Bartender serving fierceness in a Bar with No Name
It’s hard for me to distill my feeling for Port Antonio, Jamaica into words. All the ones that pop to mind– authentic, genuine, unspoiled– seem like travel cliches. And there was nothing about Port Antonio that is cliched. The people are genuine and unaffected. The ones I met were warm, friendly, and sweet. Here are some of my favorite mobile photography portraits of people I met in Port Antonio. I hope they can convey what I can’t express with words.
Friendly Portie Locals outside a barber salon
Port Antonio doesn’t have a Starbucks, but it does have lots of colorful shops that often have dancehall or reggae music blaring from them.
A photogenic rasta vendor at the Port Antonio market
I met this guy at the weekend market. He sold me a beaded bracelet for $2.
Sharp Dressed Albert Minot is the lead singer of the Jolly Boys
The Jolly Boys are Jamaica’s answer to Menudo… except if a member gets replaced, they get someone older. The average age of this boy band is probably 72. Check out this video for a killer cover of Amy Winehouse’s Rehab. The video was shot in Port Antonio.
Dickie, who owns Dickie’s Best Kept Secret.
Interesting Port Antonio trivia: Dickie who owns Dickie’s Best Kept Secret, an amazingly unique sit down restaurant in Port Antonio and Albert Minot, the lead singer of the Jolly Boys are cousins. You’ll often find Albert hanging out at Dickie’s when he’s not performing at the Bush Bar at GeeJam Hotel.
Local cook Belinda makes the best chicken I’ve ever tasted
I’ll tell you more about Belinda’s cuisine when I do a full post about rafting down the Rio Grande. Suffice it say say she cooks “Flintstones style.” She’s awesome.
Obligatory selfie with my BFF, Zan on Boston Beach in Jamaica
All images in this post were shot on my iPhone 5s using Hipstamatic Oggl or ProCamera apps.
Hipstamatic Old Santa Barbara Mission
I really love working on travel stories for Hipstamatic’s Snap magazine. Shooting Santa Barbara for the March #BW issue was one of the most challenging and fun assignments I’ve had and provided me with a few challenges. I’m proud of the way the piece turned out. You can check out my images (and read my Santa Barbara article) online here.
The cover of the March 2014 issue of Snap
I’ve included some of my favorite outtakes in this post for my blog readers.
Hipstamatic Beach Cruisers at the Santa Barbara Auto Camp
Left: Hipstamatic Santa Rosa Airstream Right: Hipsta Airstream bathroom
Scarlet, my dog, stopping to smell the bamboo
Left: Arroyo Burro Beach Right: Shadows on Butterfly Beach
Left: The Four Seasons Santa Barbara in B&W Right: Hipsta Succulents
You can download Snap on iTunes here. All the images in my HipStop Santa Barbara piece were shot on my iPhone 5s using the Oggl and Hipstamatic apps.
Casco Viejo has an Old Havana type vibe
When my plans for a trip to Havana recently fell through, I took the opportunity to instead visit Panama, making the Central nation my 77th country visited. I’ve spent the past few days using the American Trade Hotel (an Ace Hotel Property) as my home base. It’s been 90 degrees with humidity to match, but I’m made an effort to get out with my cameras and shoot some photos.
The colorful Casco Viejo barrio in Panama City
The American Trade Hotel is located in the historic Casco Viejo neighborhood, which is in the middle of being gentrified, the vibe has some definite similarities to the crumbling beauty of Old Havana. There are restaurants and hotels popping up in the barrio which feels a world away from the “Dubai of Latin America” vibe you get other skyscrapers in other parts of the city.
Left: An abandoned building near Casco Antiguo Right: A nun walking the street
Unlike Havana, there are no cool old classic pre-embargo cars on the streets, and the traffic is some of the worst I’ve seen. But the Latin American love of life is clear here, and the coffee is some of the best I’ve ever tasted.
Panama hats poolside at the American Trade Hotel
My American Ex-Pat friend who lives here swears by Gesha. If you’re not heading to Central America any time soon, worry not. You can buy Gesha for $69 for a 1lb bag of whole beans from Stumptown.Drinks and taxis and food are very reasonably priced. $20 will buy you a killer Panama hat (a misnomer, by the way, so-called Panama hats originated in Ecuador).
Cool street murals in Casco Viejo (mobile photography)
Panama’s mix of cultures has caught me a bit off guard, but the cultural mashup and diverse ethnic makes sense when you think of Panama’s strategic location as the bridge between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and sitting between North and South America.
Texting on the job
It’s been fun exploring the barrio. After being here a few days I’ve observed that Panamanians seem to like their colors bright and their music loud. They party into the wee hours.
Scene from a Hot Saturday Night in Casco Viejo, Panama City
To be honest, I couldn’t figure out if the people I saw on the street at 7 am thought it was late at night or early morning. I’m not sure it even matters because everyone seemed to be having a good time. I know I did.
Sunset is a particularly scenic time to visit the Taj Mahal
During my recent visit to India, I got a chance to see the Taj Mahal in Agra. It was one of the most impressive buildings I’ve even seen in person. Built as a tomb for Mumtaz Mahal, his beloved 3rd-wife-of-12, It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.
Sunset at the Taj Mahal in Agra
The Taj Mahal grounds are larger than I anticipated, with gardens, a mosque, a museum and a guest house all on property with the famed domed marble mausoleum.
The #selfie in front of the Taj Mahal seemed to be the shot everyone was going for
In real life, the marble changes color as the sun goes down. The building appears very strong and delicate at the same time. The details seem to be spun out of lace at times.
The minarets lean in, so as not to destroy the tomb if hit by an earthquake
The building’s marble color shifts during the sunset hours (shot on a Lumia 920)
The line to get into the Taj Mahal was rather long
Since the Taj Mahal is a tomb, you leave your shoes outside
I was struck by the vanity of the building. While I’m sure it started as a labor of love, the Taj Mahal is pure ediface complex– it’s a legacy associated with builder Shah Jahan far more than the dead wife it’s for. It’s a really, really good vanity project.
I loved seeing this super-fierce dude taking a selfie in front of the Taj. He made my day rocking that man purse!
Best Taj Mahal Selfie Ever.
The Taj Mahal (shot with my Fuji X10)
The Taj Mahal is open everyday (except Friday) from sunrise to sunset.
The Taj Mahal is open at night Night, 8:30 PM to 12:30 AM (On Full Moon Night, and two days before and two days after)
Travel Tip: It’s worth it to pay for a private guide.
Day Fee: Rs 750 (Foreigners)
Rs 510 (Citizens of SAARC and BIMSTEC Countries)
Rs 20 (Indian)
Entry Free for children below 15 years of age
Night Fee: Rs 750 (Adult, Foreign)
Rs 510 (Adult, Indian)
Rs 500 (Child 3-15 Years, Indian & Foreign)
Entry free for child below 3 years of age
Hazy Shade of Winter? Not so much. The view of sunset from the deck of room 137 at the Post Ranch Inn.
While so much of the country is covered in snow right now or prepping for another brutal winter storm, Big Sur is reminding me of the many reasons why California is called the Golden State. Don’t get me wrong– we desperately need rain here in Cali. But views like these remind me of just how lucky I am to live in California.
I spend yesterday driving along the Pacific Coast Highway before checking into the Post Ranch Inn.
I made this Time lapse on my iPhone 5s using the TimeLapse app.
Hope this virtual vitamin D helps cure your mid-winter blues. If it doesn’t, hop on a plane and come visit.
Magic Hour Time Lapse at the Post Ranch Inn Big Sur, California
People who live in glass houses… should enjoy the view ( Post Ranch Inn, room 137)