Straight from the heart

Mar 10, 2016 | 0 comments

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American-born photographer Thomas Ives has worked for international news and feature magazines for over 38 years. His photo essays and images have appeared in National Geographic, Time, Geo, Stern, Newsweek, Life, Smithsonian, and many others publications. He currently lives in Vilcabamba with his Ecuadorian partner. For more about Thomas, click here, or here (en español).


Hula-Hula: ilusión dulce

My Ecuadorian partner was outside spinning her Hula-Hoop (known as hula-hula here in Ecuador) while singing a bouncy bachata tune for rhythm.

When I walked out to sit and watch she remarked “I can eat whatever I want as long as I spin my Hula Hula everyday for 15 minutes.” A half smile broke on her lips, her almond eyes met mine. I didn’t take the bait, only remarked “Si mi amor.”

While watching her shadow sway to the movement I reminisce about the fad that swept the USA in the mid-fifties. I should have left well enough alone but NO I went in to google Hula-Hoop and either waste or enrich an hour of my life.

Some hula hula records:

Aaron Hibbs of Columbus, Ohio spins a hoop for 74 hours and 54 minutes in Oct. 2009. Holy Toledo!

Paul “Dizzy Hips” Blair runs 10km while spinning one in just over an hour. Date unknown.

In 2016 Marwa the Amazing twirls 180 hoops at once besting her previous world record of 160. Vid on Youtube.

Austrian Roman Schedler holds two records:

He ran the 100 meter dash in13:84 seconds while twirling one.

In 2000 he spun a 53 pound tractor tire for 71 seconds at the Saxonia Record Festival in Bregenz, Austria.

Other less dramatic factoids:

Traditional Native American hoop dancers tell stories through the positioning and spins created.

There was a craze of using wooden and metal barrel hoops in 14th-century England … so it’s not a new fad.

Australian circus performer Judith Lanigan performed The Dying Swan – “… a tragedy with hula hoops” using 30 of them.

And finally: In 1960, Physicist T.K. Caughey, attempting to explain the phenomena in physical terms, publishes “Hula-Hoop: An Example of Heteroparametric Excitation” in the American Journal of Physics 28 (2): 104-109.

By the time I’m finished with my research and ready to go into town my Hula-hooper says: “Por favor, mi amor, regálame un croissant de chocolate.” (Pick me up a chocolate croissant please).

“Sorry, dear, they are closed today!” I immediately google chocolate croissant > calories > time / task to burn? Woowzer! You have to walk one hour, or play frisbee for 80 minutes, to burn off the 300 calories in one chocolate croissant. Hula-Hooping as calorie reduction regime is not listed.

I walk outside thinking about how to break the caloric news to her. She is now weeding in the garden and is still singing softly, this time a ballad by Chayanne “A Tú Te Vas.” At this moment, I realize, that what I have to share is really less important than what she is enjoying.

I wash two apples, and we sit together in the morning sun quietly enjoying them.

— Thomas H. Ives


Photo taken in Vilcabamba; Copyright; Thomas H. Ives 2016; Contact;



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