Was hiking at Quebrada Valencia, a series of beautiful waterfalls near the entrance to Colombia’s Parque Tayrona, when we stopped for this snack of platano con queso. A whole plantain grilled over charcoal and topped with salty cheese and guava paste. Que rico! —Rachel
Beautiful pre-Colombian gold earrings displayed at Cartagena’s Museo de Oro (Museum of Gold). The intricate woven pattern was inspired by the interconnecting rivers and streams on the lush Colombian coast. —Rachel
Cartagena style! Laidback Caribbean cool meets flamboyant Carnival queen. —Rachel
I trekked through jungle last weekend to arrive at this beach at Cabo San Juan de la Guia, in Colombia’s stunning national park hugging the Caribbean coast, Parque Tayrona. It’s an incredibly evocative natural reserve, the highlights being the towering Sierra Nevada mountains spilling into the sea and picturesque beaches such as this one shaded with lush greenery. Camping in the park is pretty primitive - you can rent a tent or swing to sleep in a hammock, one covered in mosquito net of course. The insects are pretty fierce, so bring along lots of good repellent. Aside from that, though, there’s no reason to have a care in the world here…just miles of unspoiled nature in every direction as far as the eye can see. —Rachel
Here I am back in Cartagena, Colombia, where life goes on as usual even as a mid-afternoon storm drenches the streets with warm rain. Here in the Plazuela de Santisima Trinidad, a group of boys keeps right on playing through the downpour, taking the opportunity to get even more deliciously dirty. Meanwhile, pedestrians duck into cafes to avoid getting wet, or, if they were lucky to be carrying an umbrella to shade them from the sun, gloat as they enjoy their foresight. Somehow, rain here seems infinitely more sensuous and poetic than back in Los Angeles. —Rachel
LA hipsters came out to Hollywood in droves yesterday for the suddenly gorgeous weather and the promise of bargains…Urban Outfitters was running a special where all the clothing you could fit in one bag was only $50. Chaos ensued, and by the time I passed by at noon, most everything was picked over. Even next-door Umami Burger was overwhelmed with fashion-hungry shoppers. No matter, my friend and I ducked into an uncrowded Thai place around the corner and then browsed at Amoeba Records across the street instead. This being Hollywood, if you’re not in the hustle, it’s best to get of the way. —Rachel
Spring wildflowers have sprung in Los Angeles! I took this pic on a stroll through Kenneth Hahn Recreation Area this weekend. It’s a great park in South LA that lets you get vertical, with sweeping views of downtown and the Hollywood sign. But I wasn’t so much interested in glimpsing the concrete jungle as I found myself blissfully lost in the blooms. —Rachel
Thinking today about the randomness of travel and how venturing far from home can actually make the world seem smaller. I was sitting in a cafe in Cartagena when I spotted this man wearing a t-shirt promoting my hometown of Corona del Mar, California, USA. He was Canadian, but had bought the shirt in Yugoslavia. Of course, he was wearing it in Colombia in a Swiss restaurant. Talk about “the global village”! —Rachel
Dance gets a new home in Los Angeles this weekend with the first-ever Bootleg Dance Festival! The funky eastside theater housed in a 1930s warehouse is already known for its progressive plays and indie rock offerings — now it brings its cutting-edge ethos to bear on a curated lineup of contemporary choreographers.
The eclectic lineup runs the gamut from Jamie Benson’s “Mass Transit,” inspired by real-life experiences on the L.A. Metro system, to Antics Performance’s “Illuminated Manuscript,” which combines hip-hop street movement with interactive video projections. Of course, alternative rock bands will jam in the lobby lounge after each show!
Read more in my article that appears in the Los Angeles Times today!
Photo of “Mass Transit” dancers courtesy of Emily Marchand