Kelley Anderson


Kelley Anderson

I was bitten by the travel bug as a young child in 1960 at the airport in NY. I saw so many foreigners in their wonderful native attire and found myself wondering what their lives were like. Since then I have traveled across the US and around the world. I am an avid photographer and love to write so Travel Blog, here I come!

South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 11th 2019

With only hours left in Cartagena I wanted to make the most of what I could in such a short time. After an early and fast breakfast at the hotel I began to walk the now quiet streets (the tourists were gone or still in their beds) and watched as Cartagena begin to come alive. Shops were still mostly closed but the street vendors were beginning to set up their stands or wagons filled with fruit, coconuts and other edibles. Men walked with towers of hats on top of their heads, and some had large woven basketshanging from their necks and shoulders, but the fruit selling-photo-selling ladies in their colorful bright dresses must have been sleeping in. I never bought a “Panama hat” in Panama and knowing that the origin of the hat is from Ecuador ... read more
My Ecuadorian-Panamanian-Colombian straw hat!
The street is quiet in front of our hotel this morning

South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 11th 2019

“Our” bus driver Jorge picked us up for a tour of Getsemani. On the way we passed the estate of the Roman family. Manuel Roman came from Madrid around 1800s. He was a rebuscar, or a hustler and married a woman from Cartagena. His family originated the Roman Pharmacy and created Cola Roman (a cherry flavored drink similar to coca cola) before Coca Cola came about. Sam told us some people added lime to enhance the flavor. This drink became a cure for everything. Refajo, (Cola Roman with beer), is traditionally the first alcoholic drink for young people. Cola Roman later merged with Coca Cola and now the real Cola Roman can only be found in Cartagena. We drove by the imposing Roman family house owned now by the matriarchal leaders of the family business who ... read more
Getsemani mural
Mural painting of Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Umbrella street in Getsemani

South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 10th 2019

We enjoyed a self serve breakfast at hotel (after we figured out it was self serve) in the open air eating area. Floor to ceiling windows opened up to the sidewalk and street. Local fresh fruit was cut and displayed such as passion fruit, all manner of melons, oranges. A variety of breads, ham, cheese and hard boiled eggs, cooked sausages, and scrambled eggs were also on the buffet. Surrounding the orange and pineapple juices was a delightfully painted mural of a tropical island with palm trees and other tropical greenery while flying alligators…wait, what?! Yes! And pink flying dolphin-flamingoes, and a flying rabbit-seagullfloated on the walls while a rabbit-frog hid in the foliage below. What wonderful art with a sense of humor…. Sam came to announce that we were to walk to the end of ... read more
Secret tunnels at Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas
The Colombian flag flew proudly above the fort
Dave learns to make jewelry at the Emerald Museum

South America » Colombia » Cartagena June 9th 2019

Our 8am pickup arrived at the Hotel Central Panama to take us to the airport for our COPA airline flight to Cartagena. We were pleasantly surprised to see that jovial Roberto (“familia!”) was our bus driver. Most of our group of 21 OAT travelers were heading home, or had already left, but eight of us were heading to tour beautiful Cartagena, Colombia as an extended three day excursion. On our way to the airport we passed now familiar old buildings and were able to enjoy the contrasting modern skyline on our way to the Panama City Airport and our COPA airline flight. After a short, comfortable flight on COPA, maybe my favorite airline now, we actually had breakfast (a delicious ham and cheese sandwich with fruit and coffee) for that two hour flight! After collecting our ... read more
Spanish style open air balcony (pool is below)
Hotel pool looking down from our balcony
Cartagena: Photographer's dream

After an early breakfast we toured the ship’s galley and said goodbye to the friendly crew and staff, then disembarked the Discovery to be rejoined with Roberto our jovial bus driver on Isla Amador. He drove us around Isla Amador passing the Smithsonian Tropical Institution on Isla Culebra where they have been measuring water accumulation in the region. From there we found the much anticipated Biomuseum designed by architect Frank Gherry whose wife, we are told, is from Panama. I am sure she had a great deal of influence on the design and installation of this amazing museum. The roof, with its many colorful tiles scattered about like piles of brightly colored leaves, makes this building stand out with a statement of its own. But under the roof it gets even better. As you get closer ... read more
View of the volcano from the Biomuseo
Giant sloth
the Great Biotic Interchange

I was up by 6AM and was out and on a mission. I found Lake Gatun to be balmy, breezy and quiet except for the hum of the catamaran’s engine. No one was around. But I missed the southern cross. I later learned it is usually seen around 4AM. And sadly I couldn’t record the howler monkey’s morning calls, but the sunrise was spectacular. And the coffee and breakfast helped to ease the pain of my missed adventures. We cast off early in this sunny morning for our voyage on the open waters of Lake Gatun (and the Chagres River) crossing the division between the provinces of Colon and Panama, several times in fact. The Chagres River, marks the division between Panama and Colon provinces. It is the only river that flows into both oceans. We ... read more
Pilot Change in Gamboa
Gamboa is a busy place this morning
Gaillard Cut bisects the Continental Divide

After a hearty breakfast aboard the Discovery, we all boarded small dinghies and headed to the nearby shore, docking at the Gatun Yacht Club. From there we got on a small van that drove us drove OVER the narrow lock (this road access is soon to be removed) to the Agua Clara Locks, the location of the new rolling gates on the Atlantic side. The Only other way to get to Agua Clara is via ferry or draw bridge. This over-lock opportunity will end soon but it was a great opportunity for us to get a perfect view of the operations along this very narrow access “road”. On January 19, 2015 eight mammoth gates, ranging in height from seven to nine stories were installed in the three concrete locking chambers. The locks were scheduled to open ... read more
The Third Set of Locks accomodates enormous ships
Explanation of the Rolling Gates Operation
Panama Hat Palm on the Tropical Trail

This morning, our bus left the Holiday Inn in Clayton, and headed towards the Atlantic Ocean on Corridor Norte. While Roberto navigated our bus, Abdiel discussed Panama’s position on land preservation and environmental protection. He said that 42% of the land in Panama is protected by the government for green space allowing for water mitigation and natural flow to the canal. A portion of the same 42% of land is also used for parks where some of the protesting squatters live. He also informed us that Stanley Motta, who some may know from his calypso record label in Kingston, Jamaica, owns the Panamanian airline COPA (that some of us will use flying to Colombia). COPA makes up 14% of Panama’s GDP. Motta has become an extremely wealthy man and is very influential in Panamanian elections. Abdiel ... read more
Atlantic Bridge from the ferry
Toro Point Lighthouse in Shelter Bay
Howler monkey in San Lorenzo National Park

After an equally delicious breakfast at the Holiday Inn’s Ship View Cafe, we left Clayton for the Chagres River (the native name for crocodile) to see the Embera Indians. Along the way we passed the US Embassy and some very expensive homes. A school for wealthy Chinese residents was very impressive. Abdiel said the Chinese run most of the convenience stores in Panama and have made quite a bit of money. The Chinese were smart opening their shops during traditional siestas when other stores were closed. Chinese men were brought to Panama to work on the railroad for the canal. After the canal was built some went to California to work on the railroads, but others stayed in Panama to open their now thriving businesses. As we were leaving the city, Abdiel pointed out the egg ... read more
Map of Chagres National Park
Aguinaldo, our handsome "bow poke man"
Aguidaldo navigates the Chagres River

We left the Hotel Cubita at 9AM to visit Dario Lopez the renowned mask maker at his home on the northern edge of Chitre in the district of Parita, carnival mask headquarters. Mr Lopez demonstrated the creation of traditional Panamanian folkloric festival masks using clay, paper mache and forms that could be reused up to 30 times. He doesn’t use a base color but adds up to five colors as he creates his designs. A large mask can take about two to three days to build the form, letting it air dry and finally painting. Mr Lopez has been making these devil masks since the 1960s and now his family joins him in this tradition. Dario’s granddaughter Madeline (five years old) was very proud of her grandfather, taking photos and watching over him like a little ... read more
Dario Lopez, renowned mask maker
Horse-truck gas station stop... beer and gas for the truck, what's for the horse?
View of the Panama Canal from our hotel window

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