Maria Mulata

Colombia is home to about 20% of the world’s birds. The bird immortalized in painting and sculpture around Cartagena is the Maria Mulata. A medium-sized bird of iridescent black or brown, Maria Mulata is neither blackbird or raven. Maria Mulata’s official name is the great- tailed grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus).

The story of Maria Mulata is a traditional tale shared with Two Who Trek by several local residents. Long ago, in the barrio of Getsemani, people and exotic animals co-existed. One of the animals was a vividly colored bird called Maria Mulata. When a raging fire overtook the neighborhood, Maria Mulatas carried the people to safety. The people were saved and forever grateful to their deliverers. Discolored by the fire and smoke, the bird’s colorful feathers remain blackened to this day but with proper sunlight, we can still see a hint of Maria Mulata’s former plumage. Continue reading

Categories: animals, art, artistic, background, birds, blog, Cartagena, Colombia, displays, folklore, nature, photos, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“What knockers!” –Young Frankenstein

Just as in the movie quoted above, a notable sight on many entry doors of Cartagena  buildings was the Door Knocker or Aldabas de Puerta. Historically gracing the front doors of fine homes since ancient times in Greece and Rome, a door knocker traditionally denotes the association of the inhabitant. Door knockers in El Centro fall into four basic categories: Continue reading

Categories: animals, art, artistic, blog, Cartagena, Colombia, door, fish, knocker, lizard, photos, reptile, scenery, service club, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cartagena Clothing

Staying cool in the heat

Clothing should be practical and aesthetically pleasing. In Cartagena, the available options meet that criteria and more. Here, clothing flows and the textures and patterns make it fun to wear.

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Categories: art, artisan, background, bags, blog, Cartagena, clothing, Colombia, dresses, hat, local, making, manufacturing, people, photos, preparation, shirt, travel, weaving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coffee Break Time

Two Who Trek searches for 100% Colombian coffee

For Two Who Trek, fresh brewed coffee fills our morning senses with contentment and fortifies our ability to handle the day’s challenges.  Location is everything and a Juan Valdez Cafe is just down the street.  When our coffee supply gets low, help is just around the corner.

The image of Juan Valdez is synonymous with authentic Colombian coffee.  Since 1958, the fictional character of a Colombian coffee farmer,  representing the National Federation of  Coffee Growers in Colombia, is Juan Valdez.  He is sometimes accompanied by his burro Conchita, carrying sacks filled with  harvested Colombian coffee beans.

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Categories: artisan, background, Cartagena, classes, coffee, Colombia, food, food preparation, lessons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flying South for the Winter — to South America, that is.

For the past three years, Two Who Trek (TWT) have visited countries in Europe and Asia.  We are now back in South America and enjoying our first visit to Cartagena and Colombia!  An opportunity for a three week adventure to learn about another culture and to take more Spanish lessons was irresistible.  An added bonus is the sunny 86°F weather here while it is 28°F, cloudy and snowy at home!

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Categories: background, markets, people, photos, travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Something Fishy This Way Comes . . .

What do you get when you add salmon to a salted water pot of boiling potatoes and onions? If it’s South Haven, Michigan at National Blueberry Festival time, an amazing Fish Boil, Lake Michigan style! With over 40 years of fish boil experience, the South Haven Steelheaders (SHS) chapter of the Michigan Steelheaders and Salmon Fisherman’s Association, created a tasty treat for multitudes of hungry guests, including Two Who Trek, on August 8, 2015.

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Categories: community events, dining, festivals, fish, food, food preparation, local, Michigan, people, photos, preparation, restaurants, service club, vegetable | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Galapagos images

In reviewing our Galápagos posts, we found one thing we left out – the scenery.  There has been a taste of the natural beauty in the background of some photos in previous posts.  For our last post about our archipelago adventure, we’re sharing images of one of the truly amazing places in the world.  We only visited a handful of the 61 islands and were not able to see all the different terrains that Galápagos offers.  What we did see was fascinating and will stay with us throughout our lives.

The end of this story isn’t so much about ending a vacation within a vacation, but learning more about the creatures who share our planet. This experience was truly up close and personal and totally amazing! Continue reading

Categories: animals, birds, blog, cactus, ecuador, galapagos, galapagos national park, landscapes, lava, nature, photos, plants, scenery, travel | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pinnipeds, Porpoising, and People

Mammals, like reptiles, arrived in the Galápagos by sea.  On their own volition, earlier generations of sea lions, fur seals and dolphins swam here.  Their progeny now inhabit the area year-round.  We spent joyful hours watching marine mammals and learned many things about all the area inhabitants from our naturalist guide, Pedro.

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Categories: animals, background, blog, contamination, dolphin, ecuador, galapagos, galapagos national park, mammal, people, sea lion, turtle | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reptilian Residents

No blog about the Galápagos would be complete without a discussion of the archipelago’s reptiles.  After all, the most famous residents of the chain are the giant reptiles that bear the island’s name — the Galápagos Giant Tortoise, the world’s largest tortoise and the thirteenth heaviest reptile, weighing in at over 800 pounds.  So it is fitting we begin our review with Pepe.

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Categories: animals, background, blog, galapagos, galapagos national park, lizard, photos, reptile, tortoise, travel, turtle | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

There are More Starfish in the Sea

Galápagos seas are amazing once you look below the surface.  Two Who Trek had opportunities to go snorkeling in the clear blue ocean. There are more starfish in the sea and we saw dozens of them.  We saw majestic schools of fish, a few white-tipped sharks, sea turtles and rays.  Joe even had a sea lion swim within two feet of him.

Ever watch a National Geographic or Discovery Channel special on the Galápagos Islands?   Remember how they would show a school of fish from top to bottom of the screen swimming, say, to the right.  Then suddenly the entire school turns to the left and flashes entirely different colors.  We had always thought that such images were unique; difficult for camera crews to capture.  Not so in real life.  Every time we snorkeled, we saw similar displays of beauty from fish schools and each time it took our breath away (which isn’t necessarily good when you are under water). Continue reading

Categories: animals, background, blog, crab, ecuador, fish, galapagos, galapagos national park, penguin, photos, plants | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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