Mola Mania in Kuna Yala

Kuna Yala (aka San Blas islands) November 9 to December 9, 2012

Molas are fabric panels of reverse appliqué. They are handmade by Kuna women in Panama. The Kuna woman use two mola panels as the basis for the blouses of their traditional dress.

This is a mola blouse. There is a similar mola panel at the back of the blouse. This is a traditional Kuna design, not related to the Nazi swastika.

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Kuna Yala

Kuna Yala (aka San Blas islands) November 9 to December 9, 2012

Kuna Yala is a semi-autonomous region of Panama. The region is an archipelago of islands (300 – 400 of them) and a long thin strip of Atlantic-side mainland adjacent to the islands. Kuna Yala begins just west of the border with Colombia.

The region is mostly governed and peopled by the Kuna indians, many of whom live in family or tribal communities. Homes are typically made of bamboo with thatched roofs. The men mostly fish, gather coconuts, and do some subsistence farming on the mainland (bananas, plantains, yucca, mango, etc.). Kuna society is matriarchal. The women make molas for sale to collectors and tourists and so are major contributors to the economy of Kuna Yala. The women also wear traditional dress.

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El Parque Nacional del Chicamocha

Chicamocha Park, Santander November 1, 2012

This is my last blog about Tony, Jane, Siggy and Hilary in Santander province. (As soon as we got back to the boat after our travels in Santander, we set off for Kuna Yala where we didn’t have any proper web access; so I wasn’t able to post any of the Santander blogs last month.)

The view from Chicamocha park.

Tony and I liked Santander best of all the places we visited in Colombia. Bogotá is too high and too cold. Cartegena is too hot. But Santander is just right! Maybe our opinion is affected by the fact that our friend Jaime Torres lives in Santander. Jaime and his family were generous and delightful hosts and tour guides throughout our stay in Santander.

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Enchanting Barichara

Barichara, Santander Province, Colombia, November 1 to 3rd, 2012

One of the most enchanting towns on earth is Barichara. It is a small, beautifully preserved, colonial town on a mesa in the Santander province in Colombia. If it weren’t in the middle of Colombia, it would be overrun with tourists.

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Guane, Barichara’s Mini-Me

Guane, Santander Province, Colombia, November 2, 2012

Guane is Barichara’s Mini-Me. It is even smaller than Barichara, but has very similar architecture and ambiance. Guane is a two-hour walk from Barichara along an old paved trail built by a Scott a few hundred years ago. Tony, Siggy and Hilary did the walk with a Dutch guide, Joop.
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