July 15, 2011

I live in the insanely beautiful Pacific Northwest. Due to our cloudy skies and somewhat damp weather (even in July), the color pallet can be quite muted — dark greens, blues, and greys.

So when I travel, I am drawn to the opposite. The rich and vibrant, almost electric colors that you will find on the houses in Cuba, in the shops in Bangkok, and in the markets in India.

The photo above was taken in a small mountain town in Colombia. We were looking for a place to park our bikes at the guest house and stumbled across this scene. It looked as if a cement truck filled with paint had backed up and unleashed a river of pigment.

The simple household items — brooms, dustpan, and hose — were elevated to art on this wall. The already bright blue hose was now painfully blue in contrast to its backdrop. The brooms appeared to have magical qualities. Perhaps we could ride them out of town instead of our bikes? The red spattered drain suggested that fresh paint was sprayed on nightly (probably with the bright blue hose) after everyone was asleep.

If I close my eyes I have a hard time remembering what the rest of the guest house looked like, or even the town. But I will always remember the wall.


Photo by Willie Weir

SIGHTS AND SOUNDS is posted every other Friday. Willie Weir is a columnist for Adventure Cyclist magazine. His books, Travels with Willie and Spokesongs, will inspire you to hit the road, and might change the way you approach bicycle travel. He lives in Seattle with his wife Kat. You can read about their adventures at


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