Meet the Correspondent: Omar Jaramillo > Berlin$show=/search/label/Omar%20Jaramillo

"I was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, where I studied architecture. I moved to Kassel (Germany) in 1999 to accomplish a master degree. Although I have always drawn and paint, it was not until I started studying in the Uni-Kassel, that I started keeping a travel sketchbook. I had a teacher there who used to do a lot of sketches when he travelled on university excursions. When he retired, I helped to organize an exhibition of his sketches. He brought a huge box full of sketchbooks he had filled since he was an architecture student. I spent a whole day selecting the most interesting drawings. It was a wonderful experience that opened my eyes to a new world. In the last 10 years I have the feeling of being in a long journey. I like to discover the cities where I live, to understand why a place is the way it is and what makes it different and unique from others. Drawing is for me a way to learn to love a place, to become part of it. I like to draw architecture but I am more attracted to urban scenery, portraying how people live in the city. Since I’m a foreigner, everything that locals find normal and taken-for-granted, for me is exotic. I always carry a small watercolor travel set from Windsor and Newton and my sketchbook in my bag. I always thought that drawing was a solitary experience until I found Urban Sketchers. It was amazing to find so many people doing the same thing. It is a great place to share!" • Omar's blog. • Omar's art on flickr. • Omar's website.

Meet the Correspondent: Luis Ruiz > Malaga, Spain$show=/search/label/Luis%20Ruiz

Pokhara to Kathmandu

I could have easily run away to Pokhara and never gone back to Istanbul, but I had to return to Kathmandu. I decided to split the long ride back into two days, the first day would be about a four hour bumpy bus ride to Dumre, then a twenty minute microbus up the hill to the town of Bandipur, where I'd spend the night. The second part of the journey would be getting back down to Dumre and taking a microbus to Kathmandu. Bandipur is a gem of a town, with rolling green hills, spectacular views of the Himalaya, and some of the best-preserved Newari architecture in the region— the only drawback is that it is a little pricier than I had anticipated. I could only stay the night, but made the most of it by hiking up the massive hill by the town's entrance that held a tiny temple at its tip, Thani Mai.

Hiking up to Thani Mai was an overwhelming experience; it was physically hard, but there was this point when I felt my body vanish, though I were floating up the hill's wet path like a breath. The mountains were to my right, silently watching above the monsoon clouds.

I started this sketch of a typical building in Bandipur, but the mosquitoes were driving me batty, so this was as far as I got. I've taken to using coffee as my brush water, and I quite like the earthy colours it creates. Below is a portrait of the microbus I took back to Kathmandu, which was a crowded and wild ride. The driver and his "bus attendants"— guys who yell "KATMANDOOKATMANDOOOO!" out the window for him and collect the fares— had great senses of humour and made the four sticky hours pass with ease. When we stopped for a break, I sketched our trusty micro and unintentionally gathered the small group of our passengers around me. We went through my sketchbook before hopping back onto the bus.

While hiking down from Sarangkot in Pokhara, where I drew the Annapurna range, I had slipped on a wet rock and gashed open my leg. I'll spare you the details, but it was pretty deep and bled like crazy. Once back in Kathmandu,
I noticed the wound was developing an infection. So I drew it.
I now have some very nice curved scars as souvenirs.

See the photos, read the story on my blog Harika!



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