caquetá titi gets its species status, Defler predicts it will also qualify as critically endangered.” – Source
September 14, 2010 § Leave a Comment
For the second installation of 5 Preguntas interview series, I invited singer/songwriter Marta Gómez, whom I recently featured in one of my posts, to answer a few questions and she graciously accepted. The interesting thing is, that I’ve mentioned her name among some of my friends and just when I’m about to explain more about her, they say “yeah, I know who she is, great music!” There might be a correlation between my friends being South American and the music Marta makes but when I ask how they know her, they tell me “from Putumayo”, to which I momentarily (albeit jokingly) wonder if they mean the world music label or the southern department of Colombia. Sure enough, you can find her on the first track of their Women of Latin America disc.
1. How did you choose your musical style? What attracted you to South American indigenous folk?
I was in contact with Latin American folk music since I was a kid through my choir conductor Florencia Borrero. She has been an essential person in my life and it is thanks to her that I sing and compose. She introduced me to a lot of rhythtms from the south.
But as a teenager, I wanted to sing pop and rock (in Spanish) so I dedicated a lot of years to discover the music from Fito Paez and Charly Garcia, rock from Buenos Aires. It was only when I traveled to Boston to enter the Berklee College of Music where I really realized I could not offer to sing pop or rock better than an American, but I could surprise them with my roots, with the music from my part of the continent. That it when I fell in love with the sounds of folkloric music and it is a one way ticket. Once you discover the beauty in the simplicity of those rhythms, you never go back to explore anything else.
2. While searching out indigenous folk, was there a particular style you hadn’t heard before and that you fell in love with, let’s say, from a particular South American country? If so, what was it?
Sure.. I did not know too many rhythms. I was familiar mostly with Argentinean folklore, zambas, chacareras, tango and milonga and with some Colombian styles as cumbia, vallenato, bambuco, pasillo and valsas but that was it! I did not know Peruvian music or Chilean music, or Bolivian music and I just keep feeling in love each time I discover a new rhythm. The combination of patterns, of influences, in Peru, for example, it is fascinating how you find the mixture between African sounds and indigenous sounds. I am telling you this is a path that never ends…
3. Why do you think Colombians are always near the very top of the World Happiness Index (the annual list of the happiest people in the world)?
I think we tend to misunderstand the term happiness, especially from the North American perspective and movies etc. I guess to be happy is to be able to enjoy the simplicity of life as it presents itself in every single moment of every single day. Maybe due to the horrible civil war that my country has lived from over 40 years now, my people understand better than others that nothing lasts forever and we try to enjoy more each instant because it is very probable that it wont last. I guess that could be a way of looking at it but it is true definitely that Colombian enjoy things more, you go there, you take a taxi and you can spend half an hour talking to the driver about anything, and he would always tell you he is fine, they almost never complain about life, they feel lucky to be healthy and they trust the future will be better, maybe because they have seen worse, too.
4. If you could easily teach all North Americans, for example, one thing about Colombia, what would you want to teach them?
That is a very difficult question… let me think…I would teach them precisely to enjoy life more, to connect to other people, to talk more. Colombians love to talk, to dance, they talk dancing, moving their whole body, that’s what I would teach about Colombia, the capacity of its people to enjoy life as it comes.
5. Can you describe something simple that you miss the most from your country, like a certain smell, taste, sight or feeling?
That, on the contrary is a very simple question for me… I will tell you what I miss the most, being in a sofa with my nieces Natalia and Camila, they are sitting on my lap and they are telling me the stories about their school, their friends, vampires, the world cup, the enviromental issues, anything…and I close my eyes and I smell their hair and I see their eyes and their gestures. That is what I miss the most every single day I am away.