Page 1


VOL. 4 · NO. 1, July 2016

Journal of Globerovers Productions · GR

GlobeRovers Feature Article

10 Salar de Uyuni and the southwestern region of Bolivia

In the remote southwest corner of Bolivia, South America, lies the world’s largest salt flats, surrounded by a rugged area known for its extinct volcanoes, snow capped mountain peaks, deserts, rock formations, turquoise lakes, thermal active areas, and wildlife including flamingos, llamas, guanacos and vicuña. Rent a four-wheel drive with driver and head off for a few days to explore this beautiful region.

ARTICLES

ARTICLES

56 Pyramids of Ancient Latin America

SPECIAL FEATURES 114 Sensible Travel Gear 148 Tasty Traveller’s Treats

Mexico, Central-, and South America bear the hallmarks of ancient, yet sophisticated architecture by the Aztec, Maya and the Inca people. Some are overgrown by the jungle and partly lost.

92 Armenia’s Christian Monasteries

Armenia’s centuries-old monasteries and churches are crumbling and seem to be forgotten by locals and tourists alike. We discover the charm of a few of these ancient masterpieces.

128 A Journey through Bangladesh

From Dhaka to Chittagong to the mangroves of the Sundarbans - life in the quaint villages along the rivers and deltas of Bangladesh are laid back and content. Friendly Bangladeshis are the attraction.

176 Boating on Myanmar’s Ayeyarwady

Get onboard a large passenger boat from Myanmar’s northern Kachin State or the Sagaing Region and float down this mighty river lined with small villages and happy people.

36 116 150 166 184

PHOTO ESSAYS Havana, Cuba Painted Monasteries of Romania Land of the Uyghur People, China Ville de Québec, Canada Festivals of Japan’s Tohoku Region

80 164 174 196 198 199

CONTRIBUTIONS Village Life: Hermanus, South Africa Save the Rhino Dog Sledding in Quebec Super Traveller Spotlight Traveller Spotlight Book Reviews

32 76 126 160

TOP LISTS 9 Experiences in Southern Bolivia 10 Ruins of Latin American Empires 6 Brilliant Travel Blogs 13 Travel Tweeps to Follow

IN A FORTHCOMING ISSUE 201 Morocco

Cacti on Isla de Pescado, Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia.

In an upcoming issue of Globerovers Magazine, come join us exploring the famous medina and souk of Marrakech, the tannery and leather-dyeing pits in Fes, the blue city of Chefchaouen, the High Atlas Mountains, deserts, the coastline villages and towns of Essaouira, El Jadida, Casablanca, Rabat, Tangier and Asilah. Awesome!

1


1/8/1

2

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Editor‛s Message “Not all those who wander are lost.” J.R.R. Tolkien

John Tolken (3 Jan 1892 – 2 Sep 1973), an English writer, poet, philologist, university professor, and author of ‘The Hobbit’, and ‘Lord of the Rings’.

Dear Readers, ON THE COVER: Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Globerovers Magazine

currently is a biannual magazine, available in digital and printed formats. We focus on bringing to the intrepid traveller exciting destinations and inspiring photography from around the globe. Published in Hong Kong Printed in U.S.A. WHO WE ARE: Editor-in-Chief - Peter Steyn Editorial Consultant - Tsui Chi Ho Graphic Designer - Peter Steyn Photographer & Writer - Peter Steyn Proofreader - Janet-Lynn Vorster Advertising - Lizzy Chitlom FOLLOW US: www.globerovers-magazine.com www.globerovers.com facebook.com/GloberoversMag pinterest.com/globerovers twitter.com/globerovers instagram.com/globerovers CONTACT US: editor@globerovers.com

In this seventh issue of Globerovers Magazine, we are pleased to bring you a variety of exciting destinations and other reading enjoyment. The feature destination is the incredible Salar de Uyuni of southern Bolivia. As one of the most remote areas of South America, it is known for its large salt flats, fringed by stunning mountain scenery and rock formations; wildlife including flamingos and llamas; turquoise lakes; and volcanic active areas with hot springs, fumaroles and bubbling mud pots. Come along and enjoy Bolivia. Other articles focus on Armenia’s ancient monasteries and churches; temple ruins of Latin America; life along the great rivers and deltas of Bangladesh; and a boat trip down Myanmar’s mighty Ayeyarwady River. We have Photo Essays of Havana, Cuba; the painted monasteries of Romania; China’s Uyghur people; Quebec City; and Japan’s Tohoku festivals. A special thank you to our contributors who we introduce on the next page. A very special word of thanks to Janet-Lynn Vorster, our Contributor and Proofreader, for her meticulous work. Please visit our Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook pages, and www.globerovers-magazine.com. For easy access, scan the QR Codes on page 7. Send your feedback to editor@globerovers.com. Globerovers travels so you can see the world!

Peter Steyn

Editor-in-Chief and Publisher All rights reserved. Reproduction of any part of this magazine is strictly prohibited without the prior written approval of the publisher. The publisher does not take responsibility for any potential inaccurate information herein.

THE FRONT COVER Salar de Uyuni (or Salar de Tunupa), located in southwest Bolivia, north of the Chile border, is regarded as the world’s largest salt flats at 10,582 square km. Located at 3,656 m above sea level, it is covered with a solid salt crust varying in thickness between just a few centimetres to a few metres. Rich in lithium it faces massive mining. 3


globerovers The magazine for the intrepid traveller. ‘Standard Edition’ published in July. ‘Special Edition’ published in December.

4

Volume 3, Issue 2 December 2015 212 pages

Volume 3, Issue 1 July 2015 196 pages

Volume 2, Issue 2 December 2014 232 pages

Volume 1, Issue 1 July 2013 176 pages

Volume 1, Issue 2 December 2013 240 pages

Volume 2, Issue 1 July 2014 168 pages

Globerovers · July 2016


CONTRIBUTORS

Thanks to our Contributors

In this issue

A very special thank you to our awesome contributors to this issue. Without you, Globerovers Magazine just won’t be the same! Thanks!

Janet-Lynn Vorster, Cape Town, South Africa (pages 80-91)

Janet is a numerologist and hypnotherapist by profession, and journalist and photographer by hobby. She is the proud mother of three grown children and granny to three grandchildren. Thanks to Janet for being the Chief Text Editor of Globerovers Magazine and for her excellent article “Village Life: Hermanus, South Africa”.

Katherine Johnston, London, England (pages 164-165)

Katherine is Save the Rhino International’s Communications Manager. She read Modern History and English at Oxford, before completing an MA at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She is a consultant to the Lynx UK Trust and Trustee of ResonanceFM. Katherine is doing great work to help save our rhinos.

Jonathan Meister, Toronto, Canada (pages 174-175)

Jonathan is a Canadian based writer who has travelled extensively, particularly in Canada. His areas of interest are ecology and history and he makes a point of including these elements in his writing. He is also immersed in the sports medicine world as a therapist and has extensively contributed in that domain as a lecturer and author.

Shane Dallas, Dubai, UAE (pages 196-197)

Shane is an avid adventurer, travel photographer, Social Media specialist, radio personality and keynote speaker who inspires people to take the road less travelled. Shane loves visiting places that other people rarely visit such as Afghanistan, North Korea, Somaliland, Ethiopia, Kurdistan, Syria, Tajikistan, and Yemen.

Linda Ballou, Los Angeles, CA, USA (pages 198-199)

Adventure travel writer, Linda Ballou, has rafted, kayaked and horseback ridden though pristine wilderness areas around the globe. Her collection of travel essays, Lost Angel Walkabout, is filled with thrills, chills, giggles, and lets you experience the great outdoors without getting altitude sickness or tipping your canoe. www.LindaBallouAuthor.com.

Chris Wong, Hong Kong (page 198)

Chris is a freelance radio host and travel writer based in Hong Kong. He always backpacks solo, because he believes that travel is all about personal growth and making new friends. To Chris it is not important how many countries he visited, but rather the in-depth experiences he so cherishes.

Tony Hastie, Kilwinning, Scotland (page 200)

Having worked in the building industry for 25 years, Tony never harboured any ambitions to write. Then he did something that people generally find a little more interesting than joinery, he went travelling. Blog transformed to book and Bolivia tried to kill us was born...

Additional photo credits:

Janet Joosten, Sharon, Canada: Photograph of Chichén Itzá temple on page 77. 5


The Globerovers‛ World Globerovers Magazine was created by Peter Steyn, an avid explorer who is constantly in search of the edge of the world. He will always hike the extra mile or ten to get as far off the beaten track as he can. It is his mission to discover and present the most exciting destinations for intrepid travellers. He has visited 116 countries (including territories: Greenland, Hong Kong, and Macau) and is poised to explore Africa in the coming months. Peter’s home base is wherever he lays down his cameras.

Afghanistan Albania Andorra Argentina Armenia Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahrain Bangladesh Belarus Belgium Belize Bolivia Bosnia-Herzegovina Brazil Brunei Bulgaria Cambodia Canada Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Czech Rep. Denmark Ecuador Egypt 6

Globerovers · July 2016

El Salvador Estonia Finland France Georgia Germany Greece Greenland Guatemala Honduras Hong Kong Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran Ireland Israel Italy Japan Jordan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Laos Latvia Lebanon Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macau

Malaysia Maldives Malta Mauritius Mexico Moldova Monaco Montenegro Morocco Myanmar / Burma Namibia Nepal Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Norway Oman Pakistan Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Portugal Romania Russia San Marino Serbia Singapore

Slovakia Slovenia South Africa South Korea Spain Sri Lanka Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syria Taiwan Tajikistan Thailand Turkey Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Vatican Vietnam Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe 116 and counting...


w o l l o F .. . . s u Don’t hesitate to follow us to some incredible destinations. You will never be sorry you did!

Use a QR reader from your apps store

facebook.com/GloberoversMag

pinterest.com/globerovers

Why looking online when you can have your own glossy paper magazine in your hands?

ORDER NOW

www.blurb.com/user/store/Globerovers twitter.com/globerovers

globerovers.com (blog)

instagram.com/globerovers globerovers-magazine.com 7


Use a QR reader on your phone to read these codes

CUBA

QUEBEC

Page 36

Page 166

LATIN AMERICA Page 56

BOLIVIA Page 10

8

Globerovers · July 2016


ROMANIA Page 116

ARMENIA Page 92

XINJIANG Page 150

JAPAN

Page 184

MYANMAR BANGLADESH

Page 176

Page 128

DESTINATIONS IN THIS ISSUE 9


B

ig. No it is huge! In fact, Salar de Uyni in southwestern Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flats measuring more than 10,500 square km. Located at an altitude of 3,656 m above sea level in the Daniel Campos Province, this region is remote, unique, and inhospitable. The best way to travel this area is to find a few buddies and rent a 4x4 vehicle with

10

Globerovers · July 2016

its driver. The tricky part of the journey is finding the right vehicle and the right driver. It is not unheard of to end up with a grumpy driver who has no interest in his passengers, and even of a driver who abandons his passengers and escapes over the horizon, with the vehicle of course! Choose wisely. Ask many questions and bargain to get a fair deal.

and drivers, and then head straight for the salar where you will stop at the salt hotel, Isla del Pescado (fish island), Isla Incahuasi, and drive over miles and miles of flat salt roads without any clear tracks. Once you exit the salt flats to the south, you will come across many lakes, such Lago Cañapa, Lago Honda, Lago Colorada, and many more beautiful turquoise lakes, each with their flock A good route is to start in the town of of flamingos - James’s flamingo,  Chilean Uyuni where you should find the vehicles flamingo, and the Andean flamingo.


Feature Article

BOLIVIA

Salar de Uyuni and the southwestern region of Bolivia

A remote region in the southwest corner of Bolivia known for the world‛s largest salt flats, flamingos, extinct volcanoes, deserts, and turquoise lakes.

Early November is breeding time for the flamingos and they come in large numbers to feed on the pinkish coloured algae. The area is known for its scenery with dormant volcanoes, turquoise lakes, weird rock formations, and its volcanic active areas with fierce fumaroles and boiling mud pots. While the salar is rather void of any noticeable life other than the odd tourist Landrover

and the giant cacti on Isla del Pescado and Isla Incahuasi, the area off the salar has wildlife in abundance, if you have patience to search, and wait. The area is known to have about 80 bird species, including the flamingos, horned coot, Andean goose, and the Andean hillstar. Look out for the cute light-brown Andean fox, and the colonies of adorable rabbit-like viscachas which breed and live among the rocky outcrops. Feature

l

Bolivia

| 11


Laguna Colorada lies at the southern edge of southern Bolivia, just to the north of the Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, which is on the border with Chile. The lake is vibrantly red with islands of white borax. Algae and sediments give Laguna Colorada its red color. Flamingos frequent its waters to feed on the red algae.

12

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Feature

l

Bolivia

| 13


SALT FLATS Measuring more than 10,500 square km, Salar de Uyuni in southwestern Bolivia is the world’s largest salt flats. It is located at an altitude of 3,656 m above sea level, although it is not totally flat. The difference between the higher area and the lower area is about 77 cm. It really is salt. Common table salt. For many years the local indigenous Aymara people have been scraping the salt from the crust which varies from a few centimetres in thickness to several metres. Estimates are that at some places the salt is about 10 m thick. Rich in the much sought chemical element, lithium, it is threatened by potential large scale mining.

VOLCANIC LAKES The southwestern edge of Bolivia comprises of the provinces of Nor Lipez and Sud Lipez. Collectively referred to as Mancomunidad de Los Lípez, it includes the Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve. With a long history of violent volcanic activity, much of the area still bears the evidence of flowing volcanic lava. Conical shaped mountain peaks and volcanic crater-lakes dot the landscape. In the far south, immediately north of the Eduardo Abaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, is Laguna Colorada which lies at an altitude of at 4,278 m. It is 346 km southwest of town of Uyuni. The lake is vibrantly red with a few islands of white

HIGHLIGHTS of SOUTHWEST BOLIVIA Salar de Uyuni

The vast salt lake is unquestionably the highlight of southwestern Bolivia. Whether you visit during the wet season or the dry season, it is an incredible sight to see a flat surface of salt stretching almost as far as the eye can see. Go ahead, taste the salt. Run around like a school boy and don’t forget the funny photos!

Conical Shaped Extinct Volcanoes

The landscape is dotted with many extinct volcanoes, many of which are symmetrical cone-shaped. Take many photos and even climb them but watch out for the snow caps and the depleting oxygen supply as you ascend.

Thermal Active Areas with Hot Springs

Where there are extinct volcanoes, there is often still active thermal activity such as whooshing fumaroles, hot bubbling mud pots, and hot springs. Enjoy the hot springs on cold days but don’t fall into the mud pots.

Wildlife

The flamingos are the main attraction, with llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas grazing peacefully along the shores of the lakes create lovely photo opportunities. There are about 80 bird species, foxes, and rabbit-like viscachas.

Deserts and Rock Formations

Red desert sand can be found all over the area. Strong winds blowing sand against the rocks over many years have sculpted the rock into creative figures. The most famous is Árbol de Piedra (stone tree).

Turquoise Volcanic Lakes

The lakes attract wildlife such as the llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and thousands of flamingos. The water is teaming with algae and other micro organisms but void of larger aquatic life due to the chemical composition of the waters which also prevents most lakes from freezing over. Some have very high arsenic concentrations.

The Salt Hotels

Stop by at a hotel almost entirely built of blocks of salt cut from the crust. You may want to stay for the night.

The Train Cemetery

Just 3 km outside of Uyuni are a few rusty old steam trains. They make great photos against the blue sky. 14

Globerovers · July 2016


DESERT AND ROCKS

borax. Red algae and other natural sediments give Laguna Colorada its red colour which attracts the flamingos to feed on the red algae.

All over the region are patches of desert with bright reddish desert sand. Look out for the large rock formations strewn about in the sand. Formed by volcanic activity many years ago, they have been beautifully sculpted by the strong winds and the blowing sand. The most famous rock, located to the north of Laguna Colorada in the Pampas de Siloli area, is the Arbol de Piedra, a large rock sculpted by the wind into the shape of a tree. Please do not try to climb it, as it will fall over!

Further south, almost at the border with Chile, is the sparkling jade Laguna Verde at 4,400 m above sea level. As it is laden with arsenic, it is most likely totally lifeless. Nearby, at the foot of the highly symmetrical stratovolcano, Volcán Licancabur (5,916 m), lies Laguna Blanca. The crater lake on the summit of Licancabur is said to be the world’s highest lake. Up north, along the road to San Juan, is a chain of five very picturesque lakes, including Lagunas Hedionda and Chiar Khota. Further on is Volcán Ollagüe and Salar de Chiguana. Other beautiful lakes are Lago Cañapa and Lago Honda. Flamingos love to congregate in this area.

WILDLIFE The most impressive wildlife in this part of the world are the flamingos. Many flamingos. James’s flamingo, Chilean flamingo, and the Andean flamingo. Early November is breeding time for the flamingos and they come in large numbers to feed on the pinkish coloured algae. The flamingos have likely never been hunted and don’t seem to be too scared of

TRAIN CEMETERY

a human presence, which means you can sneak up fairly close to them before they fly away. It’s truly an incredible sight to see hundreds, if not thousands, of these pinkish-red birds grazing in the shallow lakes with white borax edges and reddish islands. The only thing more beautiful, is when they en masse take to flight right in front of your very eyes.

It’s not every day that you see a train cemetery in the middle of nowhere! About 3 km outside the town of Uyuni is the rather bizarre scenery of rusted old trains, still on their rusty tracks.

Among the other 80 bird species reported in the area, are the horned coot, Andean goose, and the Andean hillstar. Some llamas, alpacas, and vicuñas graze at the edges of the lakes. You may also see the light brown Andean fox, and it is hard to miss the colonies of adorable rabbit-like viscachas which breed and live among the rocky outcrops.

MOUNTAINS The area is dotted with extinct volcanoes, although most volcanoes stretch up along the Chilean side of the border. These include Volcan Ollague, Cerro Del Azufre, Sairecabur, and others. On the Bolivian side are Uturuncu and Licancabur. At times, the summits of many of the volcanoes are covered in snow. A beautiful sight indeed! Climbing the mountains is a popular activity but be prepared for oxygen shortages and cold weather.

A very long time ago, Uyuni used to be the hub for trains moving minerals to the Pacific Ocean ports of Chile. The rail lines were built by the British from 1888 and completed in 1892. However, the local Aymara indigenous Indians were not impressed with the trains and frequently sabotaged the tracks. When the mining companies collapsed during WWII, the trains were moved outside town and left to die a rusty death! Feature

l

Bolivia

| 15


Vast Salt Flats

Salar de Uyuni (Uyuni Salt Flats) is part of the Altiplano high plateau of Bolivia, located on the South America continent. The plateau was formed during the uplift that also created the Andes mountains. The area is known for its fresh and salt water lakes surrounded by mountains

with no drainage outlet. As a result, some 40,000 years ago, the area was covered by over 150 m of water. It’s been claimed that the lake was formed as a result of the transformations between several prehistoric lakes. Over the years the lake started to dry up. The last recorded lake with a

substantial amount of water was around 12,000 years ago. It has been a vast and dry salt flat for quite some time. However, during the rainy season which is roughly from January to April, the local rainfall as well as overflows

The vast salt flats of Uyuni is a sight never be forgotten. In the wettest month of January, the flats are flooded and become a large lake with beautiful reflections.

16

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


from Lake Titicaca in northern Bolivia at the border with Peru, floods much of Salar Uyuni. So, while in dry season it is nothing but a massive, yet very impressive dry salt flat, during the rainy season, particularly in January, it transforms into a vast waterfilled lake. This temporary lake is only a few centimetres deep but the mirror reflections of the water on the salt makes for some spectacular photos. This is also the time when the roads off the salt get really muddy and difficult to navigate.

From near and afar, the vast salt flats seem totally flat. However, some crazy scientists have crisscrossed the salt with SUV’s sporting GPS antennas mounted to the roofs. They came to the conclusion that the flats did not exactly live up to their name. The highest elevated area is about 50 km away from the lowest area, and have a difference in elevation of 77 cm. Their theory explains that the highs and lows correspond to the local gravity field and the dissolving of the salt by rainwater which follows the curvature of the earth. Go figure!

Another theory is that the surface of the salt rises and falls to reflect the subsurface density variations. Whatever the correct theory is, this is one of the largest flat surfaces on our planet, and as a result it is being used to calibrate distance measurement devices aboard satellites. The salt crust measures in thickness between just a few centimetres to a few metres. Containing 50% to 70% of the world’s highly prized chemical element lithium (a soft, silver-white metal used in lithium batteries), the area has been earmarked for massive mining operations. In addition to lithium, large amounts of sodium, potassium, and magnesium are also present.

Arrange a guide with 4WD vehicle in good condition in Uyuni or Tupiza for a 4 to 6 day trip to the Chile border. While the Bolivian government has long prevented foreign companies from possibly exploiting the area’s rich mining resources, in 2013 Bolivian President Evo Morales opened a $19 million lithiumproduction plant and told reporters that more than 60 percent of the profits from the lithium mining will stay within the country.  It wasn’t long before the local mining companies realised that their lack of sophisticated equipment could not deliver the massive projected profits. So, they courted engineering firms from Germany and Switzerland.  There is much fear among the local indigenous Aymara people who have been harvesting the common table salt for ages, that mining on a large scale will seriously harm the area’s fragile ecosystem. Fortunately no large scale mining has been launched yet, but who knows how it will change with the increasing demand for lithium by the growing demand for electric cars and mobile devices. It is truly a wonderful experience just to gaze over the wide stretches of almost pure white salt. Exit the trip to the east via Tupiza and then south on a stunning route to Argentina. Alternatively exit to the south across the border of Chile to San Pedro de Atacama. Feature

l

Bolivia

| 17


A Cacti Fish Island

18

Within Uyuni Salt Lake are several islands. They are the summits of pre-historic volcanoes from the days when this was still a massive and deep lake. Each island is home to its own fragile ecosystem.

house. However, a more apt name is Cactus Island as the almost 25 hectares’ outcrop is covered in tall, slow-growing, columnar, gigantic cacti, Echinopsis atacamensis.

Among the most prominent islands is Isla Incahuasi (3,687 m), a hilly and rocky outcrop. Isla is the Spanish word for “island”, while Inca refers to the Indian “Inca” tribe, and huasi is derived from the Quechualanguage word “wasi” which means a

Isla Incahuasi is also home to colonies of rabbit-like long-tailed rodents called viscachas. You will also find fragile coral-like structures, fossils and algae.

Globerovers · July 2016

A neighbouring island, Isla del Pescado

(Fish Island) at 3,726 m, is the largest of these islands. It derives its name from its ellipsoid shape when viewed from the east or west. This island is also home to the viscachas, and cacti, some of which can measure more than 10 m in height, referred to as “thousand-year-old giant cacti”. On the sides of the islands, terraces mark the level of ancient lakes, and in some places, fossilised algae can be seen covering the rocks.


Feature

l

Bolivia

| 19


Laguna Colorada at the southern edge of southern Bolivia is vibrantly red with islands of white borax.

Laguna Verde lies at 4,400 m above sea level. As it is laden with arsenic, its waters are most likely totally lifeless.

20

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Volcanos and Rocks Southwestern Bolivia sits on the Altiplano tectonic plate which has some of the world’s highest volcanoes. Most volcanoes are located along the border with Chile which is part of the so-called “ring of fire”. The volcanoes run from Chile in the south to Peru in the north. While most of the volcanoes here are not extremely active, they continuously show that they are more alive than dormant.

Volcan Uturuncu in the south, east of the Chilean border, has recently been described as a new super volcano in the making. The area is also known for its beautiful rock formations. Some are located on the islands inside Salar de Uyuni, while others are in the deserts. To the north of Laguna Colorada, in the

Pampas de Siloli, is the Arbol de Piedra, a large rock sculpted by the wind into the shape of a tree. Over many years of strong winds across the desert, the sand has sculpted the rocks into beautiful formations. The Siloli desert is considered a part of the Atacama Desert and is one of the most arid in the world, due to low precipitation that occurs in the area. The conical shaped extinct volcanoes, red desert, and sculpted rocks all make beautiful scenery.

Arbol de Piedra, a large rock sculpted by the wind into the shape of a tree.

Feature

l

Bolivia

| 21


Thermal Activity

Nothing as good as soaking in hot springs with nothing but flamingos and dormant volcanoes around you! Oh, and the odd llama and alpaca grazing nearby along the shores of the turquoise lake. Feel free to do it the natural way. There is probably nobody nearby, except a friend, if you brought your own.

The hot springs here are unmarked without any signage indicating where to swim. Walk along the lake, watch out for spurts of hot water, until you find a nice clean and warm pool. Slip off the jeans and pop right in. Early in the mornings, almost year round, its cold to very cold. But, once you are in the hot water, just lay back and enjoy the feeling and the stunning scenery around you. The flamingos, the llamas, alpacas, and snow-capped conical shaped dormant volcanoes. Life is good! Nearby, in the northwest corner of Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, to the south of Laguna Colorada, is one of the highlights. Sol de Mañana is an area of geothermal activity with boiling mud pots and fumaroles.

The pungent smell of sulphur combined with the 4,849 m altitude, can make some people feel dizzy and sick. However, if you can stand the stench, and the thought that should you slip into a boiling mud pot you will instantly become part of the soup, then you should enjoy the experience. This is raw nature at its best. There is no visitor’s centre, no safety railings, or even directions. Should you arrive alone, then you will be alone. Do not fall into a mud pot because nobody will come to your rescue. The next tourist to arrive 22

Globerovers · July 2016

will discover your soft-cooked body in the soup.

water, ejected turbulently and accompanied by steam.

The fumaroles emit highly pressurised steam with a strong hissing sound. Some of them are strong enough to shoot up to about 50 m high.

The thermal active area extends over about 10 square km so spend an hour or two to walking around and appreciating our active planet.

In addition to the fumaroles and the boiling mud pots, there are also mud lakes and steam pools. There are no geysers which intermittently discharge boiling

It is not clear if the government will go ahead with a planned geothermal electricity-generating project for this area, which will destroy its natural beauty.


Sol de MaĂąana is an area of geothermal activity with boiling mud pots and fumaroles.

Feature

l

Bolivia

| 23


Andean flamingos along the shores of Laguna Colorada 24

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Llamas and Flamingos Another highlight of South America’s Altiplano Plateau is the flamingos. James’s (or Puna) flamingo, Chilean flamingo, and the Andean flamingo. Keep an eye out for the Andean flamingo with its pale pink body with brighter upper parts. Living exclusively around South America’s Andes mountains, it is one of the rarest flamingos in the world.

Its bill is black and pale yellow with yellow legs. The Andean and James’s flamingos are the only flamingo species that have threetoed feet without a hallux, or hind toe. For a long time the James’s flamingo was presumed extinct. However, in 1909 a nesting colony was discovered at Laguna

Colorada. The flamingos of the Altiplano sure know how to elude predators. Non-flying predators would have to defy the seemingly bottomless saline mud to get to an egg or a tasty chick while flying predators would face very thin air and the intense and relentless winds. True survivors! Early November is breeding time for the flamingos and they come in large numbers to feed on the pinkish coloured algae. They have likely never been hunted so most don’t seem to care much about human presence. It’s truly an incredible sight to see hundreds of flamingos grazing in the shallow lakes. The only thing more beautiful, is when they en masse take to flight right in front of your very eyes. Most of the lakes at some point have a flock of flamingos present. However, some lakes seem to be more popular, such as Laguna Hedionda, Laguna Cañapa, Laguna Colorada and Laguna Verde, near Volcan Licancabur.

Feature

l

Bolivia

| 25


26

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Feature

l

Bolivia

| 27


With durable, rock-hard salt in abundance, no wonder you can stay in a hotel built with salt carved from the crust. The first salt hotel, Hotel de Sal Playa Blanca, was built in 1993 almost in the middle of Salar de Uyuni. Consisting of 15 bedrooms, a dining room, living room, bar, common bathroom and no showers, it became popular. Due to sanitation difficulties and a threat to the fragile environment it was forced to dismantle. Then in 2007 a new hotel, Palacio de Sal, was built at the eastern edge of the salt flat, just 25 km from Uyuni town. Constructed with about a million blocks of salt, cut into 35 cm pieces, almost the entire building, including the furniture and sculptures were completed within a short time. The sanitary system now complies with strict government regulations. Salar de Uyuni these days boasts more than one salt hotel. Check out Hotel de Sal Luna Salada to the northwest of Uyuni town, as well as Hotel de Sal Cristal Samaña a few kilometres south.

If you stay here, follow the house-rules of

“No Licking of the walls”,

to prevent their degradation.

28

Globerovers · July 2016


The Salt Hotel

Feature

l

Bolivia

| 29


The Train Cemetery

It is not every day that you see a train cemetery in the middle of nowhere! About 3 km outside the town of Uyuni is the rather bizarre scenery of rusted old trains, still on their rusty tracks. The “antique train cemetery“ (“Cementerio de trenes” in Spanish) has an interesting history. A very long time ago, Uyuni used to be

30

Globerovers · July 2016

the hub for trains moving minerals to the Pacific Ocean ports of Chile. The rail lines were built by the British from 1888 and completed in 1892. However, the local Aymara indigenous Indians were not impressed with the trains and frequently sabotaged the tracks. When the mining companies collapsed during WWII, the trains were moved out-

side town and left to die a rusty death! The train cars and locomotives date back to the early 20th century and are being slowly eroded by strong salty winds blowing relentlessly. There are no restrictions or entrance fees, so climb around and do your yoga tricks, but be careful and don’t get cut by rusty or fallen metals.


ESSENTIAL

Getting There

There are three main entry points to Salar de Uyuni. The town of Uyuni is the most popular starting point, but also consider Tupizq in the east or San Pedro de Atacama in the south on the Chile side. From Argentina an infrequent train runs to Uyuni. However, the route is very scenic so consider a 4x4 with driver.

When to Go

Dry season (May to December) is a great time to visit. May to September can be very cold, particularly at night. Wet season (January to March) is great for reflections on the water but travel areas may be very restricted.

Dining Out

Once you have left the town of entry the only dining out will be at the basic guest houses. Normally breakfast and dinner are included in the package tour. Food is basic but at the end of the days you will eat anything.

INFORMATION

Getting Around

Once you have your vehicle and driver booked, just stay with them and you are all set. No need for any additional transportation other than hiking boots. If you start in the town of Uyuni, you can end in the far south and then take a bus to San Pedro de Atacama. From here go to Salta in Argentina, or travel through Chile.

Where to Stay

Best is to leave accommodation decisions and bookings up to your driver but do make sure you discuss the sleeping options. Accommodation is mostly basic in large rooms with several beds.

Train Journeys

The only trains in this area no longer accept passengers. If you are a train lover, go and pay your respects at the train cemetery outside Uyuni town. Currently a passenger train runs north and south from Uyuni.

Location

Salar de Uyuni is located in southwestern Boliva. Depending on the entry point where you rent the vehicle and driver, you may be coming from Argentina or Chile in the south, or from Peru in the north via places such as La Paz, Sucre, or Potosi. Bolivia is one of the most incredible countries in the world! Undeniably!

Packing

Year round the nights can get quite cool. From around May to September, daytime temperatures can be cold and at night, very cold. Come with a good sleeping bag and thermal underwear.

Cost of Travel

Its best to shop around at the town of entry (Uyuni, Tupizq, or San Pedro de Atacama). Bargain hard but do check the details such as accommodation, meals, vehicle, route, entry / exit points, and group size. Feature

l

Bolivia

| 31


9

best

1

traveller experiences

in southern

Bolivia

SALAR DE UYUNI

Unquestionably the highlight of the region is the vast salt flats near the town of Uyuni. You will really stand in awe when, as far as the eye can see, it is salt. Edible salt as in common table salt. You can drive for miles on end, with no road but faint tracks from the previous vehicle crossing. This area measures more than 10,500 square km which makes it the world’s largest salt flats. Located at an altitude of 3,656 m above sea level, you may even get dizzy if you run around the flat surface. Be here during the wet season and the entire area becomes a vast lake. A shallow salty lake with beautiful reflections which makes for some great photos!

2

TURQUOISE LAGOONS

We all get mesmerised with the word “turquoise”. In particular when we are thinking of turquoise lakes. In this part of the world there are so many turquoise lakes that after a few days you may be thinking its just another turquoise lake around the next volcano. But, its not. Seems like every turquoise lake has something special to it. Whether its a different backdrop of conical shaped volcanoes, or a different flock of flamingos, or the collection of llama, alpacas, and vicuñas grazing along the edges of the lake - every turquoise lake is different, and seemingly more brilliant and unique than the previous ones you explored. Some lakes have a vibrant reddish glow to them encircled by islands and fringes covered in white borax. Brilliant! 32

Globerovers · July 2016

3

LLAMAS & FLAMINGOS

If you are coming for the flamingos, llamas, alpacas, and the shy vicuñas, you won’t be disappointed. The most impressive wildlife in this part of the world are the flamingos. James’s flamingo, Chilean flamingo, and the Andean flamingo. Early November is breeding time for the flamingos and they come in large numbers to feed on the pinkish coloured algae. Bring along your long telephoto lens for close-ups, though if you are stealthy, you could get quite close to these birds as they are not too fearful of humans. Should they take to flight en masse, and they will, be ready with your high-speed shutter to capture the most memorable in-flight motions.


4

ÁRBOL DE PIEDRA ROCK FORMATION

South America’s Altiplano plateau is surpassed in area and altitude only by that of Tibet. It is a harsh and inhospitable environment with intense, and relentless winds. Over millennia, strong sand-laden winds have eroded the leftover landscape from pre-historic volcanic eruptions. What we see today are beautifully sculpted rock formations which seem to be carefully carved by skillful artists. View them from all angles, close-up, and be amazed what blowing sand can create.

7

ISLA DE PESCADO (Fish Island)

As you gaze over the vast salt lake, you will see some rocky islands. Quite a few of them. These are the summits of prehistoric volcanoes which once rose from a deep and massive lake, which now is a dry salt flat. The most prominent islands are Isla Incahuasi (3,687 m) and neighbouring Isla del Pescado (Fish Island) at 3,726 m. The islands are covered in slow-growing columnar gigantic cacti, some of which are over 10 m tall. Watch out for colonies of rabbit-like long-tailed rodents called viscachas.

5

SOL DE MANANA THERMAL AREA

You have been to Yellowstone National Park in the U.S. state of Wyoming. You have been to Rotorua in New Zealand. Iceland. Sicily. Hawaii. Costa Rica. You have done all the great thermal active areas. If you haven’t done Sol de Mañana in Bolivia’s Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve, then you should! You most likely will find yourself with no other tourists, no safety railings, no cafes or visitor centre. This place is raw, natural, dangerous, and an adrenaline rush. You’ll get dizzy!

8

SALT HOTELS

6

VOLCANIC MOUNTAINS

Southwestern Bolivia sits on the Altiplano tectonic plate which has some of the world’s highest volcanoes. Most volcanoes are located along the border with Chile which is part of the so-called “ring of fire”. The volcanoes run down from Chile in the south to Peru to the north. While most of the volcanoes here are not extremely active, they continuously show that they are more alive than dormant. Depending on the time of the year, many of the peaks are covered in snow.

9

TRAIN CEMETERY

Check your travel-achievement list. Have you ever slept in a salt hotel? A hotel almost entirely built from blocks of salt. The walls, the furniture, the sculptures, all made of salt. Locally.

And, how many train cemeteries have you ever visited? This could be your first and you will find it a moving experience. A sad occasion indeed, but only if you are a true train lover.

“Don’t lick the walls” reads a sign in your bedroom. “It degrades our hotel”.

In the middle of nowhere, with the vast Salar de Uyni as the backdrop, several rusty steam locomotives with their cars, dating from the early 20th century, are lined up on an equally rusty steel track. “How did they get here?” you may ask out loud. As nobody is around to answer, better stop wondering and just take another look.

The first hotel was built in 1993 smack in the middle of the salt flats but with no proper sanitary disposal, it was forced to dismantle a few years later. Now, built on the edge, new hotels are ready to take lots of your money!

Feature

l

Bolivia

| 33


34

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


What is Shark Finning? Finning is the process of cutting off the fins of a shark and discarding the body at sea. This wasteful and often cruel practice contradicts all principles of sustainable shark fisheries management and conservation.

Why are Sharks Vulnerable to Exploitation? The life history of sharks is typical of top predators, and completely different to most commercial fish, which mature early and produce vast numbers of tiny eggs. In comparison, most sharks grow slowly, mature late and give birth to a few large pups after a long gestation period. Consequently, shark populations decline rapidly when targeted by fisheries and recover slowly, if at all. Shark populations may continue to decline, potentially to unviable levels with species becoming regionally extinct. There are now 126 species of chondrichthyan fish listed in a Threat category on the IUCN’s Red List, with a further 107 species listed as Near Threatened.

Why Oppose Shark Finning? •

Although some sharks are killed before finning (a live shark represents a danger on board), many are still alive when their fins are cut off, and are thrown back into the sea alive to die.

Finning is hugely wasteful - wet fins typically represent less than 5% of a shark’s body weight and discarded carcasses could provide a valuable protein source, particularly in developing countries.

The environmental impact of removing large numbers of sharks from ocean ecosystems is hugely complex and unpredictable. Most sharks are top predators and scientists believe sharks play a key role in marine ecosystems by keeping their prey populations in check. Removing this control is likely to have a damaging effect on marine ecosystems.

Today many shark populations are experiencing a downward spiral of reduced populations due to increasing fishing pressure and increasing prices. Over the last 15 years some Atlantic shark populations have declined by up to 90%. However due to the covert nature of the fin trade fins originating from illegal, unreported or unregulated (IUU) fisheries means that we have likely underestimated the effect on global shark populations.

Finning Facts •

Hong Kong is the world’s shark fin trading centre, accounting for 50-80% of fins traded worldwide. Currently the EU supplies 27% of all fins imported into Hong Kong.

Sharks’ life history makes them vulnerable to exploitation – for example, Basking Sharks take 15-20 years to mature, have a 2-3 year gestation period and produce only 4–6 pups.

Wet fins typically represent < 5% of a shark’s body weight.

Some Atlantic shark populations have declined by up to 90% in the last 15 years.

Sets of fins can sell for more than US$700/kg, with Hammerhead Shark fins among the most valuable by weight.

A single Whale Shark pectoral fin can sell for up to US$15,000.

Global trade in shark fins is increasing, and the market for shark fin soup is estimated to be growing by 5% per year.

The EU’s fin to carcass ratio is among the weakest in the world.

A third of European sharks, and a total of 126 species of chondrichthyan fish are listed under a Threat category on the IUCN Red List, with a further 107 species Near Threatened.

Find out more at www.sharktrust.org/finning SOURCE: http://www.stopsharkfinning.net/docs/StopSharkFinningCampaignFactsheet.pdf 35


Photo Essay CUBA

Cuba’s capital, Havana, is a city with 2.1 million inhabitants. Founded by the Spanish in the 16th century, the modern-day city is three cities in one: La Habana Vieja, El Vedado, and the newer suburban districts. The old part of the city, La Habana Vieja, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982 and is most famous for its narrow alleys, architecture, and monuments. Most international tourists come here to see the old buildings and many American vintage cars pre-dating the 1960 trade embargo. Since US President Barack Obama announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba on December 17, 2014, Cubans have been preparing for a massive influx of American tourists. Fortunately, Globerovers Magazine made it to Cuba before the influx of the masses, and even before Obama’s entourage arrived. We can only expect that Havana is slated for a huge transformation. 36

Globerovers · July 2016


Fidel Castro & Che Guevaraâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

Havana Cuba l

Frozen in time, it never will be the same again!

Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 37


Views of La Habana Vieja from Catedral de San Cristóba. In the foreground is Plaza de la Catedral. This area was originally a swamp but was then drained and used as a naval dockyard. The construction of Catedral de San Cristóba (on the right side) was started in 1748 by the Jesuits. They did not see the completion of the building in 1777 because King Carlos III of Spain expelled them from Cuba in 1767. According to legend, the remains of Christopher Columbus were kept here before being retuned to Spain in 1898. The full name of the Cathedral is “The Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception”. It was built in a Baroque style from blocks of coral cut from the ocean floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Look closely and see marine fossils in the facade. 38

Globerovers · July 2016


Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 39


Buildings in Old Havana (La Habana Vieja) Catedral de San CristĂłbal

40

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Hotel Inglaterra

Iglesia de San Francisco de Paula

Catedral de San Cristรณbal

Catedral de San Cristรณbal

Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 41


The old part of the city, La Habana Vieja, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. It has the second highest population density in the city and is known for its old crumbling buildings and narrow alleys. Founded by the Spanish in 1519, it became a main shipbuilding centre during the 17th century but in recent years many buildings have fallen into ruin and closed down. In addition to the old residential buildings, there are many churches, fortresses, theatres and parks to explore. 42

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 43


44

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Havana is known for its street art and graffiti with much of it government-sanctioned, particularly the political murals of national heroes such as Che Guevara and of course, the communist brothers Fidel and RaĂşl Castro. Street artists are also making the city a pleasant place to walk around in. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not hard to find them in the old city where they sit for hours hoping for a few handouts by passing tourists. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hesitate to contribute some money as these people are hardworking in a depressing economy where it is hard to make ends meet.

Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 45


46

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 47


Due to trade embargoes, Cuba had to rely on Soviet Union supplied Volgas, Moskvichs, and Ladas. Since that source started to dwindle, China stepped in to provide sedans from Chinese auto maker Geely. They supplied the police and official cars as well as most of the rental cars which are the Geely CK, EC7 and EC8 models. Turn back time to prior to the 1960 embargo when the majority of new vehicles came from the USA. Currently, about 60,000 American vehicles are in use, and over the years they had to rely on spare parts from any vehicle a workshop could lay their hands on - often scavenged from Soviet cars. Some of the vintage cars on the road have little of the original vehicle left other than the body! Many of them sport brand new Chinese built powerful engines. Many of the taxis are vintage cars which you can hire at a fairly low fare. Want to travel in style? Spend a lot more to hire a nicely painted and well maintained vintage car .

48

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 49


Havana has many famous old buildings such as the theatres, cathedrals, churches, fortresses, museums, government buildings, hotels and many more. However, some of the most charming buildings are the old crumbling residential buildings. Hard to think people still live in these old buildings. 50

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 51


52

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Cuba is known for its beautiful beaches, such as Varadero Beach, the sandy islands of Cayos Coco & Guillermo, Playa AncĂłn, Guardalavaca, Cayo Largo del Sur, Cayo Levisa, and the list can go on and on. If you are stuck in Havana, rent a vintage car taxi (or take the public bus) for the day to Playas de Este. This series of beaches which stretch for about 24 km along the north coast, start at just 20 km east of Havana. Beaches include Santa MarĂ­a del Mar, Boca Ciega, La Veneciana, and Brisas del Mar. During low season the beaches are almost deserted, especially early morning until noon. Facilities are scarce, so bring your own food and drinks. Pee in the bush! Photo Essay

l

Cuba

| 53


54

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Hermanus, South Africa

Hermanus Boutique Guest House Located at the heart of South Africa’s Whale Coast in Hermanus For information, visit www.hermanusguesthouse.co.za Make your reservations at any fine booking site, including: booking.com Call or email us at: agoda.com Locall: 028 313 1433 hotels.com International: +27 28 313 1433 reservations@hermanusguesthouse.co.za tripadvisor.com “Truly a dream destination, dream hostess and dream breakfast.”

55


Article

LATIN AMERICA

Machu Picchu 56

Globerovers · July 2016


Pyramids of

Ancient Latin America

Lost civilizations of the Aztec, Maya, and Inca peoples

K

nown as “pyramids”, and sometimes as “temples”, or “temples atop pyramids”, or just “structures”, Latin America is strewn with many impressive ruins with some city foundations dating as far back as the 4th century B.C. Most were built by the Aztecs (such as Mexico’s Teotihuacan), the Incas (such as Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu in Peru), the Maya people (such as Palenque, Tikal, and Copán), or built by the mother of them all, the Olmecs.

ine back to when the city in front of you was at its height of productivity, at its apogee, when tens or hundreds of thousands of Aztec, Inca or Maya people were occupied with their daily chores. What an ant nest it would have been.

Many of these ancient civilisations had powerful rulers such as emperors or kings who exerted their powers far beyond their cities. Frequently the cities were invaded and plundered by a warring group. Eventually most of these civilisations abandoned their cities for various reasons: Drought, Some visitors will literally walk around with a food shortages, destructive wars, diseases, or flashlight and magnifying glass to decipher the having to run from ancient reliefs and inscriptions such Whether you have historian tendencies, or the conquering as the name glyphs you are just the average traveller, tourist, or Spanish. on tablets inside intrepid explorer, you will each experience Okay, enough the Temple of the these ancient ruins in a different way. thinking. Open Foliated Cross, at your eyes and take Mexico’s Palenque. another look at the ruins. Get up, go closer, go inside. Look at the reliefs and inscripThose of us who didn’t care to bring along tions. Look at the intricate architecture. our magnifying glass and reference diagrams, will wander around the ruins and The more ruins you see, the more you will appreciate them, each in a different way. appreciate them. The surroundings are Whatever your reason for visiting, or the often very unique. They are all so distincway in which you appreciate these ruins, tive. Seems like no two are alike. So do them one thing you should not forget to do is to all. However, if time is limited, at the top of get to a peaceful spot with a good view over the must-do list are: Machu Picchu (Peru) one of the most prominent sections of the via the Inca trail, Palenque (Mexico), Tikal ruins. This should preferably be with no (Guatemala) and Teotihuacan (Mexico). strangers around you. Be still. Try to imagArticle

l

Latin America

| 57


T

ucked away deep in the mountains of Peru, the royal estate and sacred religious site of the ancient Inca civilisation sits like a blooming flower. Generally regarded, and respected, as the most impressive ruins across Latin America, Machu Picchu does not only have the mystic aura, but also the location not beholden to any other ancient city. Sure it’s debatable, but let’s start our hike. I said hike, and not “let’s take the train or the bus”. If you are capable of doing some serious hiking, let’s take out those hiking shoes, the warm sleeping bag, and don’t forget the walking stick either. Let’s head out to the famous Inca trail that leads to the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu! Months ago we would have secured our online booking in a small group. These days the Inca trail trekking is well organised in an effort to reduce the environmental impact of tourism on the fragile environment, the infrastructure, and the local indigenous people’s lives. No longer are hikers allowed to hike alone, nor are tour operators allowed to launch an unlimited number of hikers into the mountains. Each year, during February, the trail is closed to allow conservation work to take place. June, July and August is high season (may include May and September), but fear not. As the number of groups are limited, the trail should not get too busy, though off-season will see less hikers on the trail. But, there’s a reason why it’s called “off-season”. Think rain… While the high season is fairly dry and cold, the off-season (October to March) can be wet. You don’t really want to hike these mountains in the rain. So plan carefully. After a few days of acclimatising in the colourful town of Cuzco, we set off by mini-bus to the start of the Inca trail in Piscacucho, a small community located 82 km along the railway from Cusco to Quillabamba. Three to four days in Cusco should be more than enough to get us ready for the high altitudes. Don’t fear the thin air at Machu Picchu (2,430 m), as it is located at a lower altitude than Cuzco (3,400 m). The fear should be the aptly named “Dead Women’s Pass” (Warmi Wañusqa at 4,215 m). Say no more! If you don’t have a great stamina for high altitude hiking, your luck may run out along this dreadful pass. But, don’t think too much.

58

Globerovers · July 2016

Keep walking as we must make it to the glorious city of Machu Picchu. After navigating this pass, the trail drops steeply into the Pakaymayu drainage where you may come across many peacefully grazing vicuña.

route are friendly as the hikers bring in much needed cash. They may even ask you to enjoy a glass of Chi-cha, their fermented corn beer.

On the final morning, at sunrise, we stand high on the east slope of the mountain The entire hike from the start to the arrival at named Machu Picchu. A truly breath-taking Machu Picchu is quite eventful, as we cross experience as we look down on the ruins of jungles, tunnels, many ancient ruins, high Machu Picchu. Once we have our breaths passes, and the most incredible mountain back, we start hiking down the steep steps to explore the ancient ruins! scenery. Local Quechua people along the

The Inca trail to Machu Picchu can be a tough trek for some hikers, and every year it takes a few casualties.


Machu Picchu Peru The 15th-century Inca citadel is located on a mountain ridge, 2,430 m above sea level in the mountains of south-central Peru. Constructed as the royal estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), it was abandoned by its inhabitants about a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest which started in 1532 and ended in 1572. The Spanish invaders never knew about it and so it remained unknown to the outside world until the famous discovery by the American academic, explorer and politician, Hiram Bingham III, in 1911. With the guidance of a few local indigenous villagers, Hiram found the ruins and made the announcement to the world. Since then, much restoration and reconstruction has been done. Being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and voted one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”, it now attracts about 1.2 million visitors a year, most of whom arrive by bus and train.

Article

l

Latin America

| 59


Views from the east slope of the mountain named Machu Picchu. After a 3 to 4 day hike along the ancient Inca trail, hikers get this view of the ruins at sunrise on the last day of hiking. From this vantage point, a long stretch of steps lead down to the ruins.

60

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Article

l

Latin America

| 61


T

he ancient Mesoamerican city referred to as Teotihuacan was built by the Teotihuacanos. Often claimed to be the “City of the Aztecs”, historians have not unanimously concluded who really built the city. Some of the possibilities include the Nahua, Otomi, Totonac, or even the Maya ethnic groups, or a mix of these groups.

While the area went through severe and lengthy droughts related to the climate changes of 535–536 A.D. it seems evident that what brought the city to a fall was not an outside invasion, but rather an internal revolt.

More excavations followed in the 19th century which has continued ever since. New discoveries are made frequently. As recently as in November 2014, “large quantities” of mercury were discovered 20 m below the 1,800-year-old pyramid known as the Whatever the cause of its collapse, evidence “Temple of the Feathered Serpent”, which suggests it was sudden, which was not uncom- is the third largest pyramid of Teotihuacan. mon for Mesoamerican city-states. After the Other items in the discovery include jade fall of the statues, jaguar remains, At the peak of the city’s existence, it spread carved shells and a few rubThe Teotihuacanos established their capital city, it was near the modern day Mexico City, and called inhabited over an area of about 30 square kilometres ber balls. it by a name unknown to historians. It was by some and was the centre of a powerful culture whose only long after the fall of the city that the squatters of Visitors are allowed to influence reached out far and wide. Nahuatl-speaking Aztecs started to use the unknown climb to the top of the name “Teōtīhuacān” to refer to the city. The pyramids along the steps. It is quite a strenuethnicity until about the 7th or 8th century. name reflects the Nahua creations of myths ous climb to the top of the immense “Pyrawhich they claim occurred in this area, so The Aztecs dominated central Mexico durmid of the Sun” which is one of the largest Teotihuacan therefore refers to “birthplace of ing the 14th to 15th centuries and they saw pyramids in the world after pyramids such as the gods”, or “place where gods were born”. the ruins as a place of pilgrimage. They also the Great Pyramid of Cholula (near Puebla, claimed a common ancestry with the TeotiMexico) and the Great Pyramid of Khufu at The city was so powerful, it seems there were huacanos and adopted aspects of their culture. Giza, Egypt. With a height of over 71 m, it is no fortifications and military structures to quite a climb to the top of the “Pyramid of Some of the earliest excavations at the site protect it from invading forces. the Sun” from where the views are great. were started during the late 17th century.

“Museo de Sitio de la Cultura Teotihuacana” is a museum located to the south of Piramide del Sol, on the grounds of Teotihuacan. It exhibits about 600 objects or pieces of various raw materials, such as instruments of everyday life, ceramics, shell, bone, textile, wood, and rocks of various kinds collected from the area.

62

Globerovers · July 2016


Teotihuacan Mexico Located about 40 km northeast of Mexico City, the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan was established around 100 B.C. With ongoing construction until about 250 A.D., the city was inhabited until the 7th or 8th century. At its apogee, in the early part of the 1st century, the city had about a quarter of a million inhabitants. At the time, this would have been one of the largest cities in the world by population size. With its close proximity to Mexico City, and architecturally boasting the most significant Mesoamerican pyramids built in the pre-Columbian Americas, Teotihuacan is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico. Get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds.

Piramide Del Sol, or ‘Pyramid of the Sun’ is one of the largest pyramids in the world after pyramids such as the Great Pyramid of Cholula (near Puebla, south of Mexico City) and the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza in Egypt. With a height of over 71 m, its quite a climb to the top of the ‘Pyramid of the Sun’ from where the views are great. Article

l

Latin America

| 63


Piramide Del Sol (Pyramid of the Sun) is the largest pyramid at Teotihuacan.

64

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Article

l

Latin America

| 65


Palenque Mexico The Maya city of Palenque in southern Mexico’s Chiapas State flourished around the 7th century. It started to decline around 800 A.D. and by the time the Spanish conquerors arrived the place was all but deserted. While by no means large compared to nearby Tikal in Guatemala or Teotihuacan north of Mexico City, Palenque is one of the most interesting ancient sites of Latin America. You somehow feel like a true explorer when visiting as these ruins are partly overgrown by the jungle, and being one of the best conserved ruins, it has beautiful Maya reliefs and inscriptions to decipher. The largest temple, Temple of the Inscriptions, sits atop a stepped pyramid. The third patron of the gods of Palenque was honoured in the Temple of the Sun and was related to the sun god with his temple associated with war.

66

Globerovers · July 2016


T

he ancient city named by the Maya people as Lakamha, which means “big water”, was referred to by the Spanish invaders as Palenque. Located in the southern Mexico state of Chiapas immediately west of Belize and north of Guatemala, the area is rich in discoveries of ancient civilisations. These include Tikal, Yaxha and Zaculeu in Guatemala, Chichén Itzá on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, and several Maya ruins in Belize such as Xunantunich, Caracol and Lamanai. While Palenque was at its apogee between A.D. 500 and 700 A.D., it was constructed roughly from 225 B.C. to well into the 8th century. After 800 A.D. no new buildings were constructed and the city with a fairly large population started its decline. By the time the Spanish conquerors arrived in the 1520’s the area was sparsely populated. These are arguably the most impressive ancient city ruins in Mexico. While not nearly as grandeur as the pyramids at Teotihuacan,

the pyramids, temples and other buildings of Palenque are evidence of the high level of elegance and craftsmanship by the Maya people. The sculpted reliefs with their mythological themes of the Maya certainly attest to the creative genius of this civilisation. Also, the architectural and sculptural remains have been exceptionally well conserved.

the funerary monument of Hanab-Pakal, the King of Palenque. The temple is home to a beautifully carved sarcophagus with the king’s remains. It also houses the second longest glyphic text known from the Maya world.

The most prominent temple, Templo de las Inscripciones (Temple of the Inscriptions), is

A few other smaller temples can also be seen on the grounds.

Some other notable buildings to explore at Palenque are the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the FoliAnother Cross, which are Some 1,400 buildings have been recorded on the ated feature all set on top of step which makes site of which only about 10% have been thorough- pyramids. Check ly explored. This leaves more than a thousand out the Maya reliefs Palenque one of the more inside the Temple of structures still covered by the dense jungle. special sites the Foliated Cross. in Mexico is it location near the Usumacinta These are exceptionally detailed and well River in the dense jungles of Chiapas State. preserved. Reminiscent of the nearby ruins of Tikal in Guatemala, the area gets about 2,160 mm of The King’s Palace (El Palacio), located in the rain per year and is overgrown, with moncentre, is a large structure divided into four keys and other wildlife in abundance. There main courtyards and has a maze of corridors are some wooden bridges across streams and and rooms, some of which are lit up. The 5th sublime waterfalls. century tower was restored in 1955.

The ruins of Palenque is partly overgrown by the jungle and the mist-shrouded temples with paths that take twisting routes lend a sense of mystique to it. The Temple of the Jaguar is also known as the Temple of the Beautiful Relief. Its name is derived from the elaborate bas-relief carvings of a king seated on a throne in the form of a jaguar.

Article

l

Latin America

| 67


Templo de las Inscripciones (Temple of the Inscriptions), is the funerary monument of Hanab-Pakal, the King of Palenque.

68

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


The Palenque Triad (three gods) name glyphs as seen on a tablet from the Temple of the Foliated Cross.

Article

l

Latin America

| 69


Tikal Guatemala The ancient Maya ruins of Tikal are, debatably, the most exotic ruins in all of Latin America. With their rich history, as it will be told at sunrise by your local guide atop one of the temples, coupled with their location in the overgrown jungle, it is a place where you can spend hours on end exploring. When you are done with the many temples and other structures, enjoy the natural surroundings. The fauna and ďŹ&#x201A;ora will keep you busy for many more hours. Stay at the island village of Flores, some 65 km away. Arrive at Tikal before sunrise and then just follow your guide as he takes you to the top of one of the temples from where you will wait for sunrise as the temple gets surrounded by curious howler- and spider monkeys. To the left is Temple I (Temple of the Great Jaguar also known as Temple of Ah Cacao) which is 47 m high. To the right is Temple II (Temple of the Masks) at 38 m.

70

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


D

ating back to the 4th century B.C., the ancient Maya ruins of Tikal reached their apogee between 200 to 900 A.D. Around the 4th century A.D. the Teotihuacanos from the north conquered the city, but life continued. Towards the end of the Classic Period (250 to 900 A.D.) no new infrastructure was built here and evidence suggests that some palaces were destroyed by fire. The population declined and by the end of the 10th century the city was mostly abandoned. Tikal is one of the largest Classic Maya cities. Among the temples and structures are Temples 1 to 6, the Great Plaza, Central Acropolis, North Acropolis, Plaza of the Seven Temples, and many others. While the city ruins cover an area of 16 square km containing about 3,000 structures, the surround-

ing area of 570 square km has been declared as Tikal National Park.

vibrant community inside Lago Peten Itza. Flores has a couple of cosy guest houses with views over the lake. Tourists who opt to stay The area is rich in fauna and flora which is here will board their minibus for a day tour what truly makes Tikal so special. Annual to Tikal at around 3 am. By 6 am you will rainfall is almost 2,000 mm so the vegetation be sitting on top of one of the many temples is very lush. Look out for the white-nosed waiting for sunrise while your local guide coatis, grey foxes, Geoffroy’s spider monkeys, will tell you stories about life in Tikal many howler monkeys, harpy eagles, falcons, tou- centuries ago. Around you the morning mist cans, parrots, and other wildlife. The park is will rise and later disappear in the heat of the also home to elusive jaguars and cougars. sun. Howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and the colourful toucans will try to distract your Tikal is located 65 km northeast of the pretty attention as you sit listening to the guide’s settlement of Flores, a small island with a scary and funny stories.

It is perfectly fine to climb these structures as long as you use the stairs.

At sunrise on top of the The Great Pyramid.

The Great Pyramid (Structure 5C-54) stands 31 m tall and consists of 10 levels.

Temple of the Great Jaguar.

Small pyramid with graves. Article

l

Latin America

| 71


72

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Temple of the Great Jaguar (Temple I) is also known as the (funerary) Temple of Ah Cacao and is 47 m high. This limestone stepped pyramid structure was built in approximately 732 A.D. The Tikal king Jasaw Chan Kâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;awiil, also known as Ah Cacao was buried deep inside the structure.

Article

l

Latin America

| 73


Copan Honduras Located in western Honduras, not far from the border with Guatemala, are the ruins of Copán, an archaeological site of the Maya civilisation that thrived here between the 5th and the 9th centuries A.D. At its peak, the city had a population of about 20,000 inhabitants and covered an area of about 250 square km. The city suffered some political disasters with the king being captured and executed in 738 A.D. Over the years, the Copán River managed to erode a significant part of the eastern side of the acropolis. The river has been diverted to protect the site from further erosion. Look out for the colourful scarlet macaws at the ruins. Stay in the nearby village of Copán Ruinas. Stela 1 (Camp de Pelotta III) at the Copán Archeological Ruins.

74

Globerovers · July 2016


Ollantaytambo Peru The Inca archaeological site of Ollantaytambo is located 60 km from Cusco in southern Peru. Ollantaytambo served as the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who was the 9th Sapa Inca who transformed the Kingdom of Cusco into the Inca Empire. Some archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for Emperor Pachacuti. The area is covered by an extensive set of agricultural terraces, which makes the location quite special. Several storehouses along the surrounding hills are still visible. It was believed that the high altitude and exposure to strong winds kept their contents cool and fresh. The adjacent town of Ollantaytambo next to the Urubamba river is also worth a visit.

The ruins of Ollantaytambo in Peruâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sacred Valley Article

l

Latin America

| 75


10 1

t grea

Ruins of Latin American Empires

Not e to b d e miss

Machu Picchu Peru

This 15th-century Inca citadel is located on a mountain ridge, 2,430 m above sea level in the mountains of south-central Peru. Constructed as the royal estate for the Inca Emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), it was abandoned by its inhabitants about a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest, which started in 1532 and ended in 1572. Generally regarded as the highlight of all the ruins of Latin America, its wow-factor is only surpassed by the three to four-day hike along the original Inca trail to the site. Sadly, masses of day visitors arrive at the site by bus- or train loads from towns such as Cusco. Voted as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”, it now attracts about 1.2 million visitors a year.

2

Tikal

Guatemala

The ancient Maya ruins of Tikal are, debatably, the most exotic ruins in all of Latin America. Their rich history coupled with their location in the overgrown jungle, ensure they are a place where you can spend hours on end. When you are done exploring the many temples and other structures, enjoy the surrounding nature. Stay at the island village of Flores, 65 km away, but arrive at Tikal before sunrise. Follow your guide as he takes you to the top of a temple to listen to his storytelling at sunrise. 76

Globerovers · July 2016

3

Palenque Mexico

The Maya city of Palenque in southern Mexico’s Chiapas State flourished around the 7th century. It started to decline around 800 A.D. and by the time the Spanish conquerors arrived the place was all but deserted. While not large compared to nearby Tikal in Guatemala or Teotihuacan north of Mexico City, Palenque rivals Tikal as being one of the most exotic locations in Latin America. It is also one of the best-conserved ruins, and has beautiful Maya reliefs and inscriptions to decipher.

4

Teotihuacan Mexico

Located about 40 km northeast of Mexico City, the ancient Mesoamerican city of Teotihuacan was established around 100 B.C. and inhabited until the 7th or 8th century. At its apogee, it was home to about a quarter of a million inhabitants. Architecturally it is the most significant Mesoamerican pyramid built in the pre-Columbian Americas. With its close proximity to Mexico City, it is the most visited archaeological site in Mexico. To avoid the crowds, arrive here very early in the morning.


5

Chichen Itza Mexico

6

Ollantaytambo Peru

7

Copan

Honduras

Photo: Janet Joosten

Chichen Itza is the second most visited Mexican archaeological site, only to be outdone by Teotihuacan northeast of Mexico City, Chichen Itza is located in the Peninsula of Yucatan in the Yucatan State. The name refers to “the mouth of the well of Itza” and is most famous for its El Castillo (Spanish for “the castle”), also known as the Kukulkan Step Pyramid or the Temple of Kukulkan. Built by the Maya between the 9th and 12th century, its pyramid is 24 m high while the temple at the top is 6 m high.

8

Inca Trail Peru

While most visitors to Machu Picchu arrive on day tours by train or bus, the best part of a Machu Picchu visit is the three- to four-day hike on the original Inca trail which leads to the ruins. Along the Inca trail are many ruins to explore. While not as grandeur as Machu Picchu, their location, and absence of tourists make them special. Look out for the ruins of Runkurakay (trading post), the Concha Marca (guard post), and the ruins of Sayaqmarka and Phuyupatamarka.

Located 60 km from Cusco in southern Peru, the Inca archaeological site of Ollantaytambo served as royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti, who also included Machu Picchu as an estate. The area is covered by a series of agricultural terraces. Several storehouses against the surrounding hills, where the wind was blowing strongly, were used to keep food fresh. The Ollantaytambo ruins and adjacent village are close to the scenic Sacred Valley of the Incas known for its authentic markets, such as the one in the village of Pisac.

9

Mitla Mexico

Not far from the city of Oaxaca in southern Mexico, lie the ruins of Mitla. They are regarded as one of Mexico’s most enigmatic sacred places. Occupied from as early as 900 B.C., the current visible ruins were more likely built between 200 and 900 A.D. Ownership was rotated between the Mixtecs and the Zapotecs. As the word “Mitla” means “Place of the Dead”, it was a sacred burial ground for both the Mixtec and the Zapotec people. In the “Patio of Tombs”, look for the 2.8 m tall “Pillar of Death” which predicted someone’s death.

One of the lesser-visited ruins, located in western Honduras not far from the border with Guatemala, the Maya city of Copán had a population of about 20,000 inhabitants between the 5th and the 9th century. Stay in the interesting nearby village of Copan Ruinas, from where it is a short distance to the main ruins, as well as the Sepulturas Group of ruins which is a brief walk to the southwest. Copan Ruinas offers a few guest houses with some cosy restaurants with authentic Honduran food.

10

Saqsaywaman Peru

Located in the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco in Peru, Saqsaywaman is an ancient walled citadel built by the Inca people from the 13th century. What makes this site so remarkable is the large dry stonewalls, carefully built with boulders which were precisely cut to fit together tightly without mortar. The inward-leaning walls with their interlocking shaped boulders attest to their unrivalled skills. While there is not much to see, a few colourful Peruvians stand ready for photos. Article

l

Latin America

| 77


78

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


79


Hermanus e h t f o a e r a g r Overbe rica f A h t u o S , e c Cape Provin By Janet-Lynn Vorster, Cape Town, South Africa. calves, boat trips are available to view the All photos by Globerovers Magazine, unless whales from closer. You may see seals, where otherwise indicated. penguins, dolphins and Bryde’s whales or Humpback whales and numerous seabirds, like the African black oystercatcher. ermanus, a mere 105 km and 90 minutes from Some come to Hermanus for the Cape Town Airport, wine, some for the local beer, some for is perched above the the cheese and olive culture that complirocky cliffs in Walkers ments the wine, some for the seafood… Bay. The Kleinrivier Mountains form a scenic backdrop to the town. You are Whatever your taste, there is somealways close to the sea in Hermanus, as thing for you! If you have no idea where it is a long, narrow town, confined by the to start, I suggest you visit Burgundy ocean to the south and the mountains on Restaurant in Marine Drive and take it the north side. from there.

H

Hermanus has a Mediterranean climate, with mild wet winters and hot dry summers. There is always a coastal wind, so take something warm with you, even in summer. Hermanus is a modern town, stocking most of what you will need while you are there. If you love walking, running or cycling, you will love Hermanus, as the mountains behind Hermanus are interlaced with walking- and mountain bike trails, and there is a 12 km cliff path along the shoreline. For the adrenalin junkies, look no further! Hermanus has ziplining, shark cage diving, kayaking, kite surfing, quad biking, horse riding, sandboarding, paragliding, paintball, archery, abseiling and more! For those who prefer a more leisurely game of golf, the Hermanus Golf Club has a spectacular 27-hole course, within the town. In whale watching season, best between July and November, when the Southern Right whales come into the bay from Antarctica to give birth to their 80

Globerovers · July 2016

It has a licenced restaurant (I recommend their home-made “Bitterballen”). This beach is suitable for both children and the elderly. The beach has gentle slopes, so the sea is shallow for a long way out. It has a playground too. If you are wanting to walk, the beach is 18 km long, and you could walk to your heart’s content!

/continues on the next page.

On any Saturday, head straight for The Hermanus Country Market at the Hermanus Cricket Grounds, between 09:00 and 13:00. There you will discover the most interesting array of foods and drinks, guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning palate. Fresh organic products, local wines and beer, cheese, olives, pestos, sweet treats, artisan breads, biltong, preservative-free salami, fresh juices, excellent coffee (by a roaster and barista) and gourmet foods! Treat the kids to a ride on a train made from big 44 gallon drums and pulled by a tractor, or let them enjoy the play area while you eat, drink and chat to the locals. With live music (Des Bosch from Money for Jam was playing and singing the day I was there), the vibe is festive. Shop for organic soaps, jewellery, art, crafts, gifts, plants and various items for the home. You will be spoilt for choice! If you are heading for the beach, these are my impressions: 1. Grotto Beach, a Blue Flag (award of excellence) beach, is the furthest beach before driving out of Hermanus towards Stanford and Gansbaai.

Photos on this page: Janet-Lynn Vorster


Village LIFE

HERMANUS, SOUTH AFRICA

f wn o ills. o t the arby h ver e o s he n ew t i v m y l ro Love anus f m r He

The nearby Hemel & Aarde Valley famous for its many wineries. Grotto beach is the largest beach in the area and stretches for over 18km. Its at the foot of the mountains with lush vegetation off the wide sandy beach. The Kleinrivier Lagoon Mouth is great for swimming.

d next is locate ng h c a e b aai lar amo Kammab d is popu n at a i a a b t is a gre I . s to Lang r e f r and su low tide families s during ic n ic p r with fo teeming location s p o r c t u ky o with roc s. creature a e s le t lit

on the lamingos F r e t a Pan. e Gr ont Salt m r e V y b near

Village Life

l

Hermanus

| 81


2. VoĂŤlklip Beach is not recommended for the elderly, as there are many steps down to the beach. Along the terraces are many wooden benches on which to sit, so pack a picnic basket, as the terraces are lawn and not beach sand! The beach has a gentle slope into the surf, swirls around the rocks, and attracts surfers too. 3. Kammabaai Beach has something for everyone. People fish, surf and swim. The overhanging cliffs are ideal if you need a shady spot during the day. For the elderly, parking is close to the beach and it is a short walk directly onto the beach, a big plus point for carrying arms full of beach umbrellas, towels and bags. 4. Langbaai Beach is a long walk down from the parking area through the Milkwood Trees on uneven steps, so definitely not suitable for the elderly. This beach seemed to me to be quite dangerous for swimming, as the water was surging and unpredictable, and this on a lovely, clear day.

`

5. Onrus Beach has a restaurant over-

82

Globerovers ¡ July 2016

looking the beach. It is a steep walk to and from the parking area, so not the best option for the elderly. A river runs into the sea, ideal for kids to swim in. This beach slopes far too steeply for my liking, and the result is that the sea gets deep quickly at high tide. All the beaches have toilets, except for Langbaai Beach which has no toilets at all. Hermanus has lovely, comfortable accommodation. Book well in advance as Hermanus is a popular destination. Most places in Hermanus are close to the sea, due to the nature of the position of the town. I stayed at Hermanus Boutique Guest House where Annatjie saw to my every need, and had lunch at Burgundy Restaurant where Pieter and his friendly waiters made the meal unforgettable. The mountains behind Hermanus are home to the Fernkloof Nature Reserve, which has around 1,474 species of Fynbos, Proteas and Ericas. Around Hermanus a few species of small antelope can be found, as well as porcupines,

mongooses, baboons, the Cape clawless otter, caraculs and the occasional leopard. For birding enthusiasts, include a few hours at Vermont Salt Pan. This is a wetland, mildly saline, in the green belt conservation area. It is home to around 600 flamingos for up to six months of the year, and many other species of ducks and birds. In summary, Hermanus has something for everyone, and will not disappoint, but may in fact surprise you. Whether you like mountains or sea, farm life or city life, resting or adrenalin sports, marine life, flora and fauna or birding, Hermanus has it all! So, for a whale of a time, include Hermanus in your next holiday trip. More information at: www.hermanus.co.za

facebook.com/HermanusCountryMarket www.hermanusguesthouse.co.za www.burgundyrestaurant.co.za


The meandering road along mountain passes and vineyards near Hermanus. The rough and cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean as seen from the whale watching boat.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;

There is something

very special about this part of the South African coastline. At times the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean can be rough, yet at other times very smooth and peaceful. Rich in plankton and other small critters, the ocean makes this a haven for wildlife, including many whales that at times swim right up to the shorelines.â&#x20AC;? Village Life

l

Hermanus

| 83


E

ric was born on 27 August, 1989, in Willowvale (known as Gatyane in Xhosa) in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This is close to where Nelson Mandela grew up. Eric speaks Xhosa, English, Afrikaans and Zulu. Interviewing him, with his confidence and love of telling stories, was an intriguing and pleasant experience over breakfast. Through personal circumstances, Eric came to Hermanus to complete his schooling at Qhayiya Senior Secondary School. He left school before completing his final year in order to work to earn money to attend his “becoming a man” ceremony, which is apparently quite costly. Traditional circumcision and initiation into manhood, is an ancient initiation rite practiced by the amaXhosa. The ritual is traditionally intended as a teaching institution, to prepare young males for the responsibilities of manhood. A male who has not undergone initiation is referred to as a boy, regardless of his age, and is not allowed to take part in male activities such as tribal meetings. Eric began working as a parking attendant. In June 2011, he came across an ad in the local paper for a new whale crier. He did not have the necessary academic qualifications, was not born in Hermanus, and did not know much about nature – all prerequisites for the position. Being very involved with his church where he is both Choir Master

84

Globerovers · July 2016

and Poet, he went to speak to his priest, who told him to pray, and go to the interview the following day. He did. On 4 July 2011, Eric became the 5th whale crier of Hermanus!

people. While some think he calls the whales with this horn, this is not true. The blowing of the horn merely informs people that whales are in the bay.

Right up to the whale crier prior to Eric, the whale crier carried a largish Hermanus has the best whale view- sandwich board with codes. The codes ing in the world! Whale season is from were described in the local tourist inforthe end of May till the end of November mation book, and each code was linked annually, depending on climate changes, to a different signal blown on the horn, which affect the whales. Eric works from indicating where the whales could be 9 to 5 daily in whale season, walking seen. Eric decided that this system only many kilometres during this time. worked for people who knew what these codes meant, and changed the system. Eric carries a horn. This is tradiEric carries a smaller board now and tionally blown to get the attention of blows the horn to announce his where-

Hermanus is one of the best whale watching destinations in the world. The best time for whale watching is between June and November. The last three months tend to be the best. Southern Right whales migrate from the Antarctic to give birth to their calves, and to mate again.


@whalecrier:: “Whale crier in action for the ‘Whale Caller‛ movie”.

Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster

Eric Davalala is the only whale crier in the world. abouts and the presence of whales in the bay, and encourages people to approach him for information regarding both the whales and their whereabouts.

his Welcome Home Rally in Transkei.

have calves they don’t breach, as it takes too much energy, needed to produce milk and squeeze it out for the calves. Then they dive down to the kelp or sandy sea bed to scratch themselves.

Eric would like to finish his schooling so that he can study further and follow in the footsteps of his hero, who Eric has a role model, and lights up he has not yet had the privilege to meet When you visit Hermanus, look for when he tells me about him. His name is in person. However, a minor setback reZolani Mkiva, known as Poet of Africa. garding the school he attended not being Eric and go and have a chat with him! able to find record of his last report, has Zolani is an Imbongi, whose role in delayed the process. African society involves articulating the Follow Eric: feelings of the community, and encapsuI was intrigued as Eric explained to lating these sentiments in concise poetic me the difference between the Southern facebook.com/eric.davalala phrases. Not only does Imbongi praise, Right Whale and two other whale species but also ponders or offers criticism. found in the bay, why the whales breach Zolani became known in 1990 when, still (to get rid of tiny crustaceans called a schoolboy, he was called upon to salute whale lice and the accompanying itch) twitter.com/whalecrier with a red hot rendition the recently reand the seagulls that swoop down to eat leased (from prison) Nelson Mandela at the lice. He explained that when whales Village Life

l

Hermanus

| 85


Here is a place

where you will

feel welcome and experience a home away from home. Photos: Hermanus Boutique Guest House

86

Globerovers · July 2016

I know I did.”


T

ear your gaze away from the sea and the cliffs while driving along the west end of Marine Drive, and you will see Hermanus Boutique Guest House across the road. It overlooks the bay, positioned directly above Fick’s Pool, and provides a lovely vantage point for whale watching.

Annatjie has carte blanche to do all the floral arrangements in the guest house, and a rich profusion of flowers was one of the first sights to greet me. Annatjie pampers her flowers, and not a wilted leaf or drooping head could be seen, despite the mass of blooms that she lovingly tends.

both a continental- and English breakfast to choose from. For dinner, discuss your preferences with Annatjie, and she will refer you to the best option.

You might meet Mariane Maree too, as she likes to come and greet the guests. Mariane is the general manager overseeing the whole operation. She has been there since August 2015 and has Each room has everything you From the street, the guest house loved every minute, assisted by a team of could possibly need, including a hair appears smaller than it is. However, once dryer, air conditioner, bar fridge, tea, cof- very capable staff. inside you get a sense of the spaciousfee, Digital Satellite Television (DSTV), ness. Guests include people from all over Wi-Fi and a stunning en-suite bathroom. the world with many guests returning, Each room is different, and each is The original establishment has been exquisite. Rooms 1 and 2 are suitable for some booking their next visit before they renovated and upgraded, and consists guests in wheelchairs. even leave. Difficult guests? Annatjie of eight rooms inside and two outside. says she can count them on one hand… An additional eight rooms and a self-caBreakfast is a bright and cheerful Speaks volumes! tering unit have since been added on an affair with beautifully set tables, offering adjacent property. A pool with a sundeck provides a leisurely way to spend hot, summer days. Hartsgoed, loosely translated as “Close to the heart”, the self-catering unit, sleeps two couples and 3 children. This unit is furnished with nostalgia and love. No detail has been spared to make this experience comfortable and luxurious, evident from the colour coordination, furnishings and beautiful array of cushions that adorn every room. Touches of gold throughout, emanate luxury and a sort of splendour. At night the lighting creates a cosy and warm ambience.

This guest

house is highly recommended – truly a dream destination, dream hostess and dream breakfast. I look forward to returning soon!”

For reservations, visit:

The welcoming angel at the heart of the guest house is Annatjie du Preez, assistant manager… quiet-spoken, with a natural flair for beauty and detail.

hermanusguesthouse.co.za Tel local: 028 313 1433 Tel Intl: +27 28 313 1433

reservations@hermanusguesthouse.co.za

Or book via one of your favourite hotel booking websites: booking.com agoda.com hotels.com tripadvisor.com and other fine booking sites.

Annatjie will see to your every need and make sure you are happy. She loves to create an environment where guests can just “BE”. She will go out of her way to make your stay more enjoyable, or to source something you need or forgot to pack. Because she lives in the guest house, she likes to keep it fresh and homely. Like a mother, she is capable of keeping an eye on everyone from a distance, anticipating their every need. Integrity is priority in her life. Knowing every day that she did all she could for everybody gives her joy.

Photo: Hermanus Boutique Guest House

Follow us: @HermanusGH Annatjie du Preez Assistant Manager

HermanusGuesthouse

Photo: Janet-Lynn Vorster

Village Life

l

Hermanus

| 87


M

arine drive. 1.39 km of cliffside road in the heart of Hermanus. Burgundy Restaurant is situated between Gearings Point and the Old Harbour. On the corner of Marine drive and Harbour road, you will find a sculpture, called “The Sea Change” by Anton Smit, and right behind it, you will see Burgundy. You will smell the lovely aromas wafting from Burgundy. Go on in for a glass of local wine. Or a coffee. Chances are you will be visiting for longer than you intended, and ordering more than just drinks! As dishes pass you by, plated to entice both the eye and most discerning palate, you will get drawn into the mouthwatering and homely smells of really flavourful foods and you will know you have found the best cuisine in Hermanus. From the first smile when you enter and the warm greetings from Pieter, Rudolf or one of the other managers or waiters, you will know that this restaurant is all heart and soul and built on passion. But let me start at the beginning… way back… as Burgundy is situated in the oldest surviving building in Hermanus. It all began with a love story… 1875… Martha Wessels’ husband disappeared without a trace… and without a death certificate, she could neither remarry nor live together with her new lover, Swedish boat builder John Louis, later known as Swede Wessels, taking on the last name of his sweetheart. They made a plan, as lovers do, and Swede built two adjoining cottages, seemingly separate from the outside to the eyes of onlookers. He lived in one cottage, and she and her daughters in the other. It was probably the delightfully scandalous gossip of the town, with the cottages being just above the Old Harbour in plain sight. 1928… Miss Ethel Rubery from England bought the property and opened “Cypress Tea Garden”, named after the Cypress Tree in front of the building. 1968… or thereabouts… Timothy Hamilton Russell, who pioneered Burgundy style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines in Hermanus, bought the building to prevent it from being demolished. It was declared a national Monument,

88

Globerovers · July 2016

Photos: Burgundy Restaurant

preserved as a tea garden and fishing museum. Around 1981, he obtained a “Wine House Licence” in order not to become “a purveyor of cheap alcohol”. In 1987 the “Cypress Tea Garden” was transformed into “The Burgundy Restaurant”. Since 2014 it has new owners and managers, all proud to be part of the high culinary standards that locals and patrons have come to expect. Burgundy has the perfect setting and location. Good quality food, fresh ingredients, and a good passing trade keep the vibe buzzing. Pieter Nel, front of house manager and Rudolf van der Berg,

co-owner, keep a watchful eye and place two additional managers, Minette Henn and Behansa Sauls, on the floor when necessary. They know the abilities of the kitchen, restaurant and staff. It requires careful and good management not to overshoot capabilities with too many customers in a sitting. Burgundy has got this balance down to a fine art. During busy times when people are queuing, Burgundy will provide wine tasting and talks about wines from local vineyards and wine makers. Pieter is passionate about the business. His positivity rubs off onto everyone.

/continues on the next page...

Follow Burgundy:

www.burgundyrestaurant.co.za

@BurgundyHer burgundyhermanusrestaurant

Some fabulous dishes with suggested wine pairings: Abalone Risotto, garnished with pearl abalone and gruberg shavings Wine: Bouchard Finlayson - Sans Barrique Chardonnay

+

Tiger Prawn Tempura with Japanese mayonnaise and sweet soya sauce Wine: Jean Daniel – Chenin Blanc Lamb Soutribbetjies served with roasted vegetables and confit of garlic Wine: Beaumont – Shiraz Mourvedre Luxury chocolate mousse tart with fresh berries Wine: Wildekrans Grappa


Village Life

l

Hermanus

| 89


Pieter started his career as a food and beverage manager. His eyes light up as he says it is “magic when a machine operates to maximum capability and it runs smoothly”. Rudolf is responsible for the menu, and his ability to combine dishes and eye for detail is amazing. He is a trained chef. He likes to retain old, valued dishes, so will often rather recreate and change existing dishes slightly than recreate the entire menu. Burgundy has some of the most learned and capable waiters, and turnover is minimal. They often remember customers’ orders and wine preferences! They are trained to be flexible, as Burgundy has an open menu. There is no children’s menu, and people are encouraged to combine food from the menu. The waiters are very accommodating with specific food requirements, and managers never far away. From 17:00 daily there is a separate evening menu to lift the restaurant to a more sophisticated and formal feeling, yet the dress code remains relaxed. Bookings are made indoors at night, although in good weather people can sit outdoors. However, their table remains reserved indoors in case the weather changes. The vibe at night is warm and cosy. People like to be recognised, and Burgundy makes a point of knowing their regulars, creating a warmth that draws people in and enhances the feeling of “coming home”. GR

Day Trips

from Hermanus

While the

Hermanus area is

known for its beautiful sandy beaches, there are also rocky outcrops to explore.

The southern

Cape is worldrenowned for

some of the best wineries. Check out not only the

nearby Hemel-enAarde Valley, but

also Paarl, Stellenbosch and others.

The Cape Dutch architecture, a traditional

architectural style, can be seen in

the Western Cape region.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Janet-Lynn Vorster, is an independent writer and traveller based in the beautiful city of Cape Town, South Africa. Janet is a numerologist and hypnotherapist by profession, and journalist and photographer by hobby. She is the proud mother of three grown children and granny to three grandchildren. Janet is known to have a flair for the better things in life and an incredibly discerning and cultivated taste for great cuisines. Photos: Burgundy Restaurant 90

Globerovers · July 2016


source: www.hermanuswineroute.com

Spookfontein Wine Estate Spookfontein Wine Estate opened their cellar in December 2013. In addition to their wines, the estate is also famous for their aptly named restaurant: Eat:Love:Live (ELL) - Ethical eating. The most delicious dishes are created from the finest quality and locally sourced organic ingredients from ethical suppliers with sustainable farming practices.

Views over the Hemel & Aarde Valley as seen from the Spookfontein Wine Estate Restaurant

Shabach Endurance Stud breeds and trains Arab horses.

Try the Ostrich Bobotie and Lamb Shepherd’s Pie! spookfontein.co.za. Twitter: @EllEatery, FB: ell.spookfontein

Shabach Endurance Stud Shabach, located in the upper Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, is a stud where Naomi Müller breeds and trains award winning endurance horses. Naomi represented South Africa several times in International Endurance Competitions and she was rated No 1 in the world on the FEI World Endurance Rankings in 2006 and was rated 1st on ERASA’s (Endurance Riding Association of South Africa) rankings in 2008 and 2009 for ultra long distance endurance races. Shabach specializes in exporting horses, in particular to the Middle East. If you are looking for an Arab horse, contact Naomi at naomi@shabachstud.co.za, or visit her website: www.shabachstud.co.za. Village Life

l

Hermanus

| 91


Article

Armenia Haghartsin Monastery, near Dilijan, northern Armenia.

92

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Armenia’s n a i t s i r Ch

Monasteries

Explore the charm of forgotten masterpieces

A

rmenian people are not exactly thrilled when foreign tourists only come to see their ancient monasteries and churches. “Please, there is a lot more to Armenia than our old monasteries”, proclaims a frustrated local resident of Yerevan. “Why is it that the only thing tourists ask about is where the famous monasteries are”? Well, I felt bitterly guilty because that was also all I cared about. I had heard so much about the monasteries and that was the reason why I was here in Armenia. I entered Armenia by mini-bus from Tbilisi, the Georgian capital. It was a full day’s drive to Yerevan, capital of Armenia. I only had three days before I was scheduled to fly over to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates on Air Arabia. My tight schedule was well planned in advance. A day in Yerevan and two days of monasteries. Nothing else. I did the monasteries and was totally amazed. The highlight was Geghard Monastery, 40 km east of Yerevan in Armenia’s Kotayk Province, not far from the town of Garni. The public bus dropped me off at the village of Garni from where it was a pleasant 10 km hike to the monastery at the end of a dusty road. Halfway I came across cherry heaven.

I was smack in the best time of cherry season. Tens of cherry trees covered in black-red cherries were hanging, to breaking point, over the public road. I reckoned, what hangs in pubic territory belongs to the people. I snacked away on 1,162 cherries. As I was lying in bed that night, I was wondering if there really was anything more to Armenia than its monasteries. When I arrived at the airport I was informed that an email was sent to me the previous day about the cancellation of the flight. Come back four days later, I was told. More monasteries, I thought. And so it was. Five more monasteries, including, once again, Geghard Monastery for another 865 cherries. A second visit to Geghard also allowed me to take another 232 photos and to explore the surrounding forest and crystal clear streams of water. Back to the airport, where I realized I had the departure time wrong and this time had to buy a new ticket and return three days later. More monasteries... But I decided I had devoured enough free cherries and could never again pay for cherries. I’m also convinced that Armenia is more than monasteries. They have great, free, cherries too! Article

l

Armenia

| 93


Geghard

Monastery

The Monastery of Geghard is located in ArmeniaĘźs Kotayk Province, not far from the town of Garni. The monastery is located about 40 km to the east of Yerevan, in the direction of Lake Sevan. Public transport, other than taxis, does not go all the way to the monastery. Take a bus from Yerevan to the village of Garni (visit the Garni Temple) from where it is a 10 km hike along a dusty road to the monastery. Taxis are scarce in Garni but you may be lucky hitchhiking. In season (June/July), many cherry trees along the way will make this an unforgettable walk! 94

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


G

eghard Monastery is also known as “Geghardavank”, meaning “Monastery of the Holy Lance”. The Holy Lance was also referred to as the Holy Spear or Spear of Destiny. Early biblical text also calls it the Lance of Longinus - named after the Roman soldier who pierced the side of Jesus as he hung on the cross as reported in the Christian Bible’s “Gospel of John” chapter.

tery because it was moved long ago and is now conserved in Vagharshapat (previously known as Echmiadzin), the religious capital of Armenia. In 1805 the Russians took the relic to Tchitchanov Geghard in Tbilisi, Georgia. However, it was later returned to Echmiadzin.

Gregory the Illuminator who baptized the Armenian royal family in 301 A.D. ordered that a chapel be built in a cave with a spring, While several places of religion claim to pos- which he declared as sacred. The original name was Ayrivank, meaning “Monastery sess this lance, a thirteenth century Armenian manuscript entitled “Holy Relics of Our of the Cave”. From being a tiny cave chapel, it grew bigger over time. In 1215 the most Lord Jesus Christ” claims that the lance was brought to Armenia by the apostle Thaddeus. prominent chapel was built which was partially carved out of the adjacent rocks. The Armenians refer to the Holy Lance as Geghard, the original place where the relic was The monastic complex we see now is a mix of elegant Armenian stonework and stone kept. Therefore, the monastery is known as Geghardavank - Monastery of the Holy Lance. carved crosses juxtaposed with the bare rocky part of the chapel. Don’t look for the relic in Geghard Monas-

The monastery it partly surrounded by spectacular towering cliffs on the north side and the Azat River Gorge to the south. At the main entrance on the west side are small caves, chapels, and a few carvings. The main church of the complex is called the Katoghike Chapel and was completed in 1215. The southern facade has a portal with fine carvings. The original chapel of Gregory is a few metres away. The monastery is not currently in use. The doors are unlocked most of the time and no entrance fee is charged. Spend a few hours here and just appreciate the beautiful inscriptions, burial vaults, chambers, chapels, rock carvings, corridors, ceilings, and more. Test the acoustics in the main chamber. This is a truly peaceful setting.

Donʼt Miss the Cherries If you arrive by public bus from Yerevan, you will get off at the small village of Garni, famous for the Temple of Garni. From this point there is no scheduled public transportation to Geghard Monastery some 10 km east. So, do the walk! Its a long but pleasant walk on the curvy dirt road which is hilly on the north side with beautiful views of the agricultural Azat River Gorge on the south side. You will walk past a few farmhouses. Be here in June or July for the cherry season. If you are lucky, the cherries may be ripe. With tens of cherry trees hanging over the public road loaded with thousands of red-ripe cherries, go ahead and eat. Likely nobody will care. Eat a lot! Article

l

Armenia

| 95


Goshavank

Monastery

The Goshavank Monastery is located in the village of Gosh in ArmeniaĘźs Tavush Province. Located about 120 km northeast of Yerevan (20 km for the town of Dilijan), not far north of the northern tip of Lake Sevan, Goshavank Monastery is close to Haghartsin Monastery so it makes sense to rent a car and driver in Yerevan for a day trip. En route to Goshavank and Haghartsin, also stop at Sevanavank monastic complex on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of the lake. 96

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


G

oshavank means “Monastery of Gosh” as it is located in the village of Gosh, which lies about 20 km directly north of the northern tip of Sevan Lake. Sevan is the largest body of water in Armenia and the Caucasus region with a total surface area of 5,000 square km. Goshavank Monastery was completed in the 12th or 13th century on the site where the earlier Nor Getik Monastery was destroyed in the earthquake of 1188. It is no longer a functioning religious complex and has been lightly restored in recent years. The building is impressive and in fairly good condition. Look out for the khachkar, which are Armenian cross-stone carvings bearing a cross, and other motifs such as rosettes and floral patterns. The complex consists of several churches, chapels, bell tower, and even a 13th century school building.

Want to Buy a Truck? Goshavank Monastery is located in the small villages of Gosh, and was named after Mkhitar Gosh (1130–1213), an Armenian writer, public figure, philosopher, and priest. Gosh has a population of about 1,000 residents and is known for its tranquil surroundings. Walk around the villages and spot the old vehicles among the overgrown vegetation. If you spot the 1940-45 old green Soviet truck, you may want to make an offer to buy it. Take it home and restore if beautifully and then drive around the streets of your town. If someone asks you what’s her name, say “Gosh”. Article

l

Armenia

| 97


H

aghpat is a Byzantine monastery built in a period of prosperity during the time of the Kingdom of Tashir-Dzoraget, also referred to as the Kiurikian dynasty (10th to 13th century).

and 13th century. The complex was damaged a few times by earthquakes and numerous attacks by armed forces.

Its location is beautiful. Built halfway up a hillside, it overlooks the Debed River and is often wreathed in clouds. Located in the vilThe building is an exceptional example of lage of Hagpat, the monasteries in northern ecclesiastical architecture that developed in Armenia differ from those in other regions as Armenia between the 10th and 13th century. they are normally situated in a village rather As the architecture relates to the Christian than being isolated in rural areas. The village Church and its clergy, there is much blending itself is pleasant and people are friendly. of the Byzantine church architecture of the Eastern Roman Empire and the traditional The Cathedral of Surb Nishan is the largest styles of this region. church in the complex. Another building is the small domed Church of St. Gregory. Look While the monastery was founded in the out for the splendid khachkars (cross-stones). late 10th century, most of the structures still The flowing sunrays from small windows in standing today were constructed in the 12th the domes create a serene atmosphere.

98

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Haghpat Monastery is located in the village of Haghpat in Armeniaʼs Lori Province. Haghpat and Sanahin Monasteries are located close to each other, in northern Armenia close to the Georgia border. If you cross to or from Georgia, visit these monasteries on the same day with a local car and driver from the nearby town of Alaverdi.

Haghpat

Monastery This is a place where you could sit for hours and not get enough. Look as the sunrays stream through small window cavities in the domed ceilings. Watch as they move over time. Kick up a bit of dust and take some creative photos. This is a special place.

Cathedral of Surb Nishan

The Cathedral of Surb Nishan is the largest building in the monastic complex of Haghpat. Completed in 991 A.D. after about 15 years of construction, it was

commissioned by King Smbat II. As the King of Armenia, he was also called “Smbat II - Master of the Universe”. The Cathedral’s large dome rests on four imposing pillars. A fresco in the apse, which is the semicircular section above the altar, depicts Christ the Almighty. No major renovations have been done so the cathedral has retained much of its original character. Article

l

Armenia

|

99


Saghmosavank Monastery

100

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


The monastic complex of Saghmosavank located in the village of Saghmosavan in ArmeniaĘźs Aragatsotn Province. Located about 50 km north of Yerevan, the 13th-century Saghmosavank monastic complex sits atop the precipitous gorge carved by the Kasagh River. The main building, the Church of Zion in Saghmosavank, was completed in 1221 after six years of construction. Just a few kilometres to the south is Hovhannavank Monastery. Both can be visited on a daytrip from Yerevan with a car and driver. If you leave early in the day, you can drop by the town of Echmiadzin, Armeniaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s religious centre. However, Echmiadzin has so much to see that it can easily keep you busy for a full day.

Article

l

Armenia

| 101


Matagh (Sacrificial Offering) Matagh, the sacrificial offering of an animal, is one of the ancient traditions of the Armenian Church. It symbolises the act of gift-giving to God and shows mercy by helping the poor. The matagh was first performed in the times of St. Gregory the Illuminator who decided that after the animal was sacrificed, the meat had to be distributed to the poor as a symbol of mercy. To make matagh, the believer must bring salt and a healthy male animal or bird, but limited to a sheep, a bull, a chicken, or a dove. Matagh meat must be distributed on the same day and the type of animal sacrificed dictates the number of families it should feed. Cooking must only be in water with salt, which purifies the meat. Doves get released after the sacrificial ceremony.

H

aghartsin Monastery was built between the 10th and 14th centuries. Its construction was started under the patronage of Armenia’s royal dynasty of Bagratuni who ruled from 861 A.D to 1118. Most of the structures we see today were completed during the 13th century.

with the walls almost completely destroyed. Walk though the gavit to reach the St. Grigor Church, which is the oldest of the larger structures at the complex. Its gavit, a square building, has ornamented corners decorated with rosettes and sculptures of monks. Also look for the small St. Stepanos Church and a sepulchre which is cut in rock where some of the royalty from the Bagratuni dynasty are buried.

Its location is truly remarkable. Surrounded by the Dilijan National Park, the monastery is nestled in a temperate rainforest on a The refectory which mountainside. The combination of the lush natural surroundings and architectural gran- was most likely used for serving communal deur is impressive. meals are lined with The largest and artistically dominant building low stone benches. at this monastic complex is the St. Astvatsat- Nowadays the space is filled with large 30 cm sin Church. Competed in 1218, its tall sixteen-faceted dome is decorated with graceful thick cut logs resting on smaller logs that serve arches. The gavit, western entrance lobby as tables. The smaller of the church, has been severely damaged 102

Globerovers · July 2016

logs are the chairs. You may be lucky to arrive during a wedding or baptism ceremony at which time the refectory will be used to serve meals to the guests. During your visit you may also witness a matagh, an animal offering outside the church. In November 2013 it was reported that the monastery had reopened after the completion of renovations facilitated by a “significant donation” by the ruler of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. Sadly some visitors called the renovations a “destruction” of the historical beauty of the monastery. Once you are done exploring the monastic complex, go for a hike in the adjacent Dilijan National Park which is one of the four protected national parks in Armenia. Known for its rich biodiversity and medicinal mineral water springs, it is 240 square km in size.


Haghartsin

Monastery

The Haghartsin Monastery is located near the town of Dilijan in ArmeniaĘźs Tavush Province. Located about 120 km northeast of Yerevan, not far north from the northern tip of Lake Sevan, Haghartsin Monastery is close to Goshavank Monastery, so it makes sense to rent a car and driver in Yerevan for a day trip. En route to Haghartsin and Goshavank stop at Sevanavank monastic complex on a peninsula at the north western shore of the lake. Article

l

Armenia

| 103


Gregoryʼs Dungeon 104

Globerovers · July 2016


Khor Virap Monastery

Khor Virap Monastery is located in the Armeniaʼs Ararat Province near the Turkey border

Constructed over several centuries, the monastery is located about 50 km south of Yerevan, near the closed border with Turkey. It is easy to get to the monastery by public transport. Behind Yerevan’s main train station, catch a marshrutka (minibus), which will drop you at the main road near the monastery from where it is a 1.5 km walk. A bigger bus leaves from Sasuntsi David Station in Yerevan. Regular church services are held in this church and it is one of the most-visited pilgrimage sites in Armenia.

Khor Virap means “deep pit”, and there is a good reason for the name. Gregory the Illuminator (St. Grigor Lusavorich) was imprisoned in a deep well underneath St. Gevorg Chapel for about 14 years by King Tiridates III. When the king found out about the Christian faith of Gregory, he ordered him to be tortured and

thrown into a deep pit. The king’s evil act was partly driven by the fact that Gregory was the son of his father’s enemy. The pit measured 6 m deep and 4.4 m wide. After Gregory was thrown into the dark dungeon he was left to die. It was only with the help of a woman who lowered food to him that he survived.

Gregory was recalled from the pit around 297 A.D. to restore the sanity of the king. The king must have loved him for that, so in 301 A.D. Gregory baptized the king along with members of the royal court. He became the king’s religious mentor and the king ordered him to convert the entire country to Christianity. Gregory died around 331 A.D. near Mount Sebuh. Article

l

Armenia

| 105


Sanahin

Monastery

The Sanahin Monastery is located in Sanahin, Alaverdi in ArmeniaĘźs Lori Province. Sanahin and Haghpat Monasteries are located close to each other, in northern Armenia close to the Georgia border. If you cross to or from Georgia, visit these monasteries, both on the same day, with a local car and driver from the nearby town of Alaverdi. 106

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


S

anahin Monastery is located a few kilometres from Haghpad Monastery. The name Sanahin literally means “this one is older than that one” which we assume refers to nearby Haghpad. The two monasteries are in view of each other along the Debed River and are similar in many ways, such as the compositional features of their architecture and decoration. It seems clear that the same craftsmen constructed both. Standing on a high plateau, these monasteries rise sharply against the background of steep forest-grown slopes of the Bazum ridge. The Sanahin complex dates back to the middle of the 10th century, but construction likely went on into the 13th century. We can now see a few churches and chapels, sepulchers, bell-towers, refectories, and other structures. The interior of the Church of Saint Astvatsatsin (Holy Mother) and Saint Amenaprkich (All Saviour) Katoghike Church were both decorated with detailed frescoes of which much has been lost over the centuries. The domed cruciform church of Astvatsatsin, is located in the middle of the complex, and was built between 928-944. Its dome was added much later in 1652 when it underwent major reconstruction. Saint Amenaprkich Church also has a domed cruciform structure and seems bigger than the rest of the buildings. The belfry is the height of a three-story building, and was built between 1211 and 1235. Behind the monastery are several graves, which are, just like the rest of the monastery, overgrown by grass and weeds. It is one of Armenia’s monasteries not to be missed.

Sanahin Monastery has somewhat of an eerie element to it once you know about all the graves inside- and outside the monastery.

Sanahinʼs Sepulchers and Graves

Under the floors of some sections are clear markings of gravestones. The floors of Sanahin were literally paved with graves and gravestones of prominent religious figures, members of royalty and nobles from the wider community. We know that Prince

Shah’n’shah’s father is buried at Sanahin after the Mongols ransacked both the monasteries. Little is known about who else is buried at Sanahin as the inscriptions on the gravestones are almost impossible to decipher. Just outside the monastery are several gravestones of which some are ancient while others are fairly recent. A few graves are graced by a large stone bust of the deceased. Article

l

Armenia

| 107


Hovhannavank

Monastery Hovhannavank is located in the village of Ohanavan in ArmeniaĘźs Aragatsotn Province. Located about 30 km north of Yerevan, Hovhannavank Monastery perches on the edge of the deep Kasagh River canyon. A few kilometres away is Saghmosavank Monastery. Both can be visited on a daytrip from Yerevan.

108

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Surp Gevorg

Monastery

The monastery of Saint George (Surp Gevorg) is located in Mughni in ArmeniaĘźs Aragatsotn Province. Located about 25 km northwest of Yerevan, Surp Gevorg can be reached by public minibus or car with driver.

Article

l

Armenia

| 109


Mayr Tachar Cathedral Mayr Tachar Cathedral, Echmiadzin. The mother church of the Armenian Apostolic Church was founded in the 4th century but was reconstructed several times into the 19th century. The 17th-century Surp Shogahat Church, located behind Surp Hripsime in Echmiadzin, is a sturdy stone structure with undecorated but classic lines.

Surp Shogahat Church

110

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Surp Gayane Church

The 7th century Surp Gayane (Church of Saint Gayane) is located in Echmiadzin. It has changed insignificantly since construction around 630 A.D. except for some renovations of the dome and some ceilings in 1652. The 7th century Surp Hripsime Church, Echmiadzin. The dome was probably restored in the 10th or 11th century.

Surp Hripsime Church Article

l

Armenia

| 111


ESSENTIAL

Getting There

Several airlines fly into Armeniaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital, Yerevan. Among the airlines are Air Arabia from Sharjah (UAE), Gulf Air, Qatar Air, and others.

INFORMATION

Getting Around

Public transportation is acceptable albeit slow and vehicles are fairly rundown. Rent a car with driver to visit the monasteries as it saves time and offers great flexibility to stop anywhere.

Crossing into Armenia from Georgia by car is an easy crossing. The borders In Yerevan, the main modes of public with Turkey are closed but the Iran transport are buses and minibuses. border is open at Nordooz/Agarak. Taxis are plentiful and not expensive.

When to Go

While photographing a monastery covered in the snow will be awesome, it will be tough to reach some of the sites in winter. The best time is generally late May and June or else late September and October.

Packing

As a general rule, dress conservatively. Summers are hot and winters cold. While most of the monasteries are no longer operational, a few are. As a rule, dress respectfully when visiting all monasteries and churches. 112

Globerovers ¡ July 2016

Where to Stay

Yerevan has many hotels and guest houses from less than US$20 per night for a single room to over $300 per night. In small towns and villages you may have to rely on a homestay. Enquire at bus and train stations.

Train Journeys

Travelling from Tbilisi (Georgia) to Yerevan takes about 10.5 hours. The train has 1st to 3rd class sleepers. There is no direct train between Baku (Azerbaijan) and Yerevan, so take the route via Tbilisi.

Location

Located in the Caucasus region, Armenia is bordered by Georgia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Turkey and the rogue republic of Nagorno-Karabakh. The monasteries and churches are quite spread out across Armenia but the central and north of Armenia may have more to see than the south.

Sights

Local Armenians like to remind tourists that their country offers a lot more than ancient monasteries. Check out Lake Sevan, mountain landscapes, remote canyons, the bustling city of Yerevan, and great cuisines!

Cost of Travel

In line with travel costs in the Caucasus, Armenia is not expensive. Almost everything the average traveller on a tight budget needs is very reasonably priced. It is easy to find a single room for less than US$20.


Sevanavank

Monastery

The Sevanavank Monastery is located on a peninsula at the northwestern shore of Lake Sevan. Sevanavank is on the way to Haghartsin Monastery and Goshavank Monastery. It is possible to do all three on a day trip from Yerevan by renting a car and driver.

Vikings International Buffet Pasay Bldg. B, By The Bay, Seaside Boulevard, SM Mall of Asia Pasay City, Philippines We promote sustainable and responsible ďŹ shing.

Article

l

Armenia

| 113


$ensible Travel Gear Globerovers recommends to get your Sensible Travel Gear at Amazon.com

SONY 4K Action Cam

Wireless Headphones

Sony’s alterative to the Go Pro, this hi-def video camera with Wi-Fi & GPS features professional 4K (3840 x 2160) video recording with up to 240p HD / 120p Full HD, built-in stereo mic for quality sound with wind noise reduction, loop recording, live streaming and control via phone. 4K picture quality is equal to that of Hollywood blockbusters. The Action Cam is a must have for intrepid travellers who enjoy professional technology. www.amazon.com (FDR-X1000V)

Get rid of the loose wires. The Skullcandy Hesh 2 wireless noise cancellation headphones can pair with most devices and provides 15 hours of music when fully charged. It features complete relaxation while travelling

Pacsafe Mesh and Heys USA Scale

AcousticSheep SleepPhones

The Pacsafe SS steel net (25L-55L) is great to protect your valuables inside your bag. Lock the bag and mesh to a secure fixture and you can leave the room without worries.

Developed to help you fall asleep naturally without drugs, this headband with built in speakers connects with most devices to create a quiet personal space while in bed or on the road.

Make sure to weigh your bag before leaving your home or hotel as it’s easier to re-pack it there than at the airport. Overweight charges levied by airlines can be very costly and rather embarrassing. www.amazon.com (Pacsafe / Heys Scale)

www.amazon.com (AcousticSheep)

Hi-Tech Boots

Salomon Hiking Shoes

These versatile, rugged and waterproof ankle boots are perfect for the adventure trips of intrepid travellers. With an OrthoLite® foamcushioned footbed, compression-molded EVA midsole and lightweight shank, they deliver good support and stability over bumpy terrains.

There are so many brands of hiking shoes to choose from so it can be a daunting task to choose the right brand.

www.amazon.com (Hi-Tech Boots)

114

www.amazon.com (Skullcandy Hesh 2)

Globerovers · July 2016

Salomon shoes are light weight yet super strong, sturdy and comfortable. I used to have great difficulty finding comfortable hiking shoes until I discovered Salomon shoes. I’m now so hooked on them that it is hard to think of ever changing to another brand. While they are not cheap, look out for discounts offered by stores such as onlineshoes.com. ww.amazon.com (Salomon)


www.onlineshoes.com

115


Photo Essay ROMANIA

116

Globerovers · July 2016


THE

PAINTED MONASTERIES OF BUCOVINA

ROMANIA

The monasteries of the Bukovina region, located in northeastern Romania, are known for their exquisitely painted walls. Interior and exterior walls, as well as ceilings, are decorated with elaborate 15th and 16th century frescoes, featuring events taken from the Holy Bible and the Holy Scriptures and interpreted in the Orthodox Christian style. Many of the paintings feature complete cycles of religious themes such as the life of Jesus with portraits of saints and prophets, and images of angels, demons, heaven and hell. These masterpieces, inspired by Byzantine art, are best experienced at the monasteries of Humor, Moldovita, Suceava, Sucevita, and Voronet. Most paintings are authentic with minimal intervention over the years. Restorations since the 1970â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s have respected the original motifs and pigments and have been executed extremely carefully. Photo Essay

l

Romania

| 117


Voronet Monastery 118

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Located about 40 km southwest of the town of Suceava, Voronet Monastery, with its main church of Saint George, was founded in 1487 by Stephen the Great to celebrate his victory over the Turks. Apparently it was built in less than four months, although the frescos were added much later. With its intense shade of blue, commonly known as â&#x20AC;&#x153;Voronet blueâ&#x20AC;?, the paintings of this monastery are perhaps the most impressive of them all. Scientists remain puzzled by the composition of the colours which are remarkably well preserved after so many centuries in the sun and wind. Soon after 1775 the Habsburg Monarchy annexed the northern part of Moldavia and interrupted the monastic life here. Nuns returned in 1991 and they now offer a painting workshop and guided tours of the monastery.

Photo Essay

l

Romania

| 119


Moldovita Monastery 120

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Moldovita Monastery, located about 70 km west of Suceava in the village of Vatra Moldovitei, was constructed by Petru RareČ&#x2122; (Peter IV - war-lord of Moldavia) in 1532. The predominantly gold-yellow and deep blue paintings on the exterior walls were completed by Toma of Suceava in 1537. The paintings portray the Siege of Constantinople and depicts the Tree of Jesse, representing Christâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s genealogy shown in a tree which rises from Jesse (the father of David) of Bethlehem. Photo Essay

l

Romania

| 121


Humor Monastery 122

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Located 40 km west of Suceava, Humor Monastery is 5 km north of the town of Gura Humorului. The monastery was closed in 1786 by the Habsburg Monarchy but was reopened in 1991. Constructed in 1530 by warlord Petru Rareş, it is dedicated to the Dormition of Virgin Mary and it is run by a few nuns. Its frescoes date from 1535 and include an illustration of the Return of the Prodigal Son as well as a “humorous” depiction of the devil as a woman. The hues of the frescoes are a reddish brown with rich blues and green infusions.

Photo Essay

l

Romania

| 123


SuceviČ&#x203A;a Monastery is located about 55 km northwest of the town of Suceava. Founded in 1581 by Gheorghe Movila, and later expanded by his brother, the monastery is surrounded by high walls and four defensive towers. Sucevita boasts a magnificent depiction of the Ladder to Paradise with red-winged angels in six orderly rows climbing the ladder to the heavens. Sinners fall through the ladder rungs and are pointed away to hell by grinning devils. The Tree of Jesse is also painted on one of the walls. Several old graves can be found in the yard near the main building.

124

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Sucevita Monastery Photo Essay

l

Romania

| 125


6 Brilliant Travel Blogs

While there are thousands of travel websites and blogs, Globerovers Magazine stumbled across a few hundred over the past year. Some great, others boring.

1

Here are a few of the more memorable ones selected purely on a subjective basis, but also depending on their overall appeal, informativeness, and being amateur sites rather than being too skewed towards the commercial side. Great work!

Traveling Canucks

travelingcanucks.com

“We are Cam & Nicole Wears, a Canadian couple and newbie parents that choose to make travel a priority. It is possible to build a career and family AND travel the globe and follow your passions. This blog is where we share our travel stories and helpful travel tips we learn while balancing travel, work and family.” Check out their website for many trip ideas, stories from the road and posts specifically related to travelling with kids. Cam and Nicole have a strong following on social media, such as Twitter (travelcanucks) with many inspiring tweets. Follow them on Facebook (travelingcanucks), travel videos on YouTube (camwears2010), and well over 2,000 pins on Pinterest (travelcanucks).

2

The Crowded Planet thecrowdedplanet.com

Margherita and Nick, a writer and photographer team from Italy and Australia, are long-term travellers and lovers of nature, wildlife and the outdoors. They met at a London food market back in November 2004. Both being crazy about travelling, their first trip together was in 2005 to Cuba. They launched the idea of “The Crowded Planet” blog in 2014 and now have a strong following at the blog and on social media. Follow them on Twitter (MargheNick), Facebook (TheCrowdedPlanet) and elsewhere. 126

Globerovers · July 2016


Justin + Lauren

justinpluslauren.com

4

Justin and Lauren are a loving couple living in Mississauga (outside Toronto), Ontario, Canada. They live in beautiful Port Credit along Lake Ontario and work full-time jobs in the media industry. They travel as often as they can but make sure to return in time to feed their adorable rescued cats, Chickpea and Peanut. Check out their great tweets at @JustinLaurenXO, and their Facebook at justinpluslauren. justinpluslauren.com.

Ordinary Traveler ordinarytraveler.com

6

3

Hike Bike Travel

5

LandLopers

hikebiketravel.com

Leigh McAdam is the founder and the main voice behind this incredibly interesting and inspiring blog - “Hike Bike Travel”. A blog with lovely stories and photos, it is also loaded with many travel resources. Check out her book: Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures. Leigh is very active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest where she can be found @ hikebiketravel. Ask her about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro!

landlopers.com

Matt Long describes himself as: “A typical Gen-X’er and former cubicle-dweller who has a passion for all things travel”. He explains that “LandLoper” means “A wanderer and an adventurer” which seems to be a perfect description of himself. Check out Matt’s 126k+ tweets @LandLopers (we are convinced that Matt hikes the world while non-stop tweeting). Also find Matt on Facebook, Instagram and Google+ @LandLopers.

Christy Woodrow and Scott Calafiore started “Ordinary Traveler” blog in 2009 and they explain that the blog’s name reflects their situation of not being full-time travellers but normal ordinary citizens with a career, family, home, and yet they live an adventurous life. The blog chronicles their travels and love for photography. Their blog is awesome and so are their inspiring posts on Twitter (OrdinaryTravelr), Facebook (OrdinaryTraveler), etc. 127


Article

Bangladesh

128

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


A Journey Bangladesh h g u o r h t

Life along the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta

N

othing could prepare me for Bangladesh! It was not the thousands of rickshaws on the streets of Dhaka that fazed me. It was not the condition of the three-wheeled taxis, or the old busses, or the bustling markets, or the smoke polluted streets that shocked me. No, I have seen all of that before. I’ve been there. I have done that. Elsewhere. In Bangladesh it was a culture shock at an entirely different level. It was the shock and surprise on the faces of people in remote villages when they first laid eyes on me, a white man. I travelled by small boat with my local guide to some very remote villages in the Bengal Delta where the village Chiefs told me that a white person had never been anywhere near the villages before. But, more about this later... Another culture shock of unrivalled proportion was my visit to the slums of Dhaka. It was not the poverty. I have seen poverty in Afghanistan, India, Yemen... In many places around the world poverty is rife. Sure, in places like India and Bangladesh it is worse. What really, yet pleasantly, shocked me, was the incredible hospitality among Dhaka’s utmost poor. I have to admit that all over

Bangladesh I found the people to be friendly and inviting. In Dhaka’s slums it was hospitality, generosity, warmth, kindness - there are no words to describe the people. I was treated like a god who descended from the heavens. But, more about this later... I have travelled the world far and wide. I normally travel solo, and I’m a true independent intrepid traveller which dictates that I shall not acquire the services of a local guide. I shall use my own resources and instincts to explore foreign destinations and stay off the beaten track as far as possible. In Bangladesh, I let go of all my rules. This was the only country of the more than one hundred I have explored to date where I booked a local guide ahead of my arrival date. And I stayed with my guide throughout my three week travels. Two brothers from Dhaka noted my enquiries on a travel forum and offered to show me their incredible country, at no charge. I reluctantly accepted their offer. As we travelled I appreciated my local guides more and more. In hindsight I knew it would not have been possible without my guides. From Dhaka we flew southeast to explore Chittagong and the Hill Tracts, then by the “Rocket Steamer” to the south. From here we ventured by small boat to the delta’s remote villages and the Sundarbans, home of the elusive Bengal tiger. Article

l

Bangladesh

| 129


Exploring Chaotic Dhaka City by rickshaw Dhaka (population of over 15 million) is known as the “Rickshaw capital of the world”, with about 225,000 of these vehicles on the road of which many are not licensed. About 38% of daily trips around the city are by rickshaw (walking accounts for a further 20% and travelling by car 5%). While about 800,000 men are directly involved in the rickshaws, it is estimated that rickshaws in some way provide income to about 3 million people in a city with a per capita income of $3,100 and where 23% of people are unemployed.

130

Globerovers · July 2016


Article

l

Bangladesh

| 131


D

haka, the capital of Bangladesh, is a city with more than 15 million inhabitants. Located on the east banks of the Buriganga River, the old part of the city used to be called Jahangir Nagar during the 17th century. At that time, it was the Mughal Empireâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s capital of the entire Bengal region known for its 700 rivers. The

132

Globerovers ¡ July 2016

region included the Ganges-Brahmaputra delta system and the Himalayan states. Founded in 1608, this old part of Dhaka is still inhabited today and it seems like no new buildings were constructed since its beginnings. Nowadays the old city is overcrowded, and in a sorrowful state where tens of thousands of Dhakaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s poorest of the poor live. About of quarter of its population is Hindu

which brings a sense of vibrancy during the Hindu festivals. If the old part of Dhaka is the heart of the city, then the Buriganga River is the main artery. From here large and small boats are launched to connect the capital with the rest of the country. Sadly, the river is in a dire state. Severely polluted by chemical-, medi-


cal-, and household waste, sewage, dead animals, plastics, oil and everything else, thousands of residents have to use the untreated waters from the river in their daily lives. It is estimated that nearly 4 million people are exposed every day to the consequences of the polluted water. At any time of the day people can be seen bathing and brushing their teeth in the river, directly next to a large dump site of solid waste. This sight in itself is a massive shock to most outsiders. Walking around Dhaka, in particular the slums of the old city, is truly an eye opener. While the buildings are crumbling and overcrowded, residents are overly excited and welcome foreign tourists into their home. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be surprised if residents run ahead and scramble to see who first can offer a cold drink from a nearby store. Hordes of friendly smiles will line the narrow pathways to get a glimpse of a passing foreigner. Most will extend their warmest welcome into their very modest homes just to have a photo taken with their visitor. After a day of exploring Dhaka, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to take a rest. In the newer suburbs are some funky cafes and restaurants serving delicious Bangladeshi cuisines.

Article

l

Bangladesh

| 133


Chittagong’s Ship-Breaking Yards Secrets revealed Located about 20 km northwest of the city of Chittagong, along the shallow waters of the Sitakunda coastal strip, are the infamous Chittagong ShipBreaking Yards. As the world’s largest of their kind, they employ over 20,000 Bangladeshis, which range from teens to the elderly. Operators often find themselves in controversies related to mistreatment, employment of underage workers, low wages, and absence of the necessary protection in these dangerous working conditions.

T

he ship-breaking industry started here in 1960 by accident when the Greek ship, the M D Alpine, was stranded in the tidal mud of this beach under the strong winds of a severe cyclone. Due to the shallow waters, attempts to refloat the ship were abandoned and it was left standing here for about five years until a steel company bought the ship in 1965 to have it dismantled and sell the salvaged steel. It took years of hard labour with mostly hand tools and dirtcheap unskilled labourers to totally dismantle the ship. The steel company must have made good profits because since the first ship accidentally stranded, many more ships from around the world were forcibly stranded here to die slowly under the hands of the men with the blow torches and hammers. By 2009 the beach was lined with about 40 ship-breaking companies, which made them the largest of their kind in the world. A few years later this increased to 80! However, they no longer hold the top position. The Alang shipyards along the Gulf of Khambat in India’s Gujarat State are currently the largest and handle about half of all ship salvaging used to be a popular tourist attraction, but since investigative reporters from foreign around the world. media uncovered the abuse by company bosses and their total disregard for the There are several other ship-breaking yards around the world, including those in China, welfare and safety of their grossly underpaid Pakistan, Turkey, United States, United King- labourers, tourists and journalists are no longer welcome. It has also been reported that dom, and Belgium. many of the labourers are teen boys who get paid as little as $1 for a full day shift. A group, critical of the Chittagong ShipBreaking Yards, claims that on average one For, example, a report by The Guardian labourer dies here every week. The yards

134

Globerovers · July 2016


newspaper in the U.K. reported the following headline: “The ship-breaking industry in Bangladesh has been widely condemned by international organisations in particular, for exposing low-paid workers to high levels of asbestos and contaminating the environment”. It showed photos of labourers working without any protection, and sleeping in crowded filthy hostel rooms. National Geographic magazine reported: “In

Bangladesh men desperate for work perform one of the world’s most dangerous jobs”. As the many yards were secured behind high fences topped with razor wire, the reporter hired a fisherman with a boat to approach from the sea.

visitor where the boss knows there are no underage labourers and where at least some basic protection such as gloves are provided. Photography will also be restricted to certain areas. These bosses are highly protective, and skeptical, of any visitors.

With a very skilful local guide who has connections with the company bosses, it is still possible to get inside. However, a pre-arranged site will be chosen for the

It truly is a sad but an interesting experience to see these huge ships being dismantled by nothing but human labour. If you can ever manage to get access, grab the opportunity. Article

l

Bangladesh

| 135


136

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Article

l

Bangladesh

| 137


The Scenic Hill Tracts Waterways of Chittagong

P

rior to the signing of the “Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord” in 1997, a 20-year armed struggle raged between the Government Forces and the armed wing of the United People’s Party of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. It was all about the autonomy and rights of the Buddhist and Hindu Jumma people and tribes of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. The Government actions were described as “genocide and ethnic cleansing”. By 2013, Amnesty International reported that the Government still had not honoured the terms of the peace accord and returned land to the Jumma people. Some 90,000 Jumma families have been internally displaced. The peace remains fragile. A couple of times foreigners who ventured here were kidnapped and only released after hefty ransoms were paid. As a precaution, foreigners who now want to enter the area must be heavily guarded by the local police force. A permit must first be obtained from the police station, at which time a small team of heavily armed policemen will escort the travellers through selected areas. The Hill Tracts is an area in south-eastern Bangladesh, bordering India and Myanmar. It is a mountainous and rugged terrain with deep forests and several hill tribes collectively known as the Jumma. They differ remarkably in terms of language, culture, and appearance compared with the Bengali people who are the majority of the country.

138

Globerovers · July 2016


Article

l

Bangladesh

| 139


Sailing with the ‘Century-old Rocket Steamer’ on the Ganges

A

ll on board! The century old Rocket is about to depart from Dhaka’s Sadarghat Ferry terminal down the Buriganga River to Khulna (354 km) in the southern delta. This is an experience of a lifetime and unrivalled anywhere. Old riverboats still exist in some countries, but going on the Rocket through the waterways of the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta is like no place in the world. “Rocket” is the name for the paddle steamer dating from the colonial period. Currently, four “classic” vessels are in service on the Dhaka-Morelganj-Khulna route: The Mahsud (built in 1929), Ostrich (1929), Lepcha (1937), and the Tern (1948). Built by the Denny Company (William Denny and Brothers Shipbuilders Limited) in the Scottish town of Dumbarton, they were originally steamers but were converted around 1995 to diesel engines. A smaller vessel, the Sela, was added in 2008. The Rocket goes from Dhaka all the way to Morelganj or Khulna and makes brief stops in Chandpur, Barisal, Mongla and a few other lesser ports en route. If you are heading for the Sundarbans, the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world, in search of the Bengal tigers, then you need to board the Rocket. On board, three classes are available for the 20-28-hour journey to Morelganj or Khulna where the ferry turns around. However, timing can vary enormously depending on the navigability of the rivers at any given time. The front side of the upper level is first class and has 12 cabins in the large vessels and 8 in the smaller one. They have two single beds 140

Globerovers · July 2016

with clean linen, a washbasin, and fan. Second class at the back of the boat has smaller rooms without a washbasin or bed linen. In the inter and deck spaces (third class) you literally sleep on the open deck. You will be wise to reserve a first class cabin, which also comes with meals, at least a month in advance. For a double cabin the fare from Dhaka to Morelganj is about $50, one-way which is the new fare after a recent 40% increase. Now that you know these boats are not exactly 100 years old, and are no longer steamers, just enjoy the scenery along the way which makes this trip so memorable!


Article

l

Bangladesh

| 141


142

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Article

l

Bangladesh

| 143


Life around the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta and its villages

T

he southern delta reputedly has about 700 rivers, and many more canals and other waterways. Hire a good guide with a motorboat and set off into the unknown. The area has many small villages dotted along the waterways. Many of them are remote where most residents never get to the big cities such as Dhaka or Chittagong. In many of the villages people have never seen nonAsians. If you are a non-Asian, people will stare at you as if you are from Mars. And furthermore, they will follow you all day long, hanging onto every movement you make and every word you speak. Don’t expect anybody to understand English, though. Two of the villages a few hours away by small boat from the town of Barisal along the Rocket route, are Sripur and Bamrail. At the time of my visit, the Chief of Sripur told me that I was the very first white person to ever visit the village. So, anybody coming after me can’t be the first! Should the Chief tell you that you are the first, then sadly he lied to you, or to me, or to many of us. Regardless of what the Chief told me, I could see from the reaction of the residents that they really thought I was from another planet. Don’t be surprised if residents scramble for your attention and invite you inside their homes. One resident asked me to sit down while the lady made me a fried egg, complete with sugar. Upon asking my guide if they normally eat eggs with sugar, he told me they ate them with salt. Apparently the lady thought, as a foreigner (possibly from Mars), I must eat my fried eggs with sugar. Hike outside the villages to see farmers going about their daily lives and ploughing with their cows. While accommodation here will have to be in the modest homes of locals, it sure will be an unforgettable time.

144

Globerovers · July 2016


Article

l

Bangladesh

| 145


L

et’s not forget why we came to Bangladesh; Why we took the Rocket down the river. It was to explore the Sundarbans, the largest single block of tidal halophytic mangrove forest in the world. What we really want to see is the elusive Bengal tiger. However, don’t really expect to see the tigers. Even though the Sundarbans, which stretches across Bangladesh and India,

146

Globerovers · July 2016

is reportedly home to about one hundred Bengal tigers, don’t get your hopes too high regarding actually seeing one. But make no mistake. They are there! Every year the tigers kill several locals. These locals are mostly honey gatherers for which the mangroves are famous. Nothing as good as honey from the Sundarbans. Fishermen on their small boats also sometimes fall prey to the swimming tigers. As entry to the Sundarbans National Tiger Reserve is controlled, you will be as-

signed a guide and a gunman complete with a sharp bayonet. Watch out for the equally dangerous saltwater crocodile that grows to massive lengths. The mangroves are also home to the chital (spotted deer), leopard cats, jungle cats, macaques, wild boar, Indian grey mongoose, fox, flying fox, hawksbill turtle, mangrove horseshoe crab, and the armoured pangolin.


ESSENTIAL

Getting There

Most international arrivals are by flying into the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (formerly known as Zia International Airport) on airlines such as the national carrier Biman Bangladesh Airlines, India’s Jet Air, Hong Kong’s Dragon Air, Singapore Airlines Emirates, AirAsia, AirArabia, Etihad, Thai Airways, and a few others.

When to Go

The best time to visit Bangladesh is during the cool season (October to March). The absolute best time of the year is from November through February while May to September is monsoon season and the worst time.

Chill Out

Depending on your way of chilling out, Bangadesh offers a variety. Whether you want to be among the small villages, tea plantations, rivers, or on the world’s longest beach at Cox’s Bazar, relax and take life easy!

INFORMATION

Getting Around

It is better to fly to far-away destinations such as Chittagong, Sylhet, Saidpur, and Cox’s Bazar. Take the Rocket Steamer to southern destinations such as Barisal, Mongla and Khulna. Railway coverage is extensive to the southeast (Chittagong) and to the north and northeast. Alternatively, rent a car and driver.

Where to Stay

Location

Bangladesh is located to the east, west, and south of India. Towards the southeast it borders Myanmar. In the southern delta are the many friendly villages along the vast network of rivers and canals. To the southeast is Chittagong, the Hill Tracts, and the long beach of Cox’s Bazar. Tea plantations are in the north around Sylhet.

Packing

Dhaka has a variety of hotels fit for all budgets. So does Chittagong. However, outside the two largest cities, comfortable accommodation is very scarce. In the villages your guide will arrange homestay with the locals.

If you go during the “cool season”, take your summer clothes. Some places are plagued with biting insects so take thin long sleeve shirts and long pants to wear at night. Always dress conservatively.

Train Journeys

Cost of Travel

The train operator is the state run Bangladesh Railways. Prices are comparable to bus prices, but best to travel in 1st class. Try the Kolkata (India) to Dhaka by ‘Maitree Express’ train, or the Dhaka to Chittagong trip.

Bangladesh is not expensive unless you want to splurge in Dhaka. Solo trips by car or boat can be expensive, but still very reasonable. If domestic flights are booked well in advance then they are not expensive either. Article

l

Bangladesh

| 147


Tasty Traveller’s Treats Authentic, affordable, clean, food is every traveller’s dream. Enjoy these tasty morsels from far away places.

HONG KONG

HONG KONG

148

Globerovers · July 2016

HONG KONG

HONG KONG


KYRGYZSTAN

TAJIKISTAN

HONG KONG

THAILAND

TAJIKISTAN

SOUTH AFRICA BRAZIL CHINA MYANMAR

THAILAND

IRAN

JAPAN

CAMBODIA KYRGYZSTAN

UZBEKISTAN

HONG KONG

JAPAN 149


Chinaʼs

Xinjian Province

Xinjian, China’s Uyghur Autonomous Region The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region is the largest Chinese administrative division and is located in the northwest of China. Spanning over 1.6 million square km, this extremely rugged region borders the countries of Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. With the historical Silk Road running through the territory, it is home to ethnic groups including the Uyghur, Han Chinese, Kazakhs, Tajiks, Hui, Kyrgyz, Mongols, and Russians. The Uyghur is the largest group but a government sanctioned systematic influx of Han Chinese is threatening the culture and well-being of the Uyghur people who are culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations. Lets meet the Uyghur people...

150

Globerovers · July 2016


U

Photo Essay CHINA

Land of the

yghur People

Photo Essay

l

China

| 151


The old city of Kashgar, a 2,000-year-old oasis town with its mud-brick labyrinth, has been home to the Uyghur people for at least 500 years. Architect and historian George Michell recently wrote it is “the best-preserved example of a traditional Islamic city to be found anywhere in Central Asia”. Sadly it is now being destroyed under a $400m government project to transform the city. Demolition crews have already moved in.

152

Globerovers · July 2016


Photo Essay

l

China

| 153


154

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


The Kashgar Sunday livestock market is about 10 km outside town and generally regarded as the biggest market of its kind in Central Asia. It has been an important trading point along the ancient Silk Road for hundreds of years. Every Sunday early-morning, farmers with their livestock come together from far and wide to trade their sheep, cattle, donkeys, goats, camels, yaks and horses. Don’t be surprised to see them packing five sheep into the sedan’s trunk and another five on the backseat. If the son doesn’t come along, a few more sheep will fit on the front seat. There is no auction as such but buyers and sellers privately negotiate after carefully checking out the teeth and other “features” of the animals. Photo Essay

l

China

| 155


Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t miss the fresh food stalls to enjoy Uyghur cuisines such as roasted lamb, Xinjiang kebabs (kawaplar or shashlik around Central Asia), polu (pilaf), nang (Uyghur flat bread), and youtazi (steamed multilayer bread). Mutton is in abundance here and at the stalls where the meat is cooked for long enough, it is tender and delicious. Go ahead and enjoy the sheep head and sheep laghman (spicy ground mutton poured on fresh handmade noodles).

156

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Photo Essay

l

China

| 157


158

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


On a sunny day, the nomads at the northern shore of the lake hang out their clothes to dry in the thin air. Lake Karakul or Karakuli (the black lake) is located about 200 km south of Kashgar, near the Kyrgyzstan border almost halfway to the border with Pakistan. At an altitude of 3,600 m, it is the highest lake of the Pamir plateau. The lake is almost surrounded by mountain peaks such as Kongur Tagh (7,649) and Muztagh Ata (7,546 m) which remain snow-covered throughout most of the year. The snow-capped mountains reflect beautifully in the crystal clear waters of the lake.

Photo Essay

l

China

| 159


13 Travel Tweeps to Follow [a person who uses the Twitter message service to send and receive tweets]

We are listing 13 of the more interesting travel tweeps we have come across, selected subjectively from thousands of incredible travel Twitter accounts. Yes we do avoid those tweeps who only care about a high following with many fake followers such as the eggheads. We also avoid tweeps who don’t care to follow back fellow travellers, and those who tweet and retweet tons of useless boring tweets about themselves. If we did not list your awesome account here, please forgive us. Maybe next time.

Paula and Gordon have a huge following among travellers (and some eggheads) of their informative tweets. Their website, contentedtraveller.com, is informative with a great destination guide, travel resources, and lots more!

Canadians Dave and Deb boast some spectacular Twitter stats, though sadly low on following back and a tid-bit high on egghead followers. Visited 100+ countries, check out “The Planet D” YouTube Channel and theplanetd.com.

Laurence and Jessica are active tweeps with great photos among their 18k+ posts. Their website is filled with interesting stories, photos, and all kinds of tips. Check out their “About Us” page at findingtheuniverse.com

Darren and Shelley from London tweet great photos and maintain a super informative website: findingbeyond.com. They are a true inspiration if you are looking to dream about travel destinations and what to do, and where!

With over 24k interesting tweets, Leigh has built up a great following among travellers. Her site, hikebiketravel.com, offers awesome photos and travel tips. Order her book: “Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures”.

Canadian newbie parents, Cam and Nicole, know how to attract a strong following with their many inspiring tweets. They need to boost their follow back which is limited! Great reading and photography at travelingcanucks.com.

160

Globerovers · July 2016


d e r u t a e p F e e w T l e Trav

Shane Dallas The Travel Camel @thetravelcamel

Shane is a founder of The Road Less Travelled Twitter Chat (#TRLT). Focusing on destinations overlooked by most other chats (such as Africa, Middle East and Asia) #TRLT is one of the world’s top 3 travel Twitter chats, and the largest travel Twitter chat based outside of North America.

Bianca calls herself an altruistic traveller and invites like-minded travellers to join her cause. She has travelled mostly in Asia and maintains a great blog at myaltruistictravels.com. Check out her page on Ethical Eateries.

Phillippa is a multimedia journalist who specialises in adventure travel. Working as an Adventure Editor at Red Bull, in 2014 she cycled 15,750 km from KL (Malaysia) to London raising money for mental health. phillippastewart.com.

Keith is a busy tweep with more than 73k tweets, which are mostly interesting with great photos. Based in Amsterdam, he maintains the informative “Velvet Escape travel blog” with tons of articles. velvetescape.com.

Tom is a true travel inspiration to anybody following his tweets or his interesting stories which you can read at mytravelmission.com. The photos he frequently tweets or retweets make you want to join his travel mission!

Map trotters, Charlie and Kristina, are a British couple with tweets that will make you go “lets trot the map!”. Once you’ve checked their maptrotting.com website, you will realise how much they enjoy their travels. Follow them!

Stephen is an active tweep with his mostly ‘travel tips’ and ‘top to-do lists’. His website, abackpackerstale.com, is packed with travel tips, resources, and an interesting blog. Check his “5 things to do in Brighton”. You may need it! Top Lists

l

Tweeps

| 161


Globerovers

Magazine

Order you own printed magazine www.blurb.com/user/store/Globerovers www.globerovers-magazine.com facebook.com/GlobeRoversMag twitter.com/GlobeRovers pinterest.com/GlobeRovers

162

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


163


A

More than 2,400 rhinos were poached in South Africa in 2014/5. Many more elsewhere! cross Africa and Asia we are witnessing a new poaching crisis that threatens to derail the gains made in rhino conservation over the last thirty years. While most people might think the demand for rhino horn is fuelled by China’s widespread use of Traditional Chinese Medicine; the reality is much more complex.

Article written by Katherine Johnston, London, UK Katherine is Save the Rhino International’s Communi-

cations Manager. She read Modern History and English at Oxford, before completing an MA at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies. She is a consultant to

class, the horn is ground to a powder and consumed as a “detoxifier.” Rumoured to cure anything from illnesses to hangovers; imbibing the horn often takes place in a social setting when sealing high-end business deals. The practice, akin to using a party drug, is growing.

the Lynx UK Trust and Trustee of ResonanceFM.

Although the number of people buying rhino horn is a tiny proportion of the popuy 2007 rhino populations, especial- caused by demand from countries in South lation, their impact on the species’ survival ly in Africa, had seen steady growth East Asia, primarily China and Viet Nam. Al- is huge. due to the efforts of conservation- though Traditional Chinese Medicine plays ists on the ground and tougher law a part, it is more to do with the booming Since 2008, over 6,000 African white enforcement. In 2008 however, poaching Vietnamese economy and rapid expansion of and black rhinos have been poached. In Asia, began to rise – exponentially – and we are the most threatened species are the Sumatran a wealthy business elite.” now at a tipping point where the number of and Javan rhinos; with fewer than a hundred rhinos poached (plus natural mortalities) is of each species remaining. Many organisaIn Viet Nam, rhino horn is seen as a outweighing the number born each year. luxury item. It is a status symbol to own and tions have warned that if the rate of killing display but also to consume. Traditional be- continues unabated, rhinos could be heading What is behind this rapid surge in liefs around “Chi” – or inner strength – have to extinction within the decade. poaching? “The new poaching crisis,” SRI adapted as a new elite has emerged. Now, Deputy Director Susie Offord tells us, “is The act of poaching itself is brutal. amongst some parts of the country’s business

B

SRI Deputy Director Susie Offord is positive that we can turn back the tide: “Our biggest challenge in Viet Nam is raising awareness so that customers see their part in the wider picture. Many people donʼt associate rhinos poached in Africa with items sold in their country. Ultimately, the only way we can put an end to poaching is to stop demand. It will take time, but with the backing of so many people in Viet Nam, I think we can do it.” 164

Globerovers · July 2016


s o n i h R e v a S

Hunted down, usually shot and left in a traumatised state, the rhino’s horn and much of its face is hacked off with an axe or machete. Calves are killed for their tiny horns or simply left to die.

For conservationists, ever-declining numbers of rhinos pose huge challenges. Healthy gene pools diminish, populations become more fragmented and struggle to mate naturally, and habitat loss brings rhinos and poachers into increasingly close contact. When consumers buy rhino horn, money goes straight into the hands of transnational criminal syndicates, many of whom are involved in narcotics, people trafficking and money laundering too. And for every rhino population lost, a community loses a source of tourism revenue and a vital part of the eco-system.

Save the Rhino International (SRI) was founded in 1994. Focused on conserving viable populations of wild rhino, the UK-based charity raises funds and awareness to support initiatives on the ground. Long-running programmes include training rangers and providing anti-poaching equipment; funding education programmes for communities living near rhino habitat; and captive breeding for the critically endangered Sumatran rhinos. SRI started working in Viet Nam in 2012 after the country was identified as a key market for rhino horn by TRAFFIC, an organisation that investigates international wildlife crime. Since then, SRI has worked in Viet Nam with both TRAFFIC and a local organisation called Education for NatureVietnam, to raise awareness of the devas-

“The act of poaching itself is brutal.”

tating impact of the trade and encourage Vietnamese consumers to turn their back on the craze. In May 2016, SRI Ambassador, and ‘Arrow’ and ‘Lagaan’ actor Paul Blackthorne landed in Viet Nam to launch a new campaign: Save the Rhino Vietnam. A joint initiative between SRI and Education for Nature-Vietnam, the campaign aims to put the rhino horn trade firmly on the national agenda. So far, the campaign has garnered a huge amount of press attention. Predominantly aimed at young people, the campaign has seen Blackthorne speak at schools and universities and meet influencers from the business and political spheres keen to raise awareness of Viet Nam’s role in the global trade.

Blackthorne explains “Rhino horn can, and will be, an unfashionable fad from the past…This is a new trend. It’s something that we can change before it’s too late.” A host of Vietnamese superstars have also jumped on board including the country’s top comedian Xuan Bac, and one of the country’s “four divas”; Lê Hồng Nhung.

There are signs of progress in Viet Nam. Young people are engaging with the campaign and the hashtag #savetherhinovietnam is trending on social media. In July 2016 the Vietnamese government will produce new penal codes, and the team at SRI hope this means more prosecutions for traffickers and lengthy prison sentences rather than low fines. The team behind the campaign point to previous successes in stemming the demand for rhino horn in nearby Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, where the trade is now practically non-existent.

Follow us: savetherhinointernational @savetherhino

Contribution

l

Save The Rhino

| 165


Photo Essay CANADA

166

Globerovers · July 2016


Ville Quebec “Je me souviens”

de

“I remember”

Situated along the narrowing of the Saint Lawrence River, Québec City was founded in 1608 by Samuel de Champlain. As one of the oldest cities in North America, it has the 10th largest population in Canada. The city has a rich history, which becomes evident if you look at the old photographs along the walls in one of the city’s most famous landmarks, the Château Frontenac. One of the first explorers to stay here for a few nights (not in the Château Frontenac) was French explorer Jacques Cartier who built a fort at the site in 1535. Photo Essay

l

Canada

| 167


168

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


The Château Frontenac hotel is perched on top of a tall cape overlooking the Saint Lawrence River. Looking from across the Saint Lawrence River towards the Quebec City skyline, the hotel is the most prominent building. The Saint Lawrence flows in a roughly northeasterly direction, connecting North America’s Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The distance from the outflow at Lake Ontario to the ocean is 1,197 km. The river is an important commercial seaway and is kept open during the cold winter months when much of the river’s surface is covered in drifting snow and ice.

Photo Essay

l

Canada

| 169


The Château Frontenac is a true-life castle of many people’s dreams. The moment you walk through the big front doors, you will be overwhelmed by its grandeur with seemingly no boundaries. Currently a room for the night will cost you from US$315 for the Deluxe Queen Room to $600 for the Fairmont Gold Room.

170

Globerovers · July 2016


Designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1980, the Fairmont Le Château Frontenac hotel opened its doors in 1893. It is one of a series of “château” style hotels built for the Canadian Pacific Railway company across Canada. Other hotels in this series can be found in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Calgary, Lake Louise, Banff, Edmonton, Jasper, Vancouver, and in Victoria. Prior to the building of the Frontenac, the site was occupied by Château Haldimand, a castle constructed between 1784 and 1786. The castle was damaged in an 1834 fire and eventually demolished. Not surprisingly, the hotel has a rich history with some very famous people staying here over the years. Back in 1943, Winston Churchill (UK), Franklin D. Roosevelt (USA), and William Lyon Mackenzie King (Canada) joined a conference here to discuss their strategy for World War II. Countless famous personalities have graced the Le Château Frontenac with their presence.

Photo Essay

l

Canada

| 171


172

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Photo Essay

l

Canada

| 173


P

Quebec Dog Sledding

Article and photos by Jonathan Maister, a Markham (Canada) based writer and adventurer.

oise is useful, but not essential. Denis Rozon, a native Algonquin, is your guide and instructor. He is a multiple award-winning dog sledding champion whose intimate knowledge of the sport will ease even the most novice dogsledder through 10 km of Quebec’s most magnificent scenery.

Denis bred dogs for this very purpose – a perfect mix of Pointer-Alaskan-Hound. Result, success! Trophies and other accolades that attest to his success crowd his little museum.

In the bosom of Quebec’s Pontiac region, 80 km west of Gatineau and Ottawa, is the area known as Bristol. In winter, virgin snow blankets the ground beneath magnificent forests. Though much of the tree covering is immature (towering pines they are not) the view is breathtaking, and the air is crystal pure. In the heart of this region is Timberland Tours Dog Sledding.

On arrival expect an introduction to his animals, in particular the dogs that will be pulling your personal sled. Rozon takes

A dirt road off Highway 148 West takes you to this peaceful paradise. You can’t miss it! Symphonies of dogs (33 of them to be exact) announce your arrival. Denis is an expert breeder of these magnificent animals and his welcoming smile is as wide as the land that spawned him. Bitter defeat at the hands of the Scandinavians some years ago prompted Denis and others to revisit the breeds they used for dog sledding. Traditionally Canadians raced with Huskies which are as Canadian as the Codfish. Unfortunately, they were not ideal breeds for winning races. Hence 174

Globerovers · July 2016

These same hounds will usher you through pristine groomed trails under Denis’s supervision.

pride in his work. This is not merely a case of “Hop on board, hold tight and thanks, hope you had a nice day”. Denis lives and breaths dog sledding. Certain combinations of dogs are selected and harnessed to the sleds which are tethered (for good reason), to posts alongside the start of the trail. The unabashed enthusiasm of these dogs would otherwise make for an early start to your ride, without you! As a family of three, 2 adults and an eager 6 year old boy, we were no challenge for


our host to accommodate. Denis has hosted anyone from diplomats to 1-year olds through his snowy paradise. Each sled accommodates two adults, one sitting and another standing. My son was an enthusiastic passenger on the sled guided by Denis. The much younger set are positioned securely between the legs of a seated passenger parent. Dog sledding 101 follows. You are instructed how to dance your way, sled underfoot, through the 10 km of groomed trails. While you patiently listen to Denis’s words, the dog teams, four strong per sled, have no such need or inclination. The trails already beckon and they strain at their harnesses as though their very lives depended on it! I had visions of Captain Ahab and the dreaded Nantucket sleigh ride. But notwithstanding the eagerness of the hounds, it is wise to heed the words of the instructor. Dog sledding is not difficult to do and certainly safe and fun, but a sense of balance not unlike skiing and an instinct of how the sled sashays from side to side sure helps.

glided briskly through the remainder of the route. As a passenger I would compare the ride to skiing the lazy way. You do little but enjoy the view, feel the wind in your face and dodge the intermittent snow pebbles flicked back by the hind legs of the dogs. I was more than confident that my son was in good hands. Some 10 meters ahead of me at all times, his sled was under helm of one of Canada’s finest dogsledders. His squeals of delight were unfortunately lost in the wind. Twenty-something minutes of sheer delight come to an end, finally, with a resounding “whoa!” A secured metal frame with a spurred underside served as a break and onto this my good wife thrusted both her feet. The serrations bit into the snow and the dogs, finally, came to rest.

Action Report

Canada Denis is a consummate host. As you slowly regain your foothold on terra firma, he lights a wood fire for warmth and a non alcoholic hot toddy. The scent of the real wood fire which teases your nostrils is as authentic as the ride you have been on. This was no commercial rollercoaster or corporate canine undertaking with scant real regard of nature. As a perfect family adventure this was a real Canadian experience served by someone who embraces the sheer rugged Canadian beauty that abounds, and who is as Canadian as the land which sustains him.

The initial jolt as you release the sled is best experienced rather than described. Suffice to say the dogs, unleashed so to speak, give vent to all the energy they can muster. As the sled races between the trees the pace does eventually slacken, but the initial take off was definitely a-hold-on-toyour-hat moment. As the musher, you stand and subtly guide the sled; gently shifting your weight does much to enhance the ride and ensures the sled remains upright. With me as the musher my sled fell over once, my concentration lapsing as the panorama of powder snow and timber blurred by and the cool breeze tickled my ears. The snow bank and my wife’s body cushioned by winter clothing made for a soft landing. As instructed I did NOT let go of the side lying sled. To do so would have been folly. The sled, relieved of its cargo, would disappear beyond the horizon amidst a symphony of barking never to be seen again! Halfway through the 20 minute ride my wife and I switched places. Content I sat while my wife steered. She, a consummately finer dancer than I, had no trouble keeping us upright and we

Timberland Tours: www.timberlandtours.ca Address: 36, chemin Ragged Chute, Bristol (QC) J0X 1G0 Tel: +1 819 647-3185 email: info@timberlandtours.ca Action Report

l

Canada

| 175


Article

MYANMAR

176

Globerovers · July 2016


BOAT JOURNEY Ayeyarwady e h t n w o d

Explore Myanmar‛s River Villages

B

oating down the Ayeyarwady (or Irrawaddy) River sounds like Myanmar’s version of The Love Boat. It could be, but it certainly is not what I have in mind. But let’s first look at the river. This river is big. It flows from its sources in the Himalayan glaciers of Upper Myanmar all the way south through the Ayeyarwady Delta and into the Andaman Sea. A distance of about 2,170 km. The river is home to the endangered Ayeyarwady dolphin and the Ayeyarwady river shark. The delta near the Andaman Sea is fertile and home to many species including the sambar deer, wild boar, Asian elephants, leopard, Bengal tiger, crab-eating macaque, wild dog, otters, saltwater crocodiles and many exotic animals. Let’s get back to the boat. A large Chinabuilt passenger boat drifts down the Ayeyarwady River fairly regularly but infrequently from Myitkyina in the northern Kachin State down south to Mandalay. You can board the boat in Myitkyina, the most northern town on this route, or a bit downstream at Bhamo or further down at Katha (Myitkyina and Bhamo are often suspended). Getting to the point of boarding is challenging. Expensive flights go from Yan-

gon or Mandalay to Myitkyina or Bhamo. However, boarding at Katha requires a long and bumpy bus or train ride from Mandalay. This is where the fun starts! Book your train ticket a few days in advance from Mandalay to the village of Naba. This very interesting but bumpy train ride normally takes about 12 hours which means you will arrive in Naba at around 3 am. At the train station an old bus should be waiting to take the passengers on a 45 min ride (23 km) east to the town of Katha. Once you arrive in town, take a tricycle taxi to one of the three old shabby guest houses near the river. Choose among the Ayarwaddy Guest House, Eden Guest House and the New Diamond Hotel. The first two are extremely shabby while the latter is a tidbit better. Regard yourself lucky if you can board the big boat on the same day. As you board the boat and settle down in your private, but basic, cabin, you will be delighted to leave the scruffy town of Katha. Article

l

Myanmar

| 177


178

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Once the boat pulls away from the ferry docks, the fun starts. That is if you remembered to buy snacks and a big bottle of Myanmar Rum. I promise you will need it during the long night on the boat!

Wake up early in the morning with a slight headache and watch as the boat continues its drift past many small villages with hordes of excited residents congregating to welcome the boat. Wave, take photos, smile. You are the main attraction because foreigners are As the sun sets over the Ayeyarwady, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time scarce in this part of Myanmar. to buy a cold coke from the little shop on board and pull out your rum. Soon you will The boat will come to a standstill a stonehave several friends around you and as the throw away from the shore as it stops at a couple of villages along the route. Villagboat ever so slowly drifts down the Ayeyarwady, so you and your friends will empty the ers will quickly place a few planks between the riverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s muddy edge and the boat to let bottle, and eat all your snacks.

passengers get on and off. The village ladies will wade waist deep into the river to get close up to the boat to sell their wares. When you make eye contact, some fruits will fly through the air into your waiting hands, at which time you are expected to float down the money. Almost hard to resist the fruits... While they are not of great quality, they sure are cheap and the ladies are in dire need of some cash. Go ahead. Float down the money. The exciting journey continues until you eventually reach Mandalay.

Article

l

Myanmar

| 179


@Pro_Niti_Travel

@ProNitiTravel

www.pronititravel.com Contact our awesome team at

ProNiti Travel

to create your adventure trip to Myanmar

Phone / Fax: +95-1-203257 | Mobile: +95-9-420065267 or +95-9-420231540 sales@pronititravel.com

180

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Boat Information (July 2016)

SLOW BOAT: Southbound: Katha (Mon: 06:00) to Mandalay (arrives Tue 16:00) Northbound: Mandalay (Mon: 06:00) to Katha (arrives Wed 01:00) Cost: US$30 for a 2-person private cabin FAST BOAT Departure from both towns on Monday, Thursday, Saturday at 6am and 9pm. Journey takes 15 hours and costs $40 for a seat.

ESSENTIAL

Getting There

Fly into Yangon’s or Mandalay’s International airport from where an expensive domestic flight can be taken to Myitkyina or Bhamo. Highly recommended is the cheap 12-hour train ride from Mandalay to Naba and then a 45 min bus ride to Katha where the big boat can be boarded for the overnight sailing back to Mandalay.

When to Go

The best time to visit Myanmar is during the dry season which lasts roughly from October to May. June to September can be quite rainy. The cool and dry season, November to February is ideal.

Boating

The boat journey could be the highlight of your entire trip to Myanmar. Experience it just like the locals do it. Mingle with the locals and feel like a true explorer. Luxury boats with big wallet tourists are just boring.

INFORMATION

Where to Stay

Just stay on the boat for the entire trip. It should be possible to disembark at one of the villages and stay for the night if you can find accommodation. However, Myanmar authorities do not yet allow foreigners to stay in nongoverment approved accommodation, so homestays are illegal and could land you and your host in trouble.

Where to Eat

Finding a decent place to eat in this part of Myanmar can be challenging. The town of Katha is quite dull and restaurants are very basic, with limited English spoken. Best bring your own food for the boat trip.

Train Journeys

The train journey from Mandalay to Naba is one you won’t easily forget. This old train moves at about 20 km/h and shakes in all directions. The scenery along the route is lovely with great views of farmers at work.

Location

At time of writing (July 2016) the boat can only be boarded at Katha, in the Sagaing Region. Katha is about 340 km north of Mandalay. Myitkyina is a further 250 km northeast of Katha, which means Myitkyina is almost 600 km northeast of Mandalay.

Packing

As with most places in Myanmar, dress comfortably and conservatively. No special clothes are required for the boat trip. You will not want to swim in the Ayeyarwady River, so leave the swimsuit at home.

Cost of Travel

If you do it the way the locals do it, as described in this article, it should not cost you more than about $50 per day. Some operators do expensive luxury boat cruises which is just not the way Globerovers travels. Article

l

Myanmar

| 181


Follow Globerovers on Pinterest www.pinterest.com/globerovers

Scan with QR Reader

182

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


pinterest.com/globerovers 183


Photo Essay JAPAN

184

Globerovers · July 2016


Japan

s

Tohoku

Festivals

Every year at the time of harvest the people of Japanâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tohoku regions gather across the region to celebrate and pray for the best harvest possible. Photo Essay

l

Japan

| 185


Celebrated every year from August 3 to 7, Akita City’s Kantō originated as the Neburi Nagashi in the early 18th century. The present name was first used by Tetsusaku Okubo in 1881 in his effort to entertain the Meiji Emperor.. Kantō literally means “a pole with lanterns”. The poles are from bamboo and bear rice paper lanterns. Poles are normally eight metres high with a number of cross poles attached which have 46 paper lanterns shaped like rice bales hanging from them. They can weigh as much as 60 kg.

186

Kantō Matsuri, Akita Globerovers · July 2016


Photo Essay

l

Japan

| 187


Nebuta Matsuri, Aomori

188

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


The Aomori Nebuta Matsuri (Festival), is held in Aomori City every year from August 2 to 7. It is one of the most popular, and largest, festivals in the Tōhoku region. “Nebuta” refers to the float of a brave warrior-figure carried through the city by a group of dancers. The floats are constructed of painted washi paper draped over a wire frame. It can take an entire year to design and construct the floats. Floats measure up to nine metres wide and five metres tall.

Photo Essay

l

Japan

| 189


The Hirosaki Neputa Matsuri is held every year from August 1 to 7. The parade of about 80 Neputa floats goes through the city towards the call of “YahYa-Doh” by the participants. The floats are decorated with paintings of Samurai figures. Built around a bamboo structure, Neputa floats can reach up to twelve metres high and are transported through the streets by pure arm strength.

190

Globerovers · July 2016


Neputa Matsuri, Hirosaki

Photo Essay

l

Japan

| 191


Celebrated every year from August 3 to 8, the Goshogawara Tachi Neputa Matsuri is one of the four largest festivals and in a way the most impressive and memorable festival. Some of the floats stand 23 metres in height and weigh as much as 19 tons!

Tachineputa Matsuri, Goshogawara 192

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Photo Essay

l

Japan

| 193


194

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


195


SUPER

TRAVELLERS in the SPOTLIGHT A Globerovers Q&A with an incredible Australian born traveller

Shane Dallas is an Australian who calls the world his home. He is also known as The Travel Camel across Social Media where he is a founder of #TRLT (The Road Less Travelled) travel Twitter chat and a founding member of Google+ Create. Shane loves visiting places that other people rarely visit such as Afghanistan, North Korea, and Yemen.

Shane Dallas Dubai, UAE

Shane is an adventurer who inspires people to take the road less travelled through photography, Social Media, radio and presentations.

Globerovers (GR): How many countries have you visited? Shane Dallas: 99 GR: What are your top 5 most preferred countries for travel? SHANE: India, Syria (before the current civil war), Korea (both North and South), Japan, and Ethiopia. GR: Which is your most preferred country for travel and why? SHANE: India is an energetic place full of colour and chaos, with many different cultures crammed into one nation. It has an excellent history, culture, attractions, hospitality, food, and transport. Most other travel destinations seem dull by comparison.. GR: Where do you wish you were right now? SHANE: The next country I visit will be my 100th. I’m still unsure which country it will be, but I’d love to be there now to discover a new destination and celebrate a milestone. GR: Among those countries you have not yet visited, which ones are at the top of your “must do” list? SHANE: 1) Antarctica – number one on my wish list for decades after meeting a photographer who described it as the most beautiful place he’d visited. 2) Iran – I first heard about Iran when travelling in Turkey in 1992, and I’m still to get there. History and hospitality are just two reasons for visiting. 3) Mali – according to many, this is the jewel of West Africa. The music, culture and trekking options are strong incentives to visit.

Old City of Sana’a, Yemen

4) Uzbekistan – I’ve seen a lot of Central Asia, but not this country. The architecture is a huge attraction for me. 5) Iceland – everyone I know who has visited Iceland has rated it as one of their favourite destinations, so time for me to visit. 196

Globerovers · July 2016

GR: If you could spend the rest of your life somewhere other than your home country, which country would that be? SHANE: This is a difficult question to answer. I travelled for more than 3 years continuously, and know that a life of moving around is not something I can or want to do. Having a home base is important. However, what other country would that be – there are so many options to choose from. GR: Please tell us about the most incredible and memorable experience you have ever had while traveling?. SHANE: Seeing a lunar rainbow at Victoria Falls in Zambia during the Super Moon in July 2014 was breathtaking. This ethereal rainbow with its silvery sheen was a sight that will stay with me forever. However, the lunar rainbow can only be viewed during a full moon (or a night either side) in the high water season, so it is a sight reserved for only a few. GR: Based on your travel experiences, if you were to recommend the one most amazing destination for intrepid travellers, which place would that be, and why? SHANE: Travel along the Wakhan Corridor in the north-east of Afghanistan, a journey that is remarkable due to the imposing mountains that command your attention. The road (a generous term) is incredibly rough (but not dangerous) so the average speed is only 20 kilometres per hour. The Wakhan Corridor doesn’t receive many travellers. When I journeyed there in the last week of May 2013, I was the first traveller they had seen for the year. The Wakhan feels like another world – very peaceful, very friendly and very remote – far different to how you see the media portray Afghanistan. GR: Which people by nationality or subgroup would you say have been the most hospitable during your travels and why do you say so?? Wakhan Corridor, Afghanistan SHANE: The Kurdish people in Iraq are the most hospitable people I’ve ever met. The Middle East is the most welcoming region in the world, and the Kurds are the most welcoming in the region, so that is an impressive achievement. A close second would be the people of Somaliland.


Interestingly, both groups are from places that seek internationally recognised nationhood, but sadly denied to both. Perhaps, not being internationally recognised as a nation bestows an incredible generosity on people. GR: How do you think traveling around the world for independent travellers has changed over the past 20 years?? SHANE: Much, much easier to travel the world now compared to my travels back in the early-mid 90s. The Internet allows one to stay connected with people through Social Media instead of relying on phone calls, postcards and letters. Within a couple of years of my travels in 1992, I lost contact with everyone except for one person. Compare that to my recent travels where I’m still in contact with many people I met from 5-10 years ago. Planning travel is now infinitely easier. Back in the early 1990’s, one had to rely on travel agents to make any bookings, now one can do the research and booking for themselves. It allows much more choice and flexibility when planning GR: Lets get a bit more personal. Do you have any “must take” items which you travel with that you think most travellers don’t have?? SHANE: Two items. First, I carry portable speakers (usually used on computers) and attach them to my MP3 player. These are a fantastic way to transform a hotel room into a place of music. Second, I carry solitaire board games, they are small, light and provide hours of enjoyment away from the computer or smartphone – and they don’t need batteries so superb for travel delays. My two favourites are Onirim (by Shadi Torbey) and Friday (designed by Friedemann Friese). GR: What is your favourite travel resource on the internet? SHANE: Travelblog.org – a place where travellers can share their travel tales and pictures. My visit to Ethiopia was due entirely to a blog I read on that site. I have now visited six times, it is my favourite country in Africa.. GR: Let’s talk about food. Which one country that you visited has the best food in the world? Addis Ababa, Ethiopia SHANE: For a combination of variety, value and taste – Malaysia is my choice. It is an incredible mix of Malay, Chinese, Indian, and European influences. Dishes such as Nasi Lemak, Roti Canai and Char Kway Teow ensure that every meal in Malaysia is a delight. For the best food in Malaysia, head to Penang. Honourable mentions go to India, Indonesia, and Singapore.

others and it was crunchy with an acceptable, if not sharp, taste. However the second was larger and I found the scorpion meat to be extremely bitter – it was awful. Second dish was goat head soup in Zimbabwe, it was incredibly strong, a mixture of bitter and something else unmentionable. Never again. GR: What is the strangest or weirdest place you have ever spent a night? SHANE: A love hotel in Tokyo, Japan. The whole process of choosing from the vast array of hotels and rooms, to exploring the various Fried Scorpion in Beijing, China items within the room (some best not described) is most amusing. My hotel of choice that evening was one which turned into a scene of nautical splendour when the black light was illuminated – complete with seagulls and a ship with billowing sails. GR: Based on all your travel experiences, what is the best tip you can offer to new travellers? SHANE: The world is not as scary or dangerous as it appears from afar. Many new travellers get anxious about their first trip overseas, first visit to a country where people don’t speak their language, or first journey into a new continent. I remember feeling exactly the same way. However, my travels have taught me one important rule: never, ever take travel advice from someone who has not visited a country or region. A person who has never travelled to the Middle East and tells me that it’s dangerous cannot speak with any reasonable understanding or knowledge. Listen to people who have visited or lived in places you wish to visit. Ignore all others. The same applies to the media – treat very cautiously what you take from them as well. A news report about a riot in one suburb in one city in one country cannot be used to judge the safety and security of the entire nation, region or continent – but this often occurs, especially in Africa and Middle East. GR: What is the single best lesson you have learned about the world during your travels? SHANE: That humanity is like a shining silver thread that weaves through every person and binds us all together. GR: What is the main focus of your travels? SHANE: To learn more about the world and its people. This desire to learn has been the largest motivating force for my travels. Due to my current duties as a travel photographer, Social Media specialist, keynote speaker and radio personality, I can share this knowledge with others.

GR: Where was the best meal you have ever had during your travels? SHANE: Cannot answer this as it is difficult to compare that Nasi Kandar in Penang, Malaysia, with a Salmon Casserole in Hetta, Finland, or a Shiro with Injeera in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheTravelCamel

GR: And where was the worst food during your travels? SHANE: Two particular dishes. Deep fried scorpion in Beijing, China. There were three skewered – the first was smaller than the

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/shanedallas

Google+: www.plus.google.com/+ShaneDallas Facebook: www.facebook.com/TheTravelCamel Instagram: www.instagram.com/thetravelcamel/ Website: www.thetravelcamel.com Spotlight

l

Traveller

| 197


TRAVELLERS in the SPOTLIGHT A Globerovers Q&A with two adventure travellers

Chris Wong

Linda Ballou

Globerovers (GR): How many countries have you been to? Chris Wong (CW): I started travelling at the age of 21. So far I have been to 21 countries and 516 cities.

Globerovers (GR): How many countries have you been to? Linda Ballou (LB): I’ve never counted. I toured Europe a couple of times. I prefer outdoor adventure travel, river rafting in Costa Rica, horse treks in Ireland and Ecuador, along with my recent safari in Africa.

Hong Kong Island

GR: What are your top 5 most preferred countries for leisure travel? CW: I don’t really do leisure travel. Instead of resting my feet and visiting “must see” attractions, I like to venture into lesser known places, dig into their culture. When I do travel for leisure, I’d say Thailand and Japan are great, solely for their cuisine. GR: Which is your most preferred country for travel and why? CW: Hard to pick one, but I’d say Pakistan, because people are super hospitable, their culture is exotic, and the landscape is amazing! GR: Where do you wish you were right now? CW: Holland. I’m addicted to cycling in their flat and well organized bike lanes that cover everywhere and I have always felt safe. GR: Among those countries you have not yet visited, which ones are at the top of your “must do” list? CW: Iran, Mongolia, Congo Republic, Tibet (to me it’s a country). GR: If you could spend the rest of your life somewhere other than your current home country, which country would that be? CW: Anywhere where people are open-minded, have a life and are not obsessed with consumerism. GR: Please tell us about the most incredible and memorable experience you have ever had while travelling? CW: Dancing on a rice paddy with farmers. I got seriously drunk by midday; received a few blessing-lashes from the chief under the moon; was bitten by a condor which was the focus of the ceremony; hit by a bull in a free-range bull fight; and attended parties invited by villagers. I got all these experiences by trusting a strange young man in Cusco, Peru, with a language barrier. Together we went to the most exotic and memorable festival in my life that lasted for a few days, deep inside the mountains with no other tourists around. GR: Based on your travel experiences, if you were to recommend the one most amazing destination for intrepid travellers, which place would that be, and why? CW: Second class train travel in India. If you can endure the chaotic, sardine-can packed and filthy carriages, you will be rewarded with a glimpse of the real India. Meet some of the friendliest locals and enjoy the freedom of travelling around without pre-bookings. 198

Globerovers · July 2016

Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles, CA, USA

GR: Which is your most preferred country for travel and why? LB: Phantasmagorical New Zealand remains my favorite destination. The South Island is so easy to navigate with exciting discoveries around every bend in the road. The Kiwis are fun-loving people. GR: Among the countries you have visited which do you feel people must visit? LB: Africa is the last of the great wild places, but the national parks are turning into island sanctuaries as people continue to nibble on their borders. I was privileged to go on safari in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia where 120k elephants still roam, and huge herds of antelope, giraffe and zebra compete for grass in the savannah. GR: Where do you wish you were right now? LB: I long to go to the Cook Islands. I envision the Cook’s with their tranquil, turquoise lagoons to be like Hawai’i was 50-years ago - pristine, laid back and gorgeous. GR: Among the countries you have not yet visited, which ones are at the top of your “must do” list? LB: Patagonia and the Lake District of Chile are on the top of my list. On the way there, I want to stop in Buenos Aires and go to the Iguazu Falls. GR: If you could spend the rest of your life somewhere other than your current home country, which country would that be? LB: The North Island of NZ, where the majority of the people live, is like California was 50 years ago with miles of undeveloped beaches. Auckland is like a baby San Francisco with sail boats peppering the bay, but with mild temps year round. It is not congested like California. Plus, I love the people GR: Tell us about the most incredible and memorable experience you have ever had while travelling. LB: Rafting the Tatshenshini River from the Yukon to the Gulf of Alaska through the largest pristine wilderness area in North America was a phenomenal experience. When I began the 125-mile run I was a thrill-seeking tourist. At the end I was an environmentalist feeling the responsibility to help save the last of our wild places and animals that live in them from harm.


Lost Angel Walkabout ~ One Traveler’s Tales ~

Author - Linda Ballou

www.lindaballouauthor.com

Linda, what inspired you to become an adventure travel writer? My parents uprooted me from my California home when I was 13 and took me to Haines, Alaska, a pioneer town of 2,000 mostly wild inhabitants. Although I loved the majesty of the place and made many new friends, I felt isolated. I turned to books for company and began journaling. Nature walks in the mists of the Tongass Rainforest in southeast Alaska were where I felt most at home. It became my solace. In my story “Lost Angel Phones Home” I return to my Alaskan roots to re-connect to nature and put my molecules back in their proper place. My mother was an adventure hound always seeking new experiences. I’m afraid I inherited her restless spirit. She rafted the Tatshenshini River through the glacier fields of Alaska at the age of 65. I followed in her hip-boot prints with pen and paper in hand years later.

How are the stories in your book different from the articles on your website? On each trip that I take, I write at least two nuts-andbolts articles for my host. In these pieces I try to engender a sense of place and let people know what to expect on the journey. I share them in various travel magazines. The travel essays in my book reflect my personal response to a given adventure. These stories have a dramatic spine, more developed characters, and a lesson that I learned from the trip. These stories fall into the category of travel literature and many of them have been published in anthologies.

What is your favorite story in the book? ”Irish Mist” details my truant behavior at a riding school in the wild-west coast of Ireland. I was a stow-away on a cross-country jumping course and lived to tell about it! This was probably the most dangerous and stupid thing I have ever done. But, I left there walking on air for about a week. It was the pinnacle of my horse-jumping career and remains one of my fondest memories.

BOOK REVIEW Globerovers Magazine talks to author Linda Ballou about her book, Lost Angel Walkabout.

Now available at Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, and Lindaballouauthor.com.

What travel writers have influenced your writing? Tim Cahill, author of nine adventure travel books, is my travel-writing hero. I interviewed Tim at his home in Livingston, Montana and included it in “Lost Angel Walkabout.” I love Paul Theroux and his often caustic comments about the places he has explored. I wrote a piece titled “Jack London and Me.” The master of adventure writing was a great traveler. I discovered that our paths crossed in Alaska, Hawai’i, and California. I love his lust for life and engaging writing and have visited his gravesite in the “Valley of the Moon” to pay my respects more than once.

When will we see your next book? I am working on collecting stories for “The Lost Angel Rides Again”, or is it Wild Ballou Wander? What do you think? Rafting the Grand Canyon, my recent safari in less-travelled regions of Africa, and my horse trek in Ecuador, along with a story about swimming with piranha in the Amazon basin will be included in my next book. Right now, I am intent on getting to Patagonia and the Lake District of Chile, the Cook Islands, and perhaps Machu Picchu. “Lost Angel Walkabout ~ One Traveler’s Tales” is available at Amazon.com, Goodreads.com, and Lindaballouauthor.com Spotlight

l

Book Review

| 199


Bolivia tried to kill us

A year trekking and travelling in South America Author - Tony Hastie

www.facebook.com/boliviatriedtokillus

Bolivia tried to kill you? Really? Yes, really! But perhaps not in the way you’d expect... Freezing temperatures, hygiene standards, public transport, ‘flu in the Amazon and the world’s most dangerous toilet all conspired to end our days... and we definitely thought death would be the easy way out on some of these occasions! In our entire year of travel, there was no other country in Latin America where we encountered more mishaps. It was kind of fun facing them, as you have to do on the road, but only in hindsight! We’ll dine out on our Bolivia stories for years to come.

Was Uyuni part of the conspiracy? It most certainly was! We arrived in Uyuni after a three-day 4x4 tour from San Pedro de Atacama in Chile. I woke up on day three of the tour and decided to wear shorts again, as I’d done for the last four months. We had a 4am start to see the sunrise on the salt flats. By the time I got to Uyuni about 12 hours later, I couldn’t feel my legs! As I was attempting to thaw out in our hotel room (in my sleeping bag, under two duvets) where the room temperature was -2°C, my wife Amanda decided to take her first shower in three days. It was ice cold, but not having had facilities up until this point, and feeling the need to be clean, she pressed ahead, shrieking, and quickly jumped into her sleeping bag too. Needless to say, we both stayed under covers for a very long time. When we finally ventured out, it was to a restaurant where Amanda managed to contract Salmonella.

Would you still recommend a visit to the salt flats? Absolutely. One of the highlights of 14 months in Latin America was the tour from San Pedro de Atacama to Uyuni. Two days of spectacular scenery at above 4,000m across the altiplano (high plains); snow-capped mountains; crystal clear, brightly coloured lakes; geysers and hot pools; deserts and smoking volcanoes, and thousands of flamingos kept the camera clicking nonstop. 200

Globerovers · July 2016

BOOK REVIEW Globerovers Magazine talks to author Tony Hastie about his new book, Bolivia Tried To Kill Us.

Now available at Amazon.com and www.smashwords.com I took a thousand photos. On the third day we hit the salt flats. It was quite a sight, unlike anything I’ve ever seen. That said, the two days prior are what really made Uyuni worthwhile. If you happen to find yourself in this part of the world, pencil in three or four days and take the grand tour. You won’t regret it.

What’s the best way to get about in Bolivia? If you want to get anywhere quickly and comfortably, fly. If you want an adventure, take a bus! Being on a budget, we went with the ‘adventure’ option. Most of the roads we travelled during our three months in Bolivia were pretty bad, and if they weren’t, the drivers generally made them that way. We came up with a short list of rules to follow while on public transport: 1) Never, ever, under any circumstances look out the window when travelling alongside a cliff. 2) Never occupy the seats immediately behind the driver. You will see what he sees, or doesn’t. 3) There is NO SUCH THING as five star comfort! Do not expect working toilets on buses (or anywhere for that matter!) 4) And most importantly. NEVER take a 400g bar of nut chocolate onto a bus in Bolivia. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. J “Bolivia tried to kill us - a year trekking and travelling in South America” is available on Amazon and at Smashwords.com (in most formats).


In a future issue... Sri Lanka

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka has a documented history that spans over 3,000 years. While it may be less famous for its history, it certainly is renowned for its tea - as in Ceylon Tea, and its rolling hills of tea plantations. But that’s not all - think elephants, coastline, beaches, and rocks. Big rocks. We’re on a trip to start our climb at 3 AM to ascend the mountain by climbing 5,200 steps to the very top. In time for sunrise at the temple.

Georgia

Bordered by Russia, the Black Sea, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, the small nation of Georgia is often described as being “at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe”. With a history that goes back many centuries, the country is rich in architectural masterpieces such as the Sveti-Tskhoveli Cathedral in Mtskheta, and the most picturesque Tsminda Sameba Church (Gergeti Trinity Church) near Kazbegi in northern Georgia.

Vietnam

The region around Sapa in northern Vietnam is known for its fine, rugged scenery rich in cultural diversity. Many colourful hill tribes and ethnic minorities live in the area such as the H’mong, Dao, Tay, and the Giay people. Put on your hiking boots as we head into the mountains to meet these tribes and spend some quality time with them. From the fog-enshrouded village of Sapa we hike past rice paddies and waterfalls as we disappear into the unknown!

Vanuatu

The Pacific island nation formally known as the Republic of Vanuatu, lies a few hours off the Australian east coast close to neighbouring islands including the Solomon Islands, New Caledonia and Fiji. It’s a rugged place where tribes make their clothes and houses entirely from the natural materials gathered from the jungle. They revere Prince Philip of England and John Frum - a fallen American World War II serviceman. Watch out for the active Mount Yasur and the dugongs.

Belarus

Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko has been described by U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, as “Europe’s last dictator”. Walking around the capital, Minsk, you can understand the impact his rule is having on this country. While travel can be restricted and eyes could be focussed on a lone traveling foreigner, this is no North Korea. Get on the train and travel far west to Grodno, or to the incredible Mir Castle to the southwest of Minsk. Do attend a real old-school circus.

Laos

One of the few single party communist countries left on this planet, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has a politburo dominated by military generals. Forget the politics and head up to the little village of Vang Vieng for some caving and cycling among the endless rice paddies separated by massive limestone rocks. Don’t miss out on the town of Luang Prabang known for its many monasteries and saffron-clad monks, as well as the hill tribes living in the surrounding hills.

Alaska, USA

Probably one of the most beautiful places on this planet, Alaska! The Kenai Peninsula extends approximately 240 km southwest of Anchorage, and is famous for the glacier-covered Kenai Mountains, small villages, rugged coastline fringed with massive glacier-tongues, and quaint villages on remote islands. The waters are known for their halibut, killer whales (orcas), and the many sea otters. Bald eagles are plentiful and so are moose, puffins, and the black and brown (grizzly) bears.

201


202

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


203


204

Globerovers ¡ July 2016


Globerovers Magazine, July 2016  

In this 7th issue of Globerovers Magazine, the feature destination is the incredible Salar de Uyuni of southern Bolivia. Other articles focu...

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you