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  • Jarana: Traditional dance of Yucatán, Mexico | Jarana: El baile tradicional de Yucatán, México

    Jarana: Traditional dance of Yucatán, Mexico | Jarana: El baile tradicional de Yucatán, México

    If you're visiting Mexico's Yucatan peninsula, one of the most special traditions you can witness is the Vaquería. Rural communities celebrate their patron saint with a party that lasts for weeks, kicking off with a dance in the town's square. Jarana is the name of both the dance and music, which consists of fast-paced rhythms and fancy footwork. Jaraneros wear their best gala clothes: ternos for women and guayaberas for men. Even children come out to learn from their elders, carrying on the tradition to the next generation. These photos show a Vaquería in Yaxkukul, Yucatán, located about 25km east of the capital city of Mérida. January 19, 2019.

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    Si estás de visita en la península de Yucatán, una de las tradiciones más especiales que puedes encontrar es la Vaquería. Comunidades rurales honran a su santo patron con una fiesta que dura semanas, empezando con un baile en la plaza principal del pueblo. Tanto la danza como la música se llaman Jarana, y consisten de ritmos rápidos y pasos complejos. Los Jaraneros se portan sus mejores trajes: ternos para las mujeres y guayaberas para los hombres. Hasta los niños salen a aprender de los adultos, así aseguran que la tradicón continúe en las próximas generaciones. Éstas fotos muestran una Vaquería en Yaxkukul, Yucatán, localizado 25km al este de la ciudad capital de Mérida. 19 de enero, 2019.

  • My favorite places from my 2018 trip to Cuba

    My favorite places from my 2018 trip to Cuba

    Last month, my friend Kim and I spent 12 days roaming around Cuba together. This was my second time to the island and her first, so I was excited to pretend to play tour guide and travel to new places together too. We spent much of our time at a lovely AirBnB in the Centro Habana neighborhood of Havana, a stone's throw from downtown Old Havana but still far enough away from the tourist traps.

    A street scene near our AirBnB. Not wanting to be weighed down by my digital camera, I brought an old Kodak Brownie with me on this trip, which is basically a plastic box with a lens. I think the nostalgia of it lends itself well to the timelessness of Havana, and the slow shutter speed created some interesting movement in shots like this one.

    Some freshly painted buildings across from the Capitolio in Habana Vieja.

    Away from the hustle and bustle, we took a day trip to Finca Tungasuk in the provence of Artemisa, less than an hour's drive west of Havana. Run by a Nicaraguan chef (whose food was easily the best we had in Cuba) and her family, the farm is a model for regenerative and sustainable agriculture on an island increasingly threatened by climate change. As volunteers there, we planted onions, potted up seedlings, and cooled off in a nearby waterfall.

    On our search for beautiful beaches and quiet towns, we ended up in Camaguey, a provence toward the eastern/central part of the island. Despite nearly everyone in Havana telling us Camaguey was too boring, we enjoyed the clean streets, cheap food, and did I say beautiful beaches? This bus stop scene caught my eye as we were waiting to catch a ride from Santa Lucia beach back to Camaguey city.

    We also really enjoyed the Playas del Este in Havana, just about a half hour bus ride from downtown. The Noreasters hitting the US at the time gave us some wind and clouds, but it sure beats shoveling snow!