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Spring 2015

VIETNAM

AN UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY

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INDONESIA

THE CHALLENGING PACU JAWI

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XOCOLATL

A 2,000 YEAR OLD TRADITION

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FLAMENCO

PASSION & SEDUCTION

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WILHELM VON BREYMANN A CANDID CONVERSATION WITH COSTA RICA’S MINISTER OF TOURISM

YOUNG MONKS OF MYANMAR TRADITION & COMMITMENT

BERLIN

MEDELLIN

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE

MOSCOW

HAVANA


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

!! ! ! ! !! !! ! ! ! from our editor Letter ! Editor-in-Chief Franz E. Buchhalter Managing Editor Cynthia P. Howland

Writers Edmundo Ruano Cynthia P. Howland Franz Buchhalter

Editor Marilyn Newkirk

As an artist myself, I have a great passion for any form of art. Most of us consider the arts to be the literary arts, the performing arts, and the visual arts. The arts influence a much wider spectrum of our lives. Artists tell stories and help us understand our surroundings. The arts broaden our life experience, make us think, and push us to try to understand the imaginable and unimaginable. The arts connect us with the past and direct us to the future. They enliven our senses and most of all, reflect the sensitivity of other cultures.
 


We are dedicating this issue to a few unique forms of art, and have selected articles that will give you a little taste of the various facets of creativity. We are featuring the art of chocolate, wearable art, and the art of dance to name a few.

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Guest Potographers Scotty Graham David Lazar John Salazar Rafael Alonso

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Graphic Designer Werner Buchhalter Jr.

Spring 2015

INDOCHINA

AN UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY !!

XOCOLATL

!A 2,000 YEAR OLD TRADITION !!PASSION & SEDUCTION

Scotty Graham

BERLIN

MEDELLIN

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HABANA

In our Interviews with Influential People, we are pleased to feature Wilhelm von Breymann, Minister of Tourism for Costa Rica, as told by Cynthia P. Howland. Our “American Legends” section profiles the amazing actress/dancer, Miss Chita Rivera.

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We hope you enjoy this issue and we look forward to hearing from you.

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Until our next issue …”Go and See the World!”

Cindy McCall-Talbert President & CEO at C. McCall & Associates, Inc. “Excellent magazine. Congrats!!”

OLD TOWN PRAGUE A Magical Place

TED TENG A Candid Conversation with the President & CEO of Leading Hotels of the World

MOSCOW

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WHAT OUR READERS ARE SAYING

INSTANT GRATIFICATION How Technology Influences Our Generation

SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE

In our Destination section we highlight Vietnam, Indonesia, Medellin-Colombia, Berlin and Havana-Cuba.

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BOLIVIA Mysterious & Magnetic

Monks by

FLAMENCO

In this issue we introduce First Impressions, where Cynthia P. Howland will share some of her experiences and impressions of the destinations she travels and the people she meets.

BULLS, CONFETTI AND THE COLOR RED The Festival of Saint Fermin in Pamplona

Our Cover: Cambodian

INDONESIA

!PACU JAWI

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BAOASE LUXURY RESORT Defining Barefoot Elegance

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Yehudi Altman Director at TRIPS Marketing Ltd “Hola Franz. Felicidades on your outstanding magazine!”


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

OUR CONTRIBUTORS

David Lazar

is a travel

photographer and musician from Brisbane, Australia, who loves to capture moments of life, beauty and culture through photography. He is drawn to locations that have a rich cultural background, and he is especially interested in portrait and landscape photography. David is a contributor to photography, travel and in-flight magazines, as well as newspapers and journals such as National Geographic, Asian Geographic and Lonely Planet. In 2014 he was awarded Best Culture Photographer by Garuda Airways on a visit to Indonesia. In 2012 he was the winner of the Travel category in the Smithsonian Photography Contest. David has been traveling annually since 2004, the year in which he became interested in travel photography as a genre of art, after returning from three months in India and Nepal. On his tenth trip in 2014, he worked on a book project for the Growing Leaders Foundation in Trinidad and Tobago, revisited Brazil, and led a Luminous Journeys photo tour in Myanmar.

John Salazar John Salazar is a

Scotty Graham has been

Graphic Designer and Photographer born in Bucaramanga, Colombia and currently living in the beautiful city of Medellin for more than ten years.

leading Dive Trips, Photo Tours, Photowalks, and Photography Workshops for the past 20 years. He is assisted by keen photographers/educators/ adventurers who are the best in the industry, and have the right attitude! Fun is the name of the game. Why not enjoy some time off with like-minded people who enjoy photography and always take the “Last Flight Out”.

John has loved photography since he can remember. In college, he made many personal projects and exhibits as an amateur photographer, and it was here that photography became his passion. “Having a camera in my hands makes my ideas flow” he says. Currently he combines his passion for photography and advertising, while working on personal projects and for different media companies that commission his services as a photojournalist, product photographer and gastronomic food and travel guide photographer.

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Photos Cover Pacu Jawi Sumatra’s Thrilling Bull Races Page 30-33

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www.scottygraham.com

His work has been featured in in Travel Guides, the Miami Herald, and the Metro Photo Challenge to name a few. Photos: Medellin, Colombia’s Festival of Flowers - Page 18-21 www.photograpix.co

Photos Vietnam, An Unforgettable Journey Pages 36-37 & 39 Photos & Article The Life of a Monk in Myanmar Page 49-52

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www.davidlazarphoto.com

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WHAT’S INSIDE FLAMENCO!

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Passion and Seduction!

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WILHELM VON BREYMAN! ! Costa Rica’s Minister of Tourism

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! MEDELLIN!!

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SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE!

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Colombia’s Festival of Flowers!

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XOCOLATL!

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2,000 Year Old Tradition!

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Succumb To The Magic!

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SUMATRA’S!

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Thrilling Bull Races!

! VIETNAM! !

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An Unforgettable Journey!

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YOUNG MONKS !

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Tradition and Commitment!

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ALTAGRACIA ART !

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Highlighting Costa Rican Artists

UNDERGROUND ART!

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BERLIN!

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WEARABLE ART !

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MAFALDA!!

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CHITA RIVERA! !

HAVANA! ! 4

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

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FLAMENCO PASSION AND SEDUCTION 6


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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

Flamenco is one of the most seductive expressions of dance. It is sensual, passionate, and dramatic. Flamenco can be best experienced in the region of Andalusia in southern Spain. First mentioned in literature in the 1700’s, it is a genre thought to have been grown out of Andalusian and Romanian music and dance styles and was associated with Gypsies. The Spanish word flamenco can mean flamingo, referring to the bird, as the dance moves resemble the moves made by the flamingo.

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Hailing from southern Spain's outcast populations, flamenco dance and music drew early influences from the Greek and Roman, and later from Indian, Moorish, and Jewish cultures. With the arrival of the Moorish and Jewish populations to the Iberian peninsula centuries ago, Andalusia's already thriving music and dance inadvertently began extracting characteristics from the newly-arrived populations. The flamenco dance and music that we see today are the dazzling results of centuries of absorbing and flawlessly sewing together elements of this myriad of diverse cultures. A visit to Spain cannot be complete until you witness the National Ballet and their interpretation of flamenco. It is an experience that will leave you breathless. The passion and the sensuality are overwhelming. In Carlos Saura’s masterpiece, “Carmen,” a film released in 1970 ,is an interpretation of the classic opera of the same name told in the form of Flamenco.The scene in the tobacco mill is perhaps one of the best dance scenes ever made. Here is a link to this scene, which will mesmerize you and make you a fan. https://youtu.be/-6D12QttFXk Photos courtesy of the National Ballet of Spain http://balletnacional.mcu.es/index.php/en/

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City !

Handicrafts and folk art, also known as popular art, play an important role in the history and culture of Mexico and are often representative of the country’s various regions and indigenous groups. The Museo de Arte Popular (Museum of Popular Art) is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of Mexican popular art.
 


The Museum of Popular Art is housed in a splendid Art Deco building in the heart of Mexico City’s Centro Historico (Historic Downtown) close to the Bellas Artes Palace, Alameda Park and the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s main thoroughfare. The museum is located just a short distance from many of the city’s top attractions and can easily be visited while sightseeing in Mexico City.
 


The Museum of Popular Art explores the origins and significance of popular art throughout Mexico. The items on display are representative of important Mexican traditions that originated in towns and villages all over the country. These customs have been passed down from generation to generation and in many cases they date back to before the arrival of the Spanish.

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The exhibits, arranged by theme, showcase a stunning array of Mexican traditions including pottery, ceramics, glasswork, metalwork, woodcarving, paper mache, basketry, weaving, textiles and traditional dress collections. The museum also frequently hosts special exhibits and cultural events.


after the traditional and delicately handcrafted works of art that are on display in this museum.

Information about where many of these crafts originated, when they were made and how they were used is available in both Spanish and English. You’ll also learn how many of the items continue to play an important role in Mexican celebrations and customs.
 


As you’re sightseeing in Mexico City, keep in mind that many of the crafts that are mass produced and available for sale in the markets are modeled

! For more information visit www.map.df.gob.mx

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WILHELM VON BREYMANN

DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

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A CANDID CONVERSATION WITH COSTA RICA’S MINISTER OF TOURISM

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BY CYNTHIA P. HOWLAND


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

You have been actively involved in tourism in the destination for many years. What is your vision for Costa Rica 10 years from now?

four pillars of its infrastructure: Interaction with the environment, waste management, interaction with the client, and interaction with the community

WVB: I believe tourism in Costa Rica will continue to

The CST program is recognized by the United Nations World Tourism Organization as the model for sustainable tourism practices in Latin America.

DD:

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grow and we as a destination need to continue evolving and raising the bar in sustainable tourism practices in order to continue being a destination that serves as a model to the world.

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We will continue to highlight the different regions of Costa Rica, while emphasizing the variety of cultures and culinary offerings available throughout the country. From mountain ranges and rain forests to active volcanoes and cloud forests to breathtaking beaches, Costa Rica’s diverse landscapes, climates and natural wonders provide visitors with new experiences each time they visit. That is something very unique in this world.
 


Our tourism strategy is to differentiate and increase the country’s competitiveness and the quality of offerings, as well as to enhance visitors’ experiences. Our objectives express a centralized concept that is articulate and consistent with what the country has to offer not just as a tourism destination but as a whole.

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DD:

As a longtime industry stakeholder, you have clearly demonstrated your passion for sustainable tourism. How do you find the balance between meeting growth targets for the destination while still avoiding exploitation of the country’s vast and beautiful natural resources?

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WVB: Our tourism industry grows due to the fact that

we are a sustainable tourism destination. We (including our governmental institutions and businesses) grow protecting our environment and our natural resources as well as our people. We work collaboratively to ensure we are protecting natural resources while integrating adventures, fun and relaxation. We are recognized for our natural beauty and therefore our goal is to protect and preserve that natural beauty.

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We will continue to support the Certification Program for Sustainable Tourism, widely known as CST. We wish to take this certification to an international level and that its seal is one that guarantees quality, responsibility, and commitment to the environment and society.

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The Certification for Sustainable Tourism (CST) program, established by the ICT in 1999, was created to provide guidelines for hotel properties and service providers to build their business model based on the best sustainable tourism practices—the management and impact of the natural, cultural and social resources of the country. The internationally recognized certification program grades the sustainability of a tourism entity based on

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DD:

The Costa Rican people are known for their commitment to protect the country’s beauty and resources. Are there programs that help instill these values through the education system?

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WVB: In addition to the CST program, the ICT has a

number of initiatives in place to recognize and safeguard the unique regional subcultures of Costa Rica. We seek to highlight these cultures through rural tourism projects. Rural tourism in Costa Rica offers travelers an intimate glimpse into the country’s pastoral heritage and communities. Sample itineraries include working with local farmers, tasting traditional foods in the warmth of Costa Rican families, hiking into the unspoiled natural landscapes and more.

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DD:

Costa Rica is world-famous for its natural beauty and eco-tourism. Can you tell me what the current marketing campaign, “essential Costa Rica” means to you?

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WVB: The new brand embodies the attributes that differentiate Costa Rica as a nation, such as its rich biodiversity and commitment to sustainability and preservation as well as its peaceful democracy.

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At the heart of the essential Costa Rica brand is the nation’s greatest natural resource, its people. The brand positions Costa Rica competitively in the global marketplace, while yielding control over the country's image within all its industries. It presents a complete image of the warmth and pride shared by the people of Costa Rica, spotlighting educational opportunities, a successful medical and technology industry, commercial growth and global recognition as one of the world’s leading destinations. Essential Costa Rica provides the opportunity to present a more complete picture of our evolving nation, while highlighting the ways in which it serves as a model to the world.

!DD:

Your Facebook and Instagram are very robust and well curated. What role will digital marketing play in your marketing platform? Do you believe digital marketing will change the profile and demographics of your customer?

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WVB: Digital marketing has changed people’s habits

globally and we have had to transform with them. The profiles and demographics of the travelers who want to visit Costa Rica are evolving and in order to reach them, we have established a digital communications platform to reach them directly.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

The ways in which different generations and markets are researching, booking and traveling are everchanging and it is important to carefully create content that will resonate with them through the channels they are currently consuming. Millennials will contribute to one of the biggest shifts in the travel industry. Connectivity is a major theme in this year’s travel innovations. Hotels and travel destinations are shifting their resources to meet this generation’s constant need for connectivity, meaning more innovative apps, faster Wi-Fi and more ways of sharing across various social media platforms.

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DD:

Costa Rica is becoming more well-known globally, and new luxury product is being brought on. Can you talk about the enhancements that will need to be made to the infrastructure of the destination to support the growth and the introduction of these luxury products?

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WVB: Luckily, Costa Rica has the capacities and the

natural infrastructure to be home to many luxury products. Costa Rica is the ideal destination for luxury properties. It has all the natural beauty that sophisticated travelers are looking for, combined with a variety of adventures for those interested in either soft adventure or thrill-seeking voyages. Costa Rica is complete with hot springs, waterfalls and a tremendous variety of wildlife, insects and birds. Costa Rica is a natural theme park for sophisticated explorers with a myriad of relaxing activities and breathtaking views of the mountains and the ocean on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides.

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DD:

Are there any marketing initiatives that will specifically support the luxury segment such as AltaGracia?

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WVB: All members of the tourism board garner our

support and are eligible to participate in a variety of marketing initiatives including trade shows, media visits, partnerships with airlines and more.

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Is there a single destination that you consider to be your strongest competition for the US market?

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WVB: There are many destinations around the globe

that compete with Costa Rica, which is why we continue working hard to maintain our leadership role in the sustainable tourism industry. Some of these countries include Australia, New Zealand, some of the Caribbean Islands in addition to other Latin America countries. What we offer is distinct and includes easy access, value, and an endless variety of activities, regions and microclimates to visit and experience. I believe we have a destination that offers anything a sophisticated traveler is looking all for all within a destination that has sustainable tourism practices instilled in its DNA.

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What is the greatest misconception that travelers have about Costa Rica?

WVB: I would have to say it is the notion of a heavy

rainy season. Rain may occur more often during certain times of the year, but when it rains, the rain passes within a couple of hours and then you have a beautiful sunny day.

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What most delights you, personally, about your destination?

WVB:

Our people are warm and very hospitable. I hear that when most people come back, they talk about the people, our pura vida way of living and our love for our natural and beautiful country.

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DD:

What is your elevator pitch of why Costa Rica is one of the finest destination experiences in the world?

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WVB:

There is a reason why Costa Rica continues to be one of the most traveled destinations in the world, including the top destination for repeat visitors. You don’t want to skip out on all the adventures you can only experience in Costa Rica. It is easy to get a number of daily flights; you don’t want to miss out. For more information please visit

www.tourism.co.cr


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

MOSCOW’S UNDERGROUND ART The Moscow Metro was one of the USSR’s most extravagant architectural projects, with stations constructed as luxurious “palaces for the people”. Opened in 1935 commissioned by Stalin and his communist party, and engineered by British Engineers, the Moscow Metro was used as an opportunity to showcase the country’s power. Today’s some stations have been awarded protection by UNESCO as monuments of world architecture.

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Transporting more than 9 million passengers around the city each day through a series of museum-like stations, designed with marble floors, stained glass, mosaics and chandeliers, some include works of art by famous Russian artist.

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The metro includes more than 182 stations in its system, each one decorated in its own unique style. Every station is a work of art, but the Kiyevskaya, Dostoyevskaya and the Prospekt Mira stations are truly underground art.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

WEARABLE ART The VirtualShoeMuseum aims to present shoes and its designers in a new and fresh environment, focused on exploration, surprise and awe.

Lama Lama by Elisabeth Thorsen

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

Chinese Lyric by Iris Schieferstein

SOME SHOES ARE MADE TO BE WORN... OTHERS ARE PURE ART! 17

www.virtualshoemuseum.com


Photos: John Salazar

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MEDELLIN COLOMBIA’S FESTIVAL OF FLOWERS

Chrysanthemums, carnations, roses, dahlias, and gardenias are just a few of the flowers displayed at the annual Feria de las Flores or Festival of Flowers in the city of Medellin in Colombia. First introduced in the late fifties by the Gardener’s Club, it included a flower exposition and the participation of 40 peasant families from the town of Santa Elena. These “silleros” as they were named, walked through the streets of Medellin carrying flowers on their back. Today’s Feria de Las Flores attracts international attention and includes sophisticated social events, music concerts, parades, expos and private parties.

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The annual event, held every August consists of a week-long schedule of events and festivities including the world famous parade of silleteros. Attractions include a trail ride through town on horses, an orchid competition, music festivals and the parade of silleteros. Steeped in rich tradition and botanical excellence, the city of Medellin truly comes alive as it displays its proud heritage in the brilliant colors of its flowers that grow in and around the countryside. The wooden silletas were traditionally used by slaves to carry wealthy men and women up the mountains of Antioquia. But today, the bright blooming of the flowers on the silletas point toward Colombia's prosperity. The shift is thanks in large part, to a woman named Maria La Larga, who used the contraption to carry children. This practice helped convince the region's farmers that silletas were the easiest and most efficient method of carrying flowers in to the city markets from the farms

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Colombia is just behind Holland as a major supplier of live flowers to world markets.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

XOCOLATL

A 2,000 YEAR OLD TRADITION

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

THE ART OF !

CHOCOLATE Smooth, soft, sweet, sensual, soothing, succulent, decadent…these are just a few of the words that have been used to describe chocolate, a popular and delicate indulgence. However, there was a time during the Mayan era when tasting chocolate was limited to the high society and later to the European socialites. Xocolatl origins began with the Mayans, when this was a ritual drink made out of cacao beans. The process consisted of fermentation of the beans, which were then roasted, and later melted into a drink which was served as a bitter, frothy liquid, mixed with spices and corn puree. It was believed to have aphrodisiac powers and to give the drinker strength. (The word xocolatl means “bitter water”). The Mayans believed that the cacao seeds were gifts of Quetzalcoatl, the God of wisdom, and the seeds had so much value that they were used as a form of currency.

! “Chocolate is the first luxury. It has so many things wrapped up in it: deliciousness in the moment, childhood memories, and that grin-inducing feeling of getting a reward for being good”

Mariska Hargitay, Actress

The Spanish brought it to Europe, where sugar was added, and it became very popular among the ruling classes, and eventually among the common people. Chocolate continued as a drink until the 16th century when an English company introduced the first “eating chocolate,” but they were unsuccessful due to the drink’s bitterness. In the late 18th Century a famous Swiss chocolatier added milk, and the rest is history.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

HAVANA, CUBA EVOLVING THROUGH TIME

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Photos courtesy of Rafael Alonso


Havana’s architecture is influenced by the Spanish colonial rule, which started in the 15th century with the arrival of the conquistadors. In the following century, Havana became the most important city in the Caribbean to the established Spanish empire. in the Caribbean. Overlooking the narrow channels entering into the Bay of Havana, an impressive fortress was built on each side of the channel protecting the city from pirates and foreign ships. During the 16th and 17th centuries, the Spanish built throughout the city impressive cathedrals in the Baroque style, which was the customary architecture style in the principal cities of Europe. By the 18th century, Havana was a prosperous colony and grew to be an even more important city for the Spanish Empire, producing sugar and tobacco, and it became a central port for trading. Havana continued a healthy growth in the following centuries as part of the Spanish Empire. However, for a brief period, the British took control of Cuba and Havana saw a rapid growth until it was returned to the Spanish as part of a treaty. Cuba continued as a Spanish colony until 1898, at which time the United States occupied the island. In the years leading up to the Cuban revolution, Havana saw a great deal of change. It

Photos courtesy of Rafael Alonso

went from being simply a port city to being a place of fashion, design and culture. Plantation owners who lost their lands in the Civil War came to Havana. This was, in fact the start of the Cuban cigar industry, as many plantation owners found that Cuba has the ideal climate for growing tobacco. The heart of Havana is Habana Vieja or Old Havana which was founded in 1519 by the Spanish crown. The architecture in Old Havana is an eclectic mix of Cuban Baroque, Neoclassical and Moorish influences reminiscent of Cuba’s Spanish heritage. Old Havana is surrounded by four main plazas, each with its unique character and charm: Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de Armas, Plaza Vieja, and Plaza de San Francisco de Asis. Two main streets, Calle Obispo and Calle Mercaderes, are the main arteries in Old Havana. Today, Cuba is seeing many changes and as both the United States and Cuba, seek opportunities to reestablish their relationship, we will begin to see changes that will lead to Americans traveling to Cuba for leisure.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

SUCCUMBING TO SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE

By Cynthia P. Howland I have just returned from San Miguel de Allende, a beautiful and historic colonial town in the mountains of Central Mexico. The city came highly recommended to me as a place I may just want to stay. “Spiritual, artsy, and ex-Pat friendly,” my friends said. “It will be good for you.” I remained skeptical. Architecture seldom fails to inspire me, mountains can take my breath away, but it is water that resonates for me- the expanse of an ocean, the rippling of crystal clear lake, even a cool and rushing river. High and dry is not for me.

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San Miguel de Allende, a charming and picturesque city of 140,000 is a center for art, culture and history. Conde Nast Traveler selected San Miguel as their #1 City in the World for 2013. Designated in 2008 as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the beautifully preserved colonial architecture, winding cobblestone streets and vibrant art scene make the city a pleasure to explore. Many of the well-preserved 17th and 18th century buildings now house art institutes, galleries and hotels. A day of random wandering revealed surprises and treasures around every corner. But pack only your most comfortable shoes. The cobblestone streets are narrow and uneven with very high curbs, and some, with a hilly incline of 15 to 20 degrees, can be difficult to manage without proper footwear.

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The beauty and diversity of the city did not disappoint, but I was unprepared for the familiarity and kinship I felt with the region from the moment I landed. And I was unprepared for how quickly and seamlessly I blended in, at least as one of many thousands of

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Americans who have chucked it all to make St. Miguel their home. The town attracts a large number of foreign artists, writers, and retirees. A formidable ex-Pat community has earned San Miguel a reputation as an American enclave in Mexico. I first felt drawn to the area on the night I arrived at Leon Airport, 70 miles from San Miguel. I leaned on the airport van with 5 others awaiting the arrival of a delayed flight so we could make the trek into the city. An older woman, carrying a cane, grumbled a bit about the delay. She managed to hoist herself up into the shotgun seat, and then, as much to herself as to anyone else said, “Oh, I don’t know. How much do I feel like talking tonight?” Not much, I hoped. She climbed back down from the front seat and slid in next to me. “Well, what’s your story,” she asked in the unapologetic manner of the privileged. Kay from Manhattan and I chatted in the dark for the one hour plus ride. Her eyes filled up as she told me she had just lost her husband, making this return to San Miguel for the season particularly bittersweet. It turns out Kay and I were not so different. “We have a home here, but San Miguel was really his thing,” she said. “I don’t know that I need to keep this house.” “I’m here for the Writer’s Conference,” I told Kay. “Oh yes, I tried to register and it seems they were sold out. So I called them, and they asked me to be a sponsor,” she said. “What does that entail?” I asked. “It means you give them a lot of money and then you can go.”

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Photo San Miguel de Allende Tourist office

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

Driving to San Miguel the sky looked unlike I had ever seen it.

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On the side of the mountain at an elevation of close to 7000 feet, the sky wrapped around us like a great glass dome, chock-full of stars. They were overhead and at our sides, so close I felt I could touch them. It was surreal, like we were enveloped in a “snow dome” that happened to be filled with stars instead of snow, and that someone had just given a good shake. San Miguel had begun to work its magic on me.

Patriate women, adorned in the layers of flowing clothing and comfortable shoes that I came to recognize as the ex-Pat uniform. They were entering an event through the cordoned “early entry” reserved for patrons. Our moment was over. I just passed her by, but think of her fondly from time to time, a lovely symbol of my welcome to San Miguel.

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We wound through the narrow cobbled streets of San Miguel, lined with rows of simple entryways, punctuated by beautifully colored and crafted door after door. The facades of orange, yellow and ochre are set off by handcrafted ironwork and hewn wood. These homes are often humble from the outside, but with glorious interiors peaking out. The city is hilly, resulting in crooked roads that sometimes puzzlingly narrow to an arm’s length. With cabs plentiful and costing only 2 to 3 dollars for most anywhere in the city, I was happy not to deal with navigating the streets.

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As we reached our first stop, Kay leaned in and took my hand as she whispered, “It is very seductive here. I think you will succumb.”

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As the driver helped put her key in the door, I wanted to embrace her, help her cross that lonely threshold. Looking back through the windows of the van, I saw her simple entryway had deceived us. Her home stretched back two more levels down the hill, with rich foliage peaking out from an expansive rooftop terraces on each level.

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I spotted my friend Kay only once at the retreat. She was surrounded by a group of bright-eyed, silver haired, ex-

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At my stop, now late at night, I stood at the iron-gated entryway peering down the long courtyard of my hotel. Miguel, who I later learned lived on property as a blend of manager, groundskeeper, handyman, and ambassador led me through the open courtyard past brightly colored orange walls, scrolled iron window boxes and vine covered entryways, while our feet clicked on the worn dark tiles beneath us.

Accommodations in San Miguel are plentiful, and range from highly affordable hostels, a plethora of mid-and high range hotels and bed and breakfasts, to the very luxurious. We had chosen one of the many boutique B&B’s, ours housed in a 300 year-old Colonial mansion in the heart of the centro. We were looking for an authentic experience, historic architecture and a touch of Mexican hospitality. We were not disappointed. Each morning I was first to the coffee area, where surprisingly good coffee was served up promptly at 8am. After a few days, I was comfortable enough with Miguel to call him in from his morning ritual of sweeping the street in front of our entryway by 7:30 or so, to ask for “leche” to accompany the coffee that he was now serving earlier each day.

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Although San Miguel is a city that is best experienced by random wanderings, there are “must do’s’ that would be unfortunate to miss. The Parraquia de San Miguel Arcangel, the ornate pink granite 17th century cathedral can be viewed from most anywhere in the city, and is beautiful viewed at sunrise or sunset. Scores of art galleries and eclectic shops line the streets. I wandered


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

into an artist’s workshop that opened on to the street. A beautifully hand carved wooden angel’s wing now stands as a reminder of San Miguel and my friend, an avid gardener welcomed the hand leaded glass hummingbirds that will adorn her garden this summer. Nicely handcrafted goods at such affordable prices made me wish I had brought a larger suitcase.

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The dining options are endless and excellent. We experimented with several well-rated restaurants and were amazed by the flavors and presentation of our dinners. Valentine’s Day is hugely popular in Mexico. Finding ourselves (three single women) unable to secure reservations for the evening, I popped into Tio Lucas, a restaurant we had visited previously. Let’s just say, we had not been inconspicuous on our first visit and the host remembered me. I pled our case, embellishing slightly. “A widow, a divorcee and a newlywed…we are alone here…..” He stopped me before I perjured myself further. “Senorita, you come back tonight and sit there, in the bar, and you will wait only 20 minutes.” True to his word, we did not wait more than 10 minutes, despite the packed restaurant and wait area.

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Nestled in the hills and mountains, the weather in San Miguel varies little seasonally. The climate is temperate, with average temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s. Even on the hottest of summer months, the dry air provides some

Photo Cynthia P. Howland

relief and the cool mountain breezes make evenings a pleasure.

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We all travel in different ways, looking for different things. As I get older, I find the rewards of travel have taken on a new shape, and that my travel aspirations continue to evolve. We all take home memories of that certain building, that special vista, the unforgettable meal. We check off the list of “must do’s” and take that signature photo shot. But as I travel now, I find there is a certain something that changes us, and that is the essence of our experience. It’s that thing we may not be able to express.

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By my final days in San Miguel, I was ordering breakfast in Spanish and exchanging pleasantries on the street like a local. The familiarity of the crooked cobbled streets, the warmth of Mexican hospitality, the sense of history evoked by the architecture-these are all gifts I take home. But there is something more about San Miguel.

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My departure shuttle was earlier than I wished, requiring that I rise at 4am. On a hunch, I poked out to the coffee area, and was charmed to find a steaming pot of coffee and a pitcher of warmed “leche” awaiting me. “Gracias, Miguel.”

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Cynthia P. Howland is a writer and the Managing Editor of Design Destinations Magazine. She currently is working on novel and will be sharing some of her travel experiences each issue in First impressions.

Photo Cynthia P. Howland

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

PACU JAWI

SUMATRA’S THRILLING BULL RACES PHOTOS BY: SCOTTY GRAHAM

Every year inhabitants of certain regions in Indonesia prepare themselves to participate in the Pacu Jawi races, where only pure bulls power through muddy rice fields as part of the celebration of the end of the rice harvest. This extraordinary spectacle can be enjoyed only at the Limapuluh Kota Regency and several districts in the Tanah Datar Regency including Sungai Tarab, Rambatan, Limo Kaum, and Pariangan. Part bull ride, part mud skiing, Pacu Jawi is truly a unique sport.

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The jockey of Pacu Jawi simply stands on the plow between two rushing bulls, holding on to the tails of both bulls, pulling them to go faster and speed them on. An attraction that started by farmers as a fun activity while awaiting the next planting season, today the races determine the prices of the bulls when they are auctioned. The faster and the stronger the bulls, the higher the price they can fetch in the market on the day following the races.

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33 DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

THE STORY OF THE BERLIN MUSEUM

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

THE STORY OF BERLIN MUSEUM is a multimedia museum in the German capital that prides itself on displaying history in an exceptional and extraordinary manner. Visitors are immersed in a different historical world in each room they enter throughout the exhibition.

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One does not simply view the displays, but rather the historical material is conveyed in an interactive manner, that stimulates the senses and engages the imagination. Multi-media technology is the key ingredient in the presentation; they use sound effects, original models and authentic films to bring Berlin’s past to life. Interactive elements like touchscreens, hidden drawers, pulleys and levers also ensure that every visitor has a unique and personalized experience, determined by their own interests.

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Accordingly, each room is designed so that visitors can feel the spirit of the times the way the people of the era once did themselves, allowing for a more profound connection between the historical content and the visitors’ own lives today. One interesting and interactive thing to do while visiting the museum is the ‘Berlin-Quiz’ – a scavenger hunt for adults – This activity shows the participants in a playful manner how to see, feel, hear, taste and smell Berlin stories.

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The Museum has been visited by more than a quarter of a million a year since opening in 1999.

! www.story-of-berlin.de ! !

Photos: Monique Wustenhagen

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VIETNAM

AN UNFORGETTABLE JOURNEY BY FRANZ E. BUCHHALTER

Photo: David Lazar


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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

V

ietnam is an intriguing and mysterious destination that has been on my “bucket list” since I first saw the movie “Indochine,” starring the French actress, Catherine Deneuve. “Indochine,” is a highly regarded film from 1992. The movie was filled with beautiful scenes, and when I recently visited Vietnam, the scenes that had been etched in my mind for so many years came to life throughout my journey. During my trip, I discovered a simple and beautiful country, both chaotic and charming at the same time, with a countryside filled with rice fields. We all have our own images and impressions of Vietnam, and some are from a dark period in history. I wanted to see the scenes that captivated me when I saw “Indochine," and they were everything that I had hoped for. Officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, it is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in

Photo: FEB

Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants, Vietnam ranks as the 13th most-populous country in the world and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The name Vietnam translates as “Southern Viet” (synonymous with the much older term Nam Viet). It was first officially adopted in 1802 by Emperor Gia Long, and was adopted again in 1945 with the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976.

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My journey began in the southern region of Vietnam in the city of Ho Chi Ming (Saigon), a city dominated by motorcycles, historical sites and close to the amazing Mekong Delta.


T

he city of Hoi Chi Minh is the cultural and financial center for Vietnam where nine million people live. Hoi Chi Minh or the old Saigon is a city overwhelmed by thousands of helmeted road warriors zigzagging and taking control of the streets. The waves of motorcycles, four million and counting, are the engine and primary form of transportation to commuters on their way to or from work, to merchants whose ingenuity have transformed their two-wheeler machines into an inexpensive way to transport their goods that might include items larger and heavier that the engine itself. The former Saigon boasts charming French colonial architecture and wide boulevards. A visit to the War Remnants Museum shows the Vietnam War through Vietnamese eyes. Another interesting thing to do is a day trip to The Mekong Delta, which is located about two hours from the city through a road where each side is filled

Photo: David Lazar

with rice paddies and farmers wearing their typical Vietnamese hat. The Mekong splits Cambodia into two main rivers, the Bassac (Hậu Giang) and the First River (Tiᝠn Giang), then in Vietnam into a more complex system, creating a maze of small canals, rivers and brooks interspersed with villages and floating markets. Life in the Mekong Delta revolves much around the river, and all the villages are often accessible by river as well as by road. A visit to the Mekong Delta is so memorable because of the region’s diversity. Everyday scenes include vendors on their floating boats selling local produce. I was happy that my tour guide had arranged a private tasting of the fruits onboard a boat owned by a couple. While the husband fetched the fruits, the wife prepared a tea and invited me to join them. Our communication was limited to smiles and gestures but there was no need for words as her smile said it all.


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

A

fter my trip to the Mekong Delta I took a flight to Danag in the center of the country. A short one-hour flight from Hoi Chi Minh, Danang is the resort area with many beautiful hotels including The Maia Fusion, a new five star hotel with a beautiful beach and a spa. Danang is just about twenty minutes from the old town of Hoi An, an exceptionally well-preserved example of a South-East Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, cultures (principally Chinese and Japanese with later European influences) that combined to produce this unique town. The town comprises a well-preserved complex of 1,107 timber frame buildings, with brick or wooden walls, which include architectural monuments, commercial and domestic vernacular structures, notably an open market and a ferry quay, and religious buildings such as pagodas and family cult houses. The houses are tiled and the wooden components are carved with traditional motifs. They are arranged side-by-side in tight, unbroken rows along narrow

Photo courtesy 365Travel

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pedestrian streets. There is also the fine wooden Japanese bridge, with a pagoda on it, dating from the 18th century. The original street plan comprises a grid of streets with one axis parallel to the river and the other axis of streets and alleys set at right angles to it. Typically, the front of the buildings conveniently give customer access while the backs of the buildings open to the river allowing easy loading and off-loading of goods from boats. The surviving wooden structures and street plan are original and are intact and together present a traditional townscape of the 17th and 18th centuries, which is unique in the region. The town continues to this day to be occupied and to function as a trading port and center of commerce. The living heritage reflecting the diverse communities of the indigenous inhabitants of the town, as well as foreigners, has also been preserved and continues to be passed on. Hoi An Ancient Town remains an exceptionally wellpreserved example of a Far Eastern port. In Hoi Han you will find excellent dining options, interesting shops selling unique hand crafts and antiques as well as your traditional souvenirs.


Photo: FEB


Photos: FEB

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015


Photo: FEB


Photo courtesy of Paradise Cruises.


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

Photos courtesy of Paradise Cruises.

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Photo: David Lazar


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015 Photo: FEB

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o trip could end without an opportunity to see Ha Long Bay (“Descending Dragon Bay”) located a four-hour drive from Hanoi driving through a scenic route that passes small towns filled with pagodas and shops. The bay consists of a dense cluster of more than 1,900 limestone monolithic islands each topped with thick jungle vegetation, rising spectacularly from the ocean. Several of the islands are hollow, with enormous caves. Hạ Long Bay is a center of a larger zone which includes Bái Tử Long Bay to the northeast, and Cát Bà islands to the southwest. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments. The evolution of the karst in this bay has taken 20 million years under the impact of the tropical wet climate to form. The geodiversity of the environment in the area has created biodiversity, including a tropical evergreen system. Hạ Long Bay is home to 14 endemic floral species and 60 endemic faunal species. !

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To experience Ha Long Bay you must take an over night cruise in one of the many cruises available ranging from small and intimate to larger ships. I experienced Paradise Peak, a small and luxurious vessel with only eight cabins that includes a spa, a restaurant and impeccable service. The staff was amazing, always ready to serve and to meet any demands. The food featured local cuisine, as well as international dishes. The experience includes private lessons from the Chef on how to make Vietnamese spring rolls, and morning classes of Tai Chi on the upper deck. During the summer, guests can spend the day in one of the small beaches or climb one of the islets and view the bay from the hilltop.!

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Vietnam was my unforgettable journey and during my trip I learned a lot about its people, history and their culture. I will be forever grateful to my host, the team of 365Travel, especially to their tour guides and drivers for showing me their beautiful country. !

! For more information on 365Travel visit:! !

http://buchhalterinternationalgroup.com/365-travel/#!


THE LIFE OF A MONK IN MYANMAR BY DAVID LAZAR

From as young as seven years old, the boys of Myanmar train as novice monks. Growing up together in their ancient monasteries they form a brotherhood of close connections. They eat, pray, become educated, play and live together—for what will become decades as they form a new family that spans many generations.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

The traditions of Buddhism are upheld very strongly in Myanmar. Monks pray throughout the day to honor the teachings of Buddha.


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

Every Buddhist Burmese boy between the age of 7 and 13 is expected to enter the monastery as a novice monk for a period of a few weeks to several months. He has a choice to return to life outside the monastery at any time, or he can stay on as a monk, if he so chooses.

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Many families from poorer or more rural backgrounds take advantage of the chance to send their son to be a monk, as it also means a free education.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

MEET THE 50 YEAR OLD MAFALDA ( ) IN CASE YOU DON’T KNOW HER

Mafalda is the main character in a comic strip written and drawn by Argentine cartoonist, JoaquĂ­n Salvador Lavado, better known by his pen name Quino. The strip features a 6-year-old girl named Mafalda, and reflects the Argentinian middle class and progressive youth, by taking on matters of humanity, attitude problems and world peace, all in an innocent manner. The strip ran from 1964 to 1973 and was very popular in Latin America, Europe, Canada, and in Asia, leading to two animated cartoon series and a book. Mafalda turned 50 in 2014, when many celebrations took place around the world to commemorate her birthday. In her Facebook page, more than 5 million fans congratulated her and in Buenos Aires, a statue of Mafalda was unveiled.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015 Jorge Tamayo

THE ART AT ALTAGRACIA The work of many Costa Rican artists adorn the walls of AltaGracia, providing a sense of place to the Boutique Hacienda in the southern region of Costa Rica. The owners summoned some of the most talented artists in the country and commissioned them to create artwork for the property. The mountain location inspired the artists and their creation’s that feature bright colors and country life scenes. Each painting’s hues of reds, orange, yellow, blues and greens give the painting life and provide a focal point in AltaGracia’s restaurants, library and the board room. Among the elite group of artists you will find Vernor Gallardo, Jorge Tamayo, Sara Morales, Marcia Salas, Hernan Arevalo Solorzano, Alejandro Villalobos, and Siddhartta Mejia. Sara Morales

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Sara Morales

Vernor Gallardo

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015


DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

DISCOVERIES

COIN CARD

PENCA DE BALABANGA

These charms or “good luck pieces” were first worn by African slaves in Brazil in the 17th and 18th centuries. They are called "Penca de Balabanga" and were common in the state of Bahia, Brazil. They were traded, as well as bought and sold. The charms or amulets were sometimes given to slaves by the plantation owner as a reward for good behavior or loyal service or to mark special occasions. The shapes have different meanings. Penca were usually made of silver, brass, or copper and could be worn as a necklace or bracelet or pinned to a garment. Some were hung in doorways to ward off evil or for good luck. The shape of the holder varies. Shapes similar to the one in the picture symbolize the boat that brought slaves from Africa.

Coin is a new device that can hold and be used like the credit cards you already have in your wallet or purse. It stores information for most credit cards and allows you to select the card to use, which can be changed as often as you want. It swipes like a card and automatically posts the charges to the selected card. It also alerts you when it's apart from your phone.

THE ENVELOPE PLEASE! Maria Shriver’s initiative was designed to encourage and enable hotel guests to express their gratitude by leaving tips and notes of thanks for hotel room attendants in designated envelopes provided in hotel rooms. “The Envelope Please was born from having conversations with women I’ve met who have taken care of my room during hotel stays. Their stories of hard work and perseverance inspired and informed me. They told me that room attendants, who are often the primary breadwinner for their families, are often forgotten when it comes to tipping, unlike other front-of-house employees, since most travelers don’t see them face-to-face. I hope this gratitude initiative will make these women feel seen and validated,” said Maria Shriver, founder of A Woman’s Nation.

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

“Somebody told me once I wasn't Latin enough, and that made me laugh.

! ! ! Chita Rivera ! ! !

CHITA RIVERA - AN AMERICAN LEGEND Actress, dancer, and singer!

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Born in Washington DC to a Puerto Rican father and a Scottish mother, she is the first Hispanic woman and the first Latino American to receive a Kennedy Center Honors award !

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In 1951, Rivera accompanied a friend to the audition for the touring company of Call Me Madam and ended up winning the role herself. She followed this by landing roles in other Broadway productions such as Guys and Dolls and Can-Can. In 1957, she was cast in the role which was destined to make her a Broadway star, the firebrand Anita in West Side Story. Later Rivera starred in a national tour of Can-Can and played the role of Nickie in the film adaptation of Sweet Charity with Shirley MacLaine. In 1975 she appeared as Velma Kelly in the original cast of the musical Chicago. In 1984 she starred in the musical The Rink with Liza Minnelli and won her first Tony award for her role as Anna. In addition to her ballet instructors, Rivera credited Leonard Bernstein and Gwen Verdon, with whom she starred in Chicago, as being people from whom she learned a great deal.!

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In 1993, she received a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Aurora in the musical Kiss of the Spider Woman. Rivera makes a cameo appearance in the 2002 movie version of Chicago. In 2015, Rivera will return to Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre in The Visit, the final musical written by John Kander, Fred Ebb and Terrence McNally. Co-starring Roger Rees, the production will be directed by John Doyle and choreographed by Graciele Daniele.!

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DESIGN DESTINATIONS Spring 2015

Design Destinations Magazine is a quarterly publication produced by Buchhalter International Group

! For previous issues please visit our website

WWW.BUCHHALTERINTERNATIONALGROUP.COM

Spring 2015  

In this issue, we feature Vietnam - a Journey through this fascinating country, Indonesia, Young Monks fo Myanmar, and Flamenco - the sensua...

Spring 2015  

In this issue, we feature Vietnam - a Journey through this fascinating country, Indonesia, Young Monks fo Myanmar, and Flamenco - the sensua...