Page 5 of colvinyeates Travel Blog Posts

Central America Caribbean » Cuba » Centro » Trinidad April 28th 2012

There's a thinly veiled hint of self centredness at the root of many visitors motives for jetting into Cuba and we joined that queue. On the wrong end of US inflicted trade embargoes for over 50 years, Cuba's improvised methods to survive in the face of financial adversity are a surreptitious part of the attraction to this most individual of countries. Would Cuba still pique the senses to the same degree if the streets of Havana were choked with Toyotas rather than 50 year old plus Buiks, Plymouths and Chevies? Or would the crumbled elegance of its Spanish colonial architecture be just as seductive all spruced up in its Sunday best? Sure we'd all love to see Cuba back in the fold, but selfishly, a major component of its allurement is viewing it in its semi ... read more
Havana Vieja

North America » Mexico » Oaxaca » Oaxaca April 7th 2012

March 1999 and a few languidly pleasant days were spent absorbing the unique ambience of San Cristobal de las Casas, deep in the south of Mexico. The amalgam of the ubiquitous Spanish colonial architecture and indigenous Mayans wandering amongst made this town a standard stopover enroute to or from Guatemala. In the interim, European chic came to town and decided to stay. The resultant love child may be mourned by some who bemoan the myriad of trendy bars, cafes, restaurants and boutiques now operating behind the colonial facades, but not us, we thrived on it. The sight of gritty indigenous street venders cohorting tourists directly in front of some of these edgy establishments is a sight for jaded tourist eyes. VIVA la Juxtaposition! This week the town was packed with visitors, mostly Mexican but also a ... read more
San Cristobal de las Casas
San Cristobal de las Casas

Ever seen water defy gravity? The spurt of hot water from our shower head was today trying awfully hard not to land on our flesh and retreat back to where it came from. Following 6 or so days of sporadic, frigid bird baths, our bodies were well and truly on the soiled side of squeaky clean. The water, which felt like the tears of God himself, eventually did its job, forcing the swarm of flies to retreat and find another suitably filthy body to pester. Quetzaltrekkers, as the name suggests, is a company organising guided hikes throughout the Guatemalan highlands. They have an array of options but the one that best accommodated our haphazard timetable was a multi-day scramble over the Chuchumatan Mountains from Nebaj to Todos Santos. The trek is a bare bones no frills ... read more
Chuchumatan Mountains

Following a week or so of draining travel days and a couple of sketchy digs (at the last place we stayed even the towels didn't work), Dr Guatemala prescribed complete bed rest with a touch of pamper. Hence we found ourselves gazing out from the upper bedroom of our apartment at a seductive, perfectly conical volcano, one of 3 on the lake's shoreline. On our last visit 13 years back, our guide book described Lake Atitlan as one of Guatemala's most beautiful lakes. Seeing as Guatemala doesn't lay claim to all that many lakes, that particular writer had his finger right off the trigger in terms of superlatives. The same guidebook this time managed to ratchet up the rhetoric claiming Lake Atitlan as one of the world's most beautiful. This writer's dart a little closer to ... read more
Semuc Champuy
Santa Cruz Atitlan
Laguna Lodge

Perched on the edge of the precipice staring at a black hole barely illuminated by a pair of solar lamps, it was going to be a leap of faith in our guide's promise that the natural pool below was 50 metres deep. We found ourselves here due to the type of about face that can present itself when your itinerary isn't exactly set in stone. The initial idea was to spend a week or so in the Honduran Bay Islands wallowing on a beach but instead wound up deep underground in this cave. The Bay Islands sounded exotic but the more people we spoke to, the more we came to the conclusion that the islands were a bit of a one trick pony, even if lounging around a Carribean island isn't a bad trick to have ... read more

I spotted him from a distance, hangdog expression, backpack dangling from a shoulder, meandering amongst the throngs of LAX. On spotting me, a surreptitious smile, a handshake and our mate Burch had now morphed our tight group of two into the three amigos with two months ahead galavanting around Central America. A month's gossip was exchanged over a couple of hours prior to the reality that we were still confronted with one of the less glamourous chapters of travel - the red eye flight.The actual flying time from LA to Guatemala isn't overly daunting, but already crusty and in stopover mode, the 11.30pm takeoff and rapid transit in Mexico City prior to the last leg is a recipe for the perfect storm in terms of jet lag. Guatemala City is bipassed by 99% of tourists who ... read more
Antigua boy
I love a parade.

North America » United States » Hawaii » Oahu » Honolulu February 27th 2012

Why did the chicken cross the road? If you're to finally come up with the definitive answer, it'll be in Hawaii. You'd swear they are the state bird by the sheer numbers running rampant. Free range (with an emphasis on free, nobody owns them), robust, healthy looking chooks scooting around loving life in a way that chickens do. And they don't mind crossing the road. Problem is they don't always make it. Hawaiin roads are littered with the carcasses of failed attempts. Except on Oahu. On the other islands these chickens are as prevalent as complaints at a lawn bowls club. On Oahu they are as rare as, dare I say it, hen's teeth. Which begs the catchphrase of Dr Julius Sumner Miller (boy am I showing my age):"Why is it so?" The prognosis is as ... read more
Sunset Beach
Windward coast

North America » United States » Hawaii » Kaua'i » Hanalei February 19th 2012

On paper it was an innocuous, routine inter island flight but somehow I finished up one step away from the amplified snap of the rubber glove and being requested to, "walk this way sir". You can't blame the good ol U.S of goddamned A for being gun shy, particularly in and around airports, but a general warning readers: "don't wear pants with brass buttons on the pockets when attempting to board a plane ANYWHERE in this land". Kauai had better be worth it. Last time around Kauai was worth it, that being 32 years adrift, but I needed to be prudent to bathe in the nostalgia of Memory Lane and not drift down Melancholy Lane. Melancholy Lane? Back in those heady days Kauai was my favourite but the possibility of my version of "a paradise lost" ... read more
Hanalei Valley
Hanalei Bay

North America » United States » Hawaii » Maui » Kahului February 14th 2012

Sure the Big Island is the biggest, but you can't have a biggest without a second biggest. Step up to the plate Maui. While she's less than a quarter the size of the Big Island, some of the driving times are extensive enough that you still get the sensation of a road trip whilst navigating the rental around the island. I mentioned in the previous blog how all sealife should be high tailing it straight to Hawaii due to its temperate aqua living conditions. Whales, specifically Humpbacks, being smarter than your average ocean dweller, have tuned in to the message, if the numbers we bore witness to are any indication. The body of water between Maui, Lanai and Molokai plays host to God knows how many of these doyens of the deep. At any time of ... read more
Haleakala crater
Haleakala crater

North America » United States » Hawaii » Big Island » Kailua-Kona February 7th 2012

The Big Island? I suppose it's all relative and in respect to the rest of the Hawaiin chain, The Big Island is mammoth, large enough to become the namesake island for the entire state. In reality, Hawaii is barely a small fraction the size of Tasmania but let's not become too bogged down with semantics. Having said that and whilst firmly brandishing my poisoned pen, if your sole exposure to the Big Island was Kona, you may be tempted to bestow another monicor, something akin to "The Feral Island". Some may consider Kona's "colourful local identities" as unpretentious, others probably figure the spirit of Mount Druitt or The Bronx will never die as long as these folk maintain a pulse. Fortunately for the Big Island, she crams in a slew of alternative spicy attractions and was ... read more
Waipi'o Valley
West shore
Kona foreshore

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