Exclusive Gadling Playlist: Tropical Beats And Rhythms Even If You’re Not On Spring Break

Once a month we put together an exclusive Gadling playlist – a little something to bring you sounds from around the world.

Every month we choose a theme paired with one of our #ontheroad Instagram locations and choose some of our favorite tracks, giving you a music-inspired playlist meant to inspire a little wanderlust.

Last week we hit up the island of Reunion and this week we’re in Cabo, and in celebration of getting a little sun and waves in around the time of spring break, we figured a tropical inspired playlist was just what we needed. We’re calling it “Tropical Beats and Rhythms Even If You’re Not on Spring Break,” because everyone could use a little warm weather inspired music, whether it’s vacation time or not. Enjoy!

Listen to the playlist on Spotify.

  1. Lenda – Céu
  2. Tchon Di Massa Pé – Zeca Di Nha Reinalda, João Cirilio & Blick Tchutchy
  3. Boa Sorte – Vanessa da Mata
  4. Gumboots – Paul Simon
  5. La Camisa Negra – Juanes
  6. Karambol – Ziskakan
  7. Zouk La Se Sel Medikaman Nou Ni – Kassava
  8. Parol – Baster
  9. Bring Me Your Cup – UB40
  10. 54-46 That’s My Number – Toots & Maytal
  11. Smoke on the Water – Senor Coconut
  12. Rhythym is Love – Keziah Jones
  13. Caxambu – Almir Guineto
  14. Pickney Gal – Desmond Dekker
  15. Warm Heart of Africa – The Very Best
  16. Can’t Stop Now – Major Lazer
  17. Sunset Tonight – Jordan T
  18. Cumbia Invasiva – Monareta
  19. Vampires (Afrolicious & Rob Garza Remix)- Thievery Corporation

Image: Alex Robertson Textor

Discovery Adventures Announces New Tours For 2013

Discovery Adventures offers new options for 2013The calendar may still say 2012, and I know we all have a busy holiday season to navigate yet, but it is never too early to start planning our trips for the new year ahead. To help us out with that process, Discovery Adventures has announced a host of new tours and destinations, adding even more depth to an existing line-up of stellar itineraries.

For 2013, Discovery has unveiled 13 new tours to 11 new countries, offering diverse and unique experiences in some of the most amazing places on the planet. Those new destinations include Malaysia, Bhutan, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Iceland, Colombia, Chile, Israel and Singapore. The trips are designed to immerse travelers in the local culture and provide opportunities that aren’t easily found anywhere else. For instance, on the new Moroccan Dreams itinerary, visitors will camp in the desert and explore remote mountain villages, while the Malaysia & Borneo Adventure will provide contrasts between the bustling urban settings of Kuala Lumpur with the tranquil and serene rainforest. Other options include a visit to Iceland‘s lava fields, learning to cook in India and searching for the Big Five on safari in Kenya and Tanzania.

As the travel arm for the very popular Discovery Channel, Discovery Adventures feels that it has an outstanding reputation to live up to. That’s why the company is so selective about the destinations and tours that it offers. These new additions to their catalog bring the total number of trips to just 34, which is in sharp contrast to some other companies that offer dozens of options.

Their commitment to providing high quality tours for their guests doesn’t end there, however, as the company has also announced a new policy that guarantees that 100% of its trips will depart as scheduled. The new policy begins in January of next year and ensures that clients will be able to both book, and travel, with confidence.

[Photo Credit: Discovery Adventures]

Coffee Cupping In Colombia

“A hint of chocolate, a whisper of citrus,” he tells the barista. He’s a foodie, so unlike me, he actually smells these aromas. This isn’t a wine tasting – I’m at a coffee cupping in a coffee lab in Bogota, Colombia. Coffee cupping is a ritual taken very seriously by food and wine geeks, and an intriguing challenge for caffeine addicts like me.

We’re standing around a table in the pristine lab that’s tucked behind a glass wall in E&D Cafés. Locals seated at tables in the coffee bar on the far side of the glass drink espresso and stare at us, while cafe owner Jamie Duque introduces us to the ritual.

Ten empty cups sit on the table before me near a metal bowl, our spittoon. We start by taking a sip from each of the first four cups, which have been filled with different types of water. After each sip, we spit into the metal bowl before moving on to the next one. Deciding which cups hold the sweet, salty, bitter and acidic tastes helps activate our palates.

I step back to take a picture and bump into the metal counter that stretches the length of the room. On it, there’s an industrial-size coffee grinder and containers with clear water that Jean’s assistant is using to fill our coffee cups. A colorful coffee taster’s flavor wheel hangs on the wall. At one end of the room a massive coffee-bean roaster sits against a brick wall and there’s a lingering smoky scent, perhaps from the last coffee that was roasted.

Apparently there are more than 30 different aromas a truly sensitive palate can taste while drinking coffee, according to Duque. Coffee from the central region of Colombia, for example, tends to be sweet because sugar cane also is grown in the same location. Coffee from Sumatra, however, has a more earthy taste, because the beans dry on the soil, Duque says.
After this discussion, we move to three more cups that have been filled with samples of the inexpensive brands of coffee one buys off a supermarket shelf. Duque pours water into them and says, “Break the crust gently by moving the spoon back and forth to release the aroma. Then, sniff hard.”

I follow his instructions but have to swallow a giggle listening to my friends sniff like they are in the fourth day of a cold. Here’s when the suggestions start flowing. “Chocolate,” “bitter,” “sweet,” different people reply. I keep quiet, recognizing that subtle coffee tastes are not my forté. To me, it’s “just right,” “too strong,” or “too weak.”The remaining cups are filled with carefully measured amounts of three different types of ground coffee beans that were picked in different growing areas in Colombia. (To create good coffee, the amounts used are very important, according to Duque.) After going through the sniff routine, we move on to the “slurp” movement we were taught when tasting the first three cups. We gently skim off the crust that’s formed on the top of the coffee in our cups and toss it into the spittoon. Then, as Duque had explained, we proceed to “slurp” a bit of the brew and move it around our mouths to sense the coffee’s essence. For the next few minutes, it sounds as if we are in a Japanese noodle shop, slurping noisily to show our appreciation for the taste.

Finally, the specific coffees we are tasting, and the region each comes from, are revealed. After amiable arguments about which brew has the best taste, we’re each allowed to choose our favorite and take 100 grams of beans back home to the States.

As we’ve been tasting, Duque has been scribbling facts about Colombian coffee on the glass wall with a black pen. Duque has a friendly face, with a smile that invites friendship but disappears when he starts giving you facts about the coffee industry in Colombia. At times, listening to him is like learning from a college professor teaching a popular class. He explains that there are 800,000 coffee farms in this country and about two million people make their living directly or indirectly from coffee. The coffee is grown mostly in small farms on land that’s between 1,100 and 2,000 meters above sea level. The types of soil differ greatly, ensuring different coffee profiles.

Duque knows these facts because he’s a driving force in Colombia’s coffee industry. An agricultural engineer by training, his youthful looks – despite slightly thinning black hair – belie that fact that he has spent 20 years working with coffee growers and producers. His focus: to help coffee growers reach social, technical and environmental sustainability, in part through the implementation of certification programs to ensure quality coffee. In the lab he designed at E&D Cafés (which stands for Education and Development of Coffees), he works with coffee producers and retains an overview of the coffee chain, from the growers to the baristas making cappuccinos for the line of locals in the coffee bar.

If you’re visiting Bogota, you can arrange to partake in a coffee cupping in the lab at E&D Cafés. It takes about one- to one-and-a-half hours, and it costs approximately $25 a person, although the price for bigger groups is flexible.

Drink, slurp, spit! The essence of a coffee cupping. Back home, after brewing the coffee I purchased at E&D Cafés, it’s strictly “drink, drink, drink” – and savor the memory of a special day.

Colombiamoda 2012: Fashion And Culture In Colombia

colombia fashion For those with an interest in travel, fashion and culture, Colombia hosted their annual Colombiamoda fashion event this past week, from July 24-26. The event is world-renowned, with over 30,000 industry professionals from 46 countries coming from all over the world to attend. In fact, Colombiamoda is such an important happening; it helped place Medellin on the map as the “fashion capital of Colombia.”

It’s not just attractive models and high-end retailers that make Colombiamoda such a hit, but the fact that fashion and textiles play a very important role in the city. Medellin is often considered the industrial capital of Colombia, with textiles being one of their biggest areas of commerce. Fifty-three percent of total exports of finished clothing go to countries like the United States, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Ecuador and Europe. Moreover, the industry generates 30 percent of Medellin’s employment.

%Gallery-161283%The event is also important because of Colombia’s stance as a major influence on world fashion. For one, garments are high quality and unique but cost very little to make. Additionally, many popular brands are produced there, such as Abercrombie & Fitch, Calvin Klein, Dockers, Gap, Levi Strauss, Polo Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Locals take great pride in their city’s reputation, and designers at the show often have their garments reflect the culture and lifestyle of Colombia.

Visitors also got a taste of Mexican fashion from international guest and designer Christian Cota, who based his pieces on the story of an American girl in love with Mexican culture. Cota used craft traditions of the Aztec country roots and handmade garments for his creations.

Looking to attend other major fashion events during fashion season? Upcoming Fashion Weeks include:

  • New York- September 6 to 13, 2012
  • London- September 14 to 18, 2012
  • Milan- September 18 to 24, 2012
  • Paris- September 25 to October 3, 2012
  • Tokyo- October 14 to 24, 2012

As of now, Colombiamoda 2013 is set for July 23 to 25. For a more visual idea of the event, check out the gallery above.

[photos via Proexport]

Video: Living In The Sewers Of Colombia

Living in the sewers isn’t just for teenage mutant ninja turtles. In Colombia, there’s a culture of sewer-dwellers. There’s even a counterculture to this counterculture: people who are known as the “death squads” who routinely pour gasoline into the sewers and fire rounds in an effort to scare the sewer-dwellers off, or at least torment them. On top of this threat, these people also face the daily threat of flash floods, rats, feces and the unpredictable behavior of drug addicts who also wander into the sewers. Follow VICE through this video as they navigate the sewer life in Colombia.

Cocaine Use 'Threatens Colombia'