Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Shoo Fly!

What to do when you are heading to jungle and normal insect repellent won't cut it with the super-powered mosquitoes?  Make your own!  When I went to the Amazon several years ago, the following recipe was recommended, and, while not the best cologne, is quite effective.  While it does contain some suspect ingredients, it contains no DDT or other known carcinogenic substances.

Since I will be heading off to the tropical forests of the Caribbean, south of Santa Marta to hike Ciudad Perdida, and several friends are heading down to Leticia, we gathered after school one day to concoct our repellent in my science lab.


  • 250 mL alcohol
  • 250 mL "menticol"
  • 6 camphor tablets
  • 1 oz. 10% "Eurax"
  • 2 Tbsp citronella essence
  • 3 Tbsp Johnson's baby oil
  • Nopikex soap

Other than crushing the camphor tablets and breaking the soap into smaller chunks, the basic idea is just to combine all the ingredients together.  The originally recipe calls for the use of a blender but I don't think anyone would be willing to drink juice out an appliance that at one point created this mess!

Using mortar and pestle to crush the camphor tablets. 
Mixing, mixing, mixing...
The finished product...before it got rebottled.
*No one had a camera so I used my computer's camera, thus the low-quality and backwards images.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Say Whiskey!

In Colombia when you smile for the camera you say "whiskey" (or "wee-skee").  This is appropriate in any and all occasions.  Even for a four year old boy posing in front of a statue of the Virgin Mary.

Last weekend my friend Andrés, another amatuer wannabe photographer, asked if I wanted to go on a day-long paseo fotografía to various lacations in the Valle del Cauca (the department where Cali is located).  He is taking a photography course for fun and as an activity the class and whoever they wanted to invite were visiting the small city of Buga with its "miracle" basilica, the Yotoco Nature Reserve, and the town of Darien on the shores of Lago Calima.

All the locations provided a variety of subjects and potential themes.  Some sites had opportune moments to capture people in their Sunday rituals, whether it be worship, relaxing, playing on the beach or at a park, or eating.  Others were ripe with nature or architecture.  And there never seemed to be lacking sweeping landscapes for those photogs looking to capture the coutryside on film.

The class participants were supposed to choose five photographs to be entered in a class contest.  Since I'm not in the class, these are my five favorites from the day:

Lady selling chontaduros


Religion for sale

Nun buying incense

Green bee