The Broken Song: Making Salsa



There are a couple of places around Bogotá where they play Salsa. This one was a modest looking place that sits just off this side street in Centro. It was housed in an old colonial and the only way you know you’re there is the name engraved into a stone block next to the door. It reads Quiebracanto.

Colombia has a strong tradition of Salsa that resonates from the Pacific-coast city of Cali. So when I found myself at a salsa club listening to Toño Barrio, a Cali-based Salsa group, I tried to remember the fast, complex Salsa step, the rules I had learned several years back. But sometimes it’s better when the rules get broken. Continue reading on Beacon…

Oil, These Leaves, And Aura



Through those tiny porthole windows, New York City must have looked mammoth, maybe even terrible, as her plane hovered above the tips of the city’s skyscrapers, dipped its nose toward the runway, reversed the engines, and landed. I always get a rush when I see the skyline out those tiny airplane windows. I can’t imagine what it all looked like to Aura though – this place so new and different from her own.

Aura Tegria didn’t seem as scared, as nervous as I thought she might be when she told me that she and Vladimir were in Bogotá to apply for U.S. visas. She wasn’t just going to New York City on holiday either. Continue reading on Beacon…

Cowboys in Colombia: Spurring Andrés Albarracin



His spurs clicked and we walked down a winding dirt road with deep ruts and emerald green grass growing up through the fresh mud. The air was wet and cool. Andrés Albarracin told us the stables were just ahead, at the end of the road.

Andrés Albarracin is a Vaquero – a Colombian cowboy whose horses are just as much family as his mother and father. Riding horses used to be viewed as lowly farm work. But now horse riding is gaining a new status in Colombia, and the world of this young cowboy is changing because of it. Continue reading on Beacon…

Confession Of A Tortured Convent



I am 100 years old this year. 100 years… Can you believe I’ve remained intact through this brutal history? Can you believe they still come to live inside of me? I know what I look like on the outside. I look like I used to. I look like I always have. And that’s what so many of them remember me for.

But that’s not who I am…

A building called Calle del Sol in Bogotá’s Candelaria neighborhood was constructed in 1914 and destined to be a convent. But after being abandoned by the nuns that built it, and later seized by a Colombian Dictator’s regime, the building changed from a place of good to a place of evil. Nowadays, its residents say there are ghosts. Continue reading on Beacon…