The unapologetically colorful tropics / Trópicos coloridos, sin reservas

Street vendor, Parque Los Caobos, Caracas, Venezuela (October, 1991)

(English version follows below). El viajero norteamericano o europeo que, súbito, aterriza en los trópicos, se expone a la maravilla de los colores tropicales.  Esa franja de tierra entre Cáncer y Capricornio tiene la cualidad de despertar el sentido de la visión. En su mente aún lleva el norteño los paisajes apagados y la vegetación rala del lugar de residencia. Apenas arriba al trópico, aquello se le viene encima: el verdor apabullante de una montaña, los árboles frondosos regados por doquier, la luz vertical de un sol que todo lo inunda, la vestimenta ligera y variopinta, los vegetales y frutas de matices atrevidos.  En comparación con quien atraviesa meridianos, el viajero que cruza latitudes está expuesto a los contrastes mayores. Por razones similares, hasta lo maravilloso se convierte en aburrido cuando no hay referencia para diferenciar*


The North American or European traveler who suddenly arrives in the tropics is in for the marvel of experiencing tropical colors. That band in between the tropic of Cancer and the tropic of Capricorn can really wake up the visual sense. Fresh in her mind, the Northerner still has the subdue landscapes and the rarefied vegetation of her place of residence. As soon as she lands in the tropics, she will be hit by the overwhelming greenery of a hill, the ubiquitous and luxuriant trees, the vertical sunshine that floods every corner, the light and multicolored outfits, the vegetables and fruits with the boldest hues. Compared to those who moves East or West, the traveler who crosses latitudes is likely to be exposed to the sharpest contrasts. Along the same lines, even the greatest wonders become routine when there is no background of reference*


  1. What an observant post. What is particularly true for me is that “vertical sunshine that floods every corner”–well put. My first trip back to the tropics where I was born (after growing up in Canada) was such a rich, visual experience. The colours that made their mark in the incessant sunlight were the deep chocolate browns of tilled soil, the lush green of tropical ferns, and the silky whites of cresting waves.


    1. A truly accurate description in words of tropical colors! Thank you! Since I grew up in the tropics, I was unaware for years of how the world looks like beyond the tropics: that came as a “discovery” later on. Of course, there is beauty to be found in the more restrained color palettes of the north. Appreciate your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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