Page 1




Vietnam The Lost Jewel of Asia

also in this issue Spectacular National Parks Get a Taste of Trinidad Visit Emerald Ireland

Stowaway SUMMER 2010



Vietnam: The Lost Jewel of Asia Nowhere else looks or feels like Vietnam, and no other place offers the breathtaking views, cultural history, and affordability available here.

America’s Treasures: Spectacular National Parks From the year-round snow of Denali to the mangroves of the largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., explore seven of America’s national treasures.


42 Finding the Magic of Ireland

ON THE COVER Vietnamese people call this bay “the Bay of Descending Dragons,” remembering the legendary defense of the area from invading sailors which gave birth to Vietnam as a nation.

2 >> SUMMER 2010

Discover Ireland’s enchanting landscapes and welcoming people with the help of a native and the perspective of a traveler.


61 Editor’s Note 5

Culture Explorant le Louvre Meet Shen Yun Kabuki Magical Mystery Tour A Slice of Life Gelato

8 9 10 12 14 15

Getaway The Ozarks Bear Lake San Rafael Swell Going Coastal Once Upon a Childhood Smart Stargazing

18 18 19 20 22 24

Field Notes 26 28 29 30

14 14

Go Guate Coming Home Tales from the Trip Surviving Spelunking




48 49 50 51 51 54 56 56 57 58 59 61

Bartering Basics See Spot Travel Dealing with Differences Prep for the Unexpected Responsible Tourism Navigating the Underground Say ‘Namaste’ to India Finding Your Bearings A Taste of Trinidad Message on a Bottle Traveling with a Purpose Fund Your Own Adventure

64 Between the Lines: Gafanhoto 65 Last Look: The Subway

cover: starcatcher. 14: tomasz kulbowski; 20: timo balk; 32: Daniel hoherd; 37: MOab area travel council; 42: jim linwood; 58: skip the budgie; 61: shelly mcconnell. back cover: kevin mcgarry.w


Stowaway SUMMER 2010

Editor in Chief Marvin K. Gardner

Managing Editor Heather Wrigley

Assistant managing Editor Sara Duke

Editors Claire Brazelton, Caitlin Channer, Amy Heaton, Chantal John, Emily McBride, Olivia Serafin

Copyeditors Emma Andrews, Jamie Layton

Art Director William Bennett

Designers Aubrey Carr, Natasia Garrett, Rachel Giddings, Allison Morgan, Joanna Mortensen

Production Director Dayna Thomas

Business Manager Kate Lindsay

Advisor Sean Johnson

Left to right, top to bottom: Heather, Sara, Claire, Caitlin, Amy, Chantal, Emily, Olivia, Emma, Jamie, Will, Aubrey, Natasia, Rachel, Allison, Jo, Dayna, Kate.

© 2010 Marvin K. Gardner 4045 JFSB, Brigham Young University Provo, Utah 84602 Printed by MagCloud Stowaway was produced as a group project for English Language 430R, Editing for Publication, the capstone class of the editing minor at Brigham Young University. All staff members contributed to planning, writing, editing, and designing. The views expressed in this publication are solely the views of the authors and in no way represent the views or opinions of BYU. Stowaway takes inspiration from these words of Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” 4 >> SUMMER 2010

editor’s note

Discover Stowaway Summer 2010 is our second issue of Stowaway magazine. You’ll notice there have been quite a few changes made from the previous issue. With reorganized sections, an updated look, and broadened content, we bring you a magazine about conscientious travel for the young, the uninitiated, and the experienced. The Summer 2010 issue is heading to greater places—metaphorically and literally; we hope you’ll join us and enjoy the improvements we’ve made. You can experience them here or online at In Stowaway’s second issue, we place a premium on authenticity, culture, experience, and sustainability. Follow us more than 9,000 miles around the globe, across the world’s largest ocean, through dense green underbrush, past brightly colored pagodas, to a place with a history—Vietnam. Check out “Vietnam: The Lost Jewel

of Asia” on pages 32–36 to experience the floating village markets and bustling, bike-filled city centers. Instead of mere sightseeing, retrace the steps of the Fab 5 in a magical music tour in our Culture section on pages 12–13 or get a taste for Italy reading “Gelato” on page 15. Plan your summer getaway—whether it be for a weekend, a week, or a while longer—with ideas from hiking the Ozarks to reliving your childhood in our new Getaway section on pages 17–24. And check out pages 47–65 for our Insider tips for travel—from traveling with pets (page 49) to traveling with less-thanpleasant companions (page 50). Finally, explore ­­­­­our Field Notes section, pages 25–30 for up-close and personal interviews, service experiences, and humorous “Tales from the Trip.” Authenticity, culture, experience, and sustainability are the points of the compass we use to steer you to destinations that are deeper than the print on the page. We hope these pages will pique your interest, engage your mind, and inspire you to explore these places firsthand and begin the journey of discovering a place that speaks to you.

photo by jonathan wrigley.

Heather Wrigley managing editor


Ready for summer? Don’t let classes stop you from studying abroad, going home, or taking that long overdue road trip with your friends. With BYU Independent Study, you get the freedom to travel while earning credits you need to graduate. Who says that you can’t be successful in school and have fun? Now is the perfect time to plan your summer. Sign up for courses at any time, with up to a full year to complete them. Set your own deadlines and create your own schedule. You can even look at the syllabus before you enroll so you know exactly what you’ll be doing. This should be the summer of your life! Don’t let a couple of credits hold you back from freedom.


Culture ARTS >> Explore the Louvre, enjoy classical

Chinese ballet, experience Kabuki theater, and follow in the tracks of the Beatles. pages 8–13

EATS >> Sample cities’ flavor through their food markets and taste a bit of Italy. pages 14–15

Explorant le Louvre Making the Most of the Museum

It could easily take you several weeks to walk through the Louvre’s galleries (which feature 35,000 works of priceless art) let alone enjoy them. But don’t be intimidated by this landmark next time you visit Paris. Even if you have only a few hours, here are some tips to help make the most of your visit. Visit

Do your art homework

The Louvre has a fantastic website—use it. Check the calendar for special events and for exhibit openings and closures. While the most popular exhibits are open on a regular basis, many others have rotating schedules based on security needs. Don’t show up with your heart set on seeing a collection only to discover it is closed that day. Avoid lines by buying your ticket through the website; allow a few weeks because tickets are distributed by mail and cannot be picked up at the museum.

If you’re not careful, you’ll spend almost as much time looking at the tiny, text-heavy plaques next to the works of art as you will at the actual masterpieces. “Do your homework!” says Heather Jensen, assistant director of art education at Brigham Young University. “Know the things you want to see; read as much as you can so when you go you can appreciate the art itself.”

Choose your best time For quieter times, try the museum as soon as it opens or during lunch hours, which are later for the French, from about one to three in the afternoon. If you don’t mind crowds, admission is free on the first Sunday of the month and on July 18, Bastille Day. Weeknights are generally less busy, and Friday nights are free for those under age 26. Venus de Milo by unknown sculptor, circa 130 bc. 8 >> SUMMER 2010

Detail from Four Captives by Martin Van Den Bogaert, 1686.

Map out an itinerary Prepare a prioritized list of the galleries and pieces you must see. Get acquainted with the complex layout of the museum with the interactive floor plan feature on the website and chart possible routes. The information desk also has pamphlets of prearranged routes based on artistic themes. Or download Rick Steve’s interactive Louvre tour for $2.99 on your iPod. And what about the Mona Lisa? “Overrated,” many say since it’s surprisingly tiny, covered in bulletproof glass, and surrounded by a ten-foot radius of red velvet rope and an even larger crowd. Then again, “The first question people will ask is what you think about the Mona Lisa,” says Jensen. Her advice? See it—“so you can check off that you’ve seen the most famous painting in the western world”—then book it out of there. —Olivia Serafin

Clockwise from top Left: etienne boucher; ginda liu; george popa; Christa Richert; swally gobetz; shawn lipowski. Previous page: toastbrot81.


Meet Shen Yun Each golden sunrise in China illuminates the countryside and radiates through the flourishing cityscape, revealing a civilization and culture built on 5,000 years of tradition. This tradition, believed to be divinely inspired, celebrates dance as a form of beauty, self-expression, and storytelling.

The Shen Yun company, whose Chinese name is shown at right, takes a bow after a performance.

The mission of the Shen Yun Performing Arts is to revive and continue China’s ancient culture by sharing with the world the exhilarating experience of traditional Chinese dance. Nearly all of the Shen Yun performers are Chinese or of Chinese descent. Dressed in brightly colored, elegant costumes designed to honor China’s heritage, they touch audiences with their grace and discipline while expressing emotion and adventure through music and movement. The show dawns with the ringing of a gong, and then a live orchestra with a blend of Chinese and Western instruments takes the audience on a melodious and emotional journey as they watch the Shen Yun

performers on stage, dancing in front of Chinese landscapes portrayed on an animated digital backdrop. “This has to be the most beautiful show that I’ve seen,” says one audience member. “It’s so colorful, so intriguing, and you can hardly wait until the next number.” The Shen Yun Performing Arts began in New York in 2006 as the Divine Performing Arts. In their few years they have experienced amazing growth and success. In 2009 their performances drew a total of 800,000 people. Throughout the year they travel across the globe to share their passion and talent with audiences everywhere, and each year their show is entirely new. With performances in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, and South America, the Shen Yun Performing Arts can be easily planned into a vacation, and with the majesty of Shen Yun’s music and dance, the performance could quickly become the highlight of an unforgettable trip. Check out for tour destinations and ticket prices. —Jamie Layton

神 韵 艺 术 团 STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 9




Each year hundreds of people flock to Shakespearean festivals or productions of The Magic Flute and The Nutcracker. Many Westerners have been taught to respect the famous creators of high art, such as Shakespeare or Mozart—and for good reason, considering their genius and skill. Since these renowned performances are so familiar, it’s easy to return to them again and again. But culture seekers might be excited to know there are more options for filling their culture quota than listening to the same pieces by the Boston Philharmonic every year. One such option is kabuki theater. Kabuki is a traditional Japanese theatrical form that originated during the early seventeenth century. Left: The Kabuki-za Theater opened in Tokyo in 1889 and burned down in 1922. The theater pictured was built in 1924 in its place and carries the same name. Above: Kabuki performers bow after a performance in France.

Even though Japan seems as different from the West as you can get, the stories of human conflict in kabuki are surprisingly similar to our own beloved classics. One of the more common kabuki plot lines is the love suicide, which can be compared to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Another common storyline is that of a magic object being stolen, much like Disney’s Aladdin. And if Dickens’s A Christmas Carol is more to your liking, there’re always the classic ghost plays. But don’t be discouraged if this doesn’t sound as unusual as you had hoped. Kabuki’s real divergence from Western tradition is in the exotic music, dramatic movement, and alluring color of the plays. It makes sense that the individual characters for kabuki in Japanese mean “sing” , “dance” , and “skill” , considering that the plays often revolve around singing and dancing performed by skilled actors. However, these musical dramas are not like Fiddler on the Roof or Seven Brides for Seven Brothers; in fact, almost everything about the music and dance is different from typical Western productions. Though the music does involve drums and flutes, both familiar in the West, the 10 >> SUMMER 2010

Clockwise from top left: Jean-Pierre Dalbera; Aaron R.; Jean-Pierre Dalbera; Jean-Pierre Dalbera; Michael Maggs.

A Break from the Familiar

most common kabuki instrument is a shamisen—something like a threestringed guitar that envelops its audience in a dream-like melody. The singing and dancing in kabuki add to the surreal atmosphere of the plays. The singing is more like melodious chanting, and the dancing isn’t always dancing in the traditional sense of the word. Dr. Jack Stoneman, a professor of Japanese literature and a scholar of Japanese theater, explains the inadequacy of the word dance when describing the movement in a kabuki play: “[Kabuki] tells a story, a narrative, through dance; but you’ll also have the movements of various characters . . . which are less like dance and more like dramatic miming.” In other words, the actors will pose or make dramatic gestures to establish character or to emphasize an emotion. For example, in one play called Kumagai Jinya, Kumagai, the main character, must kill the son of his wife’s ex-mistress, Lady Fuji. Kumagai is reluctant to kill the boy because Lady Fuji helped his family escape from her service, thus making him indebted to her. Unfortunately, if he doesn’t perform the deadly deed, his allies will do so—and with less mercy. When he realizes this, he attempts to draw his sword, but finding himself powerless to do so, hits his breast with a closed fan instead, demonstrating his lack of conviction. Later, while recounting the story to his wife and Lady Fuji he sways his head, but upon

reaching the point where he must admit the murder, he suddenly stops in horror and gazes aimlessly at the audience, demonstrating his anguish. These poses are called mie, and often audience members will shout at the actors during such poses, encouraging them to go on.

Left: Fumie Hihara plays a shamisen. Below: Eiko Hayashi wears a classical Japanese wig. Above: A Kabuki performer rehearses in New York.

The garish costumes and exotic makeup ornamenting each actor help accentuate these poses and gestures. The painted white face of Sayuri in Memoirs of a Geisha is taken to the next step with dramatic shading around the eyes and mouth that emphasizes and exaggerates dramatic facial expressions. Traditional Japanese kimonos are embellished with stiff fabric and bright colors to increase the impact of each performance. Although you may have to step out of your comfort zone a bit when viewing kabuki, the enchanting beauty, color, and rhythm will make it worth your while. And to help prepare you for this new experience, Dr. Stoneman offers this suggestion: “Figure out the story before you see it. If you go cold turkey it’s just going to be like sensory overload because it is colorful, it’s loud, it’s not like theater we’re used to. . . . Once you know the story and you can recognize it, then you’re free to really enjoy the exotic aspects.” —Joanna Mortensen

STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 1 1



e t r s y y M Tour 6 Must-See Beatles Sites

According to the Beatles, all you need is love. Try telling that to their fans, who couldn’t get enough of their music, and still can’t: last year’s release of the remastered versions of the Beatles’ British albums sparked a huge increase in sales. The 14 albums charted a combined 230 weeks on Billboard’s Top 200 as of February 2010, with the albums Abbey Road, Revolver, and Rubber Soul hitting number one. Odds are big that this summer the places the Beatles lived, sang, and died will be hotter spots than ever to visit. Consider this your ticket to ride in discovering the lives of the group that shaped a generation.

LIVERPOOL Here, beneath the blue suburban skies of Liverpool and its environs, the Beatles got their start. John Lennon and Paul McCartney met for the first time at St. Peter’s Church (1) on Church Road in Woolton, a town outside the city, when Paul came to the church to see a performance by John’s band, the Quarrymen. In the churchyard are the gravestones of Eleanor Rigby and of John’s uncle, George Smith. A few years later, having established themselves locally, the Beatles spent many a hard day’s night at the Cavern Club (2) in downtown Liverpool on Mathew Street, where from 1961 to 1963 they played an incredible 292 performances. Though the original club was torn down in an ill-fated city rejuvenation plan, a new building now stands on almost the same spot. Visit the club in the evenings for one of the frequent live performances on a stage done up as it was in the sixties. You may run into Allan Williams, the Beatles’ first manager, who is a regular customer.

1 12 >> SUMMER 2010

GET THERE: For St. Peter’s, take the A562 highway from downtown Liverpool. Check out stpeters-woolton. for both a schedule of church services (should you feel so inclined) and other information regarding the Beatles connection. To visit the Cavern Club, find tiny Mathew Street branching off east from North John Street downtown, not far from Princes Dock.


1: Penelope Schenk; 2, 3: William Bennett; 4: Matthew Strmiska; 5: Radballen; 6: Eva McDermott.

—William Bennett

LONDON From their humble start in Liverpool, the Beatles’ increasing success in Hamburg, Germany, led them to move to London to further their musical careers. Abbey Road Studios (3), located in the London neighborhood of St. John’s Wood, housed the growth and evolution of their sound as the group recorded nearly all of their albums there between 1962 and 1970. Visitors often sign the concrete and ironwork fence outside the studios; add your own tag with a favorite Beatles lyric. Don’t forget to get your picture taken in the famous crosswalk in front of the studios in imitation of the Abbey Road album cover image. As their fame and fortune grew, the Beatles established their own media company, Apple Corps, whose headquarters were located at 3 Savile Row (4) in Mayfair, a fashionable district of downtown London. The offices are also notable as the rooftop location of the famous Let It Be live concert on January 30, 1969. The building is currently being remodeled and will be put up for sale. Any takers? Make sure to plan your visit before the new offices go in.

3 4

GET THERE: On the Underground (London’s subway system), you can access Abbey Road Studios through St. John’s Wood station on the Jubilee line. To visit 3 Savile Row, get off at the Piccadilly Circus station on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines.




In 1971, Lennon moved to New York with Yoko Ono. After living in a small apartment in Greenwich Village, the two relocated in 1973 to a posh apartment building, the Dakota (5), on West 72nd Street overlooking Central Park. There on December 9, 1980, Mark David Chapman gunned down Lennon in an entryway to the apartments. Following his murder, a beautiful memorial of landscaped gardens and mosaics known as Strawberry Fields (6) was created in his honor across the street from the Dakota in Central Park. In keeping with Lennon’s imagining of a world filled with people living life in peace, Ono makes a public pilgrimage to the spot each year on the anniversary of his death. Hundreds of people crowd the area around Strawberry Fields each day to pay their respects to the musician. GET THERE: Both spots are accessible from the 72nd Street station on the B and C lines of the New York subway. From the Dakota on the corner of 72nd and West Central Park Road, walk northeast along the park’s edge to find the memorial. STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 1 3


A Slice of Life One of the best ways to get to know a city is by exploring its food markets. Real life happens here, and you can be a part of it. Sample authentic foods, watch locals plan their meals for the week, and haggle with vendors over the price of meat. —Emily McBride

Spice Bazaar Istanbul, Turkey

Borough Market London, England Borough Market changes depending on the day you visit. Thursday and Friday have a wide and varied selection of produce, but on Saturday over 160 vendors bring out an international spread, with foods from baklava and falafel to ostrich burgers and traditional English pies. This covered market, claiming to date back hundreds of years to the time of Roman occupation, is located just south of St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Kreta Ayer Wet Market Chinatown, Singapore “Wet” markets get their name from the vendors spraying down their produce, which makes the floor wet. Besides finding a large selection of fruits and vegetables, you’ll also find all sorts of live animals for sale. If you’re brave enough, you can poke the turtles, eels, frogs, or snakes to pick which one you want to cook for dinner. Be sure to explore the rest of Chinatown on your visit. 1 4 > > SU M M E R 2 0 1 0

clockwise from top left: Lize Rixt; Taylor Dundee; Rachel Giddings; Chooyutshing; Tomasz Kulbowski.

Started in the 1600s, this is called the Spice Market for a reason—vendors sell thousands of spices, including cumin, sumac, cinnamon, and saffron, to name a few. You’ll also find nuts, dried fruit, seeds, and sweets, such as lokum, or Turkish Delight. In Turkish the market’s name is Misir Çarsisi, which translates to “Egyptian Market.” Supposedly most of the spices used to come from Egypt. Resting along the shore of the Golden Horn estuary, the Spice Bazaar is a seventeenth-century, L-shaped building made up of 88 vaulted rooms.

Pike Place Fish Market Seattle, Washington

Shop Smart Shopping in busy city markets can get overwhelming. Here are a few tips for a fun experience: • Go either early or late to avoid crowds. Go early if you want to get first pick; go late if you want the best deals. • Bring a backpack or a bag to make it easier to carry your purchases. • Bring cash. Expect to barter (see page 48 for info on bartering).

“Caution: Low Flying Fish” reads a nearby sign. Pike Place Fish Market, an open-air market in the heart of Seattle, is famous for its fish throwing. Pick out your fish, and the fishmongers, in their rubber boots and coveralls, will save time by literally throwing the fish to another employee to prep them for purchase, while repeatedly shouting the orders to each other. The adjoining Pike Place Market offers fresh produce as well as street food. You can find Pike Place right on the waterfront downtown.


Not Your Mamma’s Ice Cream

• Experiment and try new foods! Ask vendors for tips on how to cook or eat whatever you’re purchasing.

Many tourists from Italy come back raving about it: not just the art, not just the food in general, but the gelato. Gelato differs from American ice cream in taste, texture, and appearance, but does that make it any better? Gelato lovers will tell you yes, and here’s why. The first major difference is in the ingredients. Unlike ice cream, gelato isn’t always made with heavy cream. Instead, gelato is often made with nonfat milk, a heated base—usually egg—and more sugar than is usually found in ice cream. The higher sugar content keeps gelato from solidifying when frozen. The freezing process for gelato also contributes to the texture. True gelato is frozen quickly and in small batches. This results in a dessert that has almost half as much air as ice cream. Gelato is therefore smoother and sweeter than ice cream, literally melting in your mouth. Unfortunately, the very things that make gelato unique also make it harder to find in the United States. Even when American gelato is made with the proper ingredients, it rarely matches the texture of true Italian gelato. American ice cream makers take longer to freeze the gelato, often causing a gritty or heavy texture. And shipping gelato in from Italy isn’t cost-effective because gelato rarely keeps more than a few days in a freezer due to its higher sugar content. Of course, this doesn’t mean that American gelato isn’t worth eating. Try a local gelato shop—instead of coming in gallon-sized buckets, gelato is most often sold in single servings or hand-packed pints at gelaterías. To get the full experience, search for a traditional Italian flavor. Vanilla and chocolate may be American staples, but give straciatella (cream-flavored gelato with a frozen chocolate drizzle), nocciola (hazelnut), bacio (chocolate and hazelnut), blood orange, or lemon a try. —Rachel Giddings STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 1 5

Pick Your Continent

International Study Programs at the Kennedy Center serves students, faculty, and departments by facilitating the development and implementation of quality international academic experiences. Use the Program Finder ( to choose the best fit for your academic and professional goals covering four types of programs for any major to department-specific opportunities. Study Abroad

Students attend classes taught by BYU faculty that are enriched by excursions to local sites and immersion in a new culture. Some programs offer general education courses while others offer major-specific courses. These are excellent for students who are traveling overseas for the first time and who want a structured program with plenty of interaction with BYU faculty and students.

Direct Enrollment Students attend classes at an international institution of higher education. Classes are taught by local professors with the credit transferring back to BYU. Direct enrollment is ideal for students who are willing to accept the challenges of facing a new culture on their own or in small groups of other BYU students.

International Stud\ Programs Field Study

A field study is designed to help students prepare for graduate school or a career in cross-cultural/international consulting or research. Small groups of students, or individuals, live within a communityâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;immersed in the local culture, as they carry out their own research projects. This type of program requires independent, committed, and self-motivated students, who are willing to prepare themselves through a semester-long preparation course, and who are willing to live in local conditions as members of a culture and community. Students are academically guided by one or several faculty mentors, as well as assisted with logistical arrangements by ISP staff throughout their preparations and field experience.

International Internships

Individual students or small groups work with international companies, government organizations, or development agencies. International internships are intended to provide a practical application of classroom learning. On-the-job experience is enhanced by regular feedback from a BYU faculty mentor. These internships are geared toward students who are independent, self-motivated, and willing to face the challenges of a new culture on their own. 101 HRCB | (801) 422-3686 | |

Getaway AWAY FOR A WEEKEND >> Your guide to three lesser-known

but gorgeous vacation spots in the US. pages 18–19

AWAY FOR A WEEK >> Broaden your horizons with these island adventures. pages 20–21

AWAY FOR A WHILE >> Mix childhood, books, and travel

this summer. pages 22–23

ON FOOT >> Satisfy your inner astronomer and learn to spot the best stars in this summer’s sky. page 24

away for a weekend

The Ozarks

to experience the Ozark Mountains. For a bit more excitement, Ozark Mountains are famous for their incredible motorcycle runs. You can rent a motorcycle at and then cruise through twisty roads and beautiful mountain passages. For more information visit,, branson/branson.aspx, or —Aubrey Carr

Bear Lake Bear Lake, one of the largest natural lakes in the western United States, is a beautiful vacation destination straddling the Idaho-Utah border. With its unique turquoise-blue water and mountainous terrain, it’s the perfect location for you to relax and enjoy the fresh air. The scenic mountains provide great sites for camping, rivers for fishing, and trails for hiking and four-wheeling. Tucked nicely into the mountainside is Minnetonka Cave. For $5 you can tour the nine-room cave and see a stunning view of Bear Lake Valley. The lake itself attracts crowds of people for boating, swimming, water skiing, and wave running. The 45 miles of paved road surrounding the lake make it easy to get around. Along the west side of the lake, play a round at the Bear Lake Golf Course, shop at Brown Bear gift shop, and visit Pickleville Playhouse, which offers family entertainment, including old-time melodramas and musicals. Enjoy eating at the Bear Trapper Steak House, Lakeside Pizza, and the notorious Le Beau’s, where you can devour their specialty—raspberry shakes. Raspberry Days, an annual celebration during the first week of August, features rodeos, food, parades, fireworks, and craft fairs. For more information, visit —Claire Thornock Brazelton 1 8 > > SU M M E R 2 0 1 0

left page: top, Oakley Originals; bottom, ron reiring; Right page: Photos by Barton Giddings. previous page: gobucks2.

The beauty of the Ozarks, the mountain range situated in Missouri and Arkansas, is famous across America, yet few take time to see the rare cultural gems that show a unique aspect of Ozark history and life. The heart of Ozark culture is Branson, Missouri, where the people still cherish the bluegrass music, home cooking, and natural beauty that give the area its roots. The Autumn is an especially beautiful time Scenic Railway in historic Branson offers a small taste of the mountains as it takes you on a 40-mile roundtrip journey through the mountains. A family-friendly way to enjoy the Ozarks is Silver Dollar City, a theme park centered on Ozarkian culture, featuring activities like glassblowing and dancing to live music. If you want to enjoy the scenery but don’t want to hike, you can try a hot air balloon ride with Branson Balloon. During the day, these breathtaking rides provide an exceptional view of the Ozark Mountains. At night you can see the city and fireworks from local shows. If you don’t want to be 500 feet above ground, you can always be 500 feet below in one of the 6,000 Missouri Ozark caves. Fantastic Caverns offers an hour-long jeep ride through one of Missouri’s largest caves.

Utah’s San Rafael Swell The Midwestern United States may not have beaches, but that doesn’t mean it lacks sun, sand, or exotic scenery. Take Utah’s San Rafael Swell for example, where streams have carved maze-like slot canyons through sharp, uplifted rock formations. For hikers willing to explore its mazes and slot canyons, the San Rafael Swell can be a thrilling place for a weekend hike. Here are three samples of the terrain: Little Wild Horse Canyon winds through the uplifted sandstone layers of the Swell. Little Wild Horse is only four miles long and feeds into a shorter sister canyon, Bells, for an eight-mile loop that is perfect for novice hikers: though the full loop is eight miles long, families can hike in just far enough to sample the winding trail and close walls. A trek through Little Wild Horse, the narrowest of these three hiking areas, can be similar to tunneling through sandstone. The narrow walls filter sunlight across the canyon, creating stunning visual effects.

To avoid downclimbing on steep slickrock, consider rappelling Yang’s crux. To access these hikes, travel south on I-70 from Salt Lake City, Utah, and exit onto the Temple Mountain Road. Follow this road until the Goblin Valley Road. Turn left. • Goblin Valley: Follow the road to the park. Parking is $7 per day. • Little Wild Horse: Turn right off the Goblin Valley Road and onto a paved track. A marked trailhead and parking lot are 4.5 miles down the road. • Yin and Yang: Continue 1.3 miles down the road from Little Wild Horse. Park in the streambed and walk for 20 minutes. Yin will be on the left, marked by a lone cottonwood tree in its entrance. Desert safety tips: • Bring at least one gallon of water per person per day. • Don’t do these hikes if there’s a chance of rain. Slot canyons are prime locations for flash floods. • Avoid climbing above shoulder level if you aren’t securely roped in. • Never assume a rock-climbing screw or piton is secure unless you place it properly yourself.

Yin and Yang, also known as Ding and Dang, are sister canyons that offer a wide variety of terrain. While Yin has narrow walls and climbs slowly upward toward the Ding Dang Dome, Yang is laced with dramatic drops and water-filled stretches of trail. This six-or-more-hour hike is easiest when started from Yin canyon. Navigating these canyons requires confident scrambling skills and some rappelling. The crux of Yang, a cliff ten or so feet tall, sometimes has a lead rope in it for easy access, but hikers might have to climb down if the rope is gone and they did not bring their own rappelling gear.

Despite its beauty, Little Wild Horse Canyon might not be a good destination for the claustrophobic.

Goblin Valley gets its name from stone “goblins” eroded out of mesa walls. The valley is accessible to hikers of all ages, sizes, and skill levels, depending on which route they take and how deep they head into the cliff areas. Some hikers take the four-hour walk across the flat valley bottom; however, an excursion into the heart of the goblins can take all day, as eroded cliffs and conglomerate lumps can lure hikers off the trail to scramble over the faces and shoulders of the goblins. Adventurous explorers may also enjoy hiking into the valley on a summer night. —Rachel Giddings

The goblins in this photo are the rock formations, not the hikers. STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 1 9

away for a week

Going Coastal

Island Hopping across America

Aruba, Jamaica, Bermuda, the Bahamas—what is it about islands that makes them so attractive? Is it the associations with the Swiss Family Robinson and Lost, or merely the illusion of seclusion? Whatever the attraction, there’s no need to break the bank to hit the island sands this summer: the isle of your dreams may be right in your own backyard. —Olivia Serafin

West Coast California’s 770 miles of coastline are an obvious destination for island hoppers. Channel Islands National Park, the “North American Galapagos,” is home to the largest unique population of endangered species in the National Park System, including bald eagles, Guadalupe fur seals, and the world’s largest population of blue whales. And with fewer than 100,000 visitors each year (compare that to the 3.5 million who trek to Yosemite annually!) you get your fair share of peace and quiet. To get there, take the ferry from Santa Barbara, Ventura, or LA. Bring your own food and equipment since this island paradise is 97% natural. While you’re there, be sure to note that the only toilets and tap water are on Santa Rosa Island, but there are campsites on the other islands as well. Here are some things to keep you busy while you enjoy the sunny coast: • Hike 16 miles to Point Bennett on San Miguel to see hundreds of elephant seals, and check out the eerie Caliche Forest of fossilized vegetation. • Snorkel some of the largest sea caves in the world on Santa Cruz Island. • Swim at stunning Santa Rosa beaches. Or watch the underwater summer video show on Anacapa. • For day-trippers, we recommend hiking on Antelope and Angel Islands in Nor Cal or snorkeling at Catalina Island’s Lover’s Cove in So Cal.

Hike up to Strawberry Point in Deception Pass State Park for this view of the beach. 20 >> SUMMER 2010

Whidbey, WA

Home to the only temperate rainforest in the continental US, the Washington coast in the summer is nothing short of heavenly, and that goes double ditto for its offshore islands. A 20-minute ferry ride from Seattle, Whidbey Island is one of the most populated with about 58,000 residents. Though you’ll find McDonald’s and Wal-Mart in Oak Harbor, the South Shore’s strict laws against chain anything keep the locale local—every restaurant, B & B, and art gallery is locally owned and operated. While the South is the culture center, hiking, biking, kayaking, sailing, crabbing, clamming, and whale watching opportunities abound all over Whidbey and the nearby San Juan Islands. To get there, take the Mukeltio ferry from Seattle to Langley on Whidbey Island. While you’re there, check out these attractions: • Book a room at Langley Inn, known for its healthy cuisine, private beach, and spa-like feel, or take in fantastic cliff views of the Pacific at Strawberry Point, in Deception Pass State Park. • Visit Coupeville, one of the top 10 historic cities in the US. This quaint town holds Reggae Night during annual regatta week. It is also home to Kapaws Iskreme located in the landmark building of the original Seattle coffee house. • In the summer months, watch more than 200 boats compete in the prestigious annual Race Week Regatta, catch the Langley County Fair, or take in the Fourth of July parade.

Clockwise from Top Left: Timo Balk; Michael Dunn; gobucks2; D. Bouley.

Channel Islands, CA

East Coast Emerald Isle, NC No, not that Emerald Isle. You won’t see any leprechauns or pots of gold here. But you will find a beautiful beach town at the southernmost tip of the Outer Banks, a group of islands forming a natural barrier between the Atlantic Ocean and the North Carolina mainland. Vacationers have loved the Outer Banks for decades, but as its popularity rises, summertime vacations become more crowded, stressful, and expensive than they used to be. Emerald Isle, however, has avoided the tourist radar, so it offers all the advantages of an Outer Banks vacation without the crowds and expense. In Emerald Isle, vacationers often rent a house or condo for a week, although campgrounds are also available. The main attraction is the beach, but the town also has other sites and activities for those who want more variety. Emerald Isle boasts many typical tourist activities, such as miniature golfing, go-karting, and jet skiing. Its plentiful boutiques can provide hours of shopping fun. If you have children with you, you may enjoy the small water park, Water Boggan. Pine Knoll Shores, another city on the island, features a large aquarium that’s home to sharks, otters, and other aquatic wildlife. About 30 minutes away is the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Pirate enthusiasts will love the artifacts from what is believed to be the wreck of Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. Near Beaufort you can also visit the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. A week-long vacation can be expensive, so here’s how to save money when you go:

Bogue Inlet Pier, pictured above, is a popular spot for fishing. • Go at the end of the summer. Once North Carolina schools are back in session (usually the third week of August), the rates and crowds drop. • Don’t rent an oceanfront house. A three-bedroom house a couple blocks away from the beach can easily be $700 cheaper than its oceanfront counterpart. • Bring your own food. Eating out for a week can be expensive.

• To save money on groceries, drive the extra ten minutes to the Lowes Foods on the mainland instead of going to the Food Lion on the island. For more vacation planning information, check out bluewatergmac. com (rentals), (rentals), and (general vacation planning). —Amy Heaton

Caribbean St. Martin

St. Martin is a beautiful Caribbean island that boasts a wide range of cultures. The island is split between the Dutch and the French. The Dutch side offers a fun Caribbean culture blended with a cosmopolitan attitude, while the French side harbors a more relaxed, luxurious atmosphere that mixes West Indian cuisine and culture with European lifestyle. With its long history of English, Dutch, French, and African culture, the island is famous for its exciting blend of

tropical flavors. One characteristic restaurant is the L’Esteminet, which takes the French basics and adds Caribbean details, creating foods like cinnamon-flavored carrots, almond-flavored zucchini, creole red cabbage, truffle parsnips, and lobster bisque topped with hazelnut cappuccino. There are many unique attractions on St. Martin, like the Butterfly Farm, home to exotic butterflies from around the world. Water-based activities like scuba diving and boating offer hours of fun. You also can take a walk in the lush tropical greenery of the picturesque valley of Colombier. And you certainly won’t want to miss Carnival in April and May, an island-wide celebration filled with parades, music, and dancing. St. Martin has something to offer everyone. For more information visit the St. Martin tourist bureau, —Aubrey Carr

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away for a while

Once Upon a


We all have favorite books from our childhood. These books took us on exotic journeys, allowed us to explore unique cultures and far-off lands, and gave us an escape from the monotony of everyday life. They often left us longing for more after the “happily ever after.” Incorporating your favorite childhood books into your travel plans can help satisfy your longing to reexperience the stories you cherished as a child. Whether you’re traveling stateside or internationally, these sites will help you continue those adventures and bring the books of your childhood to life.

to the newest attraction at Universal Studios, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, in Orlando, Florida. Visit; harrypotter;

Harry Potter

The coast of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

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Before Harry Potter, England was the birthplace of Beatrix Potter, author of the well‑beloved Tales of Peter Rabbit. Visit the World of Beatrix Potter in the beautiful Lake District, where Potter spent her early years and retirement. The attraction recreates all 23 of Beatrix Potter’s tales and hosts fun events, including a Strawberry Fair on July 3 and 4 and a tea party with Peter Rabbit in July and August. Check out

The Lake District in England.

Anne of Green Gables We fell in love with Anne’s precocious personality in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s children’s classic Anne of Green Gables. Walk in Anne’s footsteps by exploring the beauty of Green Gables, located on Prince Edward Island off Canada’s eastern coast, and get tickets to the 46th season of Anne of Green Gables–The Musical, put on by the Charlottetown Festival. See;

Treasure Island The adventures of Jim Hawkins and the pirates of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic, Treasure Island, transform children’s imaginations. Travel the Caribbean and enjoy the beauty of the islands and their exotic beaches. There’s something unique to do on every island, including hiking through the El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico or visiting the Pirates of Nassau museum in the Bahamas. Don’t forget your treasure map! Learn more at caribbean;

Yunque Waterfall in the El Yunque National Forest, Puerto Rico.

Top: Sanja Gjenero; far Left and middle: Allison Morgan; Upper Right: Chensi Yuan; Bottom Right: Jose Oliver.

If you grew up loving the magic of Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling, then England is the place to visit. Travel to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry by visiting Christ Church at Oxford or Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, where the movies were filmed. Platform 9¾ is located at King’s Cross Station in London, and Diagon Alley resembles the Shambles of York, the oldest medieval city in England. If traveling to England is out of Alnwick “Hogwarts” Castle in the question, then Northumberland, England. plan your next trip

Peter Rabbit

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Willy Wonka’s factory doesn’t really exist (unless you count Nestlé’s Willy Wonka Company located in Itasca, Illinois), but you can still embrace Roald Dahl’s novel by visiting other sweet sites. Enjoy Hersheypark located in Hershey, Pennsylvania, where you can surround yourself with chocolate, or spend time at Ben and Jerry’s Waterbury Factory located in Waterbury, Vermont, where you can tour the factory and sample a wide selection of ice cream. Visit and

Make a Splash! Slide into summer at one of these fun, affordable waterparks. Schlitterbahn Waterpark Location: New Braunfels, Texas Unique Attraction: The Rohr is a vertical plunge that sends the rider from the top of a 70-foot-high tower down a 244-foot-long body slide at speeds greater than 30 mph. Price: 12 years old and up: $41.99; ages 3–11: $33.99. Website: Hersheypark in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Raging Waters Location: San Dimas, California Unique Attraction: Honolulu Half Pipe is a four-story wave that begins with a steep entry onto a nearly vertical surface, which gives the rider a free-falling feeling. Price: 48 inches and over: $36.99; 48 inches and under: $22.99. Website:

Top: Deron Meranda; Middle: Eric Baetscher; bottom: andrew balet; illustration: J.J. Despain.

Splish Splash

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler Run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with the characters of E. L. Konigsburg’s novel From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. With over two million works of art on display, the Metropolitan Museum of Art constantly hosts new exhibitions, including the Picasso exhibition on display from now until August. See

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn This year marks the 175th anniversary of Mark Twain’s birth and the 125th anniversary of his classic novel Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Bring Huck Finn’s adventures to life by taking a trip down the Mississippi River or by spending a week in Hannibal, Missouri—home of Mark Twain—where you’ll find multiple events, celebrations, and readings to celebrate Twain’s life. For more information, go to The Mississippi River of Mark Twain’s —Allison Morgan childhood and writings.

Location: Long Island, New York Unique Attraction: The Cliff Diver is a speed slide that sends riders plummeting 80 feet down at 55 mph. Price: $36.99; under 48 inches or handicapped: $27.99; 3 years old and under: free. Website:

Water World Location: Denver, Colorado Unique Attraction: At 64 acres, this is one of the largest water parks in the United States. Price: 48 inches and above: $34.99; children 40–47 inches: $29.99; toddlers under 40 inches: free. Website:

Noah’s Ark Location: Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin Unique Attraction: New for 2010 is the Scorpion’s Tail, America’s first looping water slide. Price: $32.99; children 47 inches and under: $28.79. Website:

—Claire Thornock Brazelton

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on foot

Smart Stargazing Get the Perfect View Even if your best-planned trip goes sour, one activity will brighten up your journey wherever you are: stargazing. Whether you’re on a tropical island, in a rural area, or in a big city, these astronomy dos and don’ts will point you on your way to the most beautiful vistas the night sky has to offer.

• DO study the season. The night sky changes throughout the year as the earth revolves around the sun, so it’s nice to know beforehand which constellations you can expect to find easily. • DO know where you are. Know which constellations are visible from your hemisphere during the current time of year. For example, Cassiopeia is never visible from the Southern Hemisphere, while Hercules is most visible in the Southern Hemisphere during the summer months. • DO dress warmly, especially if you are in the mountains. You wouldn’t want to cut your stargazing stint short after 15 minutes because you lose feeling in your fingers. • DO see the show. If there’s a big meteor shower or lunar eclipse coming up, research the best time to see it, and get out there early so you can find your front‑ row seat before the big event.

Astronomical events this summer Year-round astronomical calendars are available online. Find the following events at at • May 5–6. Eta Aquarids Meteor Shower. This is a light shower in which about 10 meteors will fly by per hour. For the best view, look toward Aquarius, usually in the eastern sky. • June 26. Partial lunar eclipse. This eclipse will be most visible from the Pacific Ocean, Australia, and the western Americas. • July 11. Total solar eclipse. The complete eclipse will be visible only in the extreme southern part of the western hemisphere, such as the southern tip of South America. • August 12–13. Perseids Meteor Shower. This shower produces about 60 meteors per hour. For the best view, look to the northeast after midnight. —Dayna Thomas

• DON’T go toward the light. City lights pollute the night sky, making it more difficult to see the stars. If you are in a big city, venture out of the city limits, preferably to an area where the city lights are blocked from view, such as behind a hill or mountain. • DON’T hide. If you’re too close to trees or mountains, they can crowd out your view of the sky. If you’re far enough away from light pollution, the best place to see a brilliant expanse of stars is in a wide, open space such as a big field. • DON’T follow a full moon. The moon adds significant light to the night sky, making the stars appear dimmer. The best time to stargaze is during a new moon, when the stars are on center stage.

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The Whirlpool Galaxy (top) and Large Magellanic Cloud (above). The Large Magellanic Cloud is visible only from the southern hemisphere, the Whirlpool Galaxy only from the northern.

All Photos by Rachel Giddings.

The Flame and Horsehead Nebulas, visible only by telescope during winter, hide among the stars of Orion’s sword.

Field Notes INSIGHTS >> Learn Español in Central America and read about a family’s brave journey to America from Iran. pages 26–28 TALES FROM THE TRIP >> Humorous stories from our readers. page 29 OFF THE BEATEN PATH >> Cave exploration—definitely not ordinary. page 30


Go Guate

Spanish language schools in Xela, Guatemala There are plenty of hot tourist spots down south in places like Mexico, Costa Rica, and the Caribbean. But if you want to break away from the tourist scene and experience the rich culture of Central America firsthand, Guatemala is your destination. Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, more commonly known as Xela (pronounced SHAY-la), is home to a number of Spanish schools that offer one-on-one Spanish instruction and a unique experience in Guatemalan culture. The schools assign students to live with a well-screened local family as they learn Spanish. We interviewed Alex Swan, a 22-year-old student from Las Vegas, Nevada, to get the lowdown on the unique experience she had while learning Spanish with other international students of all ages at Celas Maya, a Spanish school in Xela.

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Left: dayna bateman; Right: john barrie. PREVIOUS page: Philip jackson.

Stowaway: Tell us about the family you stayed with in Guatemala. Swan: The mom was a traditional Mayan lady. There was a little girl who was two or three, and there was a little boy who was eight, and so I’d always play with them. They were really fun. I would get up and eat breakfast with them, and then I would go to class for five hours. Then I would come home, and we would usually eat lunch for an hour and watch soccer on TV. Then I would go back to school, and they would have activities there. I would come home usually around four or five and then just spend the night hanging out with them. Stowaway: What made your experience living with a Guatemalan family valuable? Swan: It really helped with Spanish. Because I went by myself, I didn’t really have anyone to talk to [at first]. I know people who went with someone else, and it was more of a vacation for them. But living with a family makes it more of a cultural experience. You can see what they do with their free time. Stowaway: What kinds of cultural activities or excursions were you able to take advantage of while you were there? Swan: We went to a town called Zunil. They have this fancy statue that gets passed from house to house depending on the year. He’s a Mayan god they incorporate with Catholicism. He only accepts offerings of alcohol and tobacco, so he’s covered with alcohol bottles and stuff. We also went to a little weaving factory. Stowaway: And those activities are included in the price of your tuition? Swan: The school took trips, but you pay for the bus. It’s not expensive. And then I did a weekend trip with a girl I met. We went down to the lake. We stayed in Panajachel at this little hostel, and we ended up having to escape from the hostel because we had to leave at about four in the morning, and they had locked us in, so were jumping fences and stuff. It was crazy, but so fun. There are a lot of places close by that you can go visit.

Stowaway: Is it easy to make friends if you go on your own? Swan: You get to know people. There will be other students from different schools that you will run into, and I met people while I was on my way from the capital to Xela. There’s a ton of people, especially in the summer. Stowaway: Why do you think those cultural activities were so valuable to you? Swan: I didn’t want to just go to the tourist places. We went to the little cities that people wouldn’t see. It was valuable to me because that’s what I’m more interested in. I enjoyed it more than seeing just the façade of Guatemala. Stowaway: How do you think attending a Spanish school in Xela would benefit someone who doesn’t speak Spanish very well but is interested in learning? Swan: It was by far the best way to learn Spanish. I had studied Spanish for three years in high school and hadn’t taken anything since then. But after I had studied in Xela for only six weeks, my teacher said that we had gone over everything, but now it was just a matter of practicing it. There was a man who came with his two kids for about a week just to teach them the basics because they were going to be traveling around, and in just a week they were able to get their point across. You learn a ton, especially with your host family.

Stowaway: How do you think this experience would benefit someone who does speak Spanish? Swan: I think it’s a good reminder, especially if you’re going to be in Guatemala, because they have different words for things. I took a slang class just to get the feel for that culture. But one of the girls that I met there had graduated in Spanish. She went just to kind of brush up on things, and she really enjoyed it even though she already knew what she was doing. It was good for her because she got to experience the culture more in depth. She already had a head start, so she could pay attention to other things. Stowaway: What advice would you give someone who is planning on doing this? Swan: Bring a dictionary. They expect you to know things that you wouldn’t know, like vocab words. Dress warm. Be careful, but don’t be afraid to do things. You could go and leave knowing Spanish, having not done anything, but there’s a lot of cool things to see; you just have to be willing to do it. To book a Spanish immersion experience like Swan’s, go to —Dayna Thomas

Left: A Guatemalan woman heads home with purpose down one of Xela’s colorful streets. Right: The Parque Central in downtown Xela.

STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 2 7



Coming Like every flowering bud that opens and brings news from ever-changing nature, the revolution brought a new and different religious ideology to Iranians, whose hearts were hopeful that Iran’s greatness and glory would be restored. Unfortunately, the revolution could not fulfill the righteous desires of the younger generation, and the flames of knowledge and wisdom gradually extinguished in their hopeful hearts.

My life before the revolution I was told that the skies wept and the clouds moved in all different directions on the day I was born. In those difficult conditions, I opened my eyes in the historic city of Esfahan, Iran. I was sent to elementary and high school in Esfahan. I then went to Tehran, the capital, to continue my higher education. In 1971 my wife, Mehry, became valedictorian of the University of Tehran’s College of Fine Arts. A year later, we came to America to study at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Mehry pursued her doctoral degree while I finished my master’s degree in physical education. In 1977, we went back to Iran to serve the people.

ended and I was free to leave, I did not know what to do or where to go. I went to the American embassy in Istanbul, but the embassy could not issue a visa for me. I phoned my wife, and, with the help of Senator Orrin Hatch, finally returned to the land of freedom. From those days to the present time, the pains and sorrows of life have not ended. I always think of the Iranian political refugees who wander the world. If there is in my story a message to young people, it is to appreciate your freedom and to apply yourselves to your studies. Yes, your challenges may be great, but through hard work and determination, you can prepare yourselves to serve humanity and prove yourselves worthy to be Americans. —Hooshang Farahnakian

My life after the revolution A week before the revolution, in 1979, I brought our son to America. I stayed with him for one year before returning to my country. My son remained in America with family friends. In 1981, Mehry went to the United States to bring our son back to Iran. Instead of returning, she stayed with him. The next year, I escaped from Iran and, after facing many challenges, reached the United States and joined my family.

How this adventure happened Because I was a teacher, I was not allowed to leave Iran after the revolution. With the help of a friend whom I had known since my childhood, I went illegally to Turkey, which shares a border with Iran. Once there, I was arrested and condemned to spend two weeks in prison. I will not here describe the details of what happened to other prisoners and me. I found a way to escape from prison with a group of fellow prisoners. We were caught by border guards, who sent us directly to jail. Without a passport, I could not prove my identity to the Turkish authorities. Thus I remained a prisoner for four months. During this period of my life, I tried to solve many of my problems with the help of faith and trust in God. When the time of my conviction 28 >> SUMMER 2010

Hooshang and Mehry Farahnakian reside in Provo, Utah. Both teach at Brigham Young University and run the international organization MEHR (Middle Eastern Human Relations) Cultural Society.

Clockwise from top Left: Phillip Maiwald; J.J. Despain; Mehry Farahnakian.

In 1979, Iranians seeking to better their country overthrew the monarchy and established a religious government. Many participants in the revolution later became disillusioned and sought political refuge in other countries. Hooshang Farahnakian tells his story.

Tales from the Trip Mary Poppins in Soho

Seashells on the Seashore

A friend and I took our first trip to a beach in California anticipating a fun day of boogie boarding. Unfortunately, a lifeguard stopped us because this part of the beach ended in a close cliff, resulting in high waves. Disappointed but unable to switch beaches, we began collecting seashells down where the water receded at the base of a new wave. We did this for a while, laughing at our daring, before the water went down farther and we saw larger shells. Unfamiliar with the ocean, we did not know that this meant a larger wave was coming so we ran down to collect the amazing shells. We became aware of a loud roar that made us look up and we noticed the wave was hanging there, towering over us, twice our size. Realizing we were in trouble, we tried to run, but I was unable to move due to laughter despite being convinced that I was about to be crushed.

Then I was yanked to my feet. My friend tugged me halfway up the beach before the wave knocked us off our feet. Fortunately, we were far enough up that we only swallowed some water before we broke into relieved laughter. —Ariel Waite

Traveling Young

When my best friend, Laura, and I finally had the opportunity to take a trip to the British Isles last summer, we decided it would be safer to travel with a tour group. But as we loaded the bus on the first day in England, we were greeted by a group of elderly couples. We quickly became aware that we were the only two college-aged girls on the tour! Laura and I hadn’t interacted with older people much before, so we were nervous about spending two weeks with them. However, the older couples quickly calmed our fears by telling jokes, sharing funny stories, and immediately nicknaming us “the girls.” One older man even stood at the front of the bus and sang old Scottish limericks when we drove to Scotland. As the days went by, we nearly forgot our age differences and learned to enjoy one another’s company. Of course, the elderly travelers’ need for frequent restroom stops and places to stretch stiff joints made us grateful to be traveling young! —Allison Morgan

While most people my age were reared on the Beatles and Billy Joel, I was brought up on Vivaldi, Bach, Beethoven, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. However, musicals were also thrown in quite frequently. So, naturally, when my family and I visited London, we decided to go see a musical—Mary Poppins. A safe choice, right? After three exciting days in London, we set out for the musical, walking through Trafalgar Square, my wonderstruck eyes taking in all they could. As we neared the theater, we all noticed a drastic change in scenery. The elegant buildings suddenly became masked by flashing neon signs that read “Sex Shop,” and the group of passersby seemed to thin out to only the most eccentric. All of the men on the street seemed to be more than just friends. We had just walked into the Soho district—the seediest part of London. I’m sure my face turned every shade of red when I took in my surroundings, and I could see the shock on my parents’ faces. Where have we brought our daughters? I could almost hear them ask themselves. The further we went into the district, the sketchier our surroundings became. Finally after an uncomfortable walk, we got to the theater. The show was delightful. Children and parents alike were enchanted by the cheery, innocent tale. However, my favorite moment of the evening came as we walked back to the tube stop. While turning the corner, what did we see but a drag queen bar? Nothing could have been more perfect. Laughing to myself, I thought, Well, that just caps off the perfect London experience. —Laura Thomas Have a story to share? Send yours to STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 2 9

off the beaten path

Surviving Spelunking Four Tips to Safety

1. Cave in groups with someone who has experience. “Go in with someone who has experience with that cave or caving,” Bennett says. The National Speleological Society’s website ( emphasizes the importance of caving in groups, preferably with four to six people. In addition, find a map of the caves that you want to explore so you can plan out routes and have a good idea of where you are going. Grottos (local subdivisions of the NSS) should be able to help with maps; check out “Find a Local Caving Club” on the NSS’s website to find a grotto in your area. 2. Dress for success. All caves are not created equal, so find out beforehand if your cave is wet and muddy or dry and rocky. “Expect to get dirty and get muddy,” Bennett shares. He has also seen cavers wear knee- and elbowpads to help protect themselves as they spelunk. The NSS recommends following the three-point rule—three points of your body should always be supported on immovable objects—which makes knee- and elbow-pads that much more important. Also, make sure to equip yourself with adequate lighting as you head off into the dark unknown. Headlamps, which provide both head protection and hands-free lighting, are a good investment. 3. Be kind to the environment. Cavers try to be ecologically friendly, so be on the lookout for any waste as you travel through your cave. Pick it up even if it’s not yours. The NSS also advises cavers to take in bags and extra water bottles to carry out human waste—such waste can 30 >> SUMMER 2010

quickly damage the ecosystem of the caves and prevent future cavers from enjoying their beauty. 4. Talk to people. Bennett stresses the importance of letting someone know not only exactly where you’re going but also how long you think you’ll be gone. Bennett says that if you get lost or stuck, knowing a specific location often saves crucial hours of time for rescue units that could be looking for you. Whether you’re a first-time spelunker or an experienced caver, let safety guide you as you navigate through some of the world’s most beautiful and treacherous territory. And always remember the caver’s mantra: Take nothing but pictures. Leave nothing but footprints. Kill nothing but time. —Emma Andrews

Clockwise from top left: Nguyen-Anh Le; Emlyn Addison; Michael Connors. NEXt page: ludovic bertron.

Lieutenant Dave Bennett of the Utah County Search and Rescue remembers when John Jones, an experienced caver, got stuck in Utah’s Nutty Putty Cave in November of 2009. Jones was not the first to get stuck there, but his death sparked the permanent closing of the cave. Other, far less experienced cavers getting stuck in caves started a series of more stringent regulations about who could enter caves around the area. The new regulations emphasized safety, arguably the most crucial aspect of a sport that is rising in popularity. Here are a few things to keep in mind for your next caving expedition:



vietnam The Lost Jewel of Asia

by Aubrey Carr

Sapa, shown here, is home to the world-famous Vietnamese rice paddies. 3 2 > > SU M M E R 2 0 1 0

There is no land that looks or feels like Vietnam with its earthy, undiscovered quality. And while Vietnam still conjures bad memories for many Americans, what they donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t realize is that there are amazing, new memories to be created in this exceptionally beautiful, diverse country. Tourism in Vietnam twenty years ago was nearly nonexistent due to its underdeveloped economy. Now the Vietnamese people are eager to show the world the incredible country that has been developing right under its nose. Visitors to Vietnam can travel more economically and authentically with train rides on sleeper cars, cafĂŠ cuisine, and Vietnamese hotels, while those who are looking for a more relaxing vacation can find luxurious hotels and activities while still enjoying the beautiful views. Snorkeling trips, helicopter rides, and motorcycle journeys are just some of the interesting leisurely activities available. STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 3 3

One of the temples of Chua Bai Dinh, a Buddhist temple complex built on Bai Dinh Mountain. The complex is constructed only from local materials. There might be up to 30 pounds of weight on one 15-foot rod, sometimes requiring three people to handle just one of these puppets.

Hanoi The bustling capital, along with most of Vietnam, reveals the country’s very recent entrance into global business. Many assume that the capital of Vietnam would reflect a grey, uniform, communistic culture, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In 1986, Vietnam put in action the Doi Moi policy of openness and newness. The Vietnamese were encouraged to accept and participate in a new open market economy while the government would abandon attempts to collectivize the market. The move toward capitalism and individuality makes Hanoi bright and vivacious. There’s much to see in Hanoi, but you can reach the most memorable sites fairly easily. The downtown area is relatively small, and it is possible to walk between nearly everything—stores, hotels, restaurants, and street vendors. Cars are uncommon. The streets are filled to the brim with bicycles or motorbikes, either of which may be rented. A third option is the relaxed cyclos, a tricycle passenger vehicle that is Vietnam’s version of the taxi. There are several must-see sites in Hanoi like the Temple of Literature and the Museum of Ethnology. There is also the Old Quarter, a bustling section of town that has an intriguing mix of Hanoi’s history, with large doses of Old China, an eclectic mix of architecture, a historical theater, several cathedrals as well as Daoist temples, and restaurants and cafés. 34 >> SUMMER 2010

The most interesting place to visit in the Old Quarter is the 36 Streets. Guilds from shoes and silvercraft to tin work, tombstones, and straw work line the streets, which have grown to cover an area larger than its name implies. Each street is devoted to a different craft. Here, you can pick up your own Non La, a traditional conical straw hat used in the fields. It shouldn’t set you back more than 50 cents. And on Han Gai street you can buy tailor-made silk clothing, a hallmark of Vietnamese tailoring.

Vietnam Facts Capital: Hanoi Area: 130,468 sq. miles About the size of Nevada Width: 30 miles $1 = 15,000 dong Population: 78 million Hanoi is also popular for a tradition original to Vietnam: water puppet shows. Called Mua Roi Nuoc, these shows originated in the rice paddies and have been preserved for more than 1,000 years at places like the Thang Long theatre in Hanoi. The water puppets are much more difficult to produce than hand or string puppets. The puppeteers stand in the water behind a curtain with the rods under the water.

Near Hanoi, the islands of Ha Long Bay are limestone pillars of wild tropical vegetation that are scattered over a wide expanse of sea. The natives call it the Bay of Descending Dragons, and there are many dragons, indeed. There are around 3,000 islands, some reaching 200 meters high, and they are often higher than they are wide. Many of the islands are hollow with caves and grottos. In some of them the water level has dropped below sea level, forming a lake that has a personal ecosystem. Some of the larger islands like Cat Ba and Tuan Chau Islands have permanent hotels and are large enough to support many other kinds of activities. On Cat Ba there is a circus, a water park with a motor raceway, and a national park that covers half the island. You can also join a cruise and sleep aboard a junk (a traditional Chinese boat) on the bay. This grotto is one example of the caves in Ha Long Bay.

clockwise from top left: mark robertson; Alex vlajar; lorena molinari; Paul Lensen. previous page: christopher white.

Ha Long Bay

There’s more to see in Ha Long Bay than the scenery, however. Five floating villages of fishing communities are home to almost 300 families, who live a lifestyle that is a blend of medieval and modern. The children go to a floating school, there is the occasional television, and the largest community, Cua Van, even has a disco. Daily life, though, is simple and straightforward. The fishermen are out almost 12 hours a day making a living. They keep underwater nets of their catch for selling and eating. Many of the larger villages have small restaurants and even places to sleep.

Sapa Located in the northern mountains, Sapa is a place to see for yourself the beautiful, terraced rice fields common in Asia (see photo on pages 32–33). There are few words to describe how picturesque this town is, and few places have such lush vegetation. It is home to a variety of ethnic groups, each with its own unique cultural features. The town is ideal for tourists, not only because of its irreplaceable views, but because Sapa has made itself very open to visitors. There is an abundance of hotels, restaurants, and stores, but one of the best things about Sapa is the homemade crafts made by the people. These street vendors are usually very polite, but don’t be afraid to bargain. Every Saturday a main market is held where famous Vietnamese crafts can be found for a steal. Most famous are the laquerware, ceramics, woodblock prints, and wood carvings. Sapa is also interesting for the many endemic species native to the area. In 1986, an area south of Sapa was set apart as the Hoang Lien Nature Reserve, allowing the valley to keep much of its natural, traditional look. Though you won’t see Vietnam’s more exotic species like the Asian elephant, water buffalo, python, or giant muntjac, the reserve is home to the clouded leopard and black gibbon. Easier to sight are the 150 species of rare bird that call the Hoang Lien mountains home.

Mekong Delta The most tropical climate in Vietnam is found in the Mekong Delta at the southern end of Vietnam. Located near Ho Chi Minh City, this former capital of Vietnam is about 15,000 square miles, though the size changes with the level of the water. Though some Vietnamese produce is exotic, tourists might be able to recognize some varieties.

Marble Mountain in Da Nang is a relic of Vietnam’s rich history. The best way to enjoy the Mekong Delta is by boat. More often than not, the major roads are made of water. A person can spend hours seeking out the hidden gems of the constantly changing rivers. One thing you won’t have to search out is the beautiful landscape. Because of the tropical climate, fruit and flowers surround you, each changing with the

seasons. Because of variable water levels in the delta, many times the only way to reach them are via delicate bamboo bridges. Unique to Mekong Delta are the floating markets where you can climb from boat to boat to seek out the best deals and wares. In the mornings you’ll find fruit, vegetables, coconuts, and fish for sale. If you don’t want to buy and prepare

Vietnamese food is an exciting blend of Indian, Chinese, Thai, American, and French cuisine. However, there are some traditional foods that are unique to Vietnam. One of the most interesting is nuac mam, a fish sauce created over almost six months. You’ll see it used in pho, a traditional breakfast soup served throughout Vietnam. And though you’ll find fried foods in Vietnam, they might not be what you’re expecting: some of the favorites are fried bananas, meatballs, and watermelon seeds. There is also fruit indigenous to Vietnam, the most famous being the jackfruit, which has a thick, spiny skin, but is sweet like a pineapple. STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 3 5

your own meals, there are always floating restaurants. Speaking of food, in the delta town of My Tho, there is a snake farm where twenty varieties of snakes are kept. Loved all over Vietnam for the real and supposed medicinal uses of their venom, live snakes can be made to order for you. Though there are many ways to cook a snake, watch out for Snake Wine, a strong drink made out of snake gall bladder!


Lanterns made of silk and bamboo are popular throughout Vietnam. 36 >> SUMMER 2010

The residents of Ha Long Bay’s floating villages call it “the bay of Descending Dragons.”

enamel gilt ceramics, the citadel is only one of 13 sites in the complex. The complex of monuments is so amazing that it has been designated a World Heritage Site. There are also seven palatial royal mausoleums, including the Ming Mang and Tu Doc tombs. Like miniature palaces, both have a quiet collection of pavilions, lakes, and courtyards, which embody a tranquil atmosphere away from Hue. Of the many pagodas in the city, the most famous is Thien Mu, often said to be the unofficial symbol of the imperial city. Seven levels high, it was built in the 17th century and is the tallest pagoda in Vietnam. If you come in September, you’ll have the great opportunity to see the Moon Harvest Festival. Traditionally called Tet Trung Thu, it focuses on children and the celebration after the harvest. The most stunning event in this festival is the evening celebration, when thousands of glowing lanterns are placed on the river and float downstream. Visitors come to Vietnam for various reasons and discover it in different ways, but chief among the reasons for visiting are the rich history, thrifty price, friendly people, and incredible landscape. ∏

One of the major draws to Vietnam is the fact that food, lodging, and souvenirs are so cheap. Tours are available almost anywhere and often include not only a place to sleep, but also pickup service, meals, and an English guide. There are economy and luxury options for nearly every destination. There are also many places that accept US dollars in place of the Dong. Depending on your expenses, you can plan about fifteen dollars to two hundred dollars a day. Here is a breakdown of some prices you might find in Vietnam:

$35 $1 $3 $15 $25–$60 $5–$10 $12–$25 $9–$25 $280 50 cents $20–25 $30–200 $2, $10 $50–$75

Visa into Vietnam Street stand food Restaurant meal Gourmet cuisine Renting a car for a day Renting a motorbike for a day Train from Hanoi to Hue Average range for Hotels 3 day, 2 night MeKong Delta Tour Non La hat Bus from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City Hand-made suit Laquerware individually or a set Airfare from North to South Vietnam

top: Gloria Cheng; bottom: rodin. next page: Kristin smith.

The attraction of Hue is due to the beautiful architecture and the way it combines the north and south of Vietnamese culture. In the small, peaceful city are palaces, mausoleums, pagodas, and citadels, and most are preserved beautifully. Though some of the architecture has sustained damage from war and weather, its diversity and history make it unique. The emperor’s citadel, on the north side of the Huong River, is part of the larger imperial city originally established in the 19th century. Known for its fine aesthetics, bronze artifacts, and



reasures by Heather Wrigley and Chantal John

Artist and extensive traveler George Catlin (1796–1872) first penned the idea of a national park in 1832, envisioning “a nation’s park, containing man and beast, in all the wild and freshness of their nature’s beauty!” Originally an endeavor to preserve some precious part of America’s unexplored plains and mountains—to capture that spirit of adventure that was a part of America’s identity—the first national park, Yellowstone, was established in 1876, and in 1916 the National Park Service was formed. Today, adventurers can experience 83 million acres of all nature has to offer at national parks stretching from the Virgin Islands to Guam. Many contain evidence of our history, and—from hiking Acadia’s Cadillac Mountain to floating the Rio Grande in Big Bend—all of them offer that spirit of fun and adventure in their own unique way. STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 3 7

Denali Denali is a Native American Athabaskan word meaning “The High One,” a tribute to Mount McKinley, the tallest summit in North America, perpetually covered in snow at 20,320 feet. Even though the mountain was summited in 1910, and has been many times since, the teeming wildlife and matchless terrain still draw people eager for new experiences to the area—experiences like touring a park that is 17 percent blue-ice glaciers, some 40 miles long, from the air. Flightseeing offers aerial views of gentle foothills, meandering glaciers, and rugged peaks. Land on a glacier for a mid-summer snowball fight or an overnight glacier experience. In the high heart of the Alaska Range, the adventurous can hike and climb ice fields, heavily crevassed glaciers, or the rock and ice walls of Ruth Gorge—all while catching glimpses of caribou, wolves, foxes, bears, moose, elk, eagles, and ptarmigan. Big- and small-game hunting and trapping are permitted in some areas of Denali National Park.

Crater Lake At the only national park in Oregon, a violent volcanic past resulted in a place of immeasurable beauty. Nearly vertical 2,000-foot cliffs surround the strikingly blue expanse of water that is Crater Lake—a volcanic caldera fed only by rain and snowfall. Crater Lake has the third deepest average depth of any lake on Earth— nearly 2,000 feet at its deepest point—which equates to roughly 4.6 trillion gallons of water. And the surrounding forestland and hills are also a source of inspiration to park visitors. Native birds, deer, bears, squirrels, pika, and elk roam the rugged terrain, and Rainbow Trout and Kokanee Salmon are stocked for aspiring fishers. (There is no fishing limit, and licenses are not required.) In the summer, it is common to see majestic bald eagles and, occasionally, a golden eagle. For the more daring, swimming is allowed, with access to the lake edge from Cleetwood Cove Trail. In the summer, surface temperatures can get up to a balmy 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Denali Season: Check availability with the park; June, July, and August are the warmest months, averaging 55 degrees Week Pass: $10/person, $20/vehicle

Yosemite Season: Year-round Week Pass: $10/person, $20/vehicle 38 >> SUMMER 2010

Crater Lake Season: Year-round, but many roads and facilities close in the winter Week Pass: $10/vehicle

Grand Teton Season: Year-round, with limited access in the winter Week Pass to Grand Teton and Yellowstone: $25/vehicle, $12/ biker or hiker, $20/motorcyclist

Clockwise from top left: DAVID LAU; daniel west; DON WONG; CHRIS BRUNO; ZACH BENHAM. Previous page: kristin smith.

Western US

Yosemite Yosemite is best known for its nine waterfalls, but within its boundaries are countless valleys, ancient groves, winding rivers, lush meadows, and other natural wonders. A part of the High Sierra, the park’s granite monoliths, including rock climbers’ dream El Capitan and the magnificent Half Dome, were carved by powerful glaciers more than 25 million years ago. More than 800 miles of hiking and biking trails, from simple strolls to grueling, multiple-day backpack trips, give visitors access to all parts of the park. Visitors to Yosemite always come away with their personal favorite spots and hikes, but there are a few things everyone should experience. Immediately entering the valley through Wawona Tunnel rewards visitors with an unparalleled panoramic vista. From the precipice of Glacier Point, the drop to the valley below is 3,200 feet, but a gaze across the valley at Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, Vernal Fall, Nevada Fall, and Clouds Rest is well worth the gamble. Floating and swimming the Merced River is a favorite of park-goers, and there are always plenty of opportunities to see deer meandering across the many meadows or bears walking through parking lots or climbing apple trees.

Great Basin Season: All Year Pass: Park entry is free; cave tour prices vary upon age and length of time in the caves

Shenandoah Season: Year-round, some portions periodically closed in inclement weather Week Pass: $10–15/vehicle, $10/motorcyclist, $5–8/person

Everglades Season: Year-round Seven-day Pass: $10/vehicle, $5/hiker or bicyclist (16 years old and younger are free) *Visit for more information on these parks and others.

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Grand Teton The person who dubbed the mountain “Grand Teton” didn’t name it for its immense craggy outlines, but for the resemblance it bore to the female shape. “Tétons” is French for “teats,” and legend has it the man who named it was a lonely fur trapper. Regardless of the origins of its name, the jewel-like Grand Teton National Park wasn’t established until 1929, 55 years after its neighbor Yellowstone, the first official national park. But this park has its own unique identity due to the jagged mountain range it derives its name from. Today, 200 miles of trails give visitors plenty of opportunities for day and backcountry hiking and climbing of the famously rugged terrain. Hikers can cool off by making waves at Jackson and Jenny Lakes—water sports paradises. A more serene water setting for cutthroat trout fishing, rafting, or wildlife viewing can be found at the Snake River, Oxbow Bend, or Timbered Island. Visitors can take in the sights from horseback in Cascade Canyon, or with a walk through homesteader history at Menor’s Ferry or Mormon Row, or by simply driving—bison, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, and other animals are often sighted right next to the road.

Great Basin Imagine an oasis—an isolated mountain range with verdant vegetation, azure lakes, clear streams, and pine trees—where the dust lies several hundred feet below, in a remote desert valley of Nevada. Imagine deep underground caves hiding beautiful treasures. This is Great Basin National Park. A relatively unknown paradise dwarfed by its neighbors—Bryce Canyon, Zion, and Grand Canyon National Parks—Great Basin doesn’t get the attention that it should, but this park has much to be proud of. More than 13,000 feet at the summit, Wheeler Peak offers an arduous but satisfying hike, taking visitors from shaded, pine-scented woods to emerald meadows and finally to sheer rock. Along the trail, hardy wildflowers contrast with snow above the timberline, even in the summer. Views from the saddle and summit are awe-inspiring. Perhaps the most famous attraction is Lehman Caves. Narrow and occasionally low passages lead to spectacular displays of stalactites, stalagmites, and shields as room after room and tunnel after tunnel curl through the mountains. One room was used as a speakeasy for patrons during the 1920s Prohibition. Great Basin has much to offer—a scenic drive follows the transformation from brown desert to green forest, and hiking trails wind their way to Lexington Arch, alpine forests, lakes, and even a small glacier.

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Eastern US Shenandoah Although no one knows for sure where the name Shenandoah comes from, one thing is certain—once you experience the wildflowers and wilderness of this park, you will never forget it. Life slows down in Shenandoah National Park, and it’s not just because the speed limit tops out at 35 mph. The broad Shenandoah River and valley meander along the west side, while the Virginia Piedmont’s rolling hills border the east. History and adventure are both an integral part of this park. More than 340 structures within Shenandoah are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Although the history is fairly recent, various buildings, bridges, and other structures have significant historical themes or are of architectural note. The 105-mile long Skyline Drive, which has been designated as a National Scenic Byway, runs the length of the park and is a popular draw. Each season brings new beauty to the route: new spring growth, verdant summer greenery, vibrant fall colors, and hushed winter scenery. The more adventurous can take advantage of numerous opportunities for horseback riding, camping, bicycling, and hiking. More than 500 miles of trails crisscross the park: 150 miles run through designated wilderness, and 100 miles through part of the multi-state Appalachian Trail.

Clockwise from top left: ANSEL ADAMS; Weatherbox; RICHARD STYLES; brewbooks; WINGCHI POON.

Everglades The Florida Everglades overcame many hurdles in becoming a national park, including land developers, sport hunters, farmers, and money shortages. But in 1947, the Everglades became home to Everglades National Park—the largest subtropical wilderness in the States at 1.5 million acres. Literally a slow-moving river (its highest elevation is only eight feet), the park has struggled to survive mismanagement and water diversion to metropolitan areas, and today it is designated as an International Biosphere Reserve, a World Heritage Site, and a Wetland of International Importance. An azure gem at the southern tip of Florida, this “River of Grass” boasts dozens of rare and endangered species, including the American crocodile, West Indian manatee, and Florida panther. Alligators clamber up on the land along the roads to sunbathe, while an endless array of birds colors the green mangrove trees and blue sky. The park offers many opportunities for adventure, with campsites, hiking and canoe trails, and airboat tours. Visitors can catch glimpses of alligators, bright flamingos, and other freshwater wildlife at Shark Valley, Eco Pond, Snake Bight, and Nine Mile Pond.

America’s national parks are a victory. The preservation of our natural history is a reminder of a dream realized. Today, that historical preservation gives millions each year a chance to create new histories and memories of their own. Each person has recollections unique to their experiences: swimming the icy waters of Lower Yosemite Falls, wading through waist-deep water in the Subway at Zion, smelling the salty Everglade prairies, gazing at the pure blue hearts of glaciers in Kenai Fjords. These individual experiences combine to attest to the greatness of our national parks. A celebration of America, these sites contain the dreams and memories of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. ∏ STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 4 1

finding the



IRELAND by William Bennett

DĂşn Chaoin, shown here, is a picturesque hamlet on the Dingle Peninsula, Irelandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s westernmost point. Locals like to tell visitors that the next Catholic parish to the west is in Boston.

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I’d just returned from eight weeks of summer studies in England and Ireland—my first trip to Europe—and family and friends were spellbound by photos of the dazzlingly green hills and brightly colored homes of Ireland. They were in raptures over Blarney Castle and its famous stone, believed to give the gift of gab; Muckross House, the site of Queen Victoria’s only visit to Ireland; and the Rock of Cashel, where St. Patrick converted an Irish king. But the common thread in friends’ comments was “I’ve never even thought of going to Ireland!” I was baffled. Why wouldn’t people want to visit such a beautiful country with welcoming people and thousands of years of culture and history? TRAVEL, TROUBLES, AND TOURISTS Born and raised in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Kim L. O’Neill, a transplanted professor of biology at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, agrees that Ireland has many hidden treasures most travelers never discover. O’Neill often takes friends to visit his former home, and he knows what he’s talking about when it comes to holidays in the Emerald Isle. Both Ireland and Northern Ireland have long received the short end of the stick from vacationers— or as the Irish call them, “holidaymakers.” Many people attribute this to what the Irish term “the Troubles”: long-standing political, social, and religious disputes between the predominantly Catholic nationalists, who want to rejoin Ireland, and the mainly Protestant unionists, who want to stay a part of the United Kingdom. O’Neill agrees this is a factor: “Northern Ireland has had a bad rap because of the terrorist situation,” he explains. “But that’s totally gone now.” The Good Friday Agreement in 1998 put an end to armed conflict, and O’Neill says that walking the streets of formerly volatile Belfast is often safer than walking the streets of many suburban American cities. BYU linguistics professor Diane Strong-Krause, who recently traveled to Ireland as a study abroad

faculty director agrees. During her week in the Emerald Isle, StrongKrause was able to get a taste of what Ireland is all about from a traveler’s point of view. “I felt totally safe during our travels in Ireland,” she says. O’Neill suggests that most vacationers simply don’t know what Ireland has to offer, and so the country has never become as popular a destination as the rest of western Europe. Fortunately for the uninitiated, Ireland doesn’t lack a tourist industry. Tourism Ireland’s official website ( lists dozens of things to see and do, advises travelers of upcoming events, and even links to various agencies that accommodate tour groups. For many, this is a great place to start, but O’Neill thinks many tourists lose out on valuable experiences when they travel with a tour group. The best way to see the country is on your own, he continues. O’Neill recommends without hesitation that visitors rent a car and stay in bed and breakfasts, avoiding big hotels. Why? Because of the Irish landlords. “They’ll tell you the best pubs, the best places to eat, where you can go for Irish music,” O’Neill says. “Local people know the tourist spots much better than the tourist industry.” Bed and breakfasts (as well as some of the smaller hostels) provide an STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 4 3

economical and authentic experience for travelers. The rooms are typically homey and comfortable, and Irish landlords provide not only the meals but a real sense of experiencing Ireland that a stay in a hotel or large hostel wouldn’t offer, not to mention at bargain prices. Strong-Krause stayed both in hostels and in a bed and breakfast during her trip to Ireland. “I really enjoyed the bed and breakfast we stayed in,” she says. “It was more private and less noisy than some of the hostels.” The hostels’ quality tends to vary widely from city to city, she adds, while the bed and breakfasts are more uniformly pleasant. My stay in Ireland was brief—just a week—but I saw much more of the country than I expected. The hostels in Dún Chaoin (a tiny hamlet out on the westernmost part of Ireland, the Dingle Peninsula), Killarney, and Dublin were so small that I felt like I was staying in a bed and breakfast, which is exactly what each of the places offered. There were no luxury spas, silk sheets, or fancy dinners, but I felt that I was truly experiencing Ireland.


Phoenix Park is one of the largest enclosed urban parks in Europe. It surrounds the Irish president’s home.

Irish landlords and locals can let you in on some of the spots that are more beautiful than the ones most tourists frequent. During my stay, locals at every turn would mention this or that place I absolutely had to see, and while I traveled to as many as I could, there were always more. But these stunning glimpses of the Emerald Isle’s more hidden gems will come at a price. Many are remote, so having a vehicle is almost essential, allowing you to set your own schedule and itinerary. O’Neill recommends several such spots. First, there’s the Giant’s Causeway, a completely natural basalt formation off the northern coast that looks like a sunken cobblestone road. Near Ballintoy, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge connects the mainland with tiny Carrick Island, offers stunning views of Scotland, and, with a 98-foot-deep chasm below, is high enough to make some people dizzy. And the smallest church in the world, the interdenominational Church of Saint Gobbans, is located in the fishing town of Portbraddon in Northern Ireland. Beyond visiting less-traveled landmarks like these, O’Neill suggests simply driving around and seeing what you find: “Every time you see a little

“Ireland is more than a country,” O’Neill says. “It is mainly a people, and it’s a movement. It’s hard to explain until you get there and you feel the magic of it.”

Temple Bar, an iconic Dublin spot, is one of the many places across Ireland where you can find good food, great fun, and genuine Irish warmth.

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CLockwise from top left: William murphy; William Bennett; Chris Park; Ardnt hoppe. Previous page: Kelly Taylor.

road [that] goes off to your left or right, just go down it. . . . You’ll not drive more than 10 or 15 minutes before you’ll see something new or something that’s really quaint and really beautiful.” Definitions of beautiful might differ for those expecting a warm and sunny summer vacation. Ireland is prone to continual wind and rain because of its coastal climate, but that’s part of what contributes to its unique charm and beauty. O’Neill also says that for those who are visitors, this weather can have two effects. Some will mutter to themselves, “What is this all about? This is cold and damp. Why am I here?” And others, he says, will really love and appreciate their visit regardless. “You wake up on a morning and look out and see the fog lying on the fields—it’s just incredible, it’s just beautiful. People in Ireland don’t worry about getting wet. You know, it’s just an occupational hazard.”

THE LOVE OF THE IRISH It’s the genuinely friendly Irish attitude that draws people to the Emerald Isle, despite the weather. “Ireland is more than a country,” O’Neill says. “It is mainly a people,

The Church of Saint Gobbans was built as a spiritual haven for the families of local fishermen.

and it’s a movement. It’s hard to explain until you get there and you feel the magic of it.” The magic is everywhere. You can see it in the gorgeous emerald fields and sapphire skies of Phoenix Park during a sunny Saturday polo match. You can hear it in the ocean breezes off the Atlantic and in the ancient melodies like “The Rose of Tralee” that are still played and sung across the island. You can smell it in the sea air of Inch Beach and in the wind-swept hills by the Cliffs of Moher, and you can feel it in the welcoming nature of the Irish people. “I found the Irish people very friendly,” says StrongKrause. “They were very welcoming and very willing to help us,” she continues, relating that kind museum workers allowed her and her husband to enter even though they arrived near closing time. “We wouldn’t have been able to see it had they not been so helpful.” Maybe more than any other people in the world today, the Irish are open and hospitable. O’Neill, after recounting personal experiences of inviting home foreign travelers, says the Irish love and appreciate visitors and go out of their way to help them because they expect these visitors would do the same in return. The Irish know what their country and people have to offer and are ready to share it with everyone. The Irish willingness to chat with friends, neighbors, and strangers and to lend a hand when needed reflects a genuine interest in the welfare of others. Take Charlie, for instance, a Dubliner I met late one rainy Sunday night, who took pity on my friend and me after we’d become separated from our group and had gotten completely lost. As he walked us back to

Avoiding the Glare of the Irish Of course this is the best time of your life—you’re in Ireland! You want to share all the amazing things you’re seeing and all the wonderful food you’re eating. You want to push through people so you can get the best picture ever, one to take home and proudly display on your mantel. There’s just one thing . . . No matter how wide your grin spreads across your face, you still notice the glares coming from the people you pass in the street. Kim O’Neill, an Ireland native and a professor at Brigham Young University, offers some advice on what tourists should know and do to avoid those disdainful looks. 1. Don’t ask for boiled beef and cabbage. Professor O’Neill says this tasty treat was not invented in Ireland. It’s just one little annoying quirk that marks the tourists. 2. Don’t be loud. Yes, you are excited to be in one of the most beautiful places in the world, but you don’t have to shout. 3. Go to the pubs and talk with the locals. They love to share the wonders of Ireland. 4. Stay at a bed and breakfast. The hospitable landlady is full of advice like how to fit in with the atmosphere of Ireland or how to find the secret places where the regular tourists just don’t go. Following these few tricks will help you avoid the glare of the Irish. In fact, you will feel so at home yourself, you might just shoot a glare at the next obvious tourist. —Sara Duke

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our hostel, we had a nice chat with him about our trip and the places we’d visited so far, and he talked a bit about himself and told us how much he loved New York City. As we got closer to our hostel, Charlie added, “It’s a good thing I happened upon you. This part of the city’s famous for violence and muggings, and the pair of you with your backpacks would have been prime targets.” Charlie brought us to the corner of our street and wished us a pleasant trip, waving off our thanks with a sincere “Just doing what any decent person would do,” and he set off into the misty Dublin night, just one more of the open-hearted Irish men and women willing to help out strangers. Many people continue to return to Ireland to take more of it in—the natural beauty, the rich culture, the fascinating history, the welcoming people. These travelers have felt the magic. I know that I’ll be taking more trips to the Emerald Isle. I’ve been enchanted. “There’s a saying in Ireland,” O’Neill says. “‘You’ll never see the half of it.’ And that’s true; you won’t see it all. Not in one go, anyhow.” ∏

In Other Words . . . Gaeilge

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Ireland seems like it would be a linguistically safe place for Americans to travel. Like Britain, it has its own distinctive flair without having a completely foreign language. What many travelers don’t realize is that Ireland does have its own language: Gaelic (Gaeilge). From welcome (fáilte, pronounced fell-tuh) to goodbye (slán, pronounced slawn), this language is one completely its own. The Irish language, spoken by the Celts, survived attacks by Viking Norse and Norman French but began to lose ground to British English during the eighteenth century. The

ruling British had imposed strict laws to oppress the Irish Catholics, including preventing them from teaching or attending schools (scoil). English (Bhéarla) first became the language of government (rialtos) and then of business (gnó), pushing the native Gaelic to the fringes of society. Deaths during the Great Potato Famine (an Gorta Mór) and emigration also reduced the number of native speakers. Few pockets of Gaelic speakers remained by the time Ireland (Éire) was granted independence in 1922. Gaelic was declared an official language in a preservation effort, but

only a few of the prime ministers (Taoiseach) have ever been fluent in it. However, though few present-day Dubliners remember anything from their mandatory Irish classes, interest in Gaelic seems to be rising. The upcoming generation is taking greater pride in their language, and fluency is seen as an “in-crowd” marker among college-age students. Lend a careful ear as you journey through Ireland and you may catch a phrase or two of a vibrant language, as intrinsic in the culture of Éire as the impressive green hills around you. —Caitlin Channer

Top: code poet jim; bottom: william bennett.

Right: The Giant’s Causeway, a natural basalt formation, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Below: Dublin International Youth Hostel in the north part of the city, where the author stayed during his excursion to Ireland.

Insider TIPS & TRICKS >> Succeed in bartering,

traveling with pets (and less desirable companions), surviving disasters in transit, and going green as you go global. pages 48–52

JUST THE TICKET >> You’ll be fearless underground with our three steps to success on London’s Tube. pages 54–55 VICARIOUS TRAVELER >> Bring a bit of abroad into your home. pages 56–57

GADGETS & GEAR >> Never get lost again

with our GPS guide and stay hydrated by picking the water bottle that fits your needs. pages 56–58

SERVICE SCENE >> Travel for others and raise your own funds. pages 59–62

tips & tricks

Bartering Basics

Many Americans are so used to price tags, they fail to realize that in some countries, bartering isn’t just an option—it’s an expectation. In many locations, the price tag isn’t set in stone, so think of it more as a guideline. It’s important to do your homework because each culture has a different way of doing business. Knowing the idiosyncrasies of a culture can help you determine a good approach to bartering, whether you’re in China or Mexico. Here are some universal pointers for the next time you’re bartering. 1. Start low. When looking at an item to buy, keep in mind what you think it’s worth and the most you’ll pay for it. Your first counteroffer should be far below the price you actually want to pay. Eventually you’ll meet in the middle, at a price fair to both you and the vendor. 2. Really, start low. Don’t be afraid to start ridiculously low. Many sellers know they can rip Americans off and will start high to see if you’ll pay it. Granted, you shouldn’t insult sellers by under-pricing high-class wares in large shops. But street vendors expect you to start low. 3. Go in pairs. One favorite strategy is to take someone along. Let the seller see that you really want the item, but have your partner—who has the money—act stingy. Vendors don’t want to lose the sale because they know you want it, so they’ll give in to your partner’s slim wallet.

48 >> SUMMER 2010

4. Use your poker face. Acting like you know what you’re doing is more important than actually knowing. Sometimes the best trick is convincing the seller that you’ll walk away if the price isn’t right. 5. Don’t care. Many of the wares you run into on the street are available from other shops. Don’t be afraid to lose the item—the seller is more afraid to lose you. You may get the best deals when you literally walk away and the vendor yells after you, offering a better price. 6. Take notice of outside dynamics. This can be everything from your location, time of day, or a police officer coming your way. One street vendor who saw the police coming started packing up so fast that he dropped the price by 50 percent so he could make a sale before the officer could catch him. 7. Remember it’s only a game. Make sure you have fun shopping, and don’t take it too seriously. Many cultures view bartering as entertainment, and you’ll enjoy yourself more if you just relax. —Aubrey Carr

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: jamie layton; MALLORY LAYTON; NICKALOT. previous page: redvers.


tricks of the trade

See Spot Travel Scheduling hotel rooms can be difficult when you don’t want to leave behind a vital member of your family: your pet. These furry friends are ideal travel companions, willing to go wherever you go, eating next to nothing, and packing lightly. Happily, you don’t have to leave your pets alone at home or in a kennel if you find the right place to stay. Many hotels across the United States provide petfriendly services. La Quinta Inn, Howard Johnson’s, Best Western, Comfort Inn, Days Inn, Motel 6, and Holiday Inn are just a few nationwide hotel chains that accept pets. However, you’ll want to consider specific guidelines and prices, which may vary from location to location. Best Western: More than 1900 hotels. Requires an additional $15 per pet per night. Only small domestic animals are allowed. Comfort Inn: More than 550 locations. Requires $35 per pet per room. Pet must be less than 25 pounds. Motel 6: More than 800 locations. Pet must weigh less than 25 pounds. (If your pet is larger, ask permission; they may allow it.) Days Inn: Hundreds of pet-friendly hotels. Requires $10 per pet per night. Only small animals under 10 pounds are allowed. La Quinta Inns and Suites: More than 350 pet-friendly hotels. Accepts cats and dogs up to 50 pounds with no extra fees or deposits. Many websites list cities and locations for each hotel. Try,, and —Claire Thornock Brazelton

Tips for Traveling with Your Pet Pack enough pet food for the trip in case you can’t find your pet’s favorite food while traveling. Bring food and water dishes, litter, medications, and your pet’s favorite toys. Don’t forget a leash, collar, ID tags, and a current picture in your wallet just in case your pet gets lost. If you have an unruly dog or cat, bring a kennel to keep it in at the hotel. Never leave your pet unattended in a room. Always clean up after your pet. STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 4 9

tips & tricks

Dealing with Differences How to Travel with Companions

Despite your careful planning, you can’t always control who you travel with. If it takes only one person to make your vacation an unforgettable experience, it also takes only one person to make your vacation miserable. Here are four tips from people who made the most of their trips despite disagreeable travel companions. 1. Keep a positive attitude. Laura Ipson, a recent college graduate, traveled with a tour group to the British Isles last summer. The trip turned out to be more stressful than she had expected. “I felt like the tour guides rushed us from one thing to another, without letting us fully experience anything,” Ipson says. But instead of letting the guides ruin her European experience, she decided to have a positive attitude. “I soon came to the conclusion that yes, I might not like being rushed from one place to another, but oh how many more things I saw because of it!”

2. Remember the golden rule. When Kelsey Dickson, a student at Brigham Young University, traveled to California for a competition, she was assigned a room with a girl she didn’t get along with. Dickson decided to be kind despite her assigned roommate. “I was nice to her and tried to treat her like I treat others that I actually like,” she says. By treating her roommate kindly, Dickson was able to look past the girl’s faults and enjoy the competition. Jared Bird from San Diego was driving back to school with a sister-in-law who was difficult to be around. He decided to compromise. “I decided that I would simply refuse to fight with her, even if that meant either agreeing with her or not even voicing my opinion,” Bird says. Likewise, Alicia Chidester, the midwest director of Camp Kesem, drove from California with a group of four loud committee members. To make a compromise about the noise level in her car, Chidester created a playlist of music that everyone could enjoy, and she designated quiet time as well. “There are some things you need to spend energy on and other things you just need to let go,” she says. “You can actually get along with anyone if you’re really trying.”

4. Avoid confrontation. Marie Sykes, who studied abroad in France, knows that sometimes the best decision is to avoid the person you don’t get along with. Sykes says about one girl, “I tried to keep conversations short and civil about nothing important. I never broke off into any small groups with her.” Consequently, Sykes avoided many negative experiences and enjoyed France to the fullest. —Allison Morgan 50 >> SUMMER 2010

Clockwise from left: Allison Morgan; wallyir; Samuel.

3. Compromise.

Prep for the Unexpected On my first day backpacking with a couple of friends in Europe, we showed up in Amsterdam with nowhere to sleep because my friend booked the wrong nights at our hostel. Halfway through my two-week trip, someone stole $300 worth of my belongings in Cinque Terre, Italy. And on our last night in the country, we found out we couldn’t sleep in the airport like we had planned— stranded again. When travel plans fall through, you can lose a lot of time and even more money. One of the best precautions you can take before you travel is to purchase travel insurance. Unfortunately for me, I learned about this tip from my good friend Rob Clarke after my Italian fiasco. Clarke, 28, is a young professional who has traveled to Europe three times and extensively throughout Europe and Asia with friends and family. “I recommend travel insurance 100 percent,” Clarke says. “I’ve used it every time I’ve gone, and it is absolutely worth it.” Companies like Travel Guard and offer travelers plans with coverage for things like trip cancellation, interruption, delays, emergency medical

expenses, and even lost, damaged, and stolen possessions. On his most recent trip to Europe, Rob had $1,000 worth of his things stolen or broken, and his $140 travel insurance covered all of it. Travel insurance can also provide helpful services around the clock like concierge services and emergency travel assistance. Sounds like a good idea, huh? Here are a few more.

Before You Go • Double-check your itineraries and pack printed receipts for tickets. • Notify your bank or credit union about when and where you’ll be traveling. When charges show up in different countries, banks often suspect fraud and will flag accounts to protect customers. If your bank sees international charges without warning, it will very likely place a hold on your account that may restrict you from using your credit or debit cards. • Find out about international fees or limits on your credit or debit cards. International ATM charges can be astronomical, so talk to your bank and map out the best way to access your money.

• Photocopy your passport if you’re traveling internationally and keep copies in multiple places.

While You’re Out and About • Use a money belt. They’re not the most flattering hipwear, but the fashion faux pas is worth the protection. • Have emergency contact information on your person at all times. • Put your money in different places. If one bag gets lost or stolen, you don’t want to be up a creek with no cash. • Be familiar with a map and where you are in relation to your destination. Confused travelers are easy targets for pickpockets. —Kate Lindsay

Responsible Tourism Keep the world—and your wallet—a healthy shade of green when you travel Green. The word conjures images of luxurious Costa Rican spas and Colorado ski resorts in the pristine wilderness, followed by the vision of your bank account collapsing as you glimpse the price tags. You may be able to keep your house green with limited funds, but with these pricey options your dreams of traveling green are going up in exhaust fumes. Fortunately, travel that’s good for the earth doesn’t have to be bad for your wallet. Ecotourism’s enormous range of travel styles can meet the limits of almost any budget—including yours. Car-free trips: Turn off your engine. From Nantucket, Massachusetts, to Santa Barbara, California, affordable options for the motor-weary are within reach. Visit places where cars have been banned for decades, or get great hotel discounts simply by leaving your car parked. See top_tens/Car-Free_U.S._Destinations or to begin. STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 5 1

tips & tricks

Bicycle tours: Sightsee while burning calories, not fuel. Tasmania, Chile, and Slovenia are a few places you can explore on two wheels. Guided bicycle tours can be found almost anywhere, or you can create your own tour. Culture tours: Live like a native. Tours designed to take you behind the scenes and into local life give you a depth and breadth of travel experience that few tourists can claim, with a price tag most tourists will envy. Try riding camels and stargazing in Morocco for $50 a day. See responsibletravel. com for bargains. Farm stays: Unplug your alarm clock and let a rooster wake you instead. Farm vacations have varying degrees of eco-friendliness and support small farms and local produce. One night with a host family in Ecuador can cost as little as $18. See for details. If you prefer to stay stateside, farm stays can be found for as little as $65 for two people for one night ( Farm stays allow guests to participate in farm activities (such as gathering eggs), explore the surrounding countryside, or simply stop being busy. Check farmstays. to learn more. Green hotels: Stay in environmentally conscientious hotels. Kimpton Hotels, though expensive, set a high standard throughout the United States. If their rates make your wallet cringe, review their green strategies and look for similar practices in other hotels. Search environmentallyfriendlyhotels. com for eco-friendly hotels and their ratings. Research expeditions: Dig deep. If you want an exclusive tourist experience, skip the whale-watching day tour and become friends with the Hebridean whales and dolphins you research while living on board a small ship. Prone to seasickness? You may prefer to learn about the medicinal practices of Kenya’s Samburu tribe, discover artifacts of Easter Island’s extinct inhabitants, or explore the rainforests of Borneo. This brand of travel is on the more expensive side of ecotourism, but it offers incredible value. Good deals can be found at No special skills are required. Go local. Stay at hotels staffed by locals, eat at restaurants that cook with local foods, and purchase local, sustainable products and souvenirs. Bring your own containers. To cut down on waste, use reusable water bottles (see page 58) and bring your own containers for restaurant leftovers. Walk or use public transportation. Some hotels offer complimentary bike use during your stay. If this is not an option, arrange for lodgings that allow you to walk where you need to go or that give you easy access to public transportation. Make your home eco-friendly while you’re gone. Unplug appliances and adjust your heating or air-conditioning to minimize energy waste. —Natasia Garrett

5 2 > > SU M M E R 2 0 1 0

Fragile ecosystems endangered by irresponsible tourism. Top to bottom: Tanquary Fjord, Ellesmere Island; Skeleton Coast, Namibia; stream in Gasadalur, in the Faroe Islands.

top to bottom: Ansgar Walk; Martin H.; Erik Christensen.

Be eco-friendly anywhere Vivian Park, Provo Canyon, Utah To make reservations, call

(801) 224-2500

• • • • •

Kayak, tube, and raft rentals $10/person Monday–Friday $15/person Saturday & Holidays Basecamp info for large groups Reserve your trip today! high-country-rafting

just the ticket

Navigating the


Navigate your way through prices. Taking a taxi through the city can be very costly. Going about 12 miles in London costs from $60 to $100. Yikes! That’s a big chunk of money to spend on such a short distance. Imagine what it would cost to pay for a taxi for a full week. However, if you choose to take the Underground system you can save money and time. In London, the price for a travel card for all day and through all the zones is only about £16 (about $30). With that travel card, you can go as many miles as you want that day whenever and wherever you want. A full week’s pass costs about £30 (about $55). That takes care of all your travel expenses for the whole week. Now that beats the price of taking a taxi or even renting a car for a week (then you won’t have to worry about which side of the road you need to drive on). Make sure to look at the prices for other cities’ undergrounds before you travel around. 54 >> SUMMER 2010

Navigate your way with a map. Without a map, you could be lost underground forever. It’s important to study a map before you attempt to go anywhere using the Underground. Be sure to check out the key, all the stopping points, and different train lines to figure out where you need to go before you venture out. However, be sure to pay attention to what is actually happening underground. You may have planned where you want to go and what transfers you need to make to get there, but London is known for having a lot of construction going on under the streets. Your carefully planned travel may have to change depending on the various rails that will be closed. These unplanned detours make your map an even more important tool to have around. Navigate your way with a lesson in etiquette. Although the Underground is open to everyone, there are certain rules about how

to behave. London requires a quiet atmosphere when you’re on board. Yes, it is public transportation and conversations will take place, but the Underground seems to be an escape from the hustle, bustle, and noise from above. Tourists are easy to spot when it comes to talking on the tube, especially the boisterous Americans. Remember to keep your voices down. London also requires that seats be given to those in need like the elderly and disabled. If the train is crowded, which it most likely will be, jump up and offer your seat to someone in need. It’s really about common courtesy. Like London, other cities have rules of etiquette, so make sure to find out what they are before you venture down to the Underground. With these few tricks, you will become a true metropolitan yourself and no longer be overwhelmed by the city! —Sara Duke

Clockwise from top left: William Bennett; Jessica C.; kk+; William Bennett; DCMaster Chris.

Traveling through a huge metropolis may seem overwhelming and scary if you’re not used to it. Traffic is crazy, people may not seem friendly, and everything seems a lot more expensive. But in many large cities, there is an easy, inexpensive way to get around. Let’s take a look at London’s Underground to learn skills that can help you navigate your way with ease through many other big cities.

Above: A closeup of a London tube map with different colors representing the various lines to travel on.

Pointers for Using the London Tube Map Different shades in the background of the map define the zones. Make sure you know which zones you want to travel to before buying a travel card. The farther you want to go, the more expensive it will be. Each line is a different color. Always refer to the map’s key to know which line you need to travel on. Also look at the difference between the tube lines and the DLR line. They may look confusing when you are in a rush to catch a train, so study them out before you go. The small circles represent places where you can switch lines­—not just where you can get on and off. The notches in each line indicate entrances and exits, but they do not connect to other lines. Remember to check out all the little icons to find out where there are connections to major railways, airports, riverboats, and tramlinks. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time for travel because delays may occur. Yet for being such an inexpensive and relatively fast mode of transportation, a few delays are very forgivable. Pay attention to delays or closures caused by construction. If you forget to do this, it could become a very long and tiring day for you. Lastly, the Thames is a river, not a train line, so don’t try and connect any journeys by the blue line that indicates the Thames.

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vicarious traveler

Say ‘Namaste’ to India Books


India has a rich and varied history that forms an exciting background for literature. If you’re in the mood for an Indian novel, try The Raj Quartet series (Paul Scott), Salt and Saffron (Kamila Shamsie), or Untouchable (Mulk Raj Anand).

Indian food is known for its spice and color. Most dishes consist of some kind of curry (see photo below) or sauce poured over rice or eaten with naan bread. Indian food isn’t popular only in India—it accounts for two-thirds of all dining-out meals in the UK. Take a look at the recipe on the next page for Paratha Roti, an Indian food served in Trindad.

Phrases You can hear hundreds of languages and dialects while walking the streets in India, but Hindi is the most common. Here are a few words to practice: Hi: Namaste Thank you: Dhanyaa’baad Goodbye: Alvida

—Emily McBride

Movies Bollywood—the popular name for Hindi cinema—comes from Mumbai (also known as Bombay, hence Bollywood). Although a few Bollywood movies are in English, you’ll watch most in Hindi with subtitles. Be prepared for songs that will make you want to get off the couch and dance along. The more popular Bollywood movies—Bride and Prejudice, Lagaan, and Taare Zameen Par—should be at your local video store. Use online DVD rental services like Netflix or Blockbuster for harder-to-find films.

Clothing Traditional dress in India is usually a sari for women and a dhoti for men. Saris are bright, colorful, large pieces of cloth. Dhotis are long and white. Saris and dhotis can be tied different ways depending on the region in India.

gadgets & gear

Finding Your Bearings Which GPS Is Right For You? A good GPS will guide you through every junction and hairpin turn on your trip. You can type in the address of your favorite restaurant, and the device will take you right there. We found three user-friendly options to take you where you want to go, your way.

—Dayna Thomas

Motorola MotoNav TN20 Price: $94 Screen size: 3.5 inches Multimedia: None Other features: Light weight allows for easy mobility. Conveniently sized to fit in your purse or bag. 56 >> SUMMER 2010

TomTom GO 720 Price: $249 Screen size: 4.3 inches with widescreen Multimedia: Plays music from your MP3 player through your car’s stereo. Bluetooth capabilities make your phone hands free. Other features: Download additional voices easily. Customize the status bar (the part that shows your current location). Check traffic and weather along your route with TomTom Plus.

Clockwise from top left: Alex Faundez; avixyz; rotorhead.

Sometimes you don’t have the time or money to fly halfway across the world for a vacation. However, you can still bring parts of a country and culture to you.

A Taste of Trinidad “Buss Up Shot” Some cultures seem to be defined by their food, which represents centuries of tradition and heritage. Trinidad and Tobago, a pair of small islands off Venezuela’s northern coast, boast a proud mix of multiple cultures (and foods): Indian, African, and Chinese. Joy Perryman, a mother of three college-aged children, grew up in this ethnic mecca. “My father was East Indian and my mother Negro,” she says, “and I am a Dougla [pronounced dough-GLA].” Because of this ethnic diversity, the people celebrate multiple holidays from a range of religions; Perryman recalls celebrating Easter (a Christian holiday), Divali (a Hindu holiday), and Eid (a Muslim celebration). Part of this ethnic diversity includes a variety of different foods that Perryman grew up eating and watching the women in her life

prepare, and she applies the skills she learned in her own kitchen to create delicious meals. Paratha roti, a bread-like Indian dish, is a recipe Perryman enjoys preparing for family and friends; it reminds her of her father’s mother, Rookmin Maya Chaitram. This recipe is known in Trinidad by its local name—“buss up shot.” Perryman explains: “Picture a man who has just been in a fight and as a consequence, his shirt is ripped or torn. That is a buss up shot [shot or shut are part of the local dialect for shirt, and buss up is a way of saying torn or ripped].” She says that many of the cane cutters and laborers in Trinidad would wear similarly cut-up and tattered shirts for years. These shirts give paratha roti, which ends up crushed and tattered like the shirts, its colorful—and descriptive—name. —Emma Andrews

Paratha Roti (Buss Up Shot) 4 cups or 1 lb flour 4 tsp baking powder 1 tsp salt 1 cup water (approx.) 3 tbsp softened margarine or ghee (a type of butter) 1 cup oil for coating

Directions 1. Stir flour, baking powder, salt, and enough water to form a smooth, soft dough. 2. Knead well. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 30 minutes. 3. Re-knead dough. Divide into four balls (loyah). 4. Roll out dough into a thin rectangle on a floured surface; spread with margarine and a little flour. 5. Roll dough tightly (like making cinnamon rolls). Tuck the dough end into the roll’s top; let rest for 30 minutes. 6. Roll out dough to a thin 8” circle on a floured surface. 7. Cook on a moderately hot, greased baking stone (tawah) for one minute. 8. Turn roti over and grease with oil. Cook for one minute on EACH greased side. 9. Remove from heat and crush.

Kenwood DNX5140 DVD with Garmin GPS/Navi 6.1” TFT Price: $588 Screen size: 6.1 inches with widescreen Multimedia: Plays your MP3 player and DVDs through your car’s stereo. Has Bluetooth, USB music streaming, and HD/satellite radio capabilities. Allows for a rear camera so you can see behind your vehicle on the screen. Other features: A cool checkered flag marks your destination.

Making the choice The Motorola MotoNav TN20 is a very functional choice. It doesn’t come with many bells and whistles, but it does get you where you want to go for a lot less than higher-end models. If you don’t mind paying a little extra for more features like Bluetooth and extra voices, the TomTom GO 720 may be just what you’re looking for. In fact, the TomTom has many of the same features as the Kenwood DNX5140 for less than half the price, as long as you’re willing to sacrifice the DVD player. And let’s face it—you probably shouldn’t be watching Dumb and Dumber as you drive, anyway. STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 5 7

gadgets & gear

Message on a Bottle In 2008, the United States generated 13 million tons of plastic municipal solid waste—that’s enough to fill 29 soccer fields! According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the amount of plastic waste generated in the US is growing substantially, and the largest category is plastic containers, including water bottles. While recycling may be a simple solution to the growing problem that is plastic waste, sometimes, especially when traveling, a recycling bin isn’t always close at hand. In light of this fact, the best way to “go green” while on the go is to bring a reusable water bottle. Below are reviews of some great (and not so great) water bottles to take along the next time you’re tracking a Resplendent Quetzal in the rainforests of Costa Rica or straining your way up Morocco’s Atlas Mountains to a remote Berber village.

—Heather Wrigley

What to Look For in a Water Bottle 1. BPA-free The debate continues over whether bottles with BPA (Bisphenal-A) can increase the risk of getting cancer. We suggest staying on the safe side and avoiding the possibility altogether. (Check the packaging or manufacturer’s website.) 2. Sanitation Look for wide lids and dishwasher-safe materials; easy cleaning maintains your drink’s pure taste. 3. Performance Make sure the materials—ranging from plastic to glass and metal—match the rigor of your performance. We recommend bottles that can handle hot and cold liquids. 4. Materials Double your environmentally friendly impact by using a water bottle that is made from non-harmful or recycled materials. Also consider that some materials tend to absorb flavors or give off flavors of their own, while others offer a purer tasting experience.

58 >> SUMMER 2010

GoodLife 34 oz. “Venture,” $30

• BPA-free, food-grade stainless steel and plastic • Dishwasher safe (handwash cap) • GoodLife’s bottles maintain temperature better than any other reusable water bottle thanks to a dual wall design and a vacuum-seal cap. The flavor of each liquid is maintained and doesn’t transfer between different drinks. Stainless steel makes it difficult to damage. You will pay for the durability and quality, but this bottle is worth it!

Platypus 68 oz. “Platy,” $13

• BPA-free polypropylene • Not dishwasher safe, difficult to clean (but you can purchase a cleaning kit) • The selling point to Cascade Designs’ Platypus line is its collapsible, extremely light design. The “Platy” can be heated and frozen, but it is prone to splashes and spills because it is not rigid. It is more likely to be punctured but comes with a lifetime warranty.

SIGG 33 oz. “Classic,” $25

Klean Kanteen 40 oz. “Wide,” $28

• BPA-free, food-grade stainless steel and polypropylene • Dishwasher safe, and wide mouth makes for easy cleaning • Steel resists dents best of any other bottle materials and does not leach, though it does mean a little added weight. Not recommended for hot beverages due to heat transfer. Maintains temperatures reasonably well, though it can lead to a slightly metallic taste over time. Wide mouth makes spills more likely.

Nalgene 32 oz. “Everyday,” $10

• BPA-free polycarbonate • Dishwasher safe (but keep away from the heating element) • Wide mouth makes for easy drinking, and leakproof system creates a tight seal. Plastic cap is durable but is susceptible to cracking at cold temperatures. Resistant to tastes and odors. Can handle liquids ranging in temperature from -40 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

• Aluminum coated with a patented liner (SIGG will not say whether or not these bottles contain BPA, but testing has shown there is no BPA leaching) • Dishwasher safe, though a narrow mouth makes it tricky to get clean • With more than 144 designs, it is the most aesthetic brand of the bunch, but the aluminum dents easily. Extremely light construction makes for easy portability but lessens its ability to maintain a liquid’s temperature, and it cannot be frozen. Keeps liquids tasting normal, though.

service scene

Traveling with a

photos by shelly mcconnell. previous page: Clockwise from top left: Goodlife; klean kanteen; nalgene; sigg; cascade designs.


Maybe you’ve been to Kauai’s North Shore or some other vacation spot where the sun, with its fingers like Midas, turns everything to gold. You probably came back with some nice pictures and a glistening tan. But that kind of vacation is fun only so many times. I mean, how many snapshots of pink and orange sunsets can you have before they all start to look the same? If, like Midas, you’ve realized the golden touch isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, consider doing what 27-yearold accountant Melissa McConnell did. Although she had previously traveled for her own pleasure, she wanted “to really get to experience another culture by doing more than just seeing the tourist sites,” she says. She found that opportunity through a nonprofit organization called Pillows for Peace. Each summer this organization, together with Tabitha Cambodia (also nonprofit), puts together groups of 10 to 25 volunteers to help build houses in Cambodia. “We cap at 25 participants,” explains Margret Ellwanger, founder of Pillows for Peace, “to ensure the learning and cultural experience can be personalized for the team members, but also to ensure that we do not overwhelm the villages where we bring our team.” The volunteers fund their own airfare, housing, and food, totaling around $1,600. They also fundraise to help pay for the houses they build, which cost about $960 each.

Because Pillows for Peace believes in eliminating poverty in Cambodia by teaching economic self-reliance, the locals save their own money to purchase land to build on and then work side by side with the volunteers to actually construct the house they will live in. For McConnell’s sister and traveling companion, Shelly, the results of the locals’ hard work became her favorite memory: “The looks on the faces of the people who had earned their homes that we had built for them was priceless. It was amazing to me to see how proud they were to have something to call home.” If you’re worried about having the energy to build houses for 10 days, the actual building occupies only a couple days of the adventure. Pillows for Peace and Tabitha Cambodia also focus on educating volunteers about the history of Cambodia and its people. This education includes a tour of Tuol Sleng and the killing fields, where the volunteers view graphic images and hear heart-wrenching accounts of the Khmer Rouge regime’s attempt to wipe out masses of the Cambodian population. As a result, volunteers aren’t just building houses for people they don’t know and don’t understand, but they are also providing meaningful and heartfelt service to a people they feel emotionally connected to. “I have learned so much through my experiences about the world around me, and that helps me

understand how I fit into the big picture,” McConnell says. “Learning more about and serving other people helps me realize that I really have so much in common with them.” For more information about Pillows for Peace contact Margret Ellwanger at or For more information about Tabitha Cambodia visit —Joanna Mortensen

Top center: Melissa McConnell with her roommate, Stacy, in front of the home they helped build for Cambodian children like these, top left and right and above.

STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 5 9

Where do you go when your desire to help is larger than your zip code? You go to Morocco, Mongolia, or 71 other countries. And when you return, your own community will benefit in ways you canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t imagine.


Life is calling. How far will you go?

service scene

photo by jessica beus.

Fund Your Own Adventure Many in our generation are stepping up to help in communities across the world that are struggling educationally, economically, and socially. Yet one major obstacle stops us from giving more of our timeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;finances never seem to cover our own needs as young adults coping with the demands of life as students or entry-level professionals, let alone the needs of worthy causes. Plane tickets, supplies, visas, and organization fees easily overwhelm our savings accountsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s before we get there!

STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 6 1

Helping others without breaking the bank comes down to a resourceful idea, a lot of advertising, and some willing donors, as Jessica Beus found out. She volunteered with International Language Programs (a non-profit educational organization) to teach English in China. A couple weeks before leaving, she held a benefit dinner to raise money to pay for the program cost of living and teaching in the school. Dozens of fliers were distributed with an explanation of Jessica’s cause. “I think it was most successful because I did it where my parents live, with people who knew who I am, and we kept it pretty simple,” she recalls. “I was surprised by how willing people were to help and how nice they were about it.” With a park pavilion, spaghetti for sixty people, neighbors’ donated desserts, and cheap Chinese décor, Beus was able to host a nice evening that paid a large portion of her travel fees. The success of her first teaching trip to China soon led her to another. Lauren Davidson took her time, saving and researching extensively to find the best opportunities to help. “Everything was too expensive and not what I wanted to do,” says Davidson about the results of her research. “They all had big program fees, and I didn’t know where all the money was going.” Davidson worked for two years, saving carefully for her own agenda. Finally, things “fell into place just

perfectly,” and she filled her suitcases with first aid kits, leaving in May 2009 for Ghana. She taught school, volunteered at an orphan shelter, organized donations, and raised funds for supplies for the Buduburam refugee camp. Planning, saving, and organizing on her own, Davidson was able to cut the cost of the trip. By doing so, she could devote most of the money she raised for desperately needed supplies for the places she worked. As she plans to go again, Davidson has applied for a research grant through the university she attends. Many universities offer such opportunities; be sure to check with your institution when you begin to plan a project. The internet is full of resources and fundraising ideas. One of the most informative websites is, published by the International Volunteer Programs Association, a group of nonprofit, nongovernment organizations committed to responsible, principlebased international service. This website will give you plenty of ideas of what types of approaches will work for you. The bottom line is that international service is possible. As you keep your eyes open, fundraising ideas, university grants, sponsors, and even odd jobs will present themselves to make up the difference between your savings account and your dream project. “You will never find a ‘convenient’ time,” Beus warns. “You just have to decide and just go.” The rewards of helping others will be sure to follow in your very own adventures. —Caitlin Channer

photo by lauren davidson.

Davidson went to Ghana to help fulfil the needs of the Buduburam refugee camp.

62 >> SUMMER 2010

Your daily work will be anything but a chore.


Life is calling. How far will you go?

between the lines

At Stowaway we wanted to hear about your travel experiences, epiphanies, philosophies, fantasies, opportunities, mishaps, and other stories. We solicited readers for essay submissions for the Summer 2010 issue based on our tagline, “Explore. Dream. Discover.” Below is the winning essay.

Gafanhoto by Emily McBride

I was immediately drawn to an 8-year-old boy named Isaias. He was about the same height and age as my younger brother, but he had dark skin and was dreadfully thin. His spunky personality shone through as he danced and sang for me alongside his best friend, Mosaias. He taught me how to catch gafanhotos (grasshoppers) in the neighboring field. I think he was impressed that a white American girl wasn’t afraid of bugs. Though I hardly knew any Portuguese and he knew no English, we still found ways to communicate. Over the next few weeks, Isaias became my little buddy. It was surprisingly hard to leave Africa and go back to my life of comfort. I couldn’t stop thinking about Mozambique and the eyes of the orphans I had met. I just couldn’t stay away, so I worked hard, saved up, and found myself back on a plane to Africa a year later. When we first arrived at Dondo I scanned the area—but no Isaias. I panicked. The mortality rate for orphans in Mozambique was high, but I had been counting on Isaias to be there. Finally, I found Mosaias, who led me to Isaias—lying on a pee-stained mattress on the front porch of the orphanage. He stared up at me, exhausted to the point of not being able to raise his hands to swat away the flies. Once my face triggered his memories of the summer before, he began 64 >> SUMMER 2010

chattering in rapid Portuguese. Pointing at his perna quebrada (broken leg), he attempted to tell me about it, but the sparkle that once had been in his eyes was dull. After a few minutes, I stepped back, fighting tears. My own brothers had broken plenty of bones, but they only suffered through brightly colored casts that family and friends signed and drew smiley faces and soccer balls on. The contrast killed me. And then I had an idea. I ran over to the field and began looking for the quivering grasshoppers we had hunted together last summer. After more than a few tries, I caught one, hid it in my hands, and ran back over to Isaias. “Surpresa!” I said, as I handed him the grasshopper. “Gafanhoto! Gafanhoto!” he shouted. A big smile spread over his face as the light in his eyes began to flicker back to life.

Photo courtesy Emily McBride.

It was my first visit to Dondo orphanage in Mozambique, but it wasn’t much different than the other two orphanages I had visited already. Peeling pink paint on the walls failed miserably at covering up the hopelessness of the children’s situations. The thirty or so small orphans were already waiting for us, wide grins showing rotting teeth. Their happy faces told us they were glad we had come. We joined them for an afternoon of fun and games, trying to show them some of the love they were missing due to their lack of families.

Last Look: The Subway In the backcountry of Zion National Park is a 9.5-mile-long slot canyon. Its name, the Subway, comes from the canyonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s long tunnels and quietly echoing spaces. To get through the canyon, you have to hike, swim, and rappel. The experience is worth the effort. â&#x20AC;&#x201D;Christine Armbruster, photographer STOWAWAY M A G .C O M < < 6 5

Looking for a special vacation spot this summer? Learn the secrets of visiting the Emerald Isle in â&#x20AC;&#x153;Finding the Magic of Ireland,â&#x20AC;? beginning on page 42.


Join the staff of Stowaway as they journey through the summer. Visit the exotic landscapes of Vietnam, experience the culture of India and o...