Friday, November 27, 2009

Kids Around the World: Carbonera School in Costa Rica

Posting live from Costa Rica! During our stay at Lapa Rios Eco-Lodge in the remote Osa Peninsula, we had the pleasure of visiting Escuela Carbonera, the local school established by the original owners of Lapa Rios in 1991, with a total student body of eleven children. We arrived for their english lesson, provided by a staff member at Lapa Rios, and enjoyed the children's introductions in english as we practiced our spanish.

Today they are enjoying class outside.

And for their english lesson, four new action verbs were introduced: run, hop, jump, and fly. Here the kids are demonstrating each verb:

Then came the worksheet, which my daughter joined in completing with the class:

And a new friendship was formed between second-graders:

Visit mes amigos at Delicious Baby for more great travel blogs!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Stand Up Paddle Surf Safari in...China?

For those unfamiliar with the term SUP, Stand Up Paddling is an evolved form of surfing (and a growing trend in the waters of southern California), where one stands up on a thicker wider version of a surfboard with a paddle to ride the waves (or simply to hang out and get in the way of surfers, who refer to them as "sweepers").
Stand Up Paddling is really a renewal of an ancient form of water transportation, which is most commonly credited to the Polynesians (who get credit for just about everything surf-related by those who surf), or less commonly to the indigenous peoples of Lake Titicaca in Peru/Bolivia (for those who travel beyond white sandy beaches and the tip of their surfboards). Obviously, in Polynesia they took to the ocean, and in Bolivia/Peru they took to a lake. But what about ancient river civilizations? Would you ever imagine a form of stand up paddling in...Asia?
Now, I’m not one to argue the age of civilizations, but last I heard, the “ancient secret” is Chinese, not Polynesian or Bolivian. Perhaps the ancient Chinese secret is not just a laundry detergent; perhaps there are many ancient Chinese secrets yet to surface...
Guilin, China, boasts an amazing landscape of limestone formations, which - get ready for the anthropological, geological, and historical link - once formed the terrain of the ocean floor. Now a landlocked pocket in southern China due to a series of plate tectonic events, there was a time when Guilin rested at the bottom of the sea. It’s one of those facts that just puts me in awe of our planet, and to visit Guilin today, I really feel as if I am exploring the ocean floor.
The Li River flows through Guilin, and a scenic cruise on the Li River is the biggest draw in the province. Most people come for the scenery, but for me, I felt like I was a special envoy from southern California on assignment to search for the roots of Stand Up Paddle Boarding, and I was about to break the code that would turn the surfing world upside down.
Since I’m not an anthropologist, but a photographer, I really do better arguing my point with photos rather than words. So following I present my “photo thesis” as documented evidence that stand up paddling began, and continues to this day, in Guilin, China.
"In 314 BC, a small settlement was established along the banks of the Li River." (source: Wiki)
"In 313.99 BC, the first stand up paddle board was crafted from bamboo by some dude who took to the water with a broom in hand."(source: Kymri)

Exhibit A - The early morning line up:

Exhibit B - The sunset line up:

Exhibit C - Catching a right:

Exhibit D - The "Green Room":

Exhibit E - "Roxy Girl" female paddle boarder:

Exhibit F - Tandem surfing (or, trandem sit-down paddle boarding?):

Exhibit G - The local marine mammal sightings:

Exhibit H - The local "paddle-thru" fast food joint:

Exhibit I - The catch of the day:

Exhibit J - Dude, got a cerveza for a bro?

Oh, and just one more historical reference:
In 2006 AD, a Hawaiian named Gary Young started shaping bamboo surf and stand up paddle boards. Considered a "pioneer" of shaping bamboo boards, clearly, he wasn't the first. I don't know Gary, but I do like what he's doing and hope to someday get a board from him. And if it has a "Made in China" stamp on it, all the better.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Kids Around the World - Orphans with a home

Some of the beautiful orphaned children who have been given a home at Loving Arms Mission in Nepal. These children have amazing stories of perseverance, courage, and hope, but for now, time is short, and I just wanted to share their faces and smiles.
Happy Photo Friday! Check out Delicious Baby blogs too!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Kids Around the World - on location in Nepal

Happy Photo Friday! After six weeks in Asia, including three behind the Great FireWall of China, I'm back home and able to blog freely again. For this week's Kids Around the World feature, I have a "behind the scenes" look at what goes on behind the children's photos I create for Mira Terra Images (and the documentary I filmed entirely with the Canon 5DM2). Digital photography makes it so easy to engage both children and adults; and the excitement of showing them their images or playing back their takes to them, well, those are the smiles which are absolutely priceless, and which I am rarely, if ever, able to capture. At last, someone documented my work as I documented the children and people of Nepal. Many heartfelt thanks to Felicity Wright for her support and quick snaps of the moments which tell it all - both sides of the camera - and why I love what I do!

Be sure to scroll down to see other posts from Nepal: "Landslides and Leeches, a trekking journal"(re-published with photos!), "Goats and God(s)", and "Kathmandu: Homecomings". Next post I'll be introducing some of the amazing and incredible children of Loving Arms Orphanage who will be featured in the documentary, so be sure to subscribe, follow, stumble upon, digg, and everything else you can do to help raise awareness and support for orphaned children everywhere.

And of course, be sure to visit Delicious Baby for more great travel blogs and photos!