Page 1

Summer 2012

Take Me Back, Tokyo

Get the lowdown on this high-rise city, p. 52

Also in this issue

Rocky Mountain High: Camping in the Grand Tetons, p. 30 Gold Medal Guide to the London Olympics, p. 48 8 Tricks for Finding the Cheapest Flights, p. 76


2 â–ś summer 2012


www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 3


12 14 15

7 8

Editor’s Note: Our Adventures Await The Bestivals of the Festivals

4 ▶ summer 2012

Culture

Photo by Altus

16 21 22

Russia’s Palace of Art Comic Book Town, France Dress Like a Native in Guatemala 4-in-1 Wedding Curry: The Eurasian History Cilantro: The Four Corners of the Kitchen

26 27 30 32 34

Newburyport-al to the Past Bandon-by-the-Sea Rocky Mountain High Bienvenidos to Puerto Rico Lachayim! Adventures in Israel

Photo by David Illiff

On the cover: Spectators in the Roppongi Hills Sky Lounge enjoy the sunset over the vast city of Tokyo.

Getaways


Visitors to the London 2012 Olympics can enjoy a panoramic view of the city’s skyline from the Bermondsey banks of the Thames.

44 48 52

From Wright Brothers to Wi-Fi: The Evolution of Flight Patagonia: Las Torres del Paine Gold Medal Guide to the London Olympics Take Me Back, Tokyo

67 69 71 72

Tales from the Trip Russia on Rails Photo Contest Winners Human to Human: Service in Thailand Ragnar Relays: 200 Miles. 36 Hours. Shakespeare’s Dead, Let’s Surf Instead Capturing Light: Eva Koleva Timothy

Insider

Features

38

Field Notes

60 62 64

76 77 78 80 81 82 84 85 88 91 92

I’m Free, Free Flying Surive in a Hostel Happy Palate Camera Gear Gear for the Canyoneer The City of Ur Make a Novel Escape Take a Safari Eurofans Staff Essay: From Seat 17C Parting Shot

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 5


Lindsay Stevens

Erin Jones

Lisa New

Lauren Truman

Jessica Dyer

Claire Ford

Managing Editor

Assistant Managing Editor

Assistant Managing Editor

Assistant Managing Editor

Copyeditor

Copyeditor

Marinda Quist

Kellie Bowen

Sam Butler

Hillary Mousley

Becca Allen

Matt Garrett

Copyeditor

Senior Editor

Senior Editor

Senior Editor

Associate Editor

Associate Editor

Kaitlin Wales

Christina Johnson

Jonathan Timothy

Katie West

Regan Baker

Megan Jeffries

Art Director

Assistant Art Director

Assistant Art Director

Senior Designer

Business Manager

Associate Editor

All staff members contributed to planning, writing, editing, designing, and advertising.

Web Director

Shannon Williams

Web Programming Manager

Jordan Carroll

Advisor

Marvin K. Gardner

Editor in Chief

Stowaway is produced as a project for English Language 430R, Editing for Publication, the capstone class of the editing minor at Brigham Young University. The views expressed in this publication are solely the views of the authors and do not represent the views or opinions of BYU. © 2012 Marvin K. Gardner 4045 JFSB, Brigham Young University Provo, Utah 84602 Printed by MagCloud

6 ▶ summer 2012

Stowaway takes inspiration from the 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.”

Staff photos by Becky Leung

Chris Anderson


editor’s note

Our Adventures Await My dad instilled a love of travel in me ever since I can remember. In his work, he constantly traveled, mostly to techie conventions and rooms with giant computers and webs of colored wires. He brought home presents for my siblings and me when he came home from his many adventures. At least we thought they were adventures. Really, he spent more time sitting in front of computer screens and waiting in airports than doing fantastic sightseeing. But just the names of the places were enough to light a spark in my mind. Toronto. Seoul. New York. Jerusalem. During a summer he spent in China, he sent us a photo of himself in front of a propaganda poster of Mao Zedong in Tiananmen Square. The caption read, “Look, Mao and I have the same haircut!” It was true; they had the same uncompromising tufts of grey hair on either side of a shiny, domed head. Today, my dad is no longer with us. He lost a battle to colon cancer on February 21, 2012, during the production of this issue of Stowaway. It has been difficult for me to carry on when sometimes all I feel is the loss of half my world. Luckily I had the support of an amazing staff that picked up the slack when I was busy traveling from school to home and back again.

When I was 14, I spent a day with my dad sledding down a hill in the Sierra Nevada in California.

Before he died, I told my dad that I intended to dedicate my work on Stowaway to him. He replied that all he wanted was for me to do my best. Well, Dad, this is our best. We worked hard to find the best tips, the best stories, and the best places to highlight from this amazing

world. I hope that our best will light a spark in someone’s mind and inspire them to make the best out of what the world has to offer. London. Ur. Angoulême. Tokyo. Our adventures await.

Lindsay Stevens, Managing Editor

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 7


happenings

Bolas de Fuego: Balls of Fire

Mike the Headless Chicken Festival

El Colacho: The Baby-Jumping Festival

It’s sundown in Nejapa, San Salvador. Two teams line the streets, their faces smeared in war paint. Suddenly, shouting and running at each other, they raise their arms and throw balls of fire! Dressed in wet clothes and wearing thick gloves, Nejapans hurl gasoline-soaked cloth balls until the flames go out. There are three stories about the origin of this fire fest, but the most popular story is that it commemorates a fireball battle between St. Jerome and the Devil. Come join the spectacle on August 31.

On September 10, 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen went out to his chicken coop and caught Mike the Chicken. Lloyd swung his axe and, to his surprise, Mike’s head rolled one way, and Mike ran the other! Amazingly, Mike lived for another 18 months and toured the country with Lloyd. Every summer, Mike’s hometown of Fruita, Colorado, celebrates with a festival that includes a chicken dance contest, eating contests, and a 5K run, known as “Run Like a Headless Chicken.” Be part of the kookiness on May 18 and 19.

El Salto del Colacho (the devil’s jump) takes place in the village of Castrillo de Murcia. It is part of Corpus Christi, one of Spain’s biggest festivals that dates back to the 1600s. Parents lay their babies on mattresses in the middle of the street and a grown man dressed as El Colacho (the devil) takes a running leap over the bemused babies, snatching with him any evil that may otherwise befall them. This year’s jump is on June 7.

San Salvador, El Salvador

▶▶

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/ hi/8233304.stm

8 ▶ summer 2012

Fruita, Colorado, USA

▶▶

www.miketheheadlesschicken.org

Castrillo de Murcia, Spain

▶▶

http://avaxnews.com/wow/ El_Colacho_Festival.html


The

Bestivals Festivals

of  the

Summer is a time for food, fun, and festivals. Here are some of the coolest and weirdest festivals going on this summer all over the world.

Toe Wrestling Championship

Illustrations by Joey Majdali

Wetton, England These digit duels began in the 1970s in a pub in Wetton, United Kingdom. To compete, barefoot contestants lock toes over the “toedium.” When the referee shouts “toes away,” players wrestle to force their opponents’ foot on its side (known as a “toe down”). Any player who decides he’s had enough can shout, “Toe much!” This world championship toe tussle will be held at the Bentley Brook Inn near Ashbourne, England, on August 25. ▶▶

www.bentleybrookinn. co.uk/page14.html

Hantam Vleisfees: The Meat Festival

Calvinia, South Africa Meat and flowers? This is what citizens of Calvinia, South Africa, have been celebrating together since 1989. The Hantam Meat Festival is timed to occur with Calvania’s annual wildflower displays. In addition to smelling the roses, visitors can stop to sniff a wide selection of lamb, including kebabs, mutton, curries, and stews. The very brave are invited to try a smiley—a roasted sheep’s head that gets its name from the way the sheep’s lips curl up during the roasting. Other delicacies include lambs’ tails, brains, and tongue. Come have a taste on August 26 and 27. ▶▶

www.southafrica.net

The Hungry Ghost Festival Singapore

This August, beware. According to tradition, that’s when the gates of hell open and all the ghosts emerge— and they’re hungry. All month, Singaporeans prepare feasts for their ancestors and burn fake “hell money” and models of cars and houses so that their deceased can have the real thing on the other side. During this time, it’s best to walk in the middle of any staircase; the ghosts are so hungry that they hang onto railings for support and may snatch at any unsuspecting passerby. ▶▶

www.best-singapore-guide.com/ hungry-ghost-festival.html

—Lauren Truman

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10 â–ś summer 2012


Culture In Sikh weddings, the bride’s and groom’s families approach the Gurdwara from opposite sides and greet each other before entering the ceremony.

12

Arts

15

Life

21

Eats

Discover the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia, the largest art museum in the world. In Angoulême, France, the buildings pack a comic punch.

In Guatamala, traditional clothing still colors everyday life. See how one American couple incorporated four cultural traditions into their wedding.

Photo by Elisabeth Westwood

Spice up your summer with curry and cilantro.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 11


arts

Travelers’ Tips All visitors get in free the first Thursday of every month. The museum is closed on Mondays. Tourists should follow a map

The Hermitage Museum

through the various buildings but should also be on the lookout for numerous temporary

A

nyone who disagrees with the saying “bigger is always better” has never been to Russia’s State Hermitage Museum. The largest museum in the world, the Hermitage boasts roughly three million pieces of art and has nearly as many visitors annually. Founded by Catherine the Great in 1764, the Hermitage has the largest collection of paintings anywhere in the world and consists of six main buildings situated along the Neva River.

Intricate canal systems surround the Hermitage grounds and connect to the Neva River.

12 ▶ summer 2012

exhibits scattered throughout

By spending a few days exploring the treasures of the Hermitage, visitors realize that bigger really is better, and nothing is as big as the Hermitage’s collection of artwork.

Alexander Column on Palace Square

Even before entering any of the buildings, visitors are mesmerized by the Alexander Column, the largest

the museum. The Hermitage also owns other buildings including additional museums, palaces, and the magnificent Hermitage Theater.

freestanding column in the world. A triumphal column made to commemorate Russia’s victory in the Patriotic War of 1812, the Alexander Column


Opposite Page: Photo by Yair Haklai; Top: Photo by Paula Funnell; Bottom: Photo by Natalya Timakova

Gold and Ancient Treasures

Top: The Hermitage houses patriotic art, including a gallery dedicated to Soviet war generals. Bottom: The lights and reflections on the river make the museum a nightime splendor.

is named in honor of Alexander I, military commander in the triumph over Napoleon. The 156-foot high column stands in the center of Palace Square.

Paintings

With four buildings housing the largest collection of paintings in the world, the Hermitage is sure to have a painting to suit every visitor’s taste. Famous paintings include Henri Matisse’s Dance, Vincent van Gogh’s White House at Night, Claude Monet’s Le Jardin, and Caravaggio’s LutePlayer. There are also special displays devoted to paintings by Peter Paul Rubens and Edgar Degas, and works by Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, and thousands of others.

Sculptures

“Oohs” and “aahs” fill the room as visitors gape at the superb sculpture collection. Here visitors can see Michelangelo’s Crouching Boy, an astoundingly detailed sculpture originally intended for the Medici Chapel in Florence, Italy. Famous French sculptor Tilman Riemenschneider, considered by some to be the second greatest sculptor (after Michelangelo) to ever set hand to clay, has numerous works on display including Madonna with Child, Mary Magdalene, and The Head of St. Anne. Other acclaimed pieces include the powerful Statue of Athene made by an unknown sculptor and Jean-Antoine Houdon’s magnificently detailed Voltaire.

The Hermitage possesses over two million ancient and early medieval artifacts, including objects dating from the Stone (Paleolithic) Age. The Stone Age collection includes bone and stone figurines over 20,000 years old and famous carvings and drawings of women and birds. Pottery and figurines from Southern Turkmenia in 6000 BC also make up an entire exhibit. The ancient items collection has a substantial number of items from the medieval culture of Baltic tribes. Visitors are always awestruck by the Gold Room, which consists of 1,500 gold objects made between the seventh century BC and the nineteenth century AD. The Gold Room has unique Scythian and Greek gold not found anywhere else in the world. After the Gold Room, visitors enter the Diamond Room, a collection of diamonds and other jewels used in masterpieces of art dating back to the third century BC. Striking pictures made entirely of diamonds and other rare gems mesmerize visitors and would tempt anyone to become a jewel thief.

—Matthew Garrett

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 13


arts

Comic Book Town, France 2,000 years old—approximately 30 wall paintings celebrate comic-book art. CitéCréation, a company that specializes in large-scale paintings, completed these paintings during a nine-month period in 1998. The

artwork has been popular among locals and visitors ever since. The citywide art project is entitled Les Murs Peints, or The Painted Walls. Some of these painted walls are as large as a multistory building; others are as small as a tennis racket. The artwork celebrates the rich French history of la bande dessinée, or comic books. After a Nazi ban on American comics during World War II, French comics became popular. In addition to just being funny, like the Sunday cartoons, these comics help bring exposure— and closure—to serious topics, like concentration camps. CitéCréation designed the locations and themes of the painted walls, in collaboration with the Angoulême International Comics Festival, which has been held annually since 1974. A committee decided where each individual painting would go, based on the architecture, atmosphere, and audience of the work. For example, a romantic mural was painted in a beautiful city square, surrounded by old stone buildings— a likely location to find two people caught in a loving embrace. Today, comic book art thrives in Angoulême, both in people’s lives and on the walls of their city. A visit to Angoulême will give you a unique artistic experience and increase your appreciation for the artistry of comic books. ▶▶

www.toutenbd.com/murs_peints

—Sam Butler Visit our website to see more of Angoulême’s colorful paintings. Visitors can sit beside this painted wall depicting two lovers. This romantic square is not far from downtown Angoulême and offers a change of pace for travelers.

14 ▶ summer 2012

Photo by Phil Hatchard

Snails are slimy, sticky, and gross, yet the French are famous for loving their escargot. In one city, images of snails are even painted on the walls. Throughout Angoulême, France—a city that is more than


life

Dress Like a Native in

Photo by Lindsay Stevens

Guatemala While many people in Guatemala live in one-room, cement-block houses or wooden shacks with corrugated tin roofs, they spare no expense when it comes to their clothes. Ask a Guatemalan woman to open her closet, and she may take out a number of trajes tÍpicos—traditional outfits valued at hundreds of dollars. The typical traje is made up of three main pieces: the huipil, an embroidered blouse; the corte, a wraparound woven skirt piece; and the faja, a belt that wraps around and secures the corte in place. One remarkable thing about the Guatemalan traje is that its design can tell you a lot about the woman wearing it. In a small village in the mountains on the outskirts of San Pedro, the older generation of women wears their corte as a uniform. The village of Chamac, home to a small population of housewives, sprawls across both sides of a lazy highway. Margarita, a 60-something-year-old woman who has lived in Chamac her whole life, watched as the arrival of running water and paved highways changed her world. The one thing that didn’t change in Margarita’s life was her daily dress. Every day, Margarita wakes up right after dawn and puts on the same flower- and fruit-embroidered huipil she has worn for years. She wears the traditional yellow corte of San Pedro, a nod to her heritage and to her connection to the women around her. Away from the small town, in the bustling metropolis of Mazatenango, women wear cortes from all over the country. In the market you can expect to see the distinctive

T-shaped stripe of Sololá, the indigo dye of Quetzaltenango, or the distinctive geometric patterns from Totonicapán. If you hop in the back of a public pick-up truck headed away from the city center and take a road through the jungle to the village of Tierras del Pueblo, you’ll see the distinctive coastal Mazate style. Fourteen-year-old Ana and other females in her family wear traditional cortes only when they go out, like to the weekly church service. Even Ana’s toddling niece wears a tiny corte on special occasions. Since Ana’s family can afford it, she chooses a lime green corte with a corresponding studded lime green t-shirt. As the westernization of Ana’s t-shirt shows, fashion in Guatemala is and always has been a system of trends and trendsetters. Many women, especially younger women and those from the higher classes in the cities, have stopped wearing the corte in favor of more Western-style clothing. On any given street in a Guatemalan city, you can see traditional Guatemalan trajes mingled with miniskirts and tennis shoes. Women continue to express themselves with clothing, whether by maintaining tradition or by embracing change. For now, it looks like Guatemalan women have chosen to do a little of both.

The Value of a Quetzal A quetzal isn’t worth much, even in Guatemala. But here’s a handy chart to help you understand exactly what you can buy with what you have in your wallet.*

1Q (12¢): four tortillas

5Q (60¢):

a ride in a mototaxi

20Q ($2.50):

three tacos al pastor

100Q ($12):

churrasco (traditional steak dinner)

800Q ($100): full traje típico

*Prices vary based on proximity to the capital.

Visit our website to learn how to wear a corte like a Guatemalan.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 15


life

4-in-1 Wedding A Multicultural Experience

It might be hard to know how to celebrate your wedding when your family backgrounds come from several different cultures. Nicole and James Goldberg, residents of Pleasant Grove, Utah, decided that their wedding would include elements from four family, religious, and cultural traditions: Nicole’s Danish heritage, James’s Sikh and Jewish heritage, and their shared LDS heritage. The result was a melting pot experience that was unique and meaningful to Nicole and James and to their families. Their wedding celebration became a culturally rich experience that honored their heritage, balanced their cultural traditions, and celebrated their future together.

16 ▶ summer 2012

For members of the LDS faith (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints), the wedding ceremony is a small and private event. Only close family and friends of the bride and groom are invited to the LDS temple, where the sacred ceremony takes place. Following the ceremony, a large group of guests—many family members and friends—joined Nicole and James for their open house celebration. James noted that LDS marriage receptions share a similarity with Sikh wedding celebrations. Both are “community, village-type affairs,” he says. “You invite everyone in your family and your neighborhood to the reception.” During their celebration, Nicole and James exchanged rings under a

chuppah, a Jewish canopy representing the couple’s first shelter together. They also included an element of the Sikh tradition as they approached the chuppah by walking in circles. Nicole was accompanied partway around the circle by her brothers as a way of saying good-bye. As part of the ring ceremony, James and Nicole also used the Jewish religious symbol of breaking glass. In Jewish culture, the husband smashes a small glass in a cloth bag with his heel because, as James jokes with a slight melody in his voice, “It’s tradition!” He goes on to explain that the symbol also commemorates the destruction of the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem in 70 ad. It also represents

Photography by Elisabeth Westwood

This Sikh family prepares for a pre-wedding good-luck ceremony that involves turmeric powder.


Guests dance around the couple until they only have room to kiss.

Adorned in the traditional Sikh bindi, bangles, and henna and a traditional American white dress, Nicole brought cultural customs into her wedding with James.

the finality of marriage; it is as irreversible as broken glass. James and Nicole also followed the Sikh tradition of adorning the bride’s arms with henna, an intricately designed temporary tattoo made of plant dye. According to this tradition, the couple is to wait until it wears off before the bride does any housework. But after a few days, Nicole couldn’t wait any longer for James to do the household chores. So they decided to give up on that

tradition. James explains that in the past, a bride and groom would have moved in with the groom’s family, who would have done the housework without the bride’s help. But he joking­ly admits that, in their case, this season didn’t last long because “it’s different when you don’t move in with the groom’s family.” At Nicole and James’s wedding celebration, they included a Danish tradition for their first dance. As the couple danced, the guests danced

around them and moved in closer and closer until the bride and groom were so close to each other that they had room only to kiss. Following the Danish dance, James and Nicole continued the celebration by continuing to mix the LDS open house reception with other Sikh contributions: traditional food, music, and dancing. You can be sure of one thing at a Sikh wedding party— there will be traditional dances with a strong beat. One such dance is called the Bhangra. It is performed to traditional Punjabi music. The dancers sway their shoulders and sometimes bounce on one foot, and this often becomes a face-off to see who can bounce on one foot the longest. James recalls seeing his grandfather facing off with children from younger generations—and winning. Even though the wedding reception went late into the night, James and Nicole’s reception continued the Sikh tradition of making the celebration very child-friendly. James notes that you’ll usually see “a big guy with a huge beard” hold a sleeping baby on his shoulder and dancing late into the night. In the end, a wedding is all about celebrating a man and woman’s future together as well as honoring past generations and paving the way for the future. James and Nicole Goldberg found meaningful ways to balance traditions from their varied cultural heritage to do just that.

—Marinda Quist

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 17


Celebrate a Sikh Wedding Sikhism is one of the main religions in India. Many Sikhs live in northern India on the border of Pakistan in the Punjab region. Take a look at additional details of Sikh wedding celebrations.

Gifts

Groom

Bribes

bring cash to the bride and groom as

beard. He dons a decorated turban

Gurdwara, the sisters of the bride

Throughout the celebrations, guests gifts, shoving the money into their

pockets or dropping it into their laps.

Pre-Wedding Rituals

As the bride gets ready, her female

relations rub turmeric powder with oil on her body for luck.

Bride

The bride wears a bindi (a drop) as a

forehead decoration and bangles on

her wrists. The father often puts some of the bangles on the bride. The bride

wears a veil covered in ornamentation and a wedding dress in the traditional color—red.

The groom traditionally wears a long that sets him apart from the other

guests, who all wear other head coverings required to be worn when entering the Gurdwara, or Sikh house of

worship. He also often carries a sword as a symbol of the religious persecution that the Sikhs have suffered.

Before the groom can enter the

“steal” something from the groom,

such as a shoe. He must bribe them to give it back and let him into the

wedding. The sisters and the groom jokingly bargain until they reach an

agreement so the groom can enter the Gurdwara.

Hugs

Ceremony

large processional with a strong drum-

enter the Gurdwara, they hear the

At the wedding, the families arrive in a beat and dancing as they walk toward the outer gate of the Gurdwara.

The mothers of the couple share an

embrace, as do the fathers, the eldest uncles, and so forth.

As the bride and groom and guests singing of Ragis, musicians who sing

Kirtan, devotional songs from the Sikh scriptures. The men and women sit in separate groups on opposite sides of the room during the ceremony.

This Sikh couple sit amidst friends and family dressed in traditional Sikh attire while waiting for their wedding ceremony to begin in the Gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship.

18 ▶ summer 2012


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Curry Photo by Jordan Carroll

The Eurasian History Many Japanese foods that are popular today both in Japan and throughout the world didn’t actually originate in Japan. Gyoza (potstickers) and yakisoba (similar to Chinese chow mein) both originated in China. And tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet) is a Western dish adapted by the Japanese. But curry has a particularly unique story. The journey curry made from India to Britain to Japan has made this food almost unrecognizable as a descendant of Indian curry. Jun Isogai, the creator of cheftaro.com— an online community for learning about and enjoying Japanese food, culture, and cuisine—shares the story of curry with Stowaway. Curry originated in India, says Jun. Historically, “there was no standard recipe for curry in India, as various spices were blended by individual chefs to their tastes to create various curry dishes.” For centuries, Indians cooked with spices and prepared curries from scratch. In the 1600s, the British initiated trade with India. Along with many other treasures, they discovered exotic curry dishes and Indian spices, which became extremely popular. “Because creating curry dishes by blending spices was difficult and time-consuming,” Jun explains, “a British company called C&B manufactured the world’s first curry powder.” This made things much

easier because “the British simply had to purchase curry powder to make their curry dishes,” which was much more within the means of British chefs than juggling assortments of Indian spices. However, C&B powder didn’t create a curry quite like Indian curry. Chefs maintained the viscous nature of British stews by mixing roux and broth with the spices in curry powder. It wasn’t until the late nineteenth century that British merchants introduced their curry stew to Japan. Around the turn of the century, Japanese chefs decided to make curry their own. Japanese cuisine is full of yoshoku (European foods adopted by Japan), and curry was similarly adapted to Japanese tastes. “The texture was modified and was made even thicker to complement the Japanese sticky rice,” says Jun. Later on, other chefs introduced meats, which had been too expensive to include earlier. Chefs also added other subtle changes. Traditional Japanese foods often include dashi (broth) made from kelp and katsuo fish. Jun says dashi is essential to Japanese cooking because the “flavor-enhancing effects of dashi allow you to cook naturally flavorful dishes without using much soy sauce, salt, or any other condiment.” But chefs believed that the traditional Japanese dashi didn’t necessarily go well with the Western curry. “So when

cooking Japanese curry from scratch, they make it without adding traditional Japanese dashi, but instead, use the traditional Western stocks” made from chicken or veal bones. This adds umami flavor (one of the five basic tastes, also called savory) from “the glutamic and inosinic acids in the kelp and bonito flakes.” It is largely this flavor that makes Japanese foods like curry so rich and indulgent. Eventually, Jun says, “a Japanese company called S&B developed the original Japanese curry powder in the 1920s by tweaking the spice recipes of the British C&B Curry Powder.” S&B’s powder is still the standard of Japanese curry. This powder is now mostly sold in the form of dried cubes that contain both the curry powder and roux, from which most Japanese make their curry. Curry has become a common dish, one “generally considered a casual food to be eaten at home or in diner-type restaurants.” It remains one of the most popular dishes throughout Japan. ▶▶

www.cheftaro.com

—Christina Johnson Hungry for more? Check out our Japanese curry recipe on our website.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 21

eats


Cilantro The Four Corners of the Kitchen

Hide your dried spices in the back of your cupboard and shove your canned goods into a dark drawer; it’s time to pull out the fresh ingredients that make summer taste so invigorating. Refresh your taste buds with our fresh herb of choice—cilantro. Used in ancient love potions by the Chinese and clinically proven to add extra punch to your detox diet, cilantro pairs beautifully with many flavors. Let cilantro be your tour guide for your culinary trip around the world!

—Claire Ford

Cilantro-Lime Rice United States

You may recognize this rice from the menus of many Mexican food chains in the United States. Cilantro combines with one of its best complements—lime—to make a refreshing yet hearty rice dish that will surely add some zing to any burrito bowl or grilled fajita.

Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup long-grain white rice 1 ½ cups low-sodium chicken broth 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice Zest from 1 lime 1 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

2.

3.

Warm olive oil in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add garlic and rice and sauté for two minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently. Add chicken broth and lime juice and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, or according to instructions on rice package. When rice is cooked through, stir in lime zest and cilantro. Serve immediately.

Total Time: 20 minutes Yield: Four ½ cup serving Top left: Cilantro Lime Rice. Bottom left: Fattoush Salad. Top right: Cilantro-Garlic Naan. Bottom right: Mojo de Cilantro

22 ▶ summer 2012

Photo by Claire Ford

1.


Fattoush Salad

Cilantro-Garlic Naan

Mojo de Cilantro

With an emphasis on fresh herbs and roughly chopped vegetables, this salad is the perfect way to add some Lebanese flair to a summer picnic. Serve fattoush as a light lunch or add it to chickpeas to make it a main course. Any way you dish it up, this salad will send your taste buds for a ride.

Traditionally cooked in a tandoor, or clay oven, naan is a type of flatbread commonly stuffed with meat and rice or used to scoop other foods. Try this whole-wheat version in your own kitchen, and wow your friends with these perfectly melded flavors.

Similar to pesto, this traditional cilantro-garlic sauce from the Canary Islands will add a burst of flavor to any barbecue. Some Canarian mojos can be quite spicy, but this one is mild and fresh.

Ingredients:

1 bunch cilantro 3 garlic cloves ¼ teaspoon ground cumin ½ teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes ½ teaspoon sea salt 4 tablespoons olive oil Splash of white vinegar

Lebanon

Ingredients: 1 medium cucumber 3 tomatoes 1 yellow bell pepper ¼ medium purple onion 2 green onions 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro ¼ cup chopped fresh mint ¼ cup olive oil Juice of 1 lime Zest of 1 lime 1 teaspoon honey 2 cloves garlic, minced Sea salt Black pepper

Directions: 1.

2.

3.

4.

Wash and roughly chop all vegetables and herbs (first seven ingredients), and then combine them in a large salad bowl. Add all remaining ingredients to a jar with a tight-fitting lid. Shake to combine. Pour jar mixture over the salad and toss until vegetables are evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap, and let stand covered in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to mingle and intensify. Just before serving, sprinkle with broken pieces of toasted flatbread.

India

½ cup warm water 2 teaspoons quick-rising yeast 1 teaspoon honey ¼ cup olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced ¼ cup cilantro, roughly chopped ⅓ cup plain yogurt 1 egg 2 cups whole wheat flour ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour ½ teaspoon salt Softened butter, for cooking

Directions: 1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Total Time: 45 minutes Yield: Six ½ cup servings

6.

In a large bowl, combine warm water, yeast, and honey. Let stand until foamy (for just a minute or two). In a separate bowl, combine oil, garlic, cilantro, yogurt, and egg. Add to yeast mixture and stir to combine. Mix in flour and salt. Knead until dough is soft and pliable and stays together in a ball. Cover bowl with a clean towel and let dough rise for about an hour or until it doubles in size. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Using a well-floured rolling pin on a floured surface, roll each piece into a circular shape about ¼ inch thick. Preheat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Brush each side of the rolled-out dough with butter. Cook dough in hot sauté pan until dough is lightly browned and blistered on each side, about one to two minutes per side. Finish with a sprinkling of sea salt and chopped cilantro.

Canary Islands

Ingredients:

Directions: 1.

1.

2.

With a large butcher knife, finely chop the cilantro leaves, garlic, cumin, chili pepper flakes, and sea salt to form a thick paste (this also can be done in a food processor). This step takes about 10 minutes. Add olive oil a tablespoon at a time until the sauce reaches your desired consistency, using the back of a spoon to mash the cilantro paste into the oil. Stir in vinegar. Serve over meat, seafood, or roasted potatoes, or use as a dipping sauce for French bread.

Total Time: 15 minutes Yield: ½ cup of sauce

Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes Yield: Eight pieces of naan

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 23


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Getaway One of Puerto Rico’s 16 lighthouses overlooks a storm approaching the island.

26

Away for a Weekend

30

Away for a Week

34

Away for a While

Explore small-town America from the Atlantic to the Pacific.

Natural beauty awaits in the mountains of Grand Teton National Park and on the pristine beaches of Puerto Rico.

Photo by fortherock

Experience Israel like you’ve never seen it before—and enjoy the ultimate outdoor adventure.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 25


away for a weekend

Newburyport-al to the Past

It was late, and my friend and I had driven almost 2,000 miles when we pulled off Exit 57 along I-95 in northern Massachusetts. We knew the coast must be near because we were greeted by an all-encompassing blanket of fog. Determining our whereabouts and the direction we were heading was difficult, but the glow of porch and traffic lights seemed to guide us to our destination. Our imaginations went wild between the patches of darkness as Federalist mansions, charming inns, and towering steeples appeared and vanished within the fog. I wasn’t sure if exhaustion was altering my perception of reality or if I had traveled back in time. I found it ironic that the road we were traveling on was called “Storey Avenue” because it felt as though we were being led into a magical story land. Little did I know that Newburyport, Massachusetts, would have even more to offer in the daylight. We walked downtown the next day on the cobblestone streets and

26 ▶ summer 2012

savored the aromas coming from local eateries and bakeries. The whimsical backdrop of redbrick buildings, pleasant window-shops, and art galleries added to the historical ambiance. This city prides itself on its rich history— and it has the credentials to prove it. It is the birthplace of the United States Coast Guard and home to more than 15 historical sites, including the Old South Church, which houses a bell made by Paul Revere. Minutes away from the center of the city, we found two off-thebeaten-path spots: Plum Island and Maudslay State Park. Plum Island features a charismatic lighthouse that was built in 1787 and a spectacular beach crawling with wildlife. This area once offered the early settlers their first glimpses of the New World. Maudslay State Park offers a glimpse into a different world. Don’t be surprised if you feel as though you are exploring Narnia with its numerous trails and enchanting wooded backdrop. As long as you visit during

the summer, you won’t have to worry about running into any evil ice queens. Of equal caliber to the sites and activities that the city offers, the local residents maintain a genuine hometown feel. Cars stop for pedestrians to cross the street, and attendants at a local gas station still pump the gas for you. “Newburyport is filled with friendly folks and attracts tourists from all over,” says Amanda Doyle, a third grade teacher from New Gloucester, Maine. “Its history and coastal setting make this a great place to visit.” Newburyport is located on the eastern coast of the United States, directly south of where the Merrimack River and the Atlantic Ocean meet. It is just 35 miles north of Boston and can be accessed by three major highways (I-95, I-495, and Route 1). ▶▶

www.cityofnewburyport.com

—Jonathan Timothy

Photo by Eva Koleva Timothy

Catch a glimpse of the quaint shops of downtown Newburyport as old lamps and hanging flower baskets line the streets.


away for a weekend

Bandon-by-the-Sea Go crabbing from the dock. Catch a charter boat on the ocean or river. Bandon, Oregon, a small town five hours south of Portland, with a population of just 3,100, defies the small-town stereotype while still maintaining a small-town atmosphere. The pace is slow, yet there are boatloads of things to do. Walk along the boardwalk and enjoy the fresh air. Feast on fresh seafood at local restaurants. Hold a baby tiger at the West Coast Game Park. Go ahead, visit Bandon and cross something off your bucket list.

Old Town

Old Town Bandon is a treasure trove of little businesses that cater to tourists. Old Town is in a very small section of the city, adorned with adorable streets just asking to be strolled through. Antique stores, local-made craft boutiques, shops featuring glass blowing, art galleries, and cafes and restaurants line the streets. The Boardwalk is a part of Old Town, and vendors there sell fresh-caught seafood. Some vendors even let you catch your own meal.

Photo by John Fowler

Nature

When you’ve antiqued to your heart’s content, change the scene and see the bounty that Mother Nature has provided. Within a few miles of Bandon, you can find pristine, secluded beaches to watch the sun set over the ocean. Local merchants offer crabbing tours, bird- and whale-watching expeditions, horseback riding along the beach, and other ocean-oriented activities. For those prone to seasickness, Bandon offers plenty of landlubber

The unique rock formations on the Bandon coastline soar above the ocean and trap amazing creatures in the tide pools around them.

activities to enjoy as well. The three golf courses near Bandon are some of the best that Oregon has to offer. Hiking trails and beautiful tide pools filled with amazing creatures are scattered all over the area.

West Coast Game Park

Seven miles outside of Bandon, the West Coast Game Park offers unique animal encounters. The park has been giving visitors a glimpse of the wild side since 1968. It is a walkthrough safari, which means you can make friends with hundreds of freeroaming animals. For a few dollars, you can buy some animal feed and get right up close to camels, deer, llamas, goats,

bison, and many other animals. The park’s specialty is hand-raising baby animals. It offers a unique animal interaction: holding some of their baby animals. Depending on what is available when you visit, you can hold baby lions, tigers, chimps, leopards, panthers, bears, and many others. Visitors of all ages will be amazed by the original and innovative way of mingling with, petting, and seeing wildlife. A visit to West Coast Game Park is sure to be an unsurpassed adventure in meeting the wild. ▶▶

www.gameparksafari.com

—Katie West

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 27


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away for a week

Rocky Mountain High Camping in the Grand Tetons First, reserve your campsites. For the first three nights of this trip, the best place to reserve a campsite for your desired activities is Signal Mountain Campground, near Moran, Wyoming. It is located just off the Rockefeller Parkway near Jackson Lake. Sites generally cost $20.50 a night for camping in tents, and they provide some amenities, including bathrooms, showers, and fire pits. ▶▶

signalmountainlodge.com

Day One: Arrival

Your adventure is about to begin. Consider stopping by the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Moose, Wyoming. This center provides campers with information about campgrounds, maps, hikes, and useful tips for your stay in the Tetons. Then make your way to Signal Mountain Campground, about 17 miles north of Moose. If you made

30 ▶ summer 2012

a reservation, there shouldn’t be a problem finding a spot. Just ask the ranger for directions to your campsite and start unpacking. We recommend you take this first day easy. Focus on setting up your tent or RV and simply enjoying yourself. ▶▶

www.gtnpf.org/projects.php

Day Two: Water Sports There are many water activities close to the Signal Mountain Campground. Visitors can enjoy floating or whitewater rafting down the Snake River. The float trip is generally a milder experience that is better for the whole family (minimum age of six). Whitewater rafting is more adventurous. You could also go fishing. However, don’t forget to get a fishing license. If you are caught fishing without one, you’ll be fined. And wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen while fishing. You’ll be out in the sun

and near mosquitoes, so you’ll want to protect your skin. There are three options for fishing. The most expensive option is to take a guided tour on the lake, where you are guaranteed the best fishing spots and a good time. Or you could rent a boat; you’ll need to do research to find the good spots, but being on the lake, you will always have a good advantage over the shoreline fisherman. The third option is to fish from the shoreline; all you need is a pole, some bait, and an open bank to the lake. Shoreline fishing allows you to be near any of your family members who don’t want to fish. ▶▶

signalmountainlodge.com

Day Three: Your First Hike After a couple of days in the Tetons, it’s time for your first hike. Start out easy: you don’t want to tire yourself out, and you’ll want to see what kind of hikes your group can handle.

Photo by Ansel Adams

Pre-Trip: How to Prepare


With this in mind, try the Signal Mountain hike. The trailhead is close to the campsite. This is a half-day hike, so be sure to leave earlier rather than later. Pack water, clothes, and a first aid kit. The hike is 7.4 miles long, and you’ll want to take frequent breaks to enjoy the grandeur of the scenery. Don’t forget to brush up on safety regulations, since bears and other predators are present throughout the park. ▶▶

www.grand.teton.nationalpark.com/hike.htm

▶▶

www.jacksonholewy.net/trails

▶▶

www.nps.gov/grte/planyourvisit/bearsafety.htm

Day Four: Bike Hike Consider packing up and moving down the parkway to the Jenny Lake campsite. There is an eight-mile, multi-use trail that is perfect for bikes, jogging, and other pavementapproved, nonmotorized modes of transportation. If you are unable to bring your own bikes, there is a bike rental shop where you can get bikes for the day and enjoy a relaxing ride. Trail-alongs for very young children are also available.

This trail winds through the forest, allowing you a peek of the rugged Wyoming wildlife through the trees. ▶▶

ridethisbike.com/2007/05grandtetons-bike-path-coming.html

▶▶

www.gtlc.com/lodging/gtlc-camp grounds-jenny-lake-lodge.aspx

Day Five: Horseback Riding You may have to pack up your campsite two days in a row, but this activity is worth it. Make your way out of the Tetons to Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There are several horseback riding activities available, including those at the Jackson Hole Adventure Center. The longer the ride, the more expensive it is. But the rides are well worth it. A two-hour ride is $55, a threehour ride is $70, and a four-hour ride is $90. The trails go through the mountains and offer some of the best views around. Consider staying in the Lizard Creek campground, in the northern part of the park, for this night. This campground is closest to the hike recommended for day six. You won’t be able to reserve a site for the Lizard Creek campground because spots are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. ▶▶

dojacksonhole.com/summer

Day Six: Two Ocean & Emma Matilda Lakes Hike This isn’t the most difficult hike in the Tetons, but it’s no walk in the park. Be sure to pack water, extra clothes, and a first aid kit. This hike is 12.9 miles long and has a 710-foot elevation change. The difficulty rating is moderate, but it takes an average of seven hours to complete—almost the whole day. The trail follows alongside a lake, but be sure to take the detour climb up to Grand View Point for an amazing view of the national park. After the hike, make your way over to Rockefeller Parkway Hot Springs. These are glorious natural formations where you can rest and relax, surrounded by natural beauty. Enjoy the hot springs and unwind after the long hike. ▶▶

www.gorp.com/parks-guide/travelta-grand-teton-national-park-hikingwyoming-sidwcmdev_067816.html

Day Seven: Departure Time to pack up and head out of the park, enjoy the scenery again, and plan another trip into these majestic mountains.

—­Sam Butler and Kaitlin Wales www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 31


away for a week

The San Juan Cemetery (bottom right of photo) features elaborate aboveground tombs and a chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene.

Bienvenidos to

Puerto Rico

Hispanic and Anglo-American Puerto Rico is a combination of Hispanic and Anglo-American cultures. Both Spanish and English are official languages, though Spanish is the primary language. Most signs and

32 ▶ summer 2012

restaurant menus are in both Spanish and English. By the time you leave, you’re sure to have picked up a few Spanish vocabulary words. And picking up a new language just takes an airline ticket—there’s no passport needed if you are a United States citizen.

Capital City: San Juan Located toward the outer edge of the island is San Juan, the enchanting capital city. Full of jaw-dropping views and historic sites, such as old forts and cathedrals, this city is a place you will want to explore for a

Photo by Camera on autopilot

What if there were an exciting place you could go outside the continental United States for a cultural Latin American experience without a passport? A place where you could get warmth, white sand, a national rainforest, and amazing food? Puerto Rico is just the place. Located southeast of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico is a beautiful, breathtaking paradise rich with history, culture, and incredible scenery.


taste of both the rich history of the island and its modern culture. El Morro Castle is one of the many historical sites to explore. The castle was designed to guard the entrance of the San Juan Bay and defend the city from enemies. Near El Morro are large, open grassy areas. Make sure to tuck a kite away in your backpack—the park overlooking San Juan is a gorgeous place to spend an afternoon and generally has good kite weather. There are also street vendors, farmers’ markets, and authentic restaurants. But, as a heads-up, you have to pay to use the bathroom near the park, so be sure to bring some change.

Water Wonderland Each of the beaches in Puerto Rico caters to a specific demographic. Luquillo Beach, just outside of San Juan, is a family-friendly area that is surrounded by coral reef, which keeps the water calm and safe for children. There are also picnic areas and changing rooms with showers. Collecting seashells and building sand castles is sure to be a hit with the kids. Another great beach to explore is the beautiful Esperanza Beach in Manatí, Puerto Rico. Tourists swim with the fish and see the animal life beneath the waves. Also, be sure to take the time to go to Culebra Island; it is just a small fee and a ferry ride away. With its breathtaking white sand and teal water, this beach is definitely worth your time.

lesson in kayaking, you can be paddling into a bay of the most spectacular glowing water you may ever see.

Authentic Cuisine Food on the island is an experience in itself. Puerto Rican cuisine has its roots in Spain and Africa. A popular ingredient in many Puerto Rican dishes and appetizers is plátanos (plantains), similar to bananas, which grow well on the tropical island. Tostones are fried plantains that are usually dipped in mojo, a garlic sauce. (Check out Stowaway’s recipe for mojo on page 23.) Pan de plátano is a bread recipe that uses plantains. Plantains are also commonly used in omelets, pies, cereal, and soup. A special Puerto Rican sauce used on roasted meat is made with a seasoning called adobo.

El Yunque National Rainforest El Yunque National Rainforest covers thousands of acres of land on the island and is rich with vegetation, waterfalls, and coqui frogs, which are native to Puerto Rico. Male frogs can

be heard all over the island singing a particular melody all night. Try going outside early one morning, and you’ll hear their song loud and clear. Hiking in El Yunque will definitely be worth your time. Paved trails lead to breathtaking waterfalls that offer cool relief from the humid heat of the rainforest. La Coca Falls is a must-see waterfall with gorgeous scenery located in the dense rainforest. The Yokahu Observation Tower is so tall it provides a spectacular view of the rainforest and beyond. But be sure to wear good hiking shoes—on wet, rainy days, the trail can be slippery. Hispanic and Anglo-American: these two distinct cultures are fused together in Puerto Rico, making your adventure a unique, exciting experience. Go ahead and book that flight— and don’t worry about a passport. ▶▶

welcome.topuertorico.org

▶▶

www.puertoricodaytrips.com

▶▶

www.puertorico.com

—Jessica Dyer

Photo by Ricymar Fine Art Photography

Glowing Water In the areas of La Parguera, Mosquito Bay, and Fajardo, you have the rare opportunity of exploring bioluminescent bays. Here, thousands of microorganisms called dinoflagellates create a blue-green light when agitated by the water. At night you can take a kayak adventure into the glowing water. When you put your hand in the water, it will look like it is glowing too. Be sure to book your spot in advance. Then with a brief

Temperatures can reach high digits in the summer. A fountain in San Juan offers a fun and refreshing way to cool off.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 33


away for a while

Lechayim!

Adventures in Israel

What most visitors to Israel don’t realize is that they have arrived at the perfect destination to mix their sightseeing checklist with the thrill of outdoor adventure. Israel’s sunny climate allows visitors to explore what Israel has to offer year-round. During your trip to Israel, make sure to include a visit to these places that aren’t always on the scheduled tours.

At the southernmost point of Israel lies the beautiful resort town of Eilat, a great destination for ocean lovers. The town sits on the northern edge of the Gulf of Aqaba in the Red Sea. It is best known for its world-class scuba diving and snorkeling. Look closely and you can spot more than 1,200 species of tropical fish and hundreds of types of coral. If you’re not scuba certified but still want to enjoy the crystal-clear

water, you can swim with dolphins at Dolphin Reef, rent Jet Skis, and even go parasailing. Daredevils can test their luck and sky dive from 12,000 feet with a view of Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula.

The Dead Sea

The Dead Sea offers a once-in-a-lifetime swim. The sea, really a large lake, is aptly named for its extremely high salt content (33%). No plant life grows in the lake or around its shores.

The high salinity makes the lake so dense that you won’t be able to submerge your body—you can only float. Of course, you can always try to dunk your fellow travelers! A word of warning: don’t get a paper cut before you get in the water, or the pain from the salt might outweigh the novelty of being buoyant! The black mud in the Dead Sea is world-renowned for its health benefits and cosmetic properties. One coat of mud is cheaper, faster, and more fun than a day at the spa, and it leaves your skin unbelievably smooth. After a day in the water, try your hand at spelunking in Fox’s Chimney, one of the few salt caverns in the world. The cave is located at the southern end of the Dead Sea. In the hike, you can rappel over two hundred feet through a huge salt tube. You’ll have to crawl and climb to see the extraordinary salt structures.

En Gedi

Background: You might find the swift winds on the Red Sea perfect for a day of kiteboarding. Above: The Sea of Galilee offers all types of water activities, from boat rides to windsurfing.

34 ▶ summer 2012

Take a short walk from the west shore of the Dead Sea to En Gedi, a striking nature reserve. Plants and wildlife flourish here, thanks to two year-round streams that flow from the Judean mountains. Herds of ibex

Photography by Jordan Carroll

Eilat


(miniature desert goats) and hyrax (similar to rabbits) wander throughout the reserve and even get close enough to touch. The reserve has a variety of hiking trails that can take anywhere from 20 minutes to five hours for all levels of hikers. The trails lead past ancient ruins and beautiful waterfalls. Go ahead, take a dip; temperatures can reach 100 ºF (38 ºC) in the summer months.

multiple surf clubs and schools that offer lessons and rental equipment. Israel won its first-ever gold medal for windsurfing during the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. Drive 30 minutes north of the Sea of Galilee to try a daring tour of Alma Cave, the deepest and longest cave in Israel. Groups take about an hour to get through the cave. You will have to rock climb, rappel, rope swing, and crawl through tight spaces

to make your way through. Don’t forget extra batteries for your headlamp! It gets awfully dark down there. No matter what thrill or adventure you crave, Israel has everything you need to experience a truly memorable excursion. ▶▶

www.parks.org.il

▶▶

www.goisrael.com

—Kellie Bowen

Sorek Cave

This limestone cave, also known as the Stalactite Cave, is located only 12 miles west of Jerusalem in the Judean hill country. Sorek Cave is famous for its spectacular stalactite and stalagmite formations—some of which date back 300,000 years. The cave boasts every known type of stalactite and stalagmite, and some of the formations are so large that they divide the cave into subsections. Just don’t let the humidity catch you unaware! Humidity in the cave ranges from 92% to 100% all year, so it might be nice to bring a handheld fan to keep you cool.

Sea of Galilee

Northern Israel is home to the Sea of Galilee, a freshwater lake surrounded most of the year by lush, green countryside. Galilee is a popular destination for windsurfing and kitesurfing because there are strong winds every day from May to October. There are also David’s Waterfall is one of the most popular hiking destinations at En Gedi Nature Reserve and National Park. This oasis provides rare relief from Israel’s desert temperatures.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 35


Features London’s City Hall, where the Olympic flag is proudly displayed, is a spectacular sight along the Thames River.

38

From Wright Brothers to Wi-Fi: The Evolution of Flight

44

Patagonia: Las Torres del Paine

48

Gold Medal Guide to London

52

Take Me Back, Tokyo

Aviation is constantly changing. Here’s a sneak peek at flying’s next frontiers.

Explore the edge of the world in the southernmost region of Argentina and Chile.

Regardless of who wins the gold medals, these simple suggestions will help you come out on top during your visit to the Olympics.

Photo by Pixel Laika

Experience Japanese history, see extreme fashion, and get a high-tech deal in the wards of Tokyo.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 37


Curtiss JN-4H “Jenny” airmail plane #38262 takes off from Washington, DC, on May 15, 1918, the first day of scheduled airmail service.

38 ▶ summer 2012


t h g i r i F W i m W o o t r F t h e rs o r B t h g i l F ion of

lutll o v E e Th an Carro By Jord

www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 39


F

rom the time Orville and Wilbur Wright left the ground for a mere five minutes in 1903, flying has mesmerized people around the world. And it’s understandable. Who doesn’t want to soar over snowcapped vistas, view the world’s remote islands from above, or travel to and from Europe in record times? Flying via airplane is a sight and speed humankind hadn’t experienced until 109 years ago, and the history of commercial flying is as speedy as flight itself. Now flying is available to more and more people across the globe, and it’s more luxurious than ever—which is far from where commercial flying began.

Top: In 1945, Pan American World Airway’s Boeing 307 carried 33 passengers in day flights and featured new innovations of pressurized cabins and dressing rooms. Above: Passengers sit aboard Pan American World Airlines in 1931 on a Sikorsky S-40.

40 ▶ summer 2012

In the beginning, commercial flying was the bare essentials. Large planes were originally built for military purposes before being used for mail carrying and luxury transportation. With the introduction of commercial flights, flying quadrupled in the late 1920s. After the two world wars, planes were often converted or altered for passenger and freight use. In the 1950s and ’60s, jet airliners, named for their jet engines and long-distance-travel capabilities, dominated the flying scene. And with these new planes came a new highbrow culture. Perks added to the flying package included such amenities as personal assistance, female stewardesses (who were actually first introduced by Boeing in 1930 and were required to be registered nurses), wine and beverages, and the first routes to international cities. The 1970s brought a change in regulation. When the Airline Deregulation Act was passed, the government could no longer restrain airlines’ fares, routes, and innovation. With this act, a new competitive market emerged and modernization literally took flight.

Photography courtesy of Florida State Archives; previous page: photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Institute

Mail Carriers to Jetliners


Timeliest airlines

78%

76%

Tired of having flights canceled? Fed up with dashing through a busy airport only to find that you missed your layover because of delays? The Flightstats On-time Performance Service Award, created in 2004, monitors airlines and airports to show which have the best records. Here are the winning airlines for average

International airline All Nippon Airways (ANA)

73%

North American Alaska Airlines (ALK)

79%

on-time performance in 2011.

—Regan Baker Asian airline

All Nippon Airways (ANA)

European airline

Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS)

United in 2010, and American Airlines announced in early 2012 that it would lay off 13,000 employees to improve its financial situation. “These are painful decisions,” CEO Tom Horton said in a news release, “but they are essential to American [Airlines]’s future.”

The 21st Century

Floatplanes help travelers around the world reach less accessible areas, like Ketchikan, Alaska.

Photo by Sonny Side Up!

Economic Woes

Americans saved billions of dollars in traveling because of this change, though companies visibly began to struggle. While Americans now fly more than ever, airfares have increased by an average of $86 in the past 15 years, according to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Rising fuel and gas prices have created significant pressure on airlines in the

past two decades. Recent US budget proposals by the president aimed at deficit reduction have also targeted the flying community by suggesting raising passengers’ flight taxes and fees progressively until 2017. Over the years, many airlines have folded under financial problems. Pan America went bankrupt in 1991, Trans World Airlines went under in 2001, Continental merged with

Though some airlines have folded because of economic woes, flying is still ever-present in modern culture. The obsession with airplanes has persisted. The time when businessmen and wealthy adventurers were the only ones to enjoy the benefits of air travel is long gone. Today, flying is a common mode of transportation and even a source of recreation. College student Kyle Kirn, who aspires to get his own private pilot’s license, made flying a central part of his prom date during his high school days in Alaska. “A friend offered to take me on a ride in his small plane,” Kirn say. “So I asked him for this favor. In small planes you get high enough to see your surroundings, but you’re not in the clouds. The whole picture of Anchorage was below us. We flew over a field where I had painted the question in the snow asking her to prom.”

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 41


Many airlines like Delta are installing new features for business elite and coach. Delta plans to have all new interiors in its 747s by October 2012.

With innovation and development, small planes and private licenses are more available to aspiring pilots. Before small personal aircrafts, people were unable to travel to remote places. “With small aircrafts, we’re able to fly to places in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness or stay at cabins on islands across the inlet,” Kirn says. “The only ways to get to many of these places are through flying or snow machines.” Americans in the 21st century are traveling to more places than ever before, and they’re doing so with the United States’ three main

42 ▶ summer 2012

carriers: American, Delta, and United Airlines. While cars still largely dominate domestic traveling, international travel by air has increased, according to the US Department of Transportation.

Social Media & Starbucks

Though the choice of airlines is not as expansive as it once was, airlines are developing new amenities and services for those seeking old-school luxury with modern-day technology. American Airlines showed off the modern interior of its new Boeing 777-300ER earlier this year, with lie-flat seats in business and first class, increased electronic accessibility throughout the aircraft, and improved fuel efficiency.

With many airlines, such as Virgin America, USB ports and electronic plug-ins are now available at each cabin seat, making it easier to always be plugged in. PC World voted Delta, Alaska Airlines, and Virgin America as the most tech-friendly airlines in 2011. Malaysia Airlines features a socialnetwork benefit called MHbuddy for its customers using Facebook by allowing them to share their travel plans and itineraries with others and to choose their seats accordingly. KLM, the Royal Dutch Airlines, is reported to be pushing out a similar service this year; dubbed Meet and Seat, this service will allow customers to select seating arrangements based on mutual interests via social media sites like

Photography courtesy of Delta

Airlines are developing new amenities and services for those seeking that old-school luxurious way of travel.


Facebook and LinkedIn. With the rise of smartphones and tablets, many airlines like Delta are offering mobile boarding passes, allowing customers to skip printing altogether. Smartphones aren’t only changing boarding procedures; they’re also affecting in-flight entertainment with the addition of wireless Internet access. Another recent development in airlines includes Alaska Airlines teaming up with Starbucks to serve its coffee in-flight. United Airlines announced a new program earlier this year called MileagePlus Gift Card Exchange, which will have everyone cleaning out their wallets for old and unused gift cards. This unique program allows members to trade in leftover retail gift card balances for award miles. One of the biggest adjustments for airline corporations is a new set of regulations enacted by the Department of Transportation requiring airlines to be more forthcoming about miscellaneous fees and taxes in published airfares. The regulations now also allow passengers to cancel reservations within 24 hours of booking a flight with an airline. They also require airlines to notify passengers of delays and cancellations immediately. As the economy changes and technology makes leaps and bounds, flying will shift to fit the needs of modern America and the rest of the world. New routes are made each year. This year, there are more flights to Hawaii from Washington, DC, and a new route from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Pointe Noire in the Republic of the Congo. Next year, who knows? The world is ever changing—and flying is too. ▶▶

For an insider’s guide to bargain flying, see “I’m Free, Free Flying” (p. 76).

▶▶

www.centennialofflight.gov

▶▶

www.bts.gov

How to

Survive a Long Flight Your ears are in pain and you’re just plain bored. Chances are slim that a flight attendant will have just what you need when you’re soaring 30,000 feet above the ocean. Do yourself a favor and take

note of these tried-and-true tips for a happy plane ride:

up your water bottle with cold water before boarding. 1. Fill Drinking lots of water throughout your flight can keep you from feeling sick or parched.

your flight has open seating, choose an aisle seat. Nothing is 2. Ifworse than having to use the restroom on a plane and being stuck in the middle of a ten-person row.

a jacket and long pants with shoes and socks to keep 3. Wear warm in case there is a draft on your flight. Consider wearing short sleeves under your jacket in case you get too warm.

get caught with a sore throat at high altitude. Bring along 4. Don’t some good cough drops and antibacterial wipes. your nose is a little stuffed up, the air pressure in the plane 5. Ifcould cause your ears a lot of pain. To combat this, bring along a decongestant spray to clear your nose and some chewing gum to help pop your ears.

you first board the plane, set your watch to the time of 6. When whatever country you’re flying to. Then act according to that time. Once you arrive at your destination, you’ll be more prepared to deal with jet lag.

plenty of your favorite healthy snacks or small meals. 7. Bring As much as you think you’ll love that bag of Starbursts, you’re going to want something more substantial a few hours into your flight.

—Claire Ford

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 43


Get a close-up view of Grey Glacier in Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park.

44 ▶ summer 2012


By Chris Anderson

Las Torres del Paine

patagonia Photo by scorbette37

p

atagonia remains somewhat of a mystery to many world travelers, and at the same time serves as a symbol of the extreme in world geography. In his book Patagonia Revisited, travel writer Bruce Chatwin sums up the mystery of this largely unfamiliar region: “Since its discovery by Magellan in 1520, Patagonia was known as a country of black fogs and whirlwinds at the end of the habited world. The word ‘Patagonia’ lodged itself in the Western imagination as a metaphor for The Ultimate, the point beyond which one could not go” (p. 7). Patagonia encompasses the southernmost region of Argentina and Chile in South America—the enigmatic deep south of the world, including the tempestuous Tierra del Fuego. There must be a reason that “Patagonian,” as Chatwin notes, has been used as “an adjective for the outlandish, the monstrous, and fatally attractive.” Patagonia has attracted some of the most adventurous world travelers with its remote wildness and natural extremes. Patagonia has a variety of geographic features, from vast steppes and plains to towering fjords and glaciers. It is home to a variety of climates and ecosystems, the amalgamation of which gives it a distinct character from the rest of the world. Torres del Paine National Park in Chile brings together some of the most distinctive natural features of Patagonia, making it the ideal place to introduce the traveler to the rare beauty that this part of the world has to offer. As a UNESCO World Reserve site with scenery on par with that of iconic sites like Yosemite, it’s one of the most alluring destinations in the world for the adventurous outdoors enthusiast. The park is dominated by the Paine group of mountain peaks, which form part of an eastern spur of the Andes mountain range. This includes the Torres del Paine themselves, a set of monolithic towers of granite, as well as the Cuernos (horns in Spanish) del Paine, a set of uniquely rugged, curved peaks which stand out as some of the most iconic imagery in all of Patagonia. Torres del Paine is also known for its impressive glaciers, which are part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. The ice field is the second-largest in the world outside of the polar ice caps and is notable for its accessibility and low altitude. One of the most prominent of the glaciers is Grey Glacier, which you can see up close on a boat tour of Grey Lake. The broad, deep-hued lakes of the park are all impressive, particularly Nordenskjöld Lake and Pehoe Lake, which add dramatic contrast to the scenery of the peaks that tower above them. The park is also home to a number of exotic species. One of the most ubiquitous and famous residents is the guanaco, a large mammal related to the llama and the alpaca. Another is a flightless, ostrich-like bird called the rhea.

Experiencing Las Torres

The best way to experience the breadth and variety of the park’s scenery is a multiday hike. The most popular route is the 55-kilometer “W” circuit, which can be hiked in four to five days. This hike, which follows clearly defined trails and doesn’t involve a great deal of climbing, is easily manageable for adventurers who are comfortable with making the outdoors their temporary home. This hike affords close-up views of some of the major features of the park, including Los Cuernos and Grey Glacier, plus all the varied landscapes that can be found in between—deep forests, colorful meadows, and exotic wildlife. The “W” circuit also winds through French Valley, which many visitors feel is the most beautiful part of the park. The top of the valley is formed by a cirque of tall cliffs topped with glaciers that tower over the lush green landscape below. One blogger at lastorres.com explains that “a verbal description can’t give you

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 45


a complete image and atmosphere of that place. All around are glaciers hanging out of mountain peaks, and down below lakes, trees, rivers cascading down the valley walls.” If you aren’t inclined toward the rigors of backpacking, don’t let that discourage you from visiting Torres del Paine. There are shuttles to different parts of the park and plenty of day hikes that offer great views of the many features of the park. But if you are up for a more rigorous adventure, you can find a more comprehensive trek around the park in the complete Paine Loop, which is 100 kilometers long and can take nine to ten days to complete.

Making the Journey The climate of Patagonia is known to be harsh for much of the year, so the

46 ▶ summer 2012

ideal time of year to enjoy Torres del Paine is during the summer months of November to April. Even in the summer months, you should be prepared for inclement weather, drastic fluctuations in temperature, and lots of wind. In the peak season around January and February, the park receives about five thousand visitors a day and the camps can get pretty full. So if you want to avoid the crowds, come earlier or later in the season. The entrance fee for the park is about US $14 per person, regardless of how long you stay. Once you are in, you have two lodging options for the camps along the trail. You can camp in tents for about $7 per night. Campfires are forbidden, as there have been several incidences of wildfires caused by negligent visitors. The other option is the refugios, or “lodges,” which are available at

“The word ‘Patagonia’ lodged itself in the Western imagination as a metaphor for The Ultimate, the point beyond which one could not go.”

Photo by Bernard Gagnon

The distinctive angles of Los Cuernos del Paine make up some of the most iconic imagery in Patagonia.


Photo by winkyintheuk

most of the camp locations. Staying in these lodges requires a reservation and is considerably more expensive than camping in tents. But it can be a much more welcoming option when the weather turns rough. They also serve hot meals, but they are not cheap. Trekkers will find the refugios to be a pleasant, albeit much more expensive, alternative to roughing it in the traditional way. Hiker George Kalli explains how the environment at the refugios and camps added another level of

enjoyment to the experience of Las Torres del Paine: “While completing the 10-day Circuit hike, there were a few other hikers who ended up having similar itineraries as us. Having common areas to hang out, eat, and cook made it easy to get to know our fellow international hikers quite well. Sharing this adventure with our new friends was my favorite part of the hike.” However you choose to experience the park, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to take in the

depth and breadth of its beauty. Los Torres del Paine is the ideal gateway into the mystery of Patagonia and certainly one of the most exciting outdoor adventures you will find anywhere in the world. ▶▶

adventures.bootsnall.com/ articles/06-08/the-big-wet-seventeen-days-in-torres-del-paine-torresdel-paine-np-patagonia-chile.html

▶▶

www.lastorres.com

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www.besthike.com/southamerica/chile/paine.htm

Guanacos are some of the largest wild mammals in South America. Their wool is highly valuable; it is almost as soft as cashmere.

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Gold Medal Guide to the London Olympics You’re booked for an early-morning July flight to the United Kingdom. You got your tickets for the gymnastics program months ago, thanks to your quick web surfing. You watched The King’s Speech for the hundredth time to try and understand British customs. Now what? If you are attending the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, England, check out our tips and tricks to help you navigate jolly ole England and make your Olympic experience a golden one.

1

Find the best way to get around

A good transportation option for tourists is to buy a London

48 ▶ summer 2012

Travelcard, which gives access to buses, trams, and the Underground (London’s subway system, known as the Tube). If you are staying for a week or more, the Travelcard is the way to go. See www.londonpass.com/ london-transport. The most common transportation in London is the Underground. If you’re going to frequent the Tube, you can buy an Oyster card at any of the stations as an easy way to store your travel credit. When you tap your card to get on and off the Tube, the price of your ride will automatically be deducted. If you are staying in London for a short time, this is the best option because you can add what money you need to the card. Go to oyster.tfl.gov. uk/oyster/entry.do for more details.

Top: photo by David Illiff; left: photo courtesy of LOCOG

by shannon williams and erin jones


For a scenic ride around London, check out Barclays Cycle Hire. You can take a bicycle, ride it, and then return it at the nearest docking station. You pay an access fee and a fee for the amount of time you have the bicycle. See www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/14808.aspx. But the true London traveler walks the streets. There are things and places a tourist cannot truly experience without walking to them among the crowd while smelling fish and chips in the air.

2

Study up on your surroundings

Although the Olympic Games are typically centered around one city, several events of these games take place

in other parts of the United Kingdom. Even so, London itself is massive. With the Olympics spread out across the country, some tourists may find it difficult to visit all the sites they want to see. You can maximize the amount of time you have and the number of sites you see if you study the location of the event you’re going to attend. For example, St. James’ Park, just north of London in Newcastle upon Tyne, will host some of the football (soccer) games. If you attend a game there, you might want to stick around for Newcastle’s famous nightlife. Or you can visit Chinatown, right across from St. James’ Park. The Olympic Park, where the majority of the events will be held, is in Stratford, London. The location is home to the recently opened Westfield Stratford City, one of the

largest shopping centers in Europe. Right across from the shopping center, Stratford’s Cultural Quarter has many art venues and restaurants. Because Stratford is farther away from the main tourist attractions in London (Westminster Abbey, Birmingham Palace, the London Eye, etc.), wait until you have a good chunk of free time or an event in venues like Hyde Park, Earls Court, or the Mall before making the trip.

3

Check out the London Festival

Take a break from the Olympic sports events to experience cultural London. In conjunction with the Olympic Games, London is hosting a “Cultural Olympiad,” with events in

So What If You’re Not in London? Didn’t get tickets to the Olympics? Don’t despair. Here’s how you can enjoy the London 2012 Olympics at home:

own course, cycling on an indoor

a feel for the sound; then try it out on

ible opponents.

a neighbor, a friend, or that obnoxious

Make Olympic bingo. H  ave fun

telemarketer.

during the Olympics without ever

Invest in a DVR. . . or switch

spotting famous London landmarks leaving your couch. Fill up a bingo

your night/day sleeping patterns.

and “Buckingham Palace,” along with

broadcast live, which means you

you see them on the screen, mark

or use DVR.

Have a tea party w  ith the

The people on your screen

and a crown and serve yourself some

athletes. Reenact the events

card with words such as “Big Ben”

Remember that the events will be

the names of popular athletes. When

might want to stay up all night

your square.

Illustrations by Travis Green

imitating the accent. Watch some

Doctor Who or Downton Abbey to get

Be part of the games.

“queen.” Dress up your dog with a robe

don’t have to be the only

herbal tea. Don’t forget the biscuits.

as you see them on

Practice your Britishaccent

setting

always pretend you’re in London by

your

on unsuspecting citizens. You can

cycle, or playing soccer against invis-

the screen by up

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 49


Don’t want to pay outrageous prices for admission to Olympic events? Don’t worry. music, art, dance, film, theater, and more. The Festival begins on June 21 and runs until September 9, so these events are a great way to fill your time if you are staying in London before or after the Olympics. Many of these events are free, including the Official London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Poster Display at the Tate Britain and “To Be or Not to Be,” a presentation of 50 actors bringing Shakespearean dialogue to life. Other festivals and series have joined up with the London Festival as well. The World Shakespeare Festival will feature nearly 70 productions. Thespians from around the world will perform the legendary playwright’s work in locations throughout England. BBC’s Music Nation is uniting orchestras and other musical groups from around the UK to perform timeless pieces, such as Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, as well as contemporary music. Even pop culture icons have made their way into the festival with a special live show based on the television series Doctor Who. With so many options, there is bound to be a performance or display to please everyone. Go to festival. london2012.com to search events.

50 ▶ summer 2012

4

Learn your London lingo

People from the United States and the United Kingdom may both speak English, but there are some notso-subtle differences in vocabulary. Check out this London lingo: queue = line timetable = schedule lift = elevator ogling = staring way out = exit rubbish bin = trash can diary = planner codswallop = nonsense chips = french fries jumper = sweater biscuit = cookie cinema = movie theater holiday = vacation conk = nose busking = performing for money

5

Don’t forget about free events

Don’t want to pay outrageous prices for admission to Olympic events? Don’t worry. There will be some free Olympic events on the streets of London. From July 28 to August 1,

crowds will pack London’s streets for the cycling road races at the Mall and the time trials at Hampton Court Palace. The free Triathlon event at Hyde Park will also take place from August 4 to August 7. Don’t forget about the attractions at the London 2012 Olympic Park. The southern part of the park will contain riverside gardens, cafés, and bars; the northern part will contain a habitat for plants and animals. Screens with live coverage of all the events will be set up in Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park, and Victoria Park. They will also showcase live music and other entertainment. There are also many free things to see in London outside of the Olympics, wherever your passion lies. Most of London’s museums have free admission. Visitors are invited to evensong services at St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. Food lovers should check out the outdoor Borough Market. Bibliophiles can pore through the British Library. And for art lovers, museums abound in London. For starters, visit the Tate Modern and National Gallery of Art. Be careful to plan for crowds and lines (or as a Londoner would say, queues). Plan ahead for where you want to go, and don’t forget to take a breather in one of London’s idyllic parks.

6

Take home a memory

You won’t want to leave London without a few souvenirs. For the best bragging rights, you should get something with the London 2012 Olympic logo. There are a variety of products with the logo available—shirts, hats, keychains, stationery, towels, even rubber ducks— at official London 2012 shops. There are also shops at Heathrow and Stansted Airports and other locations, so you can pick up something on your way in or out of the country. As for other London souvenirs, go for the extraordinary. That Will


Don’t be a super-tourist Bring a power converter.Unless you want to fry your electrical appliances (or burn off some of your hair), make sure you bring a power converter with you.

Remember, from country to country, all outlets are not created equal.

Secure your money.You want to keep your money away from pickpockets, but

you don’t want your tourist-ness to attract unwanted attention. Keep your money tucked away, but not in a noticeable travel pouch.

Speak softly.The streets may be packed

with tourists, but Londoners don’t often raise

their voices in public. It’s okay to strike up a conver-

sation with a stranger, but when in the streets or on the Tube, keep your voice down.

Keep your accent.Don’t try to take on a pseudo-

accent. Chances are, the locals will compliment you on your accent when you speak normally!

Bring hand sanitizer and a water bottle.If there are

two things that are hard to come by in London, they are paper towels in public bathrooms and drinking fountains.

Shop in grocery stores.Resist the urge to go for the familiar Big Mac. Small grocery stores, like Sainsbury’s and

Tesco, have meal deals and delicious British treats that will save you money and give you a real taste of London.

Learn how to pronounce names.Many names of

places in Great Britain don’t sound the way they look. For example, the River Thames is pronounced “Tems,” Greenwich is pronounced “Gren-itch,” and Southwark is pronounced “Suth-ick.”

and Kate shot glass may have made you swoon in the gift shop, but there are many unique clothing items, accessories, or household items that will fit easily into your wardrobe or home. Get your double-decker bus keychain, but then hit up the markets

(especially Portobello and Camden) for souvenirs no one else will have. Finally, keep a journal. The memories of your experience will be the best thing you bring home, and a journal will ensure that you don’t forget a thing (plus it’s more cost

effective than shipping a teapot). Write down funny things you hear, paste in your event tickets, draw pictures of your surroundings, and never forget your time in London. ▶▶

visitlondon.com

▶▶

www.london2012.com

▶▶

See our article on surfing in England (“Shakespeare’s Dead, Let’s Surf Instead,” pg. 69) for an off-the-beaten-path activity during your stay in the UK.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 51


Take Me Back,

t okyo By Christina Johnson

52 â–ś summer 2012


Left: photo by Jun Seita; top right: photo by juank.madrigal

This octagonal pagoda, Bentendo, overlooks Shinobazu Pond in Ueno Park and is dedicated to Benten, the Shinto god of wealth and art. Even non-Shinto Japanese often participate in Shinto festivals and traditions as a way of recognizing their national heritage.

As you look out from the top floor of almost any skyscraper in Tokyo, all you can see is city. It’s a dizzying experience, like looking out over the ocean. The city seems to go on forever, disappearing into the horizon. With a population of more than 36 million, Tokyo is the largest metropolitan area in the world and the only place in Japan where the population grows more year by year. No matter what you’re looking for, you can find it here. The diversity of Tokyo makes it everyone’s city. But it can also leave visitors completely overwhelmed as they try to figure out where to start. Fortunately though, if you take the time to understand it, Tokyo has a clear structure. Smaller cities or “wards,” each with neighborhoods all their own, make up the bigger metropolis. After living in Tokyo for a year, I realized that dividing the big city into its most distinctive neighborhoods is the best way to experience it. Instead of losing time rushing around, you can wander through each neighborhood and savor that slice of Tokyo for as long as you want before moving on to the next.

Ueno Tradition

The monotony of an urban jungle can be overwhelming. Taishō, the emperor of Japan in the early twentieth century, must have known this when he gave Shinobazu Pond and the park that surrounds it as a gift to Tokyo. Ueno Park sits in the center of Taito ward, where a statue of Saigō Takamori, a famous Japanese samurai who fought for Ueno long ago, protects it still. The park is home to both the Tokyokan Japanese National Museum and the famous Ueno Zoo. The oldest zoo in Japan, Ueno Zoo is worth a day on its own. Even if you’ve seen your share of zoos, chances are you’ve never seen two giant pandas sitting on the floor like babies as they are fed. The pandas, Riri and Shin Shin, were new additions to the family in 2011, after the original panda, Ling Ling, died of old age in 2008. These two young pandas are fun and energetic; they’re both only six years old. The pandas were given to Ueno Zoo by China as

a symbol of Japan and China’s friendship since World War II. ▶▶

www.tokyo-zoo.net/english

Venture to the Tokyokan, a national museum just outside the park, to learn more about Japanese history and culture. Many artifacts of old Japan have been lost, so this collection is a precious reminder of Japan’s past. Take an afternoon and learn to appreciate Tokyo’s ancient roots. Admission is only 400¥ (approximately $4) for university students and only a little more for other adult guests. ▶▶

www.tnm.jp

Come to Ueno in early April during cherry blossom time and be a part of ohanami (flower watching). This Japanese pastime embodies Japanese tradition and entertainment. Families sit together on small blankets by the pond under the cherry blossoms and eat their lunches from bentos (Japanese lunchboxes). It’s a time to reflect on the magic, bask in the beauty of nature, and celebrate Japan. Even if you don’t know how to make your own bento, you can buy bento lunches at many grocery stores and enjoy this peaceful tradition.

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54 â–ś summer 2012


In a time, in a place, in a world they forgot, lives the heart of me, a part that just won't die.

"tokyo Road "—Bon Jovi

Akihabara seems to be filled with corporate buildings, but inside is a maze of small vendors.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 55


Antiquity

In its history, Tokyo has been almost burned to the ground a fair number of times. But what’s more surprising is how well it has recovered. The only indication of this charred history is the decided lack of historical buildings throughout Tokyo. In most of Tokyo, everything is bright and new, a quality that’s become almost a tradition of its own. But in this small section of Taito ward, you can find the remnants of old Edo, the historic capital of Japan. The Asakusa neighborhood is home to Sensoji Temple, the oldest

Previous spread: The Tsukiji fish market is scheduled to be moved here to Toyosu, deep inside Tokyo Bay. Above: Tokyo is a popular destination for school trips, and you're likely to run into groups like these girls standing in historic locations like Kaminarimon Gate.

56 ▶ summer 2012

bustle of Nakamise Dori, and it allows you to feel the history of this extraordinary section of Tokyo. If you’re really up for an adventure, wander over to Ramen Menmaru restaurant for some authentic Japanese ramen, one of Tokyo’s cheapest and most popular dishes. ▶▶

www.japan-guide.com/e/e3004.html

Shibuya Fashion

Ever heard of Harajuku girls? Perhaps you’ve just seen pictures of Japanese youth in outrageous costumes. Though you may be disappointed to find that this isn’t the way most Tokyoites dress, this unique style can still be found in Harajuku, a small but intoxicating neighborhood in Shibuya. Harajuku is concentrated into a couple of streets and, of these, Takeshita Dori is unique. Cars aren’t allowed here because young high school and college students overrun the street most days. But just because Harajuku is full of teenagers doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it as an adult. The bizarre costuming stores show a side of Japan you can’t find anywhere else. Plus it’s a great place for food: a variety of stylish cafes line the street, and the sweet and savory crêpes sold from small stands on the street are incredible. My favorite place, a restaurant named Harajuku Gyoza Lou, is a couple of blocks from Takeshita Dori. At peak times, there are more people in the queue outside than in the restaurant itself. But if you wait to get in, you won’t be sorry. It’s packed for a reason. As you sit at a counter in the small kitchen, your food is made before your eyes. The menu is unsophisticated—only gyoza (dumplings), rice, and pickled vegetables—but it’s the best gyoza I’ve ever had. Best of all, each plate of five is only a few dollars, so go crazy.

Previous spread: photo by Masato Ohta; left: photo by Andreas H. Lunde

Asakusa

temple in Tokyo, which is a huge tourist attraction. If you start at the Kaminarimon Gate, you’ll be led down Nakamise Dori (Nakamise Street), a street of tourist vendors. The festive atmosphere is characteristic of the Japanese, who practice religion primarily through celebration. Walking on, you’ll have to leave the celebration behind to reach Sensoji Temple. But don’t stop there. Give yourself time to wander around the neighborhoods. It’s like traveling back in time as the streets get smaller and smaller. You’ll discover little shops, homes, and restaurants tucked between the bones of the city. Not all tourists go this way, but this route is a nice break from the


Harajuku and Shinjuku are great places for regular shopping too. Unlike Ginza, where the stores are so posh that the average traveler could never afford anything, these are fashion centers for the young. When you get bored, take a photo break. Futuristic photo booths tucked into corners all over Harajuku take snapshots that you can draw all over and print out into stickers—a memory no Japanese schoolgirl would go without. Harajuku also boasts the biggest souvenir shopping center in Tokyo—the Oriental Bazaar—only a couple of blocks from the end of Takeshita Dori. ▶▶

www.harajukustyle.net

Akihabara

Photo by Al Case, traveljapanblog.com/wordpress

Technology

If you want a taste of technological Japan, Akihabara, the electronic center of Tokyo, is the place to be. Lately many comic book stores and video stores have also popped up all over Akihabara. You can go to the big stores and browse through all the new electronics. But if you want a really good deal, you have to be a bit more adventurous. Behind the fancier stores are large buildings with smaller vendors packed into every nook. It’s an offbeat maze where you’ll probably get lost at least once, but you’ll find your way out eventually. Most of these vendors sell something electronic: TVs, cameras, even wiring. Others sell everything from anime action figures to costuming. If you want anything—from a Japanese camera to a denshi jisho (Japanese electronic dictionary)—you’ll get the best price by bartering, which is considered fair game at the little shops and even in some large department stores. Make sure you’ve done your research, though. When looking for a camera, I named a price that was apparently so low it was insulting, and the seller refused to barter anymore.

Harajuku is a place where Japanese youth can escape the rigors of their schooling and express their individuality before joining the corporate world.

Luckily, later on that day, I had learned enough to get a spectacular deal on exactly the model I wanted. ▶▶

www.e-akihabara.jp/en

Chuo Core

Chuo, the central ward in Tokyo, holds the most expensive shopping district, Ginza. Chuo is also a great place to find traditional Kabuki theater. But its real treasure is sushi. In Tsukiji, another of Chuo’s neighborhoods, ships unload half-ton tuna at the insane hour of 3 am and stop at Tsukiji fish market. You shouldn’t have to arrive until 5 am, but don’t wait much longer than that. The ambiance is something between a fish slaughterhouse and an open market. On the outskirts, there are booths where tourists can buy fish-related merchandise, but farther in are booths with the fish itself. You’ll see men with buckets of fish picking up their wares one at a time by the fins, lopping off each fish’s head with a cleaver, putting the fish on ice, and then moving on to the next. Luckily, not everything is this gruesome. If you make it to the back, there are hundreds of flash-frozen tuna laid out on the ground. You’ll be

asked to stay away from the fish auction, where chefs from top sushi restaurants from around the city come to buy their fish. But watching from a distance is just as interesting. You may never get the chance to taste fish this fresh again. You can go to Sushi Dai (right outside the fish market) or to one of the four Edogin Sushi locations in the city. These restaurants are famous for their fresh sushi and are reasonably priced, especially at lunchtime. But if you’re really adventurous or just really frugal, you can buy fish straight from the vendors at the fish market, who often offer samples and incredible prices on freshly cut fish. ▶▶

www.tsukiji-market.or.jp/tukiji_e.htm

Tokyo

An Iconic City If you ever find yourself staring out over Tokyo, don’t get seasick. Tokyo certainly can be visited in a day—and maybe that’s all you have. But to truly learn to appreciate this city, you have to examine it piece by piece. Tokyo isn’t one place or one memory. It is the photo booths in Harajuku, the cherry blossoms in Ueno, and the bartering in Akihabara. Tokyo’s diversity makes it the iconic city that it is.

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58 â–ś summer 2012


Field Notes Photo by Eva Koleva Timothy

Eva Koleva Timothy’s two sons play a game of beach soccer on Plum Island just off the coast of Massachusetts.

60

Tales from the Trip

62

Highway Highlights

64

Photo Contest Winners

67

Service Travel

69

Off the Beaten Path

72

Profile

Stowaway’s readers tell their own adventure stories from trips around the globe.

Seven time zones, two continents, six thousand miles—catch a ride aboard the Trans-Siberian Railroad.

Each breathtaking photo from our readers tells a story of its own.

Discover why students travel thousands of miles to volunteer in Thailand.

Run a 200-mile Ragnar Relay in 36 hours. Or grab a wet suit and a surfboard and hit the beach in England.

Eva Koleva Timothy, a professional photographer raised under communist rule, shares why she views the world as beautiful.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 59


tales from the trip

Tales from the Trip Bon Jovi in China As I walked around Changzhou, China, with my six American friends one night, we were greeted with the usual stares and shouts of “helloooooooooo!” Just to explore, we randomly decided to turn left down a street instead of going the usual way. Above the clouds of cigarette smoke and the sounds of buzzing mopeds in every direction, we heard some rock music coming from an alley. We were desperate for anything American, and an electric guitar sounded a little bit like home. We found a Chinese boy band jamming out to some Chinese tunes. We decided to stop and listen, even though we couldn’t understand a word. After the song, I turned around to walk away, ready to continue on

60 ▶ summer 2012

to the line of shops down the street. There was a little pause between songs, some whispering, and then . . . “SHOT THROUGH THE HEART, AND YOU’RE TO BLAME. DARLIN’, YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME.” Oh my gosh, really? Bon Jovi? Here? In China? I screamed at the top of my lungs, and then I proceeded to sing every word. The band then rotated to other American songs like “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” “Sweet Child of Mine,” and other gems sung in broken English. While our group of Americans screamed, danced, and jammed out, a crowd of Chinese people gathered, frozen and staring, not at the band, but at us. Then the band openly waved, inviting us to come on stage and

sing. Somehow I ended up on stage, screaming “Let It Be” at the top of my lungs. We miraculously got the crowd of 100 Chinese people to clap along, which was quite a victory. They also cheered really loudly after we finished, perhaps out of pity. The band begged us to sing one more, so of course I suggested another Bon Jovi classic, “Livin’ on a Prayer.” Unfortunately my friends knew only the chorus, so it was up to me to sing lead vocals. I knew that my mother (whose crush on Bon Jovi has grown throughout my life) would be immensely proud. I felt like a rock star, even though we were really just foreigners.

—Alysa Hoskin Meridian, Idaho


All Real Stories Begin with Swearing A shrieked expletive immediately alerts eight travelers that something is awry. Miriam stares in disbelief at her ticket, profanity steadily flowing from her lips. “I think we’re at the wrong airport!” The rest of us scoff, trying to convince ourselves we couldn’t have made a mistake. The intensely whispered phrases bombard me: “No, that can’t be. We followed Spencer’s instructions, didn’t we? We all listened. We must be here.” A hurried and frantic conversation with the bus driver confirms Miriam’s hypothesis—we are at the wrong airport. Panic ensues. Once again I’m scampering to catch public transportation.

During the bus ride, the tension is palpable. We need to get back to London safely. What if we miss our flight? How do we get home? Someone gets directions to the train station, and I can only follow in panic. We pant to the ticket window and discover we have five minutes to make our train or we’ll miss our flight. Curse Europe and its rigidly on-time train departures. There’s not nearly enough time for all our ticket transactions. “I’ll take nine!” Miriam cries. She fumbles through her bag, groping for her credit card. I whip out mine, heroically saving the traveling lives of my companions with my silver Visa. The ticket seller looks solemnly into the eyes of Miriam and then into mine. In a deadpan, discouraging

voice, she warns, “Get ready to run, girls.” We snatch our tickets and sprint up the never-ending staircases that always seem to be in European train stations. I can’t believe I’m dashing for a train; I’ve become the idiot traveler. As the stairs give way to the platform, I see inside the train that will determine our next 12 hours. We run. We leap. We land. We hear the swish of closing doors. We laugh the entire ride.

—Hannah Vinchur Omaha, Nebraska

Find more great stories and submit your own on our website.

After years of waiting patiently... Forget the letter.

We're going there ourselves.

Apply by February 1, 2013 English Language Study Abroad in Great Britain

http://kennedy.byu.edu/isp

Study in Ireland, Wales, England, and Scotland www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 61


highway highlights

Russia on Rails Riding the Trans-Siberian Railroad

Moscow

Main route begins The journey begins in Moscow. In addition to the more famous attractions, like Red Square and the Kremlin, visit the unforgettable Park Pobedy, a war memorial erected in honor of the 50-year anniversary of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany. ▶▶

www.moscowcity.com

institutions scattered throughout the Novgorod region. ▶▶

www.nizhniynovgorod.com

Perm

21 hours Way more than an eighties hairstyle, Perm is a magnificent city known for its variety of sculptures prominently displayed in Komsomolsky Prospekt, one of Perm’s main streets. From the Prospekt, you can also see fascinating cathedrals and temples, including Perm’s aptly named Great Church, one of the few cathedrals where you are free to walk in, ask questions, and sometimes even take photographs. Perm is also home to a unique boardwalk that houses numerous booths showing off some of Russia’s finest cuisine and native handicraft. ▶▶

www.virtualtourist.com/travel/ Europe/Russia/Permskaya_Oblast

Six and a half hours from Moscow’s Main Station

Located along the Volga River, the longest river in Russia, Nizhniy Novgorod is home to the former Kremlin (Russian capitol building) that was constructed in the thirteenth century. When visiting Nizhniy Novgorod, you will especially enjoy Stroganov Cathedral, a tent-like cathedral situated on the old Kremlin grounds in close quarters with two historical abbeys. There are more than six hundred unique historic and cultural monuments in the city, and artwork is displayed in approximately two hundred art and cultural

62 ▶ summer 2012

to Vladivostok. Additional stops: ▶▶

Vladimir, 3 Hours

▶▶

Barabinsk, 36 Hours

▶▶

Oms, 38 Hours

▶▶

Ulan Ude, 84 Hours

▶▶

Harbin, 97 Hours

▶▶

Ulan Bator, 98 Hours

▶▶

Khabarovsk, 135 Hours

▶▶

Kazan, 163 Hours

Novosibirsk 48 hours

Yekaterinburg 26 hours

Nizhniy Novgorod

The railroad travels from Moscow

Named after Catherine I (Yekaterina), the wife of Tsar Peter the Great, this city is home to recently exhumed remains believed to be Peter the Great’s children. Yekaterinburg has a number of odd and original museums and cathedrals. A must-see destination is Cathedral on the Blood, a prominent cathedral on the site of the executions of Tsar Nicholas II and members of the Romanov family. Yekaterinburg is also home to the QWERTY Monument, a monument where large, white stones are engraved with characters like “Q” and “SHIFT” to resemble a keyboard.  ▶▶

www.ekaterinburg.tv

The bustling city of Novosibirsk is home to the enormous Novosibirsk Zoo. It houses over four thousand animals and 32 breeding programs for endangered species. After exploring the zoo, visit the Novosibirsk Regional Studies Museum, which contains 170,000 artifacts depicting Siberian history, including carvings and primitive weapons. ▶▶

www.allsiberia.com/novosibirsk

Krasnoyarsk 60 hours

Originally constructed on the confluence of the Kacha and Yenisei rivers as a fortress against nomads, Krasnoyarsk boasts not only the remains of past bastions, but also the

Map courtesy of www.trailblazer-guides.com (8th edition of Trans-Siberian Handbook, by Bryn Thomas)

Seven time zones. Two continents. Nearly six thousand miles on the main line with branches to China, Mongolia, Manchuria, North Korea, and the Sea of Japan. The TransSiberian Railroad is the pride of the former Soviet Union and the longest railroad in the world. The main line begins in Moscow and ends in Vladivostok. The Trans-Siberian Railroad stops at numerous towns and villages that have breathtaking scenery, magnificent cathedrals, fascinating historical sights, and unforgettable experiences.


The Trans-Siberian Express mixes historic and native decor with modern amenities. Travelers can unboard the train at any stop they please.

Krasnoyarsk meteorite. Weighing 1,540 pounds, the meteorite is one of the largest in the world and has fostered numerous science centers that the public can tour. Stolbys, a type of rock formation adored by mountain climbers, are also abundant in Krasnoyarsk. ▶▶

http://www.waytorussia.net/ Siberia/Krasnoyarsk/Guide.html

Irkutsk

Photo by Dick Barnatt

77 hours

You won’t want to miss Irkutsk and a tour of nearby Lake Baikal. The world’s oldest lake (at least twentyfive million years old), Lake Baikal is also the deepest, with an average depth of 2,442 feet. Lake Baikal holds more than one-fifth of the world’s unfrozen surface freshwater and is so clear that it looks like you can see all the way to the bottom. Olkhon Island rises like a massive fortress from Lake Baikal and offers unsurpassed views of the stunning scenery. The island’s pine forests are filled with colorful

prayer flags that are part of the unique Shamanic traditions still practiced by natives of the area. Irkutsk also offers arguably the best fishing in Russia, and you must be sure to try omul, a gourmet fish native to Russia. ▶▶

www.irkutsk.org/baikal

Chita

96 hours Located near the Chinese border, Chita offers an oriental feel. When you visit Chita, you will have a chance to enjoy oriental food and an abundance of Chinese goods and crafts. You can also take a short bus ride to see the dachas, or villages of summer homes, that are an unforgettable part of Russian culture. ▶▶

www.tripadvisor.com (Enter in Chita, Russia)

Vladivostok

stops you make), the mainline of the Trans-Siberian Railroad comes to an end in the charming city of Vladivostok. When you arrive in Vladivostok, you might be surprised to see the Pacific Ocean. The longest cable-stayed bridge in the world connects Vladivostok to the picturesque Russky Island. Other top attractions include the S-56 Submarine Museum, Vladivostok Fortress, and Golden Horn Bay. You can also take ferries to Japan or South Korea from Vladivostok Bay. ▶▶

www.virtualtourist.com/ travel/Europe/Russia/ Primorskiy_Kray/Vladivostok

From Moscow to Vladivostok, the Trans-Siberian Railroad has breathtaking sights that you will never forget.

—Matthew Garrett

160 hours

Seven times zones and about a week later (depending on the number of

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 63


photo contest

64 â–ś summer 2012


First Place To Endure

Until I visited them, I never realized that the ancient Pyramids of Giza overlooked the booming city of Cairo. Separated only by the Nile, the city of the living and the city of the dead reside together in harmony. One grows and changes daily. The other is a monument to an ancient culture that has endured for thousands of years.

—Lyndsay Dewey Sterling, Virginia

www.stowawaymag.com â—€ 65


Second Place Fog Bound

Inishmore, the largest of the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland, is a cultural haven. Tourists cannot bring cars to the island, so they must revert to simpler modes of transportation. On this island, you can get up close and personal with the people, animals, and historical relics that dot the rocky and sometimes foggy landscape.

—Madeline Dickerson Long Beach, Washington

Third

Minar-e-Pakistan I was visiting the Bashahi Mosque, located in the heart of Lahore, Pakistan, when I saw a fabulous shot of Minar-e-Pakistan from a distance. In Urdu, minar means “tower.” The tower in the photo was completed in 1968 to commemorate the Pakistan Resolution of 1940, which demanded Pakistani independence.

—Baber Afzal Los Angeles, Califonia

View honorable mentions and submit your own photos on our website.

66 ▶ summer 2012


service

human to human

Service Adventures in Thailand

Photo by Simon Costain

With 12 other college students from the United States and Canada, I took a leap of faith. We each signed our names on a contract committing us to a trip across the globe to Thailand. We each spent six months preparing to travel overseas and raising the money to fund the trip. And we each stepped onto the same plane to start an experience we would never forget. Every year, students who have a passion for culture and volunteer work travel to many places around the world to expand their knowledge and gain experience. One organization that provides service opportunities combined with adventure travel is International Student Volunteers, Inc. (ISV). Participants in this program travel to countries such as Thailand, Costa Rica, South Africa, New Zealand, and Ecuador. While there, they work to enhance community infrastructure,

teach English, provide recreational activities, and establish communitybuilding programs. “You get a deeper cultural immersion,” says Simon Costain, International Marketing Director of ISV, when talking about service travel. “When most people travel to volunteer, they expect to get to help out a community or environment. Students generally don’t realize that giving of themselves changes their lives far more than they thought it

would.” Costain adds that traveling for adventure alone doesn’t provide “a profound life-changing moment” that can come from service travel. Why do people choose to volunteer in a foreign country? Vasavi Kanneganti, a student from Syracuse University, shares why her decision to take a trip to Thailand completely changed her life. “I’ve heard so many unique things about Thailand,” she says. “The service description on the ISV website offered a connection

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 67


village, we were immediately surrounded by children, who grabbed our hands and pulled us to the main pavilion. The children taught us to walk on wooden stilts and spin wooden tops. As we were playing games with the kids, one little boy sat right next to me on the cement, handed me a book, and said, “You!” So I read it. He handed me book after book as I finished each one, even though he didn’t understand anything I was reading. Joseph Durago, a volunteer who graduated from California Polytechnic State University before going to Thailand, says his favorite part about being in the hill-tribe village was his opportunity to stay in the house of the village elder and his family. “He was really hospitable,” says Durago. “Although there was a huge language barrier, we were able to communicate, and I got some insight into what his life and his family’s lives were like.” With the villagers, we planted trees; weeded and planted a garden; and built a fence, fishpond, and mushroom house. The work that we finished in two hours would have

taken the villagers a whole week to do by themselves. Durago says the experience was very humbling: “I haven’t really experienced anything like that before.” Students who are trying to decide whether or not they should participate in a service-volunteer trip can consider Kanneganti’s advice: “If you want to help, there are so many ways to go about it,” she says. “Volunteer projects are very underrated—they kind of get a reputation for manual labor. But the relationships you build with the other volunteers and the people you’re serving is just priceless. I think anyone could get something out of volunteering, so I encourage anyone of any age to go.” ▶▶

www.isvonline.org

▶▶

www.makhampom.org

—Becca Allen

Visit our website to learn about bamboo rafting, a unique Thai experience.

ISV Volunteers in Thailand can be involved with various projects from caring for rescued animals to enriching developing communities.

68 ▶ summer 2012

Photo courtesy of International Student Volunteers, isvolunteers.org

with children. I do care about the environment, but I’ve always had a much stronger reaction to human-to-human interactions.” Kanneganti, the other volunteers, and I worked in Chiang Dao, Thailand, with the Makhampom Theatre Group. Makhampom was established in 1981 to unify the community through experimental theater. The experience provided us with a unique service opportunity that added to the novelty of being in Thailand. Housed and fed at the Makhampom Living Theatre—and surrounded by rice fields, lakes, and the constant buzz of insects and frogs— we were always busy. We prepared English lessons, created puppetry from recycled materials, and practiced skits to promote awareness of environmental conservation in the community. We took these lessons to three different schools in northern Thailand and taught hundreds of children who spoke little English. Part of the trip included a two-night stay in a hill-tribe village called Pang Daeng Nok in the town of Chiang Dao. As we arrived at the


off the beaten path

Ragnar Relays 200 Miles. 36 Hours.

“Run, eat, maybe sleep, repeat.” That’s how Marti Bowles describes a Ragnar Relay. Bowles’s adventure began when she became a last-minute fill-in on a professor’s team just a week before her first relay. This spur-of-the-moment experience sparked an addiction to the finish-line adrenaline that accompanies two days of running, sleep deprivation, and team bonding of which she now just can’t get enough. By formal definition, a Ragnar is an overnight running relay. But less formally, Ragnars have termed themselves “a slumber party without sleep, pillows, or deodorant.” What started in 2004 with the Utah Wasatch Back relay has rapidly become a national

sensation, with more than 70,000 participants in 2011. Teams of six to twelve members tackle 200 miles over the course of 18 to 36 hours. Between three individually assigned running legs, each participant travels in team vehicles, ranging from pickup trucks to passenger vans. Named after “an adventureseeking, conquering, tough” Norse Viking from the ninth century, Ragnar Relays are races and getaways in one. From Huntington Beach to Miami, Cape Cod to Nashville, runners of all abilities are jumping on the bandwagon of this year-round, offthe-beaten-path vacationing experience that allows them to see some of

America’s most breathtaking scenery on their own two feet. Coming in all shapes and sizes, Ragnar racers are not limited to the elite athletes typically found crossing marathon finish lines. Before running in the 2011 Las Vegas Ragnar, Mykaleen Seguin had been preparing to run her first 5K. But when a neighbor begged her to fill in a spot the Wednesday before the race, Seguin decided to give it a shot. At points, she admits, “I was almost passing out, but if I can do it, anyone can.” Meghann Anderson, a six-time marathon runner who completed the Florida Keys Ragnar in January 2012, similarly testifies, “They say Ragnar

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 69

Photo by Kevin Jessop

Runners take off to begin the 2010 Wasatch Back Ragnar in Logan, Utah. Ragnar Relays will be held this summer in Chicago, Illinois; Park City, Utah; Langley, Washington; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.


races are for everyone—and trust me, from what I saw, they are.” With each leg rated easy, intermediate, or difficult and ranging in distance from three to eight miles, both novices and advanced runners alike can participate. The relay isn’t your typical 10K or half marathon. “A Ragnar isn’t a serious race,” and “no one really trains for a Ragnar,” confesses Anderson. “People aren’t racing for time. They don’t get to perform their usual warmups, and their eating and sleeping schedules are completely thrown off.” Instead of running to beat a clock, everyone is “running to get to a party at the end,” Anderson explains. It is a time for “adults to relive their childhoods, when all the traditional rules and preparations go out the window. It is camping for runners.” Those looking for a restful vacation need not apply: Ragnars are the party that never sleeps. A Ragnar “is physically exhausting,” explains Bowles, who crossed her first finish line in 2009 at the end of the Wasatch Back in Park City, Utah. “By the time you get to your third run, everyone is running on only two hours of sleep,” she admits.

Recovering runners can be found attempting to crash just about anywhere—catching z’s while curled up in the back seat of the team passenger van, passed out on an elementary school gymnasium floor, lying on a mattress in a truck bed, or shivering in a sleeping bag on a park bench. But participants warn that even these unconventional naps are rare. Perhaps what makes a Ragnar Relay most unique is the sense of team camaraderie that naturally flows “when all etiquette goes out the door after being stuck in a van for two days,” says Anderson. Ragnar is a distinctly social experience that offers a running environment like no other. Decked out in angel wings and red horns, one team of runners names themselves the “Saints Running from the Sinners.” Another team dons wigs and spandex, calling themselves the “Lady Gagas.” And yet another team of men, the “Dependables,” run each of their assigned segments wearing nothing but Depends briefs. Teams decorate their vans with window paints and streamers—on the side tallying “kills,” the term used by racers when they pass a runner from another team—and encourage

their teammates along when exhaustion inevitably sets in. When Sadie Sabin couldn’t go any farther during moments of the 2011 Las Vegas Ragnar, it was her “15-passenger van with all [her] crazy companions throwing water at [her] and cheering until their throats went sore” that gave her the energy to continue. Relayers say the thrill of the Ragnar finish is different than the typical “runner’s high.” Sprinting across the finish after a seven-and-a-halfmile stretch up a dusty incline, Sabin “thanked the heavens above” that she was done, threw off her running shoes, and guzzled a bottle of water. Yet she says it’s one of the best things she has done in her life. It’s a combination of “accomplishment and relief,” Bowles expresses, “when you realize your team has conquered 200 miles of beautiful terrain and you are all able to cross the finish line together. It is this thrill and the challenge of a Ragnar that will keep me and other adventure seekers coming back for miles to come.” ▶▶

www.ragnarrelay.com

—Hillary Mousley

Packing for Your First Ragnar Adventure

Looking to get your run on during an overnight relay? Former racers promise these staples will make your experience phenomenal: ▶▶

Three running outfits (one for each

▶▶

First-aid supplies, especially

stretch), including three changes

chafing cream and bandages

of socks and undergarments.

for pesky blisters.

▶▶

burst of energy during your last leg. ▶▶

▶▶

Comfortable lounging clothes,

▶▶

like sweats, for between runs. ▶▶

to freshen up.

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Carbohydrates, such as bagels,

A fully loaded iPod with

bananas, or pretzels, that will

music that can pump you up

sit well in your stomach and

during long solo stretches.

replenish glycogen stores between

Baby wipes, disposable toothbrushes, and deodorant

Gu packets or energy beans for a

team stops for larger meals. ▶▶

A pillow and extra blankets for napping.


off the beaten path

Photo by Kristy Jackson

Shakespeare’s Dead, Let’s Surf Instead! Go grab your surfboards and hit the beach—you’re in England! Surfboards? That’s right. Though England may seem like a travel destination with only old houses and rolling countryside, there is a budding surfing population that attracts some attention away from the typical histor­ic sites. So move over, Shakespeare: surfing is coming your way! Traveling to England to surf in the sometimes literally freezing water may not sound appealing, but England offers surprising surfing benefits that may convince you to suit up. For instance, the United Kingdom receives swell (or shorebound waves) along every coastline, and even the most popular spots are never too crowded. However, surfing the North Sea isn’t a picnic. Miles Jackson, owner of the online surfboard-shaping business milesboards.com, explains that surfing in the UK can be quite a challenge. “It’s so bloody cold,” says Jackson. “The waves are not as consistent as in other places, but you do get the odd day that reassures you that there is a god in heaven.” And that’s what keeps him and a growing community of surfers out catching waves every month of the year. Miles and his brother Jeremy Jackson have surfed in all conditions. One spring day, the brothers went out to ride the surf with only one board and wet suit between the two of them. They would take turns surfing and shivering on the beach. While Miles was out in the water, Jeremy recalls that it started to snow. But even that didn’t stop them. Though this sounds crazy to most people, who picture tropical breezes and ukuleles when hearing

Miles Jackson and fellow surfers head down the trail to the Putsborough Beach in North Devon, England. The beach is known for having excellent peelers and a wide shoreline.

the word “surf,” to Miles, surfing is a release no matter what the weather. “I got up, and the stoke [a surfing term for a rush of awe and adrenaline] sunk deep in my soul,” he says of his first time surfing. “From that moment on, there has been this constant hunger to carve it up.” This bug to brave the freezing sea has bitten a few others as well. One reason these brothers love England surfing is the camaraderie between the fellow enthusiasts. “It’s like a big family,” Miles explains. “You’re just a bunch of fools out there freezing, and you always respect the other guys for wanting the stoke as bad as you— enough to go against logic.” “In California or Hawaii, telling someone you surf isn’t enough to make you friends,” Jeremy agrees. “But in England, it is something more unique that draws people together. And because it takes more commitment, there is no such thing as a casual surfer.”

Even for beginners, there are several places to carve it up throughout England, since no place is more than 80 miles from the coast. Jeremy says that, unlike the more popular surfing destinations, “you don’t have to pin down a local and drag out of them where their secret surf spot is. You go to the major surf spots, and you still have room to try new things without getting your waves stolen by someone who is better than you.” With the availability of waves and unique camaraderie among the few surfers, there couldn’t be a better time to shake up a typical visit to the home of Shakespeare with a day of catching some waves! ▶▶

www.beachwizard.com

▶▶

www.surfing-waves.com/ travel/england.htm

—Lisa New

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 71


profile

Capturing Light

Eva Koleva Timothy Photographer Eva Koleva Timothy describes her style as positive, optimistic, and full of light. You would never guess that she was raised behind the Iron Curtain under communist rule. Eva was born and raised in Sofia, Bulgaria. Although conditions were bleak and devoid of color and freedom, she found beauty in the world around her. Contrary to the norm under communism, Eva’s parents fostered an environment of creativity and encouraged Eva to follow her dreams. Her dreams eventually took her to the United States and then on to expressing her creativity through photography. She has traveled across the world and aims to inspire creativity, to encourage imagination, and to experience discovery through her photographs. Her fine art photography has won international awards and has been showcased in public and private collections, including the Smithsonian. Eva was eager to share her thoughts and experiences with us.

At what point did photography become more than a hobby? While my husband was attending Oxford, I took a class in digital photography. I had never taken anything digital prior to that. While I was studying, I spoke with a few of the heads of the colleges at the university, and they offered me an opportunity to shoot. And I said, “That sounds really fun. I would love to!” I had taken some photos and had a little portfolio with me, which

72 ▶ summer 2012

I had shown here and there before. But then I became a member of the Oxford Photographic Society. These were older men who were part of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain, and they had won a lot of awards. Their whole lives were spent in photography, so they were very knowledgeable. They were big mentors to me, and I learned a lot from them. I was the youngest one there, sitting in the back just listening. But I felt that my passion was coming alive. How has traveling the world influenced your photography? It is interesting because every place is beautiful. It could be your own hometown, it could be Venice, it could be Oxford, or it could be the Great Salt Lake. There is beauty in every little place around us. It is just taking the time to notice that beauty and capturing it and doing it with your whole heart. Unless you feel excited about these things, you can go to all of these places and still not see the beauty. It is more

of an attitude of the way we see our world. And it is so great that you can capture it and bring it home with the camera. If I’m not there 100%, it is very hard to be inspired to shoot. You have to be one with God and yourself, and you have to feel the need to create. Unless you feel that way, it is hardly possible that something will come out of it. When you are not feeling 100%, how do you get into a moment of inspiration? Well, it doesn’t always work [laughs]. You have to include your own heart and feel inspired. It’s interesting because oftentimes I will be in the car, and this inspiration will just come right while I’m driving. It’s important to act right when inspiration strikes. It’s so easy to ignore it. We all have busy lives, and there are a million other things to do. But when you feel that inspiration, do something about it. Write it down, or put it on your phone, because it’s too

Photography by Eva Koleva Timothy

How did you get into photography? I actually never owned a camera growing up, but I feel as though I have always been taking pictures with my eyes. My dad would often stop and point out the beauty in the world. He would say, “Hold up. Look at this sunset or this amazing mountain!” So I feel like I have always been a photographer in a sense, even though I never owned a camera until I went to college. I’ve always felt like I’ve been seeing beauty and capturing it with my own eyes.


easy to forget and move on. I try to be more in tune to that inspiration and listen to it when it comes. And when it doesn’t work sometimes, it just doesn’t work. What advice do you have for travelers in terms of capturing the best photographs? Get out before the crowds are out there. When I’m in a new place, I like to get out early in the morning while my kids and husband are still sleeping. I love Venice, seeing different angles, from a different alley or avenue. Get on top of a building and shoot from there. Take a boat to the middle of the channel. Don’t just shoot the Santa Maria straight on. Be creative. You want to get a different angle and keep it creative and fun. ▶▶

www.illumea.com

—Jonathan Timothy

“I’ve always felt like I’ve been seeing beauty and capturing it with my own eyes.”

Eva Koleva Timothy, top left, showcases her latest collection of photos featuring classic channels and the Basilica of Santa Maria in Venice.

www.stowawaymag.com www.stowawaymag.com◀◀ 7373


for the love of darling...

www.darlybird.com Microwave, Wireless, Telemetry and Fiber Communications Systems, Antenna and Transmission Line Installation and Alignments

27473 Forest Ridge Drive, Kiowa, CO 80117 Office: 303-519-3136 Fax: 303-648-3299

http://www.thinaircommunications.com

74 â–ś summer 2012

Communications, Inc.

Have you captured tranquility? Share your photo with us. Submit to our photo contest by October 19th 2012 to be published in our Winter and Spring 2013 Issues.


Insider Photo by Paul Jeffries

Saddam Hussein commissioned the reconstruction of the walls of the patriarch Abraham’s childhood home in the city of Ur.

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Tips and Tricks

80

Gadgets and Gear

82

Insights

85

Just the Ticket

88

Escapades

91

Staff Essay and Parting Shot

Flying this summer? Backpacking through Europe? Wanting to enjoy local cuisine without blowing your budget? We have the tips you need to make the most of your trip.

Find the best gadgets for photos on the go. Want to be a canyoneer? Never fear! We have the gear.

Follow one American’s journey into a hidden landmark in Iraq. Or take your own around-the-world trip by checking out these literary adventures.

Learn more about unusual and affordable safaris in Africa.

Get your head in the game—and watch the unbelievable antics of the wildest fans at this year’s UEFA European Football Championship.

Staff members share their experiences in travel via plane and camel.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 75


tips & tricks

I’m Free, Free Flying Travel writer Ben Schlappig, better known as Lucky, traveled up to 300,000 miles a year and visited more than 30 countries—while still in college. Lawyer Kim Bouck recently flew her family of four to Disneyland for free. From young adults like Lucky to seasoned pros like Bouck, travelers around the globe are cashing in on

$$$ free and cheap flights. The blogging and Internet world is rich with tips and tricks to get the best boarding bang for your buck. Bouck, who teaches a class in Salt Lake City, Utah, about traveling on a budget, says that it’s worth it to do a little work to find the best travel deals.

“For most people, flying is the biggest expense of a trip,” Bouck says. “If you can eliminate that expense, you can save a lot of money and be able to do things on your trip you would never be able to do otherwise.” Bouck’s simple tricks for finding cheap flights will help any traveler be free, free flying.

8 Tricks for Finding the Cheapest Flights

1 2 3

Book on a Monday or Tuesday. The best time to book a flight is late Monday or early Tuesday. Airlines often start fare sales on Sunday night or Monday morning, and other carriers generally match the fare sale by Monday evening or Tuesday morning, giving you more choices. Fly on a Wednesday. Wednesdays are generally the cheapest day to fly. Tuesdays and Saturdays are also good days to fly because airlines are trying to fill seats when demand is low. Know when fares change.  Airlines share fares with websites and travel agents at 10 am, 12:30 pm, and 8 pm (EST) on weekdays and at 5 pm (EST) on weekends. So when you see a fare at these times at a price you’re looking for, grab it.

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4

7

5

8

Buy your tickets early. Fares start to rise again seven to ten days before a flight, depending on the airline and the sale offer. Airlines raise fares closer to the departure date because business travelers and others who must fly at certain times tend to buy lastminute seats. Buy from the airline website. For an airline ticket alone, your best bet is an individual airline’s website because you’ll skip the extra fees some travel websites charge.

6

Bundle online.  If you’re purchasing airfare, a hotel room, and a rental car, consider packaging them through Orbitz or Travelocity, which often discount such bundles.

Buy flights with connections. Learn to love layovers in Atlanta, St. Louis, Detroit, Chicago O’Hare, and other hub airports where you can connect to your final destination. Nonstop flights are convenient and desirable, and thus more expensive. Use a metasearch. Meta­searches, such as kayak. com or mobissimo.com, offer a variety of airlines to pick from and show you which airline has the cheapest fare.

—Erin Jones

For more insider tips on cheap travel, see our website.


tips & tricks

How to Survive in a

Illustration by Travis Green

Hostel Environment I spent my first night in Dublin wondering if I would make it through alive. A few friends I made on a study abroad program convinced me to stay the weekend in a hostel that they had researched on the Internet. Picture a tiny whitewashed room with more beds than floor space, a co-ed bathroom minus doors for the stalls, and a set of drunken Dutch roommates. We were settling in to sleep when our new roommates told us in broken English that they were going to a discotheque. As trashed as they already were, I was sure they were going to come back from partying at an ungodly hour just to steal all our stuff or to try to murder us in our beds. Sharing a room with complete strangers is always an adventure. If you care about privacy, property, or personal safety, these tips can help you survive your stay in a hostel and save you tons of money.

Watch your belongings. Every­one travels with valuables: a passport, money, credit cards, cameras, and so on. Keep them on your person at all times. When you sleep, stick your valuables into your pillow­case so your hostel-mates will have to wake you up if they want to rob you. Pack light. Carrying all your stuff on your back gets heavy. Invest in travel-sized soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and other items. Wear light layers to be ready for any weather. Double your day clothes as pajamas. Try packing some laundry detergent instead of extra clothes. Forget personal hygiene. If you’re staying at the hostel for only a couple of days, ditch the shower. If you’re staying longer, try to find a hostel with single-sex bathrooms, or just wash your hair in the sink. Good hygiene is not worth being part of a live peep show.

Travel in groups. The best way to avoid creepy bunk buddies is to travel with a group of people you already know. Book a room in advance and fill all the beds. That way, you can leave some of your stuff in the room when you go out instead of carrying everything with you. Eat the free food. Many hostels give a complimentary breakfast. If the local cuisine isn’t your priority or you just want to save a few Euros, stuff yourself on the free meal! Like me, you too can survive your first night in a strange, foreign city with strange, foreign roommates. All I can say is, try it—you just might like it.

—Lindsay Stevens Visit our website to learn how to wash your clothes while backpacking.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 77


tips & tricks

happy wallet You thought you had everything under control. But suddenly, you’re jet-lagged and starved in the middle of a strange city with no clue where to eat. It’s not like you have money to throw away and, come on, you didn’t travel all this way to live on Cup Noodles or the dollar menu. For Cheryl Davis, this nightmare—traveling to exciting locations and then subsisting on McDonald’s cheeseburgers—is a distant memory from childhood vacations. Today, after years of traveling, she and her husband, Robert, have found the perfect balance between delicious and cheap. They believe that “if you really want to experience a locale, you should experience their food.” From their travels, they offer six simple tips to satisfy both wallet and appetite.

1 Eat like the locals

If you’re looking for a good deal, eat the local cuisine. You know you’ve found the best eatery in town when it’s swarming with locals. A hint: if you can see more than three camera bags from the door, just turn around and leave. Being willing to step outside your comfort zone when you step outside your front door will help you better immerse yourself in the culture of food. Cheryl explains, “You have to find what a place is famous for. In LA, I thought, ‘They’re good at sushi. I’ve got to find the best sushi in LA.’” Surprisingly, she found that the most popular sushi joint was one of the most affordable in the city.

78 ▶ summer 2012

2 Make a plan

You don’t want to go on your trip unprepared. With a couple of thorough Google searches and a carefully selected guidebook, you can make a plan so you know what restaurants to check out when you get there. And be willing to dig a little. Check the reviews so that you don’t travel across town only to find that a restaurant’s specialty is three-for-adollar deep-fried frog legs. “You can go to a high-cost, lousy restaurant if you’re just on the spot,” warns Robert, “so search out highly rated low-cost restaurants.” If you put in some work before you go, you’ll thank yourself later.

3 Ask around

Break free from the confines of the Internet and talk to real people. See that person sitting next to you on the subway? Assume they have a secret, and get it out of them. The hypedup tourist hot spots you see on the travel channel are likely not your most economical choices, and there is no need to settle for Wendy’s to stick to your budget. Hole-in-the-wall eateries, local bakeries, and quaint coffee shops are in every city, and area natives know where they’re hidden. So ask them—chances are, they’ll be flattered you asked for their advice, and you’ll save some change for another key chain souvenir you don’t actually need.

4 Embrace the street food

Although you may have grown up being afraid of street food, give it a shot. Street foods like fried yams in Ghana, flatbread in Italy, and pretzels in Switzerland are not only inexpensive, but are also some of the best ways to experience local cuisine. “In third-world countries,” suggests Robert, “street food can be pretty risky. But if you see it coming out of boiling water or deep fried oil, it’s probably a better bet.” Robert, who has eaten many a street-side churro during his visits to Mexico, adds that with a little bit of knowledge about food safety, you can successfully navigate the street carts “to make a wise choice.”

5 Discover farmers’ markets

Farmers’ markets sell more than dirt-coated tomatoes these days. In fact, when you’re on a budget, farmers’ markets can become your best friends. In addition to crisp fruit, fresh-squeezed juices, and homemade baked goods, “you can get food from local chefs,” says Cheryl. “At a farmers’ market in Ithaca, New York, we tried ethnic food we had never had before, including delicious Thai curry and Mexican breakfast burritos, and it was cheap.” Even better, many farmers’ markets also offer entertaining glimpses at local culture at a minimal cost, including live music and independent vendors selling everything from scarves to lip balm to pottery.


happy palate the balancing act

6 Don’t go to the formal place

Tight travel budgets leave no room for lacy tablecloths and polished silverware. But don’t despair; there are ways to find the best local food without breaking the bank. In Boston, lobster could easily cost over $30 at a four-star restaurant. But when Cheryl went, she found another option in a small-scale local business: the Hingham Lobster Pound. “We knew we could afford lobster at the lobster pound.” For a fraction of the price, Cheryl and her family dined on fresh, delicious lobster at a nearby park. And their unconventional eating arrangement only added to the experience.

—Christina Johnson and Hillary Mousley

Food Safety on the Street Don’t let food poisoning ruin your vacation. When eating in developing countries, consider Stowaway’s take on these suggestions from foodsafety.gov:

Avoid

Unpasteurizedmilk and milk products, especially soft cheeses.

Unrefrigerated p  repared food left

for several hours.

Unwashed raw fruits a nd veg-

etables. This includes salads and

uncooked vegetables. Eat only cooked food that is still hot or fruit that has

been washed in safe water and that

you’ve peeled yourself. For fruits you

don’t peel, a couple drops of bleach in water will wash them sufficiently.

Tap water. C  hoose bottled water,

Eat

with boiling water served steaming

vegetables, meats, poultry, eggs,

Raw or undercooked m  eat,

Fruits w  ith a thick covering (like cit-

canned drinks, and beverages made hot (like tea).

poultry, seafood, and eggs.

Thoroughly cooked f ruits and

and fish.

rus fruits or bananas) that have been washed in safe water and that you peel yourself.

Commercial dairy productssuch as ultra-pasteurized milk or hard cheeses.

Pre-packaged c ommercial foods

that don’t need to be refrigerated. ▶▶

www.foodsafety.gov/blog/

Photography by crnlious

international_travel.html

Try something really exciting by savoring meatball kofte, a popular street food in Turkey.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 79


gadgets & gear

Camera Gear on the Go

As a travel photographer, you don’t need just any camera gear—you need the camera gear that will let you scale the highest mountains, dive the deepest oceans, and brave the steepest cliffs and still take great pictures. But bringing all of your photography equipment with you on a trip can be bulky and expensive. Here’s a look at some of the latest and greatest equipment for travel photographers. —Erin Jones

Ape Case Converta-Pack

For a photographer on the go, the Converta-Pack is a must-have. A fullsize backpack, belt pack, and camera case in one, the Converta-Pack stores all the camera equipment you need in one place. It holds two camera bodies, two flashes, and three additional lenses. About $99.00; www.apecase.com

od

Joby Gorillapod

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Want to take a picture from the edge of a cliff? From a tree above you? This portable tripod can be bent into many and F can be wrapped e from  the  edge  shapes, of  a  cliff?   rom   a  tree  aaround bove  you?  This  portable  tripod  can  be   an object such as a tree branch s,  and  can  be  wrapped  around  an  object  stouch  as  a  tree  branch  to  hold  it  in   hold it in place. You can secure  your  camera  for  a  hands-­‐free  photo  experience!   your camera for a hands-free photo experience! joby

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▶▶

iphon

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$13.75; joby.com/gorillapod

GoPro Chest Mount Harness m/photos/pilya/437612074/

Perfect for outdoor photography, the chest mount harness allows you to carry your camera securely while climbing, biking, or skiing. The harness is compatible with most GoPro quick-release cameras. ▶▶

pod

$39.99; www.gopro.com

80 ▶ summer 2012

The Pod

Sick of bulky tripods? Try the Pod. A handy alternative to a tripod, these flexible bean bags have built-in mounting bolts. The Pod acts as a stabilizer and a tripod in one. With six different models, there’s a Pod to fit every camera. ▶▶

$18.99 to $54.99; www.thepod.ca

iPhone Camera Lenses

For easy travel photos, leave your camera gear at home and bring your iPhone camera and all the lenses to go with it. Add professional quality to your Smartphone photos with the fisheye, macro, wide angle, and telephoto phone lenses. The lenses are compatible with the iPhone 4, 4S, and 3GS. ▶▶

From $20; www.photojojo.com/store

Photography courtesy of manufacturers

▶▶

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gadgets & gear

Gear for the

Canyoneer

Canyoneering is a hybrid sport that demands versatility and may include hiking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, rappelling, and swimming through spectacular, rugged canyons. Before you leave, do some homework to find out the features of your route so you can prepare with the right skill set and gear. Although every canyoneering trip offers a different set of adventures, here are some of the essentials you’ll need for any basic excursion. Helmet

It’s a no-brainer. No matter what kind of climbing or scrambling you do, going through narrow canyons means you’ll have rough rocks above and around you all the time and that you’ll need to protect your head. A standard rock-climbing helmet will do the trick.

Headlamp

From Top: Photos courtesy of Steward Adcock, Evan Amos, Outdoor Research, NRS, Black Diamond

While canyoneering, you’re probably going to find yourself in some dark spaces—whether it’s nighttime or you’re just tucked away from the sunlight. It’s important to have both hands free as you navigate the rocky terrain, so you’ll need a sturdy, bright headlamp. Most of the best models come with LED lights to save power.

Dry Bag

In canyoneering, you can expect some wet places. You can never be sure when a deep canyon is going to have water running through it. And if it does, that’s just part of the fun! You will want one of these waterproof storage bags to keep the essentials dry—nobody likes wet socks.

Neoprene Socks

Speaking of wet socks . . . when your feet do get wet, neoprene socks will keep your feet warm and cushioned so you can keep on trekking. Some kinds of neoprene socks, like the Teko Heavy Hiker, are thick and have grip on the sole—and you can wear them without shoes.

Gloves

Whether you’re climbing, rappelling, or scrambling, your hands will need extra protection. Leather or synthetic leather rappelling gloves are best for general canyoneering purposes.

If you are new to canyoneering, go with and learn from someone who has experience. You’ll find that you will need some additional gear, depending on the kind of trip you are planning to go on. Check out the following websites to find out more about where to go and how to canyoneer safely. ▶▶

www.canyoneeringusa.com, www.canyonwiki.com

—Chris Anderson www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 81


insights

The Great Ziggurat of Ur served as a foundation for ancient temples dedicated to the Sumerian moon god, the patron god of Ur.

The City of Ur Since the Iraq War began, only a few people have been allowed inside the walls of the ancient city of Ur. In fact, Iraqi soldiers guard the city every day, all day and all night, to prevent it from being ransacked by looters. The city of Ur is a historical, religious, and archaeological goldmine. With countless treasures—such as the childhood home of the patriarch Abraham, the oldest freestanding arch in the world, and the famous Great Ziggurat (the base of a massive ancient temple structure that dates back to about 3000 BC)—it is no wonder that the city merits constant guard. The city’s ruins were a destination for archaeologists through the 1930s, until political turmoil made the Middle East unsafe. When the Iraq War broke out in 2003, the United

82 ▶ summer 2012

States assumed control of the ancient city and its vast treasures to safeguard them until May 2009, when the city was returned to Iraqi authorities. Near this ancient city is the US Tallil Air Base. Paul Jeffries, then CEO of Al-Morrell Development, was working as a civilian on the base. His company built and operated water purification and bottling plants in Iraq, providing clean drinking water to the troops and eventually to the population. On a sweltering 125 ºF (52 ºC) day in June 2009, Jeffries and three civilian coworkers answered the call of adventure. They wanted to experience the city of Ur for themselves, but by that time, control of the city was in Iraqi hands. Despite the dangers presented to civilian Americans in

Iraq—and without any military protection—they drove a truck from their water plant to the entrance of the ancient city. Their mission was a peaceful one; they were armed with only a dozen cases of bottled water that represented an expected gift in exchange for entrance into the city. “It’s hard to describe how hot 125 degrees really is,” Jeffries laments. The digital thermometer on the sun-baked dashboard of their truck read 156 ºF (69 ºC). But the temperature actually worked to their advantage. In that kind of heat, says Jeffries, “water is life.” Pulling up to the entrance of the city, the four Americans climbed out of the truck and began negotiating with the soldiers. The Americans had only one thing to offer—the cases of clean, filtrated bottled water. They

Photo by Staff Sgt. Adelita Mead

Infiltration through Filtration


Photo by Paul Jeffries

unloaded six or seven cases before the soldiers started protesting. “No, no,” they said. “That’s enough. Thank you, thank you. That’s enough!” “Are you sure?” Jeffries asked. “Yes, yes.” When the Americans stopped unloading the cases of water, the Iraqi soldiers started waving them back, saying, “No, no! It’s okay! If you insist!” Their refusals had simply been a cultural desire to be polite. The Americans left nine of their twelve cases with these Iraqi soldiers, providing them with safe, clean drinking water in the blistering heat. Negotiations began again with the onsite curator, a third-generation guardian of Ur. For their last three cases of water and a $20 dollar bill, Jeffries and his companions got a fabulous tour from an Iraqi expert on the city of Ur. As they explored the ruins, they occasionally ducked into houses in the ancient city to escape the blazing sun. Even houses that had only one or two walls remaining provided immense relief from the heat. The walls “would block the wind, block the noise, and instantly cool the air down 30 degrees,” says Jeffries. The famous Royal Tombs of Ur also provided refuge from the heat. Though the tomb is roped off, the curator allowed Jeffries and his companions to descend into the tomb. They walked past cuneiform writing inscribed nearly 4,000 years ago. Looking up, they saw the sun shining through the triangle of bricks that famously marks the Royal Tombs. Jeffries says that the tombs are “deep and cool, with lots of drainage to manage water.” The city’s drainage systems were particularly impressive to the four visitors. Most of Ur is mud, brick, and clay. To prevent damage to their structures, the ancient people would dig deep holes and fill them with pottery to prevent ruinous runoff. As the men walked up to the Great Ziggurat, a large structure

that temples had been built on, they noticed huge holes in the sides. They learned that those holes were designed to prevent massive pressure that would otherwise press down through thousands of tons of bricks when it rained. Instead, the rain rushes out of the holes in the sides. The ziggurat’s sheer size was mind-numbing to the adventurers. Climbing over 100 feet of stairs in the stifling heat was an arduous undertaking. The men continued their explorations, discovering the oldest freestanding arch in the world—an impressive creation that has withstood the elements for 2,000 years. They marveled at the longevity of brick and mortar that has stood in the face of wars and weather.

When the men visited the rebuilt foundations and walls of what is thought to be Abraham’s childhood home, the curator spun a tale of a 28-room house with an inner courtyard, where sunlight would stream into the home. The outer walls had doors, he told them, but “the ancient inhabitants weren’t big on glass windows.” So there were no outer windows, and when the doors were closed, the home was secure. In 2012, tourism in Iraq is still restricted but is starting to increase. Limited archaeological and preservation efforts have also again begun. With kings’ tombs, Abraham’s childhood home, and a soaring ziggurat to explore, the ancient city of Ur is sure to become a favorite for many tourists.

—Megan Jeffries

Descend into the depths of the Royal Tombs of Ur and look backwards to see a unique perspective on the famous triangle of bricks that marks the tombs.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 83


insights

Cabin Fever? Make a Novel Escape Want to get away from it all without the hassle of rolling out of bed? We seldom hear about the following travel novels, but they consistently rank in lists of the best travel novels of all time. So kick back and make your novel escape through small-town America, Russia, or Patagonia by simply turning the pages.

Travels with Charley: In Search of America John Steinbeck

Among the Russians Colin Thubron

During the last tumultuous years of the Soviet Union, Colin Thubron ventures on a road trip from St. Petersburg to Georgia and Armenia. Thubron is the ideal tour guide; he is an expert in history, architecture, iconography, people, and culture. His style is a poetic travelogue with a lyric quality that all readers can appreciate. Take a look at Stowaway’s articles on the Trans-Siberian Railway (page 62) and the Hermitage Art Museum (page 12) to read more about Russian culture.

84 ▶ summer 2012

Wanderlust: Real-life Tales of Adventure and Romance Don George (Editor)

For a more comprehensive take on world travel from a variety of authors, Wanderlust holds the perfect compilation. All 40 stories were originally selected for an online Wanderlust section through Salon.com, and their short online style makes for an easy read. Published in 2007, this is a modern-day look at the love of travel from some of today’s most famous travel authors.

In Patagonia Bruce Chatwin

Encouraged by artist Eileen Gray, Chatwin left his job as a journalist to visit Patagonia. He boarded a plane and sent a telegram to his newspaper with only the words “Have gone to Patagonia.” This book documents

his six months of travel. With bits of history weaved into his anecdotes and adventures, Chatwin’s chapters are so vivid, they read like pictures. For more adventure, check out Stowaway’s feature on Patagonia (page 44).

The Dharma Bums Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac is famous for On the Road, but The Dharma Bums is an even better piece of writing. With a style that inspired authors like Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, Kerouac shares a semi-fictional account of characters Ray Smith and Japhy Ryder. He covers topics such as city life, Buddhist rituals, and isolation in nature. With the passion and strong prose that made the beat generation famous, The Dharma Bums takes the reader on an adventure from beginning to end.

—Regan Baker

Illustration by Julia Stowell

Steinbeck and his dog, Charley, live out of a homemade camper as they make a 10,000-mile trip along the border of the United States. Together they revisit the American towns from Steinbeck’s youth that inspired his novels. Travels with Charley is a story about adventuring, returning home, aging, and mourning for the past.


just the ticket

Ditch the Ferrari,

Take a Safari The word safari probably makes you think of people wearing khaki, bumping along in a jeep, and peering through tall savannah grass at a majestic lion. But did you know that there are other exciting ways to enjoy an African safari? Here are four ways to get a different view of Africa’s wild landscape.

Balloon Safaris

It’s 6 am. Dawn is just beginning to break over the Serengeti, changing the dark shapes below into trees. The only sounds that break the silence are birdcalls and the occasional ssshhh of the hot air balloon’s whisper burner. As the balloon approaches a river, the water stirs, disturbed by what look like large moving rocks. “Hippos,” the guide says quietly, lowering the balloon a bit for a better look. Balloon safaris take place at dawn, when animals are most active, and they offer a unique, panoramic perspective of the African terrain. Rides last about an hour, and they are offered year-round. ▶▶

Cost: $350–$500*

▶▶

Best time to go: May–June

▶▶

www.balloonsafaris.com

Photo by Wajahatmr

River Safaris

Gliding along the smooth water on a riverboat, you have a chance to see crocodiles, elephants, wild dogs, hippos, zebras, and other animals as they come to the water to drink. In the hot summer months in Africa, vegetation dries out and animals congregate near rivers, guaranteeing safari-goers an up-close look at some of Africa’s most popular wildlife. River safaris range from canoes or boats to luxury cruises that have suites with a private balcony.

A hot air balloon glides quietly over the Serengeti, providing a rare view of the wildlife below. ▶▶

Cost: $180–$1250

▶▶

Best time to go: March–October

▶▶

www.zambezi.com/ safari_type/canoe_safaris

Elephant-back Safaris

Most animals are more scared of us than we are of them, and the scent of a human can send rhinos and wildebeests running. But the scent of an elephant overpowers that of humans. So seeing Africa on the back of an elephant gets you closer to the rhinos, giraffes, and other animals than most other safaris. Some elephant safaris will let visitors brush and feed the elephants or even camp with them overnight. ▶▶

Cost: $75–$500

▶▶

Best time to go: June–October

▶▶

www.sa-venues.com/activities/ elephant-back-safaris.htm

Gorilla Safaris

To see a mountain gorilla, you might need to take a safari in Uganda and

Rwanda, where most of the surviving mountain gorillas live. Gorilla safaris involve trekking through mountainous jungles, led by experts who know how to track this endangered species. A gorilla sighting is not guaranteed, however, because gorillas move around a lot. But if you do get to see gorillas, you’ll be rewarded by spending an hour or so watching these prestigious primates in their natural habitat as they go about their daily routines of grooming, eating, and playing. ▶▶

Cost: $300–$500

▶▶

Best time to go: June–September

▶▶

goafrica.about.com/od/ africasafariguide/a/gorilasafari.htm

*Cost is per person, per day

—Lauren Truman

For more safari tips, see our website.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 85


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86 â–ś summer 2012


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escapades

EUROFans An octopus that predicts the future. Grass-scented toilet paper. When you attend the UEFA European Football Championship, you’re always surprised at the interesting behavior of soccer fans from around the world. In June 2012, fans from 16 countries in Europe will gather at the championship games of the Union of European Football Associ­ations (UEFA) in Poland and Ukraine. These fans will cheer, jeer, sing, and cry as they support their national teams. Here’s a look at five countries in the tournament— and at the unique and entertaining ways they cheer on their teams.

England

Fans of the Three Lions, the national team of England, have always been passionate. Known throughout football fandom as hooligans, fans of England’s team sometimes turn to violence to express their national pride. But one of their best-loved traditions shows how they come together to celebrate. During games, fans gather at local pubs to cheer, chant, curse, complain, and watch their Lions play. Pubs unify English fans. On any other day of the week, people who support different clubs wouldn’t be caught dead cheering together. But when those 11 English players take the pitch, only one thing really matters: that you’re English. If you plan on cheering for England during this summer’s Euros,

88 ▶ summer 2012

stop by a pub. English fans will be glad to have you.

France Les Bleus (the Blues) fans have a flair for the dramatic. While other nations may sing or chant in unison, the French fans take their support to another impressive and highly organized level with tifos. Tifos (an Italian invention) are essentially large-scale banners made up of a mosaic of smaller banners. Each individual fan holds a small banner that makes part of a grandiose design. The sheer magnitude of these banners showcases the organizational skills and dedication of the French fans, who are willing to work together to display their team pride. To fit in with the French, just find some fans, organize a banner, and create your own tifo.

Spain For a long time, being a fan of La Furia Roja (the Red Fury) meant being disappointed. But in 2008, the Spanish National team won their first major tournament since 1964, making them champions of that installment of the UEFA Euros. Spain followed that success by winning the 2010 World Cup. Fans of the team were so proud that they even gave a nickname to Iker Casillas, the captain of the team: San Iker (Saint Iker).

During the 2010 World Cup, however, another star was rising—but for a completely different reason. Paul the Octopus won international soccer fame by correctly predicting the outcome of every German National team game, including a Spanish victory over Germany. Paul then correctly predicted Spain’s triumph over the Netherlands. Spanish fans did not forget Paul and his prophetic tentacles. Only weeks after the World Cup Final, Paul was made an official Spanish citizen of the town of O Carballiño and was presented with a silver plaque. In honor of Paul the Octopus, put on that Spanish red and join in.

The Netherlands Fans of the Oranje (the Orange) like to be seen. As their nickname suggests, fans from the Netherlands love to wear the color orange in proud support of their team, whose jerseys are also bright orange. Dutch fans go for theatrics to support the Oranje— men dress as women; fans paint their entire bodies orange. But they don’t just turn themselves orange, they turn everything orange. Everything. All of the Netherlands essentially becomes a giant bright orange color, highlighted with blue and white. Some fans want to make sure that everyone knows exactly who they support, even when using toilet paper. That’s right. Some fans of the Netherlands show their support


with grass-scented, bright orange toilet paper. So put on some orange and join the fun. And remember, being a Netherlands fan means you’re always a Netherlands fan, even in the toilet.

Germany

Photo by Jbmg40

Fans of Die Nationalmannschaft (the National Team) are rowdy and loud as they support their team with pride. As three-time world champions, Germany is a constant superpower in world soccer—something their fans are extremely proud of. But German fans don’t just support their winning team as a whole; they rally behind individual players. Sometimes they even write pop songs about them.

German player Lukas Podolski has an entire song dedicated to him by two popular German singers. With lyrics that reference Podolski’s ability to score goals and humiliate goalkeepers, “Der Lu Lu Lu Lukas” is a catchy tune that manages to stick in your head, even if you don’t speak any German. The song shows the love of German fans for their beloved players, especially the players who make goals. Don’t be afraid to sing along with German fans, as long as it’s loud and proud.

—Kaitlin Wales

Since its renovation in 2007, the Wembley Stadium in London, England, can seat 90,000 crazy Lions fans.

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 89


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staff essay

Illustration by Chase Jensen

From Seat 17C I sit across the aisle from another writer on my 747 flight, an older woman writing in large letters. Her scrawl resembles my grandmother’s: messy but elegant, beginning large and then fading into smaller letters. She holds pages and pages of lined paper, off-white and yellow. I am fascinated by her style. I haven’t the slightest idea what she is recording, but the rough elegance of her writing is magnificent—so different from my own. I want to speak with everyone around me. We are seated in a long line of short rows—A B C D E—and identified by the flight attendant according to what beverage we ordered: 17A has the orange juice, 17B has the Diet Coke with a cup of ice, 17C has the cranberry juice. I want to speak with all these people I see. Who is the makeup-less girl in seat D with the lavender bandanna, rugged Keens, and a packed Dakine? What is the story of the woman with the short bob and the limegreen purse? Where are their final destinations? Have they been there before? Are they nervous to take off, nervous to land, nervous to see who

will meet them when they get off the plane? I am intrigued by the woman who is writing. The pilot has announced the descent, and we have both continued writing with our laps as tabletops. I use my peripheral vision to watch the woman gather her things. Her bag is large and rectangular with two thin, maroon handles. The bag is olive green and worn from much use. It is filled with torn, school-ruled pages; notebooks with pens in the spiral; and bright yellow and orange folders. She is scribbling like I am. I feel connected to her from across the aisle. We have something in common, she and I. We are all travelers—everyone we pass in the grocery store, everyone we pull up next to at a stoplight, everyone we sit near on a plane. We all have our dream destinations, the places we fantasize about visiting someday. But what most of us don’t realize is that beauty, knowledge, and adventure can be found in our everyday travels, as we observe the texture of our seat or the splashes of

rain against the car window. Because when we finally reach the Louvre or Stonehenge or the Empire State Building, they’ll just be landmarks, photo-ops, and places to visit just to say we’ve seen them, even if we haven’t enjoyed the journey that brought us to them. From my seat on this airplane, I realize that the best inspiration comes to me not when I’m seated in an opera house or when I’m staring at the original Mona Lisa. It comes when I notice the small, ordinary things around me—the smell of Viennese air in the morning, the stillness of an Alpine pond, the surge of pride when in my broken German I successfully order a sandwich without mustard. Or when I watch the woman across the aisle scribble as frantically as I do on a two-hour plane ride. Wherever we are going, wherever we’ve been, we are present right now in our travel through life. What can you discover from where you sit?

—Claire Ford

www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 91


92 â–ś summer 2012


Parting Shot Shadows of camels pass on the bank of the Nile River in Luxor, Egypt. —Kellie Bowen www.stowawaymag.com ◀ 93


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Stowaway Summer 2012  

Whether it is by plane, train, or ballon, Stowaway has an issue packed of the greatest destinations to scratch your summer traveling itch. C...

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