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viernes, junio 24, 2016

On the Colombian island of Providence, the pace is slow but charms come thick and fast

On the Colombian island of Providence, the pace is slow but charms come thick and fast

By Bart Beeson and Annalise Romoser 

We've spent the afternoon at the open-air restaurant of a small fishing co-op that offers everything we've dreamed of in Caribbean cuisine — fresh fish, fruit juices, coconut rice — and a little something we haven't: rondon, the island's prized dish of pig's tail, fish and snails. The co-op also sells seafood, and after eating our fill, we purchase a gorgeous fish for dinner, then stop at a small grocery store on the way back to our lodgings to pick up onions and coconut milk to saute with mangoes for an accompanying creole sauce.
As we swerve up a steep hill on rickety old bikes, taking turns holding the large red snapper by the tail, we have to wonder whether this is the best way to bring home dinner. But as we discover over the course of a week in Providencia, Colombia, that's part of the charm of this Caribbean island, where you're more likely to bring home fresh fish to cook than serve yourself at a buffet, to grab a cold drink at a rustic beachside hut than at a poolside bar, and to bait your hook with a local fisherman than join a chartered excursion.

Providencia, a longtime hangout for pirates, offers 21st-century refuge seekers casual charm, friendly locals and a rich color palette. (Bart Beeson)

We've heard for years about Providencia's beautiful beaches, great snorkeling and distinctive culture, so we've finally decided to make the journey here. The island lies about 140 miles off Nicaragua's Atlantic coast, belongs to Colombia and, largely because of its history as a base for English pirates, is mostly English-speaking. The extremely welcoming locals move effortlessly between English, Spanish and a unique creole tongue, and throughout our stay are eager to point us to a good local restaurant or the nearest beach.
To get to Providencia, we first stop in nearby San Andres, a larger and more commercial island, where you can catch either a quick flight or a catamaran to Providencia. After landing at Providencia's minuscule airport, we jump into the back of a pickup truck — the informal local taxi service — that takes us to our hotel to drop off our bags. The open-air ride is a perfect introduction to the island. We drive along the main road, which traces the shore, zooming past colorful houses, through several small towns and up and over hills with superb views of the sea. The water surrounding the island is known as the Sea of Seven Colors, and it lives up to its name with truly spectacular hues of turquoise and blue set against pristine white sand beaches.

The gift of hospitality
Eager to get on the water, we find a guide, Atanasio Howard, who runs a small hotel and arranges kayaking, snorkeling and fishing trips for visitors. We'll be back in the coming days to take him up on the latter two options, but on our first afternoon, we want to go kayaking in Old Providence McBean Lagoon. We slowly make our way through tangled mangroves, home to colorful crabs and elusive little birds, to reach the lagoon. There we take a break for a quick hike up Iron Wood Hill, which showcases the tropical dry forest on the east side of the island and provides a stunning view of the turquoise sea.
After kayaking, we return to our lodging to relax in the shade. Given its off-the-beaten-path location, Providencia has remained largely undeveloped — it hasonly one upscale hotel — and like many visitors, we've chosen to stay in a posada, a small home rented out to visitors. Ours is Posada Miss Rose, which sits on a verdant hill just off the main road and consists of a two-story, two-bedroom wooden house with a kitchen, a front porch and a second-story balcony with a partial ocean view. One local resident commended us on choosing a posada over a hotel. "You learn how islanders live and where our people will tell you all their stories," he said. "That's what makes this Providencia. It's what makes us different, and why we will never compete with five-star destinations."

The soft sands of the Colombian island of Providencia would be the perfect place to practice biking while carrying a big red snapper. (Bart Beeson) 
Miss Rose, which goes for about $75 a night during high season (Christmas to mid-January, Easter week and mid-June to mid-July), comes with hospitality included. Owner Luisa Canencia Britton lives directly behind the guest house, and every morning during our five-day stay, she provides us with small island gifts: a bowl of refreshing local plum-like fruits, warm bread or books about the island. She also kindly advises us on how to cook up the snapper we bring home from the fishing co-op.
"I really enjoy having people here, and I think gifts are an important part of life," she says. "People here have huge hearts, hearts that are not found in the rest of the world. It is the treasure of this island."
From our house, it's a five-minute walk down a long, steep hill to Almendra Bay, which cradles a small, secluded white sand beach, surrounded by rocky outcroppings and lush green hills punctuated by a handful of colorfully painted homes and other wind-worn houses. The only facilities at the beach are a few plastic picnic tables and a small shack, whose owner cheerfully serves up cold soft drinks, beers (oddly enough, Old Milwaukee is quite popular) and simple seafood dishes. Like almost all the beaches in Providencia, Almendra Bay is ideal for swimming, which we do often, careful to avoid stepping on the giant starfish that dot the sea floor.
Busy but relaxed
Each day we set out from Miss Rose's on the somewhat dilapidated bikes that we've rented for the week. On our first full day, we bike around the entire island, which you could probably do in an hour if you just kept pedaling, but we take frequent breaks, exploring several beaches and stopping in the town of Santa Catalina for some much-needed ice cream.
We also head to El Pico Forestry Reserve for a two-hour round-trip hike inland. Making our way up through the forest shadows to the peak ("el pico" means "peak"), picking fresh mangoes as we go, we're rewarded with a 360-degree view of the island and the waters below. But soon after we arrive at the top, dark, imposing clouds roll in, and we have to hurry down from our exposed position to seek shelter from the lightning, if not the drenching rain.

The water surrounding Providencia is called the Sea of Seven Colors. (Bart Beeson) 
The next day, we return to Atanasio Howard for a guided snorkeling excursion. His son takes us out to explore parts of the nearly 20-mile-long Providence barrier reef, one of the largest coral reefs in the Americas. It sits inside theSeaflower Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO Marine Protected area.
We take advantage of the trip to talk language, learning more from our guide about the local San Andres-Providencia Creole, which mixes expressions from Spanish and African languages. There'll be time to talk fish after we surface from the waters below, where we encounter endless brain and fan coral, a stunning array of brightly colored fish, and the occasional fluttering squid.
Afterward, Howard's son drops us off at Crab Cay, a popular day-trip destination that's smack in the middle of the most brilliantly colored part of the surrounding waters. The vista from its rocky peak is mesmerizing.
Another day, we rent kayaks and snorkeling gear on our own and paddle out to Morgan's Head, a locally famous rock outcropping named for pirate Henry Morgan, who used the island as a base for raiding Spanish colonies in the late 1600s. It's rumored that he hid still-undiscovered treasures in Providencia, and the rock formation sits near an unexcavated pirate-era fort that exudes mystery. There's great snorkeling just off the shore, and we spend a good chunk of time lazily paddling around before scrambling up the rocky cliffs and jumping into the clear water below.
We fill the rest of our days hitting our favorite beaches, reading on the porch at Miss Rose's and enjoying long meals at seaside restaurants. Our favorite is El Divino Niño, a local institution on South West Bay beach that serves a generous mixed platter of seafood that's supposedly for two but can easily feed three. For about $20, the platter comes piled high with Caribbean delights: whole red snapper, lobster, crab claws, sauteed conch, soup, coconut rice and fried plantains. From our outdoor table, we're able to watch the weekly horse race, in which local youths ride speeding horses bareback down the white sand beach, while seemingly half the island's population places friendly wagers and cheers the riders on. This is the only fast-paced event we experience in Providencia.
Despite its tiny size, the island keeps us busy but never overwhelmed. There are just enough options for us to feel that we accomplish something each day, but still allow us to have the relaxing beach vacation we were looking for. Before coming, we'd contemplated getting certified in scuba diving, but we decided to save that for another trip.
Still, we did pick up a new skill. And who knows? Being able to steer a bike with one hand while holding a snapper in the other might come in handy some day.
Beeson is a freelance travel writer based in Burlington, Vt. Romoser works for an environmental organization in Washington and travels frequently to Colombia.
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Getting there
COPA and Avianca airlines offerone-stop flights from Washington Dulles to San Andres, Colombia, where Satena offers flights to Providencia two to four times a day for about $128 round-trip. Two catamarans (www.catamaranelsensation.com) also operate between San Andres and Providencia for $32 one way ($23 for children).
Where to stay
Posada Miss Rose 
Sector Camp
From $55 per person in low season.
Posada Coco Bay 
Maracaibo Bay
Cell: 011-57-311-804-0373
No-frills posada just feet above the sea. Owner Atanasio Howard arranges gear rentals and offers tours of Crab Cay and nearby mangroves, as well as fishing expeditions. Rooms from $44 in low season.
Hotel Deep Blue 
Maracaibo Bay
The only luxury hotel on the island, remodeled in 2010-2012. No direct beach access but guests enjoy a private dock. Rooms from $185.
Where to eat
El Divino Niño 
South West Bay
Generous portions of seafood, outdoor seating. Entrees from $9.
Café Studio 
South West Bay
Tucked away among the trees, offers delicious pasta and fish dishes, many made with fresh herbs from the owner's garden. Entrees from $12.
Old Providence Taste 
Pueblo Viejo, Via Al Paso
Affiliated with the Fish and Farm Co-op, offering full Caribbean meals with seasonal juices, locally caught fish and heavy fish soups. Entrees from $11.
What to do
Felipe Diving Center 
Agua Dulce Beach
Offers dive packages, first aid and rescue courses, night dives and a "Discovery Scuba" course for those new to the sport. Open-water or advanced courses can be arranged for around $320. Daily snorkeling gear rental about $5.
Roland Roots Bar 
Manzanillo Beach
Cocktails, beer, bonfires and music sent out over loudspeakers accompany low-key parties on the beach at this mostly outdoor bar. Live music offered some nights.
Hiking Morgan's Head 
Santa Catalina
Walk over Lover's Bridge from Providencia to neighboring Santa Catalina. A 20-minute walk uphill takes you to the top of Morgan's Head for stunning sea views. Swim and snorkel in the waters below to cool off after the trek.

sábado, febrero 27, 2016

Old Providence Truth Radio On Line.

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sábado, febrero 13, 2016



Por: Robert Britton
Hombres de mar en busca de un mejor vivir para sus familias optaron por embarcarse en Cargueros y Buques turísticos como una alternativa de trabajo.
Escuchar Reggae, Soca, Calipso, Sucus, haitianos, Dance hall entre otros ritmos caribeños en Old Providence y  Santa Catalina hoy por hoy no es extraño ya que estas pequeñas islas localizadas en el mar caribe comparte una cultura angloparlante con islas como Jamaica, Trinidad, Guadalupe, Tobago, Cayman y otros, que en las costumbres y Tradiciones culturales son muy parecidos.
En sus travesías entre los años 70 y finales de los 90 estos navegantes visitaron diferentes puertos caribeños, se encontraron con nuevos ritmos que poco a poco fueron trayendo a la isla en sus vacaciones donde se compartió con la comunidad a través de los Pic Up o equipos Potentes logrando un reconocimiento cultural  en la comunidad Raizal por los ritmos africanos y los sonidos frenéticos donde inmediatamente se sintieron identificados.
La llegada de los nuevos aires musicales despertó en la comunidad el interés en la música caribeña y el aumento de los equipos de sonidos y pic up traídos a la isla por los mismos hombres de mar.
Comenzó la apertura de sitios exclusivos como casetas y verbenas donde se escuchaba esta música generando un nuevo ambiente de entretenimiento e integración de la comunidad Raizal con el caribe.
La comunidad  empezó a reconocer el parecido étnico con las otras islas del cribe aceptando la música como parte de su Identidad escuchando sonidos, ritmos y letras muy acorde con su diario vivir.
Durante mucho meses la comunidad esperó la llegada de marineros embarcados con los  nuevo Hit musical, generando rivalidad entre los dueños de los pic up, en busca de tener  la exclusividad musical del momento para sus seguidores y fans.
La popularidad de estos equipos gigantes fue tan contundente que los Carnavales Locales no serían bueno Sin estas potentes máquinas para amenizar la fiesta más esperada del año.
La llegada de los diferentes ritmos caribeños también despertó el interés en jóvenes músicos de la isla, en comenzar a formar nuevos grupos musicales para interpretar los nuevos aires donde las expresiones apuntaban a raíces Afro caribeños diferente a la música Folclórica Tradicional que se interpretaba en la isla con aire Europeo.
Lo cierto de todo es que la llegada de estas música genero un puente de comunicación Cultural entre los providéncianos y el caribe Angloparlante identificando unas raíces existentes que poco a poco se fue excluyendo de la vida de los Isleños por la falta de comunicación y contacto con estas regiones del Caribe y nuestra herencia cultural, la música traída del Caribe  fue y es un punto de equilibrio con el caribe Anglo Parlante y la comunidad Raizal de este territorio. La traída de cada disco por marineros que afortunadamente fueron siempre aceptados por las empresas navieras por su conocimiento en Ingles y Creol  y su similitud o parecido con la cultura caribeña, donde estas motos naves operaban.
La música caribeña no solo se tomó los eventos populares con el pic up, también las emisoras locales jugaron un gran papel en la promoción y divulgación de estos ritmos que poco apoco eran solicitados por la misma comunidad.
Indudablemente el parecido étnico de la cultura raizal de San Andrés, Providencia y Santa Catalina con las culturas caribe es muy notorio no solo por los distintos ritmos musicales que hoy se escucha en las islas, también la Lengua,  gastronomía, religión, arquitectura y muchas otras cosas en común identifica un solo pueblo solo divididos por un gran mar – El Caribe.

miércoles, enero 13, 2016

TRUTH Radio Full Audio Music Industry

Radio Virtual desde Old Providence y
Santa Catalina Isla.
RB PRODUCTION STUDIO para divulgar información de
las islas de interés general a los visitantes locales y de diversos lugares del
planeta que visitan el sitio web
www.islandhomelandnews.blogspot.com  se lanza muy pronto el proyecto “RADIO VIRTUAL DIFERIDO Y DIRECTO – TRUTH RADIO
Trasmitiendo desde Providencia con temas del día y entrevistas de interés Local
 con los personajes de la noticia.
iniciativa comenzó  viendo la necesidad
de expandir los temas cotidianos que hacen noticias para las personas que de
una u otra forma tiene vínculos con la isla y viven en el extranjero o en ciudades
del territorio nacional.
resultado ha sido un registro de más de 350 personas que día a día se conectan
para estar bien informados.
compromiso es expandir el servicio donde se trabaja en tener una conexión en
vivo las 24 horas, en  el momento se trasmitirá
en vivo solo 2 horas diarias las 22 horas restantes estará en diferido con música
y programas Pregrabados para el deleite y entretenimiento de nuestros
visitantes Online.
compromiso es lograr no solo mantener conectado la isla las 24 horas con Radio
Virtual en VIVO atreves del internet, también trabajemos en activar  un CANAL DE TELEVISIÓN Virtual IP con noticias, Documentales  y programas de Providencia y Santa Catalina así
como todo el  Departamento.
que anotar que el formato en el cual la Radio y la Televisión IP están
construidas es el más liviano a nuestra consideración en el internet, ofrece
una conexión Rápida y segura a los usuarios con una conexión de 28 KB de banda en
la actualidad existe  un Blog Noticioso de
interés general  para más de 43.500
usuarios que nos visitan  alrededor del
invitamos a visitar la página y enviar su opinión.
Radio virtual TRUTH


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