Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Gringo Trail=Death by Popularity

The Hippie Trail originated as a way to describe the budget conscious travel route/s that hippies and others used during the 1960s and 1970s from Europe, overland to and from eastern Asia. Lonely Planet got its start in 1971 when the founders published accounts of their trip from the UK to Australia. The Gringo trail similarly describes the travel route/s that budget minded, mostly backpack toting, travelers utilize as they travel in Central and South America. Since the advent of Lonely Planet, other guidebooks have flourished and the the entire planet has been mapped out along the lines of the Hippie-Gringo trail perspective. These routes, which used
to be the domain of a relatively few adventurous souls now resembles an amusement park. Part of the answer to this problem is the explosion in World Population. Since my birth in 1961, the population has more than doubled. Taking a look at how population has increased since the time of the Industrial Revolution it it is easy to see that our latest doublings in population correspond to our extraction and use of oil as our primary source of energy. Oil has changed everything and has facilitated an unprecedented increase in world population, as shown by these numbers below:

1 billion=1804 It took us humans a long time to reach this number
2 billion=1927 took 123 years, 1804-1927 for another billion people
3 billion=1961 took only 34 years from 197 to add the next billion
4 billion=1974 took only 13 years for another billion from 1961-1974
5 billion=1987 again it took only 13 years to add a billion 1974-1987
6 billion=1999 now it took only 12 years to add a billion 1987-1999
7 billion=2011 in 2008 we are already at 6.8 billion
8 billion=2024 Its predicted it will take 13 years to add another billion
9 billion= 2042 then another 18 years to add another billion

By looking at the distributions of the worlds wealth it is also possible to see that two regions represented by the Gringo and Hippie Trails are regions that have been dominated by stronger imperial powers. That those who can afford to travel these routes, even on the cheap, are relatively well off compared to the majority of the population on the planet. That the critical areas where oil is present such as in the Middle East and South America are in turmoil and being contested by any one the three great superpowers of Europe, Asia or America. It is certainly an interesting time to be alive in this time where energy production and population are peaking.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Click here for a captioned photo gallery of Cartagena.

Cartagena is the caribbean regions economic hub and was part of the Spanish crown for more than 250 years. It was also a major trading port for the slaves brought to the "New World". Slaves were used to; clear the cane for roads, plunder graves for valuables and to build forts and such. Gold being shipped back to Spain left from Cartagena, making it a huge target for repeated attacks by "Pirates" of various flags, resulting in the construction of massive fortifications to protect against such attacks. One such attack by England in 1741 had the combined forces of 23,600 men and 186 ships from British and American clolonial troops. The Battle of Cartagena de Indias lasted weeks, but the Britsh forces simply could not capture the Fortress of San Felipe that is heavily featured in my photo gallery. News of Englands defeat echoed around the world. Spain was able to maintain control of the hugely profitable Caribbean region and continue its empire until the 19th century. Cartagena was also a base for the Spanish Inquisition. The Inquisition was notable for it´s lack of external funding. It paid for it´s existance based on the of seized assets of those found guilty, hmmmm do you think that might be a conflict of interest? I have been meeting interesting people like Bradford from Montana who is on a Central and South American adventure to make a white water rafting video. You can check him out at For some more information on Cartagena.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Colombia The Last 6 Weeks-On to Cartagena

All, please click on the colored hyperlinks to see any of the 12 captioned photo galleries of my last 6 weeks here in Santa Marta Colombia. Underneath, the links are embedded in a short narrative paragraph. Please post a comment id so inclined. Big LOVE, Don

Cast of Characters


Raquel´s Birthday

Playa Grande

San Martin





Young Carlos

Jorge´s Restaurant 1

Jorge´s Restaurant 2

I have been here in this fascinating place called Santa Marta for almost 6 weeks. For one month I attended spanish school every day for 3 hours. The entire time I have stayed at the hotel Miramar on Calle 10. Many know about Calle 10 in Santa Marta through a book about the cocaine trade called The Fruit Palace. The title of the book refers to a fruit stand of sorts that used to be down the street from the Miramar. Colombia is filled with contrasts. Most Colombians are incredibly nice and welcoming but there are places where you will find hostility directed at you. An ongoing civil war of more than 50 years rooted in the glaring social problems created by a relativley small number of people controling the vast majority of the wealth, (many will tell you that 25-30 Colombian families own pretty much everything) makes it a fascinating an important place. The Miramar has quite a Cast of Characters and the local family who run the kitchen represent all that´s great about Columbia. Foreigners are advised not to visit the community a short walk from the Miramar called San Martin because of safety concerns. Parque Tayrona nearby is situated on the coast with mountains rising sharply up from some of the most beautiful and unpopulated beaches imaginable. In Tayrona you can hike into the mountains to visit the ruins of a Tayrona village called Pueblito, or the "The Mini Lost City", referog to the capital city of the Tayrona that many pay $250 to go on an organized 6 day trek to visit, and from which 8 foreigners were kidnapped by guerillas a few years back. A short distance from Tayrona is a place where the Buritaca river meets the sea and provides an idylic beach setting. Closer to the city is the enchanting Playa Grande. Santa Marta is one of the first cities settled in the America´s. It is where Bolivar died and was buried for many years. I visited a locals house two times who is starting up his own restaurant in his front yard. Young Carlos is a young man that I met who plans to be lawyer and journalist. His Uncle is a well known writer and he has met Gabriel García Márquez. He wants to go the United States to study and I see him as the hope for a better future for this oppressed country. I also visited the university with my spanish teacher and saw hope talking with them.

To watch a very intersting movie called "Colombia, Would you take the Risk?" , click here please make sure you watch the entire 8 minutes or you will get the wrong impression

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Financial Tsunami


The three part series titled "Financial Tsunami", by James Engdahl is the best analysis of the current world economic situation that I have come across: Engdahl says, "The worst financial crisis in US history is just now appearing in its real dimension. It spells the end of New York’s reign as the globally dominant financial power, the heart of the power of the American Century. It is a shift whose true significance has not yet been appreciated. It soon will be."
Financial Tsunami - Part 1
FInancial Tsunami -Part 2
Financial Tsunami - Part 3

I also reccomend a piece called "Has capitalism passed its peak?" from Richard Moore. Moore wrote the book "Escaping the Matrix-How We the People Can Change the World". His analyis is highly interesting.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Greetings from Buritaca where the river meets the sea. To see a
subtitled photo gallery of this trip click here. To get
to the beach you have to cross the Buritaca river first. The current
is pretty strong, and my french friend Gwendolyn is shown making
the crossing.

In the distance is the Santa Marta mountains and if you
look clearly you can see that they are covered in snow. Pretty
nice being at the beach in 100 degree weather and seeing snow
on the mountains.

Paula lives in Bogata and is out on a circuit driving around
Combia to Carnval in Baranquil. One of her stops was at
Baritaka and her and her friends gave us a ride back to Santa
Marta in the back of the pickup truck. She sat back with
Gwendolyn and me. She´s studying business management
and after her 6 year program she will go and work for her
father who has a casino.

When we got back to Santa
Marta the roads were clogged
with Carnival revelers. Here are
some parading down the main