a diverse collection of travel photos and firsthand experiences while venturing across the globe. each destination has welcomed us with open arms and warm smiles, making us feel right at home. from argentina to utah - and thousands of miles in between - these are our visual memories of 'home'...just as we never imagined.

Friday, March 1, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #9: Olympic Games

There has been recent discussion about wrestling not being included in the summer Olympic Games. In fact, the IOC has eliminated the sport from its roster of events (starting in 2020). As a fan of wrestling - and a competitor - I think this is an absolute shame. It is a sport of discipline, skill, and strength...but it is also a significant and historical component of the Olympic Games (both ancient and modern...and across multiple nations). Since this blog is not dedicated to sports or athletics, I figured I could just use this picture taken from London during a brief stop in July 2012 just before the opening ceremonies. Like how I tied that all in? :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #8: View from Cerro Otto

There are few places on earth more majestic than the Patagonia region of South America. The northern limits of Patagonia (inside Argentina) begin with the picturesque  paradise of San Carlos de Bariloche. This aerial view was captured high above town, following a casual 7-minute chairlift ride to the top of Cerro Otto. The panoramic below reveals thick pine forests, 'alpine' architecture, and the turquoise hues of Nahuel Huapi Lake. This is the Switzerland of South America!

Friday, February 15, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #7: Copacabana

An afternoon stroll along Copacabana Beach in the breathtaking metropolis of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: soccer in the sand...surfing in the ocean...and samba in the streets. Rio is sure to be an exhilarating host to the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics! O Brasil é lindo maravilhoso!

Friday, February 8, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #6: Amsterdam at Night

Amsterdam is a popular connection from the United States into Europe thanks to frequent and comfortable flights aboard KLM. I had the chance to visit the Dutch capital during the summer of 2012 en route to Nairobi (eastern Africa). I extended the stop in order to capture a few images of iconic street scenes and local culture. The warm waffles drizzled in chocolate were amazing, while the hot fries dipped in mayonnaise were a one-time treat. The overcrowded coffee shops offered unique 'herbal' aromas, while the red light district offered much, much more...but not to the imagination. With its picturesque canals, historic museums, neon-lit avenues, and mounds of parked bikes, downtown Amsterdam is a charming location for families, couples, and even globetrotting singles.

Friday, February 1, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #5: Luces de La Boca

Just another iconic landmark from the cobblestone streets of La Boca. One more reason to love - and visit - Argentina and its bustling capital of Buenos Aires...the 'Paris of Latin America'.

Friday, January 25, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #4: Charming Salta

The northwest of Argentina is a charming and rustic gem often undiscovered and overlooked. Some of the finest architecture in all of Argentina can be found here, including the magnificent Saint Francis Chapel with its striking hues of red and gold. This ornate building, located just a short walking distance from Plaza 9 de Julio, is a landmark to this growing metropolis of the north. First built in 1625, this chapel also boasts one of the tallest bell towers in Latin America. Visit our website for more information: http://imagineargentina.com/salta.html

Friday, January 18, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #3: Guanajuato

Founded in 1548, Guanajuato is a brilliant destination in central Mexico offering travelers one of the most picturesque panoramics in all of Central America. Numerous buildings painted in various pastels trail off into the distant hillsides as tourists find themselves wandering down narrow cobblestone streets that intersect between colonial cathedrals and shade-filled plazas.

Friday, January 11, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #2: Tombs of Recoleta

This is one of our favorite shots from Buenos Aires. The morning rain leaves behind a sense of eeriness amidst the narrow corridors and ornate tombs of Recoleta Cemetery...final resting place of national war heroes and cultural icons.


Friday, January 4, 2013

PHOTO FRIDAY #1: A 'Super' New Year!

Well, it has been much too long since we last posted here on the Imagine Argentina blog. In fact, the last post (below) was written when Wade returned from Africa in the summer of 2011. A lot has been happening since that time. We find ourselves more and more occupied each week with kids, house projects, work duties, school studies, and a bit of worldwide travel. Nonetheless, it is time to start up the blog again...with a new design and larger images.

Each week, we intend to feature some of our best photographs from across the globe...and we'll start with this gem (taken right here at home). For the first installment of "Photo FRIDAY" in 2013, we selected this image of our son...our own little super hero. With a little chalk, an open parking lot, and a flair of imagination, our son soon found himself soaring above a make-believe cityscape (an illusion made possible thanks to an 8-foot ladder). He was quite the convincing actor as he stretched across the pavement with a smile on his face!

We wish a HAPPY NEW YEAR to all our followers and amigos. Now go make 2013 a year of your own super hero achievements and adventures! Next week, we'll continue 'soaring' to a new location somewhere in the world :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

The African Experience:

Chirongo threw the frisbee again...this time a bit more accurate than the last. Still, with a bright smile across his face, he turned to me and asked, "That is good?" I laughed, picked up the frisbee, and threw it well over Chirongo's head...to his delight of course. He again turned to me, this time restating his question as an affirmative: "That is good."

This intercultural exercise took place each afternoon until Chirongo returned home at dusk...walking 2 kilometers along a red dirt road back to his humble homestead. I knew I would see Chirongo again each morning. After all, we were now friends.

Our group - consisting of 13 selfless volunteers - arrived to the rural village of Egu on August 7th, nestled just a few short hours outside of Mombasa in the peaceful African bush of Kenya. Once again, I had joined another service expedition with CHOICE Humanitarian. Our intention was not to "save" the village of Egu...or "rescue" the villagers living therein. Instead, we traveled across the Atlantic to support the villagers in their own progress toward self-sustainable development.

The residents of Egu had determined that an 8-room dispensary (or rural health clinic) was their next greatest need (second to potable water). As a result, we were asked to work with them hand-in-hand throughout the week, all while broadening our global perspectives in the process. In a brief period of just one week, we worked together to clear the land, measure and stake the perimeters, and dig the entire foundation 2.5 feet deep...all without the help of industrial equipment or heavy machinery. Yes, this is what we refer to as authentic manual labor!

Our daily routine was simple. We awoke to a breakfast of passion fruit and mango...and we dined in the evenings with plates full of chapattis and pilau. We worked hard in the mornings...but we slowed down in the afternoons...eventually finding ourselves on the sidelines watching the native men and women chop through dirt without breaking a sweat. The day was not complete without at least one visit to the pit latrine - an experience one must live to understand. Of course, a late night shower was always rewarding for those that dared to bathe naked behind a curtain of dried corn stalks and beneath a pitcher of warm water...all while underneath the gleaming stars of the African sky. Then, it was off to bed on the cement floor of the schoolhouse for some intermittent sleep thanks to the squealing bats overhead. Ahhh...the mornings couldn't come soon enough with its fresh passion fruit and mango.

Although important, the project itself simply served as a catalyst for the deeper intercultural exchange which took place during the week. For some, the most significant experiences occurred away from the project site...during a soccer game, an English lesson, or a cultural celebration of song and dance.

Such was the case for me as I ventured one afternoon outside of camp with the loyal companionship of Chirongo, a local 12-year old boy void of anguish for his surroundings, and instead, full of happiness and curiosity for life. Here is a description of our tour at dusk...off the beaten path in the rural outskirts of Egu:

The sun began to set in the distance, amidst a motionless horizon of native sisel plants and acacia trees. Chirongo and his friends were more than excited to lead me in the direction of the descending sun, along winding trails that curled past towering termite hills and desiccated crops, both of which populated the arid landscape. We encountered multiple homesteads where giggling children and smiling parents gathered outside their modest huts just before we passed...eager to greet us with a warm wave and welcoming "Jambo!"

We arrived to the village watering hole and watched as various women gathered water for their families...often walking great distances of 10 kilometers or more. Adorned in native fabrics of brilliant color, these women approached the subtle ledge, climbed down the rock's surface, and stretched their arms into the water to fill their weathered buckets. In a matter of minutes, the women were back on the trail again...returning home with full buckets of vital water now balanced upon their heads. It is not uncommon for one woman to perform this time-consuming task 3 to 4 times each day.

As a humble observer, I could not help but respect and appreciate the work ethic of these village women and mothers...all of whom performed their maternal duties with a smile. A fellow volunteer and I turned around, still a bit contemplative, just in time to witness the sun disappear behind the massive boulders in the foreground. This brief trek was well worth our time.

After taking a few quick snapshots, I turned around in the other direction to see little Chirongo waiting for me back on the trail. There were no other villagers in sight. He alone was going to lead us back to camp. I couldn't help but smile as I descended the rocks and returned to his side. I held his hand, as he requested, and began walking back...spotting an occasional howler monkey along the way.

Chirongo was still barefoot and unconcerned over the occasional cactus or potential snake. I decided to join him. I kicked off my sandals to feel the fine dust beneath my feet, tickling my instep and leaving a soft powder of red in between my toes. I took a couple more snapshots of our contrasting feet in the dirt. What an experience this had become.

I assumed Chirongo spoke just broken English since our interaction was largely limited to laughter and smiles. When attempting to ask him questions, I often got confused looks in return, accompanied with a perplexing comeback in Swahili. Yet, as the night concluded, Chirongo looked at me and said, "I hope you return one day...with your wife."

I'd love to, Chirongo. I'd love to.

I could go on and on, reflecting for hours over the infinite highlights of this expedition. On a cultural level, I was relieved to see such a high sense of tolerance and civility in the village. After all, both Christians and Muslims lived together in Egu...playing, studying, and working in harmony. Being the month of Ramadan, Muslim families returned home at dusk to break their fast over iftar meals. Yet, there was no division. There was no contention. There was no judgment from either side. It was simply...refreshing.

I soon left the village of Egu and returned to Mombasa for a final night along Nyali Beach. The next morning, as I sat in the white sands of the coastline and stared into the Indian Ocean, I pondered one simple truth that is reassured with each expedition: Those born into greater privilege are also endowed with greater responsibilities to improve the world and help those with greater needs...and that alone should be all that matters.

For a similar life-changing experience, please contact me at CHOICE Humanitarian (801-474-1937) or visit our website: www.choicehumanitarian.org.

Monday, July 18, 2011

2012 IA Group Expedition

Pick up the latest issue of Travel+Leisure to read the 2011 list of World's Best Awards. Once again, Buenos Aires ranks #1 of all Latin American cities! So, in celebration, we are gearing up for a special 2012 group expedition to Argentina to explore Buenos Aires, Iguazu Falls, and northern Patagonia.

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Who is interested? We hope to begin a new Imagine Argentina tradition...so click and "like" the following FB link: http://www.facebook.com/#!/imagineargentina

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Copa America Update:

For those planning a trip to Argentina this summer, keep in mind that the 2011 Copa America soccer tournament is scheduled to begin on July 1st in La Plata...when Argentina takes on Bolivia! This month-long tournament will take place across the nation...including Mendoza and Salta (both of which we call our second homes). Will Messi help Argentina win the title...the first championship for the senior national team since 1993?

Visit the CA website for updates: http://www.ca2011.com

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IA Travel Photography...Now on Sale!

The new photo website of Imagine Argentina has been published on the web! More photos will be coming in the next few weeks...depicting the diverse wonders of Latin America! Feel free to explore, leave a comment, and purchase prints NOW ON SALE!