The Friday Fiesta: From Guatemala to Antarctica, with Museums and Manners, too

bottle with sailing ship insideAs a fiction author I love to weave  unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating. The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Enjoy and share to make the world a little smaller today.

Navigating the Ship of State in Guatemala

With an intro that declares “A potential “failed state” is clawing its way back to something like normality,” the online version of The Economist magazine recently took a look at Guatemala. Last week, after being in office for a year, President Otto Pérez Molina pointed to improvements in security, public health and fiscal reform. The murder rate has gone down substantially, more criminals are getting caught and punished—including corrupt police—and “the death rate among those with acute malnutrition has fallen by half.” The president’s job can’t be easy in Guatemala which had a 36-year civil war; half of children under five suffer from malnutrition and drug cartels help keep it on the list of the top 20 most violent places in the world. But even slight progress is better than no progress at all.

#FollowaMuseum

With the teaser “A nation stays alive when its culture stays alive,” the folks behind the culturethemes.blogspot.de blog work to promote museum exhibits and other big cultural events by asking folks to join Twitter hashtag tweet fests related to those events. The next one is 1 February. Tweet a great museum experience, with the museum’s handle, using hashtag #FollowaMuseum. You’ll get a culture fix and great ideas for your next outing.

Antarctica Rescue Goes “Forward”

Hard to imagine for many of us, but it is the Antarctic summer right now. This means nearly 24 hours of light, manageable temperatures, fewer wind and ice storms. Yep, it’s the South Pole tourist season, the height of international travel. But Antarctica and the seas around it are never danger free as the cruise ship Fram recently found out. Incidentally the word “fram” means “forwards” in Norwegian. The cruise liner is the namesake of Roald Amundsen’s much more famous ship Fram, now on display in Oslo in the museum I’ll be tweeting about next week! But I digress. The good news here is that when today’s Fram was caught in pack ice off the coast of Antarctica, ice-breaking vessel HMS Protector, on patrol in the region, was able to “crack through the 13-foot-thick ice that had encircled the cruise liner.” Neither ship was damaged and no one was hurt. Skol!

Mind Your Manners

Simply put, I love this website. Etiquettescholar.com gives you tips for manners everywhere. From table settings, to wine selection to tea etiquette, the website is a fund of information to help you enjoy smooth sailing anywhere (okay, maybe I’m taking the ship theme a bit too far.) Surf around the sight before your next international travel for some great tips.

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Subscribe to my monthly Mystery Ahead update and get your Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library today!

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

Friday Fiesta: The Real Big Bird, Famous Birthdays, and Beer for Fido

Coming 30 January! CLIFF DIVER: An Emilia Cruz Noveldog in birthday hatAs a fiction and mystery author I love to weave  unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating. The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Join the movement and share your own good news stories on Twitter with hashtag #FridayFiesta.

Red Robin

The 1to1media.com website carried this super story about the Red Robin restaurant chain’s official policy of random act of kindness. Red Robin’s signature “Ymmmmm” also means that management and wait staff are empowered to cut customers’ bills, offer on-the-spot specials for customer events and other actions that elicit customer testimonials. We’re not talking just a few comments a sidebar. There are so many comments on the Red Robin website that it is a whole section. Now go get a burger.

Sistine Chapel aged 500 and colder

About three years I was lucky enough to tour the Vatican. I walked through the Sistine Chapel with my head canted back in awe and the rest of me roasting in a herd of tour groups. This amazing space celebrated its 500th anniversary last October and several websites like the Cultural Travel Guide celebrated the occasion with a story or retrospective. But keeping this 500-year-old wonder in good shape is a herculean act of historic preservation: dust, dander and other “bodily debris” from the thousands of tourists who pass through every day dirty it up. The UK’s Guardian quoted the director of the Vatican museums, Antonio Paolucci as saying that the Vatican will install a special carpet and air handling systems to ensure that “visitors who traipse sweat, dust, skin flakes and hair into the 16th-century chapel will be ‘dusted, cleaned and chilled.’” Maybe next time I’ll bring a sweater. One that doesn’t shed, of course.

A Tubular Birthday

London’s subway system, the Tube, is 150 years old this year. Guardian reporter Stephen Moss celebrated with a 52-mile ride on the Central line, including the 6 miles used before 1994. His commentary is consummately British and clever (From Epping I go just one stop – to Theydon Bois. I’ve never been to Theydon Bois, but have always been captivated by the name, which suggests a Victorian actor-manager or a well-meaning but talentless amateur captain of the England cricket team c 1910) and the journey, as well as key moments in Tube history, comes to life in his words. He does mention the price of a go-anywhere ticket, which made me gulp, but it is a ride on a piece of history.

Beer in the Doghouse

According to paste.com, Boneyard Brewery in Bend, Oregon, has created an alcohol-free beer for dogs made of vegetable broth, water and spent grain from the brewery. Paste.com says the beer, which is sold in 16 ounce bottles, can be enjoyed by Fido as a treat by itself or mixed with dry food for the ultimate dinner. Let the party start!

Carmen’s books on amazon.com

Subscribe to my monthly Mystery Ahead update and get your Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library today!

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

The Friday Fiesta: An Outdoor Seat, Music, Chocolate, and a Story

As a fiction author I love to weave  unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating. The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Enjoy and share to make the world a little smaller today.

Have a Seat

The website theverybestop10.com brings us a montage of park benches around the world that is surprisingly startling and thought-provoking and nearly had me running for my passport. From a bench that looks as if it is part of a giant slingshot by German artist Cornelia Konrads to book-shaped benches in Istanbul and a shark attack bench in Bangkok, these photos and the imagination behind them are a guaranteed smile. Check it out—there might be a bench near you.

The Landfillharmonic

There are a few YouTube videos on the small orchestra created in Cateura, Paraguay, using instruments made from trash from a local landfill. I recommend a quick view of this 3 minute short. The stringed instruments sport odd shapes and labels from the boxes, cans, and other containers cannibalized to make them but the music—and obvious dedication of the music teacher–is worth celebrating. You can check out this Facebook page for more about the orchestra and the documentary about it from an often overlooked part of the world.

Saving Chocolate

The cultureist.com online magazine—one of my favorite feel-good online locations—carried this interesting story about cocoa farmers in the impoverished Democratic Republic of the Congo. Candy maker Theo is producing two new organic, fair trade certified chocolate bars: Pili Pili Chili, “an intensely warming blend of cocoa, vanilla, and spicy peppers; and Vanilla Nib, a scrumptious mix of cocoa, creamy vanilla, and crunchy cocoa nibs.” The website reports that Theo says the “fast-growing, high-yield crop requires minimal re-planting, prevents deforestation, commands solid global prices, and is a major source of income.” Theo chocolate is sold online and at Whole Foods Market stores.

Story Sees the Light of Day

“The Tallow Candle,” a handwritten early story by Danish storyteller Hans Christian Anderson—author of “The Little Mermaid” and other famous tales–was recently unearthed in a box of miscellany by local historian Esben Brage in the National Archive in Odense, Andersen’s home town. Published in English by Danish media outlet politiken.dk after validation by experts including Ejnar Stig Askgaard of the Odense City Museum, Bruno Svindborg of the Royal Library and Professor Johan de Myliu, you can read it here. As the UK’s guardian.co.uk reported, “The story tells of a little candle, dirtied by life and misunderstood, which eventually finds happiness after a tinder box sees the good at its heart and lights it.” Given the news lately, this discovery is pretty timely. We all need a little more light in our lives.

Find Carmen’s books on amazon.com today

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

The Friday Fiesta: Safari, Snow, Scotland and Surprising Films

world holiday ornamentAs a fiction author I love to weave  unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating. The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Enjoy and share to make the world a little smaller today.

Join the Virtual Safari

National Geographic’s Andrew Evans is on the move again, this time on safari in Tanzania. He is documenting his trip with a series of blog posts, photographs and short videos, as well as tweeting his way through some tense moments with skittish wildlife. Evans is a great communicator, managing to keep us on the edge as he tweets his adventures. His longer blog posts provide more thought-provoking reports on conservation and the beauties of Africa. Follow him @WheresAndrew.

Let it snow

Images of the winter wonderland that is Zurich, Switzerland were featured on Anisha Shah’s website this week. The photos are beautiful, showing gentle blankets of snow tucked around iconic European motifs. The result is a Christmas feast for the eyes, a gentle, dreamy fairytale digital experience. Everybody who is looking forward to a snow-less holiday season, like me here in the tropics, should spend a moment savoring these images. I especially loved the swan amid the snowflakes.

Glasgow transformed

My perceptions of Glasgow, Scotland, have been shaped a little too firmly by Ian Rankin’s novels, which are set in the seemingly much-preferred Edinburgh, so I was intrigued by artist Claire Biddles’ article in the online edition of UK’s Guardian talking about the transformation of the city into a “culture city.” According to Biddles, “The role that artist-run spaces have had in Glasgow’s reinvention as a creative city cannot be underestimated, and as long as the artistic community continues to develop, this image will be sustained – attracting artists and art lovers alike to the city.” The article describes several of the art spaces in Glasgow, painting a picture (pun intended) of a vibrant and effective effort to enrich the city “culturally and economically.” Tourists and travelers take note; there’s more to Glasgow than ever before.

Films to Inspire

Roman Coppola, son of legendary director Francis Ford Coppola, teamed with W Hotels to offer a film competition: screenwriters had to submit screenplays with two ingredients: location is a W Hotel and there’s an Intel Ultrabook somewhere in it. The winners produced four short films which were recently featured on the Gadling website. The films take place at W Hotels in Doha, Qatar; Mexico City, Mexico; Washington, DC; and the Maldives. The website said, “The results are quirky, touching, and sometimes eerie, but most of all great ways to inspire travel and help emerging talent get their feet off the ground.” I agree. With the help of sponsors like W Hotels and Intel, this is a great way to showcase locations, open doors to a new culture, and give wanna-be filmmakers a chance to do what they love!

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

The Friday Fiesta: An Odyssey, An Artist, Manners, and the Radio

dog and globeAs a fiction author I love to weave  unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating. The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Enjoy and share to make the world a little smaller today.

His Odyssey Expedition

Daily Telegraph reporter Graham Hughes started 1 January 2009 on a trip that would take him around the world without any airplane travel. After 1,426 days on the road and more than 200 countries across six continents, Hughes wrote this fabulous wrap-up in which he said: “I undertook this challenge for many reasons: to set a Guinness World Record, to raise money for the charity WaterAid, to have great stories to tell the grandchildren. But the main reason was that I wanted to prove it was possible: to show that all the great travel adventures have not already been done; to show that the world isn’t the terrible scary place so often portrayed in the media; to show that, yes, with a British passport, a fistful of dollars and the right amount of tenacity, grit and patience you can – if you really want to – go anywhere.” Hughes’ determination, accomplishment and the resulting article are all terrific.

 In the Tradition of Art Saving Wildlife

Following in the tradition of the Audobon Society and the World Wildlife Fund, both rooted in work by noted wildlife artists, California artist David Tomb has started a conservation effort called Jeepney Projects Worldwide to save endangered birds including the great Philippine eagle. A Huffpost article quoted him as saying: “Making artwork of the birds is a way to connect and personalize my experience of seeing the birds . . . The ultimate goal is to have people think: ‘That animal is incredible.'” Tomb’s artwork, included in the article, is also incredible and worth a look, if for no other reason that the Philippine eagle, weighing in around 18 lbs., is an arresting and unique creature.

 Asian Etiquette

Did you know that religious views play a role in good manners in Asia? The website backyardtravel.com, devoted to Asian travel, writes “The sole of the foot is considered such a dirty thing that it is even seen as an aggressive, rude gesture in Thailand to show someone the sole of the foot – similar to ‘flipping the bird’ in the USA, or ‘putting two fingers up’ in the UK. Continuing the theme on feet, shoes must also be removed when entering someone’s house in Asia, and in Thailand never, ever stand on anything with an image of the King on, like money or postage stamps for example.” This short and useful article gives other good tips for showing good manners when travelling in Asia. Related to this is my Rude in Any Culture post, with a similar foot warning.

Salaryless Radio Host in Peru Still Going Strong

Peruvian radio host Maruja Venegas has been on the air for 68 years, making her the longest-running radio host ever, according to Guinness World Records. Venegas is 97 and her fans are still listening to her show “Radio Club Infantil” which airs Sundays at 6-6:30 pm on Santa Rosa, a religion-oriented station. The show, which started in 1944 as a broadcast for sick children, has expanded and contracted over the years—impacted by Peru’s political and economic circumstances. Venegas, who has never been paid for the show, is her own producer and has got her formula down; the show now always includes a story, music, advice and commentary. The story is a salute to tenacity and for doing something you love and think is important enough to do, regardless of the reward.

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

The Friday Fiesta: Turkish Delight, Brit Food, Art and Drink

As a fiction author I love to weave  unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating. The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Enjoy and share to make the world a little smaller today.

Not Everybody’s Eating This Turkish Delight

Muhtesem Yuzyil, or Magnificent Century, is either a blasphemous mess or a cultural revolution, depending which side of the television the viewer is on. Magnificent Century is a primetime soap opera about Suleiman the Magnificent and Hurrem, the slave who became his powerful wife, set in the mid 1500’s with the same production values and historical punch of the BBC’s Henry VII series The Tudors. The show debuted in January 2011 and immediately elicited 70,000 (!!) complaints, including from Turkey’s prime minister, according to the online edition of The Guardian newspaper.

WeBlogtheWorld.com picked up the story this week, noting that the show sparks both controversy and huge audiences (a recent episode was watched by 85 million viewers in 45 countries including half of all Muslim women over the age of 15)  because “the show presents women as equal to men. There are scenes of kissing, drinking and sex that are formerly unheard of on Middle Eastern television, and, in the case of Magnificent Century, a Muslim leader famous for his religious tolerance and ability to work with people of other faiths.” Popularity and controversy = cultural change? Yikes. Stay tuned.

Surprising British Food

I’ve spent a lot of time in London and generally avoided restaurants with traditional Brit fare (except for Fortnum and Mason, of course) because Brit food is doughy, tasteless, and unchanged since the Battle of Trafalgar.

But matadornights.com is convincing me I’m wrong with a great story entitled “Why British food isn’t as bad as you think.” The post lists the best Brit food, including fish and chips, bangers and mash, chicken tikka masala, Yorkshire pudding AND tells you where the best can be found. With pictures! That actually look good!

The Middle Eastern Art Scene

Abu Dhabi leads the arts and cultural preservation scene in the Middle East and thenational.com does a great job of tracking developments. The website recently ran journalist Jessica Holland’s guide to buying Middle Eastern art. Holland advises collectors to look for a story related to the artwork and understand how the value will be impacted by the country the artist is from. Trending now: art by Syrian and Egyptian artists. Nice to know there’s more going on in the region besides what’s on CNN.

Drinking Advent

I love advent calendars. Remember the bit from the BBC show The Vicar of Dibley with Dawn French?

Geraldine: How many chocolate advent calendars should a greedy person have?

Alice: I don’t know. I should think about 30.

But societeperrier.com’s Cocktail Culture has something even better than chocolate. The ultimate in advent calendars is the Whiskey Advent Calendar! A dram of single malt for each day. One season, two religious experiences.

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

The Friday Fiesta: Travel, Time and Not Enough Sparkly Wine

As a fiction author I love to weave  unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating.The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Enjoy and share to make the world a little smaller today.

Are You This Kind of Traveler?

The online Sydney Morning Herald reported on a Skyscanner survey of flight attendants that revealed the top 10 most annoying things that air travelers do. Snapping fingers at flight attendants is number 1, not a big surprise. Trying to get out of the plane before the light goes off and stuffing too much into the overhead bin are numbers 2 and 3.

I read the list with great smugness until I came to number 7: leaving trash in the seat pocket. Er, um, yes, the used tissues, empty sugar packets, and crumpled newspaper from seat 7B were gifts from me.

For more tips on how to be a bad traveler read my list of 25 Ways to Be the Worst Traveler in the World.

Not All Time is Equal

I’m often struck by cultural differences in time management. For example, in one country the gardener wanted to come every 15 days, rather than every other Wednesday (but mostly he never showed up at all) while in another place the cable TV bill was not always for the same duration, making each a surprise. The website yourlanguageplace.com had a thought-provoking article entitled “How Language Can Shape the Perception of Time” that is worth a read. It is an excellent discussion of how different cultures have different perceptions of time and how language feeds into that. This issue is a small but meaningful part of interacting with people from different cultures on a daily basis. Related to this is my post on cultural differences regarding money.

Changes in Latitude

The codesign website brings us a gallery of photos from 70 degrees north latitude. I clicked through the photos, riveted by the simple images that represent a photographic line through the United States. From N 40° 00’ 00” W 97° 00’ 00” Hollenberg, Kansas, 2007, to N 40° 00’ 00” W 109° 00’ 00” Rangely, Colorado, 2000 and so many other locations, this imagery collection is a significant achievement in terms of research, photography, and curation.  What I didn’t expect to find but did: a view into the culture of rural America. Added cool thing: website scrolling is horizontal, mimicking the concept of latitude. Check it out. Just lovely.

The Coming Champagne Crisis

The Huffingpost Post reports that hail storms and fungus due to overly wet weather will reduce France’s champagne grape harvest by 40%. Champagne takes at least 15 months to ferment, meaning that champagne prices for the summer of 2014 could be higher despite a reserve built up by lowered demand in previous years due to recession in the US and Europe. But demand is on the rebound at least in the US. So what’s a discriminating consumer to think?  Spoiler alert for weddings, graduation parties and book launch events.

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

The Friday Fiesta: A Ride, A Book, Olives and Remembrance

Party tootsAs a fiction author I love to weave unique cultural gems into the plot. Most of the time I draw on my own world travels and experiences living in Mexico and Central America.

In these Friday Fiesta posts I highlight cultural stories worth celebrating. The unique, the odd, the thought-provoking. Enjoy and share to make the world a little smaller today.

Would You Ride?

The world’s longest and highest cable car service will reopen early next year in Merida, Venezuela, according to a BBC report. The cable system is more than 7 miles long, rising to more than 15,330 feet above sea level at the summit of Pico Espejo — one of the highest peaks in Venezuela’s Andean mountains. Originally built in 1960, the trip of around 2 hours takes intrepid travelers from Merida to the magnificent scenery of the Andes. From the report: “On a clear day, the craggy outcrop of Pico Espejo — where the resident Virgin Mary statue is sometimes covered in ice — provides panoramic views of the surrounding range, as well as a bird’s-eye view of Merida in the distant valley below.” Equal parts amazing and scary.

War and Remembrance

TheWorldisWaiting.com blog gave us a unique take on war museums this week, including some little known museums that capture events and places that are all too easily forgotten. I’ve been to three museums on the list: the Imperial War Museum and the HMS Belfast, both in the UK, and the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin and recommend them all. But of special note is the JEATH Museum, Kachanburi, Thailand. “JEATH stands for Japan, England, America, Australia, Thailand and Holland, which represent the nationalities of the prisoners of war forced to work on the construction of the famous Bridge on the River Kwai.” It wasn’t just a movie.

In the same vein, here’s my blog post on resistance museums.

The Olive Harvest

Did you know how olives are gathered to make olive oil? Check out the blog post by @ItalianNotes for beautiful photographs and a video on how “In our part of Puglia the old contardini swears by the scopetta. With an old organic broom they sweep a circle around every single olive tree making the red earth hard, smooth and clean, so that olives can easily be gathered, when they are ripe and ready to fall off the tree.” The post is lovely—a simple snapshot of a an industry that reminds us of the value of tradition and the calm that comes from living close to the earth.

The First Book and it’s Not the Bible. 

John Wainwright, a computer specialist, ordered the first book from amazon.com in 1995. Do you remember amazon’s radio ads from that time? They were in an interview format, with the interviewee claiming amazon had enough books to fill an aircraft carrier and other huge spaces.But I digress.

According to The Atlantic online magazine, which has a photo of the book and the original packing slip, the book Wainwright ordered was Douglas Hofstadter’s Fluid Concepts And Creative Analogies: Computer Models Of The Fundamental Mechanisms Of Thought. A bit of light reading. But that first book illustrates that amazon has been so successful (the website sells my books so of course it is successful!) because it carries something for every interest.

Book cover The Hidden Light of Mexico City“Romantic and suspenseful! A great mix!”

Get THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY on amazon.com today.

5 Ways to Save What Matters

A recent walk through Panama’s Casco Viejo–with its alternately sad and hopeful mix of gutted buildings, slumdog shacks, churches, and newly restored upscale shops and hotels–reminded me of the importance of cultural preservation.  While this historic district goes through a transformation that will ultimately preserve the best of it, other cultural legacies have disappeared and those are sad stories, as if cultural practices and language and architecture are endangered species.

So, based on a wholly uninformed point of view, here are some ideas for preserving what matters:

Repurpose

The world is full of examples, notably of buildings, that get converted to another use in order to preserve them. When I was in college, we converted a local firehouse into a theater and the highlight of the season was the lead actor sliding down the firepole to make a grand entrance in Scappino. I was the stage manager for the production and still have scars on my right hand from the scene in which the pole was transformed into a flagpole with a series of distress flags hooked to a rope. As I worked the mechanism on the top floor above the stage, the hooks snagged my hand when the actor yanked too hard on the rope.

Example: The Hardware Store in Charlottesville, VA is a former Depression-era hardware store transformed into a restaurant. The original fittings have been preserved and the ambiance is right out of the 1930’s. The concept was so successful that the restaurant anchors the modernized downtown area of the city. Oh, and my main characters eat there in a thriller I’ve been working on set in Charlottesville.

Symbolize

Use the item we want to preserve as a logo or symbol to prompt interest and identification. While this may sound like a test for graphic designers, it is a good way to place the reminder of the thing to be preserved in alot of places, including social media pages, brochures, etc.

Example: Canning Across America is a clever website dedicated to preserving (sorry, just was too perfect) the art of home canning. The site uses a logo of a canning jar that manages to be edgy and hip even as the site showcases homey pictures of gorgeous jams and veggies and such.

Pedestrians Only

Many spaces we want to preserve have narrow streets. Stop putting cars through the area and convert to pedestrian use only to prevent damage to buildings and facilitate tourism so people can stop and linger. Put parking and access to public transportation nearby.  This is what I hope is eventually done to Panama’s Casco Viejo, where both streets and sidewalks are narrow. Pedestrians frequently end up walking in the sreet, endangering life and limb. Buildings are so close that drivers can’t see around them as they approach intersections. Driving through can really be a game of chicken.

Example: Most old European cities were smart enough not to stuff historic plazas full of cars. There are many beautiful open spaces that invite folks to walk through and find treasures in restaurants and shops. Brussels’s Grand Place main square is a great example. In Italy, a pedestrian square is an isola pedonale and Piazza Navona is my favorite (there’s a Furla store there, so not hard to see why I like it.)

Hall of Fame

Create a showcase of the best examples of culture in certain categories. There’s the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Baseball Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Hollywood’s Walk of Fame, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Nascar Hall of Fame, the National Air and Space Museum, etc. Obviously, this is a versatile concept.

Example: The Library of Congress has a National Recording Registry that functions as a sound-based hall of fame. As recently reported by Huffington Post, they inducted  “25 sounds that shaped the American cultural landscape.” How cool is that?!

Make it personal

Often, people don’t respond to a concept unless it becomes personal to them. Preservationists have to find a way to tie preservation to something that is personal to the audience in order to build interest and support and even participation.

Example: The endlessly creative website yesterday.sg is devoted to preserving Singapore’s cultural heritage. A campaign in January to raise awareness was a call for people to submit wedding photos taken at Singapore’s 64 national monuments.  People who sent in wedding photos would qualify to win diamond jewelry from a local store.

Subscribe to my monthly Mystery Ahead update and get your Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library today!

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

The Art of Casco Viejo

Panama’s old city, known as Casco Viejo, is located on a small peninsula that juts into the Pacific. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site with a warren of narrow streets and old buildings that were once the elegant homes of Spanish conquistadors. Over the years, the area was wracked by the sea and poverty and much of it became a slum. More recently, Casco Viejo has undergone a renaissance. A few shops and restaurants and boutique hotels have opened and most of the historic buildings are being renovated.

Corrugated iron barriers surround renovation sites and become the canvas for ugly grafitti. Except for the corner that turned construction barriers into an art installation. Here is some wonderful street art from a very unexpected place  All photos copyright Carmen Amato, April 2012.

Construction artwork signed by E. Sanchez Perez

Dooorways painted on construction barriers signed by B. Santana

Painting on construction barrier entitled Edificios del Casco

Painted trash cans near construction site in Casco Viejo

Giant fish painted on construction barrier hides plumbing materials

Subscribe to my monthly Mystery Ahead update and get your Detective Emilia Cruz Starter Library today!

© 2018 Carmen Amato.

Hello

I'm author Carmen Amato.

I used to work for the CIA, now I write mystery and suspense, including the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco.

Expect risk, power, corruption. And relationships with heat.

More

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