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Fall 2009

Spirits of America

Toledo’s Heart + Soul Adventure in Laos


of sibling travel

Petra, a new seven wonder Leisure & Wellness

Religion & Faith

History & Culture

Eco & Adventure


photos by:

George Fischer

design by:

Anas Ruhman,

Simply Authentic To receive a free DVD and more information, please contact the Jordan Tourism Board N.A. 1-703-243-7404 •

/contents/ Fall 2009


70 80 86

SPIRITS OF AMERICA Regions making history through libations. TOLEDO - ARTISAN PAST AND PRESENT A look at the artistry that still thrives in the streets of Toledo. THE PESCADORES - GEMS IN THE TAIWAN STRAIT Asia’s best kept secret, a little talked about archipelago known in Taiwan as Penghu.


80 ON THE COVER: 70 Horse country in Kentucky

faces of travel

22 26 28 30

THE INNOVATIVE HOTELIER Peggy Engh Ward, owner of Riad Amirat Al Jamal in Marrakech, shares her journey from traveler to hotelier. INSIDE THE AUTHOR’S STUDIO Q & A with author Thomas Kohnstamm of the popular novel, “Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?” TRAVELER MAKING A DIFFERENCE Scott Harrison, founder of charity:water, explains his mission to help bring clean water to those in need.


CELEB IN THE AIR We catch up with celebrity make-up artist Carmindy of “What Not To Wear” and find out how she travels.



32 34 38 40



CANINE CORRESPONDENT Our pint-sized correspondent sheds light on the pet-friendly side of the Riviera Maya in Mexico. GREEN REPORT Although it may not seem green at first, Buenos Aires has a green underground. MOMMIE FILES Tips on how to tackle Kona’s coffee trail with toddler in tow. 24 HOURS HERE AND THERE In this issue we explore Cheyenne, Wyoming and Guadalajara, Mexico to show you what is hot and not to be missed.

46 50 58 64

ADVENTURE LIFE vs SPA LIFE Adventuring in Laos vs Asian spa treatments you can tackle at home. TICKET TO ROMANCE vs SOLO FLYER Two islands done two different ways, Anguilla on a babymoon and Tahiti on a solo retreat. MANFRIENDS vs GIRLFRIENDS Tips on traveling as sisters and brothers.

48 in every issue


FRUGAL FOODIE vs GREGARIOUS GOURMET A look at the foodie culture of Portland, Maine.



Fall 2009, Volume I, Issue 3

Michelle RODRIGUEZ Publisher + Editor-in-Chief LAUREN ashley TIRADOR Copy Editor

Loli Studios Design

Jack Azar Director of Photography


You CAN afford private travel "Luxury without the high price tag" Editors, National Geographic Adventure

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Ellen Barone, Aaron Bradford and Georgina Pearson, John and Dena Braun, Nancy D. Brown, Liza Carlson, Lyla Naseem Gleason, Sara Keagle, Meg Keough, Carrie Marshall, Jenny McIver, Lanora S. Mueller, Robert J. Nebel, Jason Prystowsky, Kimberly and Elizabeth Sanberg, Vanessa Torres, Carrie Williams

Hugh Jackson

Director of Marketing

ARI silverman

Account Executive

805-222-0084 Toll-Free (888) 903-2001

or contact your travel professional

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HipCompass Escapes (ISSN 1947-6205) is published quarterly (Spring/March, Summer/ June, Fall/September, Winter/December) by HipCompass, Inc., 3463 State St. #404, Santa Barbara, CA, 93105; 1-800-609-4011. HipCompass is a trademark of HipCompass, Inc. All contents of this publication © copyright 2009 HipCompass, Inc. and is protected by international copyright law. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. The magazine accepts no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, artwork or photographs.


With prices starting at $1,050* per person per week...

Michelle playing with an art installation at the 21C Museum Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky

Travel is many things to many people. For some it is about first class and luxury...for others it is about the thrill of the having nothing to your name but a loosely packed rucksack...and for many, it is a job, a means to an end. I was once told in school that there are three basic needs in life: food, shelter and clothing. I beg to differ...there are four in today’s world...without travel, our inner spirit is bound like a damsel in distress awaiting her fate while tied to train tracks. Travel sets free the mind, body and soul. No matter what the word “travel” means to you, we can all agree that travel is now a way of life in today’s ever shrinking world...

...who said yachting was only for the rich...

Michelle Rodriguez Editor-in-Chief * based on double occupancy, single supplement fees apply, rates and availability are subject to change

Don’t be a chicken....get out there and travel....

....tons of tiny travel tidbits today....


Ellen Barone did what many of us only dream of doing: at the age of 35, she traded a successful academic career for the wild blue yonder and set out to explore the world and herself. In the decade since that intrepid decision, she has turned passion into profession, journeying to more than 60 countries.

Aaron Bradford and Georgina Pearson are young and carefree fulltime travelers and fulltime fun-lovers. Recently engaged, they have traveled extensively through Southeast Asia, and are still going strong. Their escapades are brought to life on their feature packed Happytime blog, which they update from the road.

An avid traveler, Meg Canadian expat and culture Keough had a rough first vulture, Carrie Marshall year adapting to traveling has been bouncing around as a mom. Rather than stay Asia for seven years. In home, she committed to between her frequent find ways to deal and blogs wanderings she works as a about it on her website full-time writer and editor Backpack to Buggy. Meg is in Taipei. Marshall offers a freelance writer, editor tantalizing tales of her and loves planning travel as travels abroad on her web much as traveling. site, My Several Worlds. She currently calls Planet Taiwan home.


Dena Braun has crossed the globe to bring the best active luxury and spa travel destinations to readers of publications like Bridal Guide, Robb Report Luxury Resorts, Spa Magazine and Desert Living. She often travels with her husband John T. Braun, a professional photographer, who brings her words to life with standout imagery.

Jenny McIver is a veteran business traveler. She was inspired to put all those miles to use and take a month-long trip of a lifetime around the world in 2006. It was love at first flight and she has since taken 3 more RTW trips, visiting and writing about more than 40 countries.

Nancy D. Brown is the Uptake Travel Editor, writes the What a Trip blog and is a Contra Costa Times Lamorinda Sun columnist. She enjoys speaking on panels and specializes in adventure and luxury travel. Recent trips include walking Switzerland, snorkeling Mexico’s Paradise Reef and paddling with the Hawaiian Sailing Canoes. Next stop: Norway.

A lover of slow food and slow travel, Chicago-based writer and photographer Lanora Schoeny Mueller enjoyed six weeks in Paris last winter, including a month spent caring for an absent American expatriate’s cats and studio apartment. For updates on her travels, visit Lanora’s blog, Writing Travel.

Robert J. N editor of Me online maga is a writer an producer/edit features, busi interviews, film reviews have several new magazines in Atlanta Journ tion and Pied magazine. R member MensTrav

Liza Carlson’s earliest memory of travel is sifting through gravel and looking for agates at the Chambord Castle in France. She was 4 years old. Since then, Liza has been lucky enough to travel and shoot photography in Asia, East Africa, The Middle East, The Americas, and a return trip to Europe.

Nebel is the en’s Traveler azine. Robert nd television tor. His travel iness profiles, m and theater e appeared in wspapers and ncluding The nal-Constitudmont Review Robert is a of SATW.

Whitney Elizabeth is a portrait artist and wedding photographer based out of Santa Barbara, California. She is constantly searching for ways to create a better, greener business while continuing to create lovable, classic and fresh images. When Whitney is not working or traveling, you can find her on the beach with her dog, Bear.

From family vacations, teenage visits to Europe and a college semester abroad to dozens of girlfriend getaways and couples vacations, Lyla Naseem Gleason has always been one to say yes to a getaway. As the Globetrotting Bride she shares her passion for romantic escapes.

Kimberly and Elizabeth Jason Prystowsky MD,MPH Sanberg are avid travelis a board certified emerers committed to reducAfter graduating from the gency physician in Southing their environmental University of Southern ern California. Though impact without spending California,Vanessa Torres he originally trained in a fortune. They met while began her career as a emergency medicine in the studying abroad in St. Pejournalist in Los Angeles. United States, he has found tersburg, Russia and have She has written for several himself working as a doctraveled to a collective 29 national publications, is tor in a variety of medical countries. They currently a published author and and public health capacilive in Minneapolis, MN now writes and blogs for ties in Africa, Asia, Central and are co-editors of Go various websites, including America, the Caribbean, Green Travel Green. her own, That Happened Native American reserva- to Me. tions, and Antarctica. Jason supports:

Sara Keagle, a 16 year Flight Attendant for a major airline, is here to share her adventures, trials and tribulations in hopes of offering you a more pleasant in-flight experience. She is also willing to give you a sneak peek behind the galley curtain, so fasten your seat belt and prepare for take-off.

Carrie Williams has visited half the U.S. and over 30 European cities in less than eight years. Her writing career began in 2006 at a Chicago tourist magazine. She is the author of an award-winning travel blog and the Community Manager for an international exchange of over 500 travel bloggers.


Travel Web

Although Google Apps is most commonly known as an office tool, it can easily be used to plan the ultimate getaway. Google Apps allows you to never touch a pen to paper – as all your information is located online (rather, “in the clouds”), making it conveniently accessible anywhere you are. First and foremost: it’s important to plan a trip around the availability of everyone’s schedule. Using Google Calendars makes this task a breeze. Discover in an instant who’s available – and who’s not - by syncing your family’s (or traveling companion’s) calendars. There’s also the option of sending an SMS flight alert to your cell phone. With this feature, there’s no excuse for anyone missing the flight. There are features the whole gang can use such as Google Docs. You can put together an itinerary and share it with the rest of your travel companions. It can also be used


special thanks to productions to make collaborative documents such as a “Top 10 MustSee” list, that way everyone can get in on the planning. The docs are accessible at any cybercafé and on smart phones, so printing is unnecessary. Google Docs can also be used to save crucial phone numbers and can help you share a “minitravelogue” with your friends and family back at home. Another way to communicate with those you left behind is through Gmail video chat. As long as all of your friends back at home have a Gmail account and video capabilities on their computers, you can chat for free using WiFi on the road. Throughout the trip, upload your most treasured souvenirs (your photos) to Picasa for free, and you will be able to share them instantly with the mere click of a button. Another advantage is that you instantly have back up files in case something happens to your camera or laptop. At HipCompass Escapes, we were so jazzed by our Google Apps discovery, we decided to make a video about it. Click on the video above to watch…

WalkAbout® Lite 3 luggage from Travelpro is the ultimate in lightweight durability. With its unique Suitfolder and Packing Board system, WalkAbout Lite 3 is loaded with practical benefits for miles of hassle-free traveling. Visit to locate a retailer near you.

©Travelpro International, Inc. 2009. All rights reserved.

Light. Durable. Goes the distance.™

The Goods

Traveling Photo Essentials For those that have graduated from the point-and-shoot camera to the world of the SLR…here are a few must-have bags and accessories…

Lowepro Fastpack 250

Our pick for the best carryon bag as it holds a laptop, camera, and multiple lenses, while leaving enough room for other items. The bag is comfortable to wear and provides strong padding, so there is no reason to worry about the equipment inside. $119.99

National Geographic’s Walkabout Tote Bag

An alternative to a backpack but still made to hold a camera, lens and a laptop. Includes a padded case for a camera and one lens. Additional side pockets help keep you organized on the road. $90


Kata Digital Rucksack DR466 More compact than

the Fastpack but still holds a laptop and camera/lenses. Added features include a waterproof cover and strap that attaches it to your carryon luggage. $85

National Geographic’s Backpack NG5162

Another laptop/ camera/lens combo backpack, but what stood out about this bag was the fact that it does not look anything like a camera bag ideal for the low-profile traveler. $175

Lowepro Lens Case When you

want to sightsee and not lug your lenses, this handy case can safely hold a lens and conveniently attaches to bag straps or a belt. $18.99

Lowepro Voyager S Strap The most

comfortable and versatile strap we found. The nylon webbing helps against slipping, and there is also a detachable memory card wallet for easy access to your cards. $29.99

Shootsac If you travel with a carryall backpack on the

plane, but don’t feel like lugging all your equipment around while out for the day, then the Shootsac is a must. Created as a solution for photographers to have easy access to their lenses, the fact that it becomes flat when empty makes it easy to pack and takes up little room in your suitcase. Shootsac also sells interchangeable covers, making it look less like a camera bag. $179

National Geographic Tundra Tripod

Weighing only 2.2 lbs and found at a low-price point, this is the perfect entry-level travel tripod. Easy to use and works for both video and still cameras. $80

Gitzo Traveler Tripod GT1550T The crème

de la crème of traveling tripods. Made of carbon so it is lightweight but strong, it folds down to a measly 14 inches and weighs 2.2 lbs. This tripod was the fastest to set up and shoot with, which is necessary when on the go. Its compact size and weight allows it to fit in your carry-on. Includes a built-in compact head. $737  13

Dr. Feelgood Insect Repellent

How to keep those pesky critters at bay...


n important accessory to any traveler is insect repellant. Choosing an insect repellant can be a daunting task. Where should you start? The first step is to know where you are traveling to. What insects are you trying to protect yourself from? Is it mosquitoes who carry illnesses such as West Nile Virus, Yellow Fever, Dengue Fever or Malaria? For example, malaria should be taken seriously, given that it causes 3 million deaths annually, not to mention ending many a travelers’ adventures early to return home sick. Are you trying to protect yourself from ticks, which can transmit Lyme disease or Rocky Mountain spotted fever? Maybe you are worried about biting flies or fleas? And even if you are taking prophylactic tablets for malaria or have been vaccinated for yellow fever, the best way to prevent illness is to prevent being bitten. Practice common sense. Avoid mosquito-infested areas during dawn and dusk when they like to feed. Search your body for ticks after a hike through brush or woods. Wear insect repellent. However, not all repellents are equal - so here is what you need to know. The American CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends two specific active ingredients: DEET (N,N-diethyl3-methylbenzamide), and Picaridin (also called piperidine). It


also recognizes P-Menthane-3,8-Diol (PMD), which is the active ingredient in the oil of lemon eucalyptus. Most of my discussion will involve these three chemicals because they have a great safety profile and are the most effective and effectiveness is good! DEET was designed in 1946 by the USA army and has been available for civilian use since 1957. It deters mosquitoes, biting flies, chiggers, midges, ticks and fleas. No other chemical has such a broad coverage of insects and has as long of a duration of action. DEET greater than 30% concentration does not offer more protectiveness, however it does offer a longer duration of protection. Products of 10% are effective for approximately 2 hours. A concentration of 24% provides an average of 5 hours of protection. Newer extended release formulations have made it possible to decrease the concentration of DEET without sacrificing its duration (HourGuard or Ultrathon). Products 1035% are adequate in most circumstances, but if you are going into a high insect infestation area and are expecting to sweat or swim you can go higher in concentration. The biggest complaint people have about DEET is that it can be irritating to the skin and can damage clothes and synthetic fibers such as spandex, plastic (watch crystals, eyeglass frames), painted/varnished surfaces and rayon. Some patients dislike the oily and sticky feeling DEET can cause. DEET can decrease the

roberto pirola / dreamstime

by Jason Prystowsky MD, MPH

You expected to see the sights – just not from here.

Prepare for the Unexpected Medical Insurance │ Medical Evacuation │ Assistance Services When you travel, remember: • Accidents happen everywhere. • You may have to pay expensive out-of-pocket costs for medical care. • Language barriers can affect your medical treatment.

It’s more than insurance... It’s MEDEX!

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Dr. Feelgood

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efficacy of sunscreen when used simultaneously – so keep this in mind if you are out in the sun. The AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommends DEET for children over 2 months of age. DEET is safe in pregnancy. It is the gold standard of insect repellants. When I am working within a malaria epidemic, DEET is how I protect myself. Picaridin (also called piperidine) is derived from pepper and has been sold in Europe for years. It is effective against mosquitoes, ticks, and flies (but has a less broad coverage than DEET). It was approved by the American EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in 2005 as a 7 or 15% solution, but has been successfully used at higher concentrations in Europe and Australia. When used in high concentrations it is as effective as DEET in repelling pests, but it can have a shorter duration of action and needs to be reapplied frequently. It is very safe and nontoxic. The agent is odorless, non-sticky, non-greasy, nonirritating, and does not stain fabric or degrade plastic. Most people find picaridin to be much more pleasant to use when compared to DEET and should be considered if you have sensitive skin and cannot tolerate DEET. PMD (the active ingredient in eucalyptus oil) is the natural repellent recognized by the CDC, and is the most widely used Chinese repellant, quwenling. It is a plant-derived ingredient that has been listed by the EPA as effective against mosquitoes, biting flies, ticks and gnats. In the US, PMD is available as 65% or 10%. Generally PMD is half as effective as DEET with a much shorter duration of action. It is well tolerated, with occasional skin and eye irritation. AAP recommends it not be used on kids under the age of 3 years, and to avoid use on hands or near eyes. Some people complain about the very strong distinct odor. Be cautious of other natural products in today’s market where “all natural” is often mistaken as healthier or more effective. One paper put out by scholars from Harvard School of Public Health concerning insect repellent warned “alternative ‘natural’ products generally fail to live up to their reputations for greater safety and effectiveness and offer their users a false sense of security.” Citronella oil has been registered for use in the United States since 1948 and when applied to the skin, can repel mosquitoes, ticks and some flies, but it is far less consistent than DEET and has much shorter duration of action. Citronella candles are popular, but they are only marginally more effective than plain candles or incense, and their effectiveness wears off quickly the further you are from the candle. Other plant essential oils including cedar, verbena, pennyroyal, geranium, lavender pine, cajeput, rosemary, basil, thyme, allspice, garlic and peppermint all have variable effectiveness and very short, inconsistent durations, perhaps protecting you for only minutes after application. Electronic mosquito repellants that emit high-pitched sounds inaudible to human ears have been shown to have no effectiveness at preventing mosquito bites. Permethrin is not a mosquito repellant, but it is good to have around. It is an insecticide that can be applied to clothing, tents or bedding, but not to the skin. It is very effective against mosquitoes, flies, ticks and chiggers. The combination of a DEET-based insect repellent on exposed skin plus permethrin treated clothing while sleeping under a permethrin treated bednet provides the best protection available against insect bites. I usually don’t like to promote one particular product, but my personal favorite repellant is Ultrathon (by 3M). It is 33% DEET and has been shown to provide 12 hours of 95% protection against mosquitoes. Never leave home without it! The final an insect repellent that you will use and that you know is effective. Apply it frequently. Also use other adjuncts such as sleeping under a bednet at night, wearing permethrin soaked clothes and avoiding places at the time of day mosquitoes like to bite (dawn and dusk). Search for ticks all over your body after a hike. And as always, be safe, be well and feel good. Safe travels!

For further information: Center for Disease Control: American Academy of Pediatrics: Environmental Protection Agency:

Jason Prystowsky MD,MPH is a board certified emergency physician currently practicing in Southern California


...guiding you to the best in travel...

Flight Crew Tales

ou settle into your seat, you turn on your iPod and finally drown out everyone around you. The stress of getting to the airport, going through security, dragging your bags onto the airplane and stowing everything, careful to get out your music, books, and the water you paid a fortune for in the airport – is finally behind you.You close your eyes and just as you are starting to relax, the flight attendant comes up the aisle and barks at you to, “Turn off all electronic devices!” She speaks loud enough for you to hear her over your music, forcing you to “come back” to the stressful environment you thought you left behind. You give the flight attendant a look, an irritated look. It’s actually not personal, you’re just crammed in a small space, uncomfortable and frustrated. The flight attendant gives you a look back. It’s not personal, she’s just had to remind a hundred other people to turn off their electronic devices too...and the door has already been shut for five minutes. You think to yourself,“Why does my iPod have to be off? What a stupid rule. I highly doubt anything would happen to the airplane, in fact I know people leave their electronic devices on...they just wait for the flight attendants to walk by and then go right back to using them!” What if I told you, the reason your electronic devices needed to be off, wasn’t so much for the safety of the


by Sara Keagle

aircraft but for your safety? In an emergency situation, seconds matter! Yes, seconds! Believe it or not, every time there is an airline tragedy, flying actually becomes safer. The NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) reports their findings and improvements and changes are made. The minimum crew for a United States Airline is one flight attendant per fifty seats and every year the airline must evacuate a full aircraft carrying minimum crew within ninety seconds. Ninety seconds! Imagine you have just been in a crash, and after all violent motion has stopped, it is pitch black and you don’t know if you are upside down or sideways. You are dependant on the flight attendant’s training. You are dependant on their direction...if your headphones are still on your head, you will lose time, possibly the few more seconds you needed to get off the burning plane. Don’t believe me? Listen to the passenger accounts from the United crash in Sioux City. Dark and upside down was exactly were they found themselves, yet miraculously over half the passengers survived. Many passengers say they were frozen in their seats and didn’t know what to do until they heard the flight attendants yelling their commands, directing everyone to release their seat belts and get out. So by turning off those electronic devices until we reach cruising altitude, you are

zhudifeng / dreamstime


Would it help if you knew the reasons behind the rules?

not only helping your flight attendant, you could be helping yourself. And hey, while you’re in this helping mood, why not look over your briefing card for the nearest exits; they could be different from the last plane you were on. Flight attendants do a thirty second review during take off and landing; maybe passengers should do the same. Then when we hit 10,000 feet you really can sit back and relax...and turn that iPod back on. Here are a few other common rules passengers become frustrated with: • Your seatbelt needs to be on whenever possible because you never know when clear air turbulence will hit. • Your seat back and tray table must be in their upright/stowed position so that in the event of an evacuation everyone has a clear path out to the aisle.


• Flight Attendants cannot accept dirty diapers as trash because we are not allowed to dispose human waste in our galley/ kitchen...dispose of these in the lavatory.

Give A Child With A Cleft A Second Chance At Life.

• A lap child must be on the outside of your lap belt and not buckled with you because in the event the plane stops short and fast, your body weight could crush your child’s internal organs. Always remember, our rules are mandated by the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration). Flight Attendants are required to inform all passengers of these rules; every rule is to ensure that you have a safe flight! Click here to view the United crash in Sioux City to see what I mean about seconds: watch?v=vTXr1QR3rbQ


10:42 AM

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Smile Train provides free cleft surgery which takes as little as 45 minutes and costs as little as $250. It gives desperate children not just a new smile—but a new life.

“ of the most productive charities— dollar for deed— in the world.” — The New York Times

Donate online: or call: 800-932-9541

To read more from Sara Keagle visit



...follow us as we take you on a tour o Historic Hotel Reopens in New Orleans The Roosevelt New Orleans welcomes its first guests after $145- million dollar historic restoration. Currently in its soft opening, grand opening events will take place during the weekend of October 23-25th. The historic hotel, known for glamour and luxury was built in 1893. The addition of a Guerlain Spa, 504 rooms, including 135 luxury suites, are all to ensure lavishness. The Roosevelt Returns Package (valid until Sept. 30, 2009) includes rates from $139 per night, or a suite from $199, along with a welcome drink for two at the Sazerac Bar.

Elevate Your Senses at the Westin The Westin Washington Dulles Airport Hotel, opening November 19th, 2009, will offer its guests nothing short of a heavenly, stylish and comfortable travel stop. Located just one mile from Dulles International Airport and less than 30 minutes from the center of DC, the hotel is both convenient and refreshing. There are 314 guest rooms, a workout facility, executive business rooms, complementary shuttle services to the airport and an onsite, full-service hotel spa–the only full-service spa in the Dulles region. To top it off, guests are invited to dine at the hotel’s Padella, a top of the line Italian restaurant that uses only local organic ingredients. A Breeze in Mozambique Made of ten villas, this luxury beach resort will offer guests an authentic and pure Mozambican environment. Located on a World Heritage City, Coral Lodge 15.41 supports local people, schools and communities that surround it. Meals are prepared with local ingredients and capture the essence of Mozambique, the Middle East and Portugal. Other accommodations include The Reef, a lounge bar/restaurant and an infinity pool where guests can feel where the ocean and the Laguna meet. Coral Lodge will be open to the public on November 1st, 2009. Special soft opening villa rates (Oct. 09-Dec. 09) range from $295-395/night. Virgin America – Coast to Coast Beginning November 18th, 2009,Virgin America will serve Fort LauderdaleHollywood International Airport with daily non-stop flights from the West Coast, making it the tenth destination in their growing network. As of May, Virgin America became the first and only airline to offer Gogo® In-flight Internet on every flight, while also providing passengers a touch-screen seatback food menu to order food during travel. With a Main Cabin that offers custom-designed leather seats, First Class cabin features include plush white leather seats and lumbar massagers. Fly in luxury. Fares range from $99 (Main Cabin)-$849 (First Class). Tickets are on sale at


of what is new in the world of travel... Hotel das Cataratas joins Orient-Express On October 1st, 2009, Orient Express will proudly re-launch Hotel de Cataras, following a two-year restoration that has raised the hotel to international standards of style, design and service. Located near Iguaca Falls, which lies on the border of Brazil and Argentina, Hotel de Cataras will offer 193 Portuguese-inspired guest rooms, including 15 suites. A new spa offering treatments from the Brazilian brand, Natura, will be opening late October. Two restaurants are located onsite, Restaurante Itaipu and Ipê Bar & Grill where guests can dine al fresco. Rates for a double room at Hotel das Cataratas begin at $375 per night, including breakfast. Fashion + Hospitality Opening in September, Silvia Tcherassi will become the first Latin fashion designer to open her namesake hotel, The Tcherassi Hotel + Spa, in Cartagena de Indias along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The luxurious, homelike hotel will offer seven oversized guestrooms and suites. Custom-made amenities with Silvia’s fragrance will be offered in lieu of the traditional travel size options. The hotel will house “VERA,” an indoor/outdoor restaurant and lounge serving authentic Italian cuisine, overlooking one of the hotel’s four pools and a stunning vertical garden showing more than 3000 local plants. Opening rates begin at $275/night. Reservations can be made as of September 15th, 2009 at Oregon Wine Country’s First Luxury Inn and Spa Opening September 24th and located in the lush Oregon Wine Country, the Allison Inn & Spa will feature 85 luxury guestrooms and suites, each with a gas fireplace, original works of art, soaking tub, custom-crafted furnishings, comfortable bay window seats and views from a terrace or balcony.The signature restaurant, Jory, features cuisine from the Oregon Wine Country. A pampering spa with 12 treatment rooms, a fitness studio and swimming pool is provided for ultimate relaxation.The Allison’s immaculate grounds on 35 acres beckon guests with fragrantly elegant gardens and pathways connecting vineyards and picnic areas. Rates range from $295-$1100 per night. Viceroy Snowmass: A Winter Wonderland Occupying an enviable ski-in/ski-out location,Viceroy Snowmass will be the signature hotel of Snowmass’ new Base Village, located minutes from downtown Aspen. Its 173 guest rooms and residences (also for sale), boast scenic mountain views, modern design features and range from elegant studios to expansive four-bedroom units will be open for the 2009/2010 ski season. The hotel will offer guests and owners ski valet services, fine dining, an après-ski bar, a full-service spa, fitness room and swimming pool. Viceroy Snowmass is now accepting reservations for the season beginning November 25, 2009, with rates starting from $370.


Faces of Travel |


the innovative hotelier



a El a m e Je home h t n i w ping her ne p o for y sh Pegg square Fna

Have you ever wished to escape the pace of modern American life? Do you dream of a place where strangers greet each other politely when they pass, where families eat together at meals, a place where conversation is not hurried and elders are revered, where a day of rest is observed and shops close, or where stores offer unique handmade items because they are not corporate owned? I have found such a place, and I live there half of each year. I have moved to Morocco, an ancient fairytale kingdom


Californians are accustomed. After a lifetime of visiting wonderful locations, such as Nepal, India, Egypt, Belize, Guatemala and the Sinai, my husband and I visited Morocco. I had read every guidebook I could lay my hands on, and I was filled with pre-conceived notions about Morocco, Islam, and the Arabs and Berbers who lived there. By the end of our three weeks in Morocco, I was amazed at how much I did not know or understand. Morocco had definitely piqued my interest. On that tour, I had an amazing guide, Rachid Izemreten:

all photos courtesy of amirat al jamal

While in Morocco I came across Amirat Al Jamal, a beautiful riad that had a peculiar twist, it was owned by a blonde Californian woman, Peggy Ward Engh. Intrigued by how she ended North Africa, the only African country that possesses up owning an inn so far from inshores on both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The country has been blessed with 2200 miles of four mountain ranges (some with snow!), areas home, I asked her to share her coastline, of fertile growth resembling Italy’s Tuscan region, and, of intro by Michelle Rodriguez course, a vast desert. Though Morocco has many of the story‌ story by Peggy Ward Engh physical characteristics and climate conditions of California, it is certainly far removed from the fast-paced life to which

the inner courtyard at Amirat Al Jamal

highly educated and fluent in English, French, German, Spanish, Arabic, and his own native tongue, Berber. He was enthusiastic about the history of his country, patient with my questions, and remarkably clear when explaining the complexities of Islam. A firm friendship was born on that tour. Rachid belongs to the Ait Ouarayne Berber tribe. In Morocco, the Berbers are the indigenous peoples who have lived across Africa for thousands of years. In the 7th century, the Arabs and Islam came to Morocco, and these new people and their religion gradually took hold. In Morocco, there are three main Berber tribes and at least 600 sub-tribes. Some Berbers are now integrated into the large cities, such as Casablanca and Marrakech, while others still live in remote areas of the desert or by one of the mountain ranges, living lives virtually unchanged for hundreds of years. When I returned home, I could not forget about Morocco and what I had seen and heard: I felt supercharged

and alive with new ideas and information, and longed to go back as soon as possible. Three months later, I did return, and Rachid and I became partners in our own travel company, Morocco Custom Travel. We utilized his vast experience as a government-certified guide with over 20 years of experience, as well as his university and postgraduate education. I brought my modern-age skills with the computer and publishing, and an overwhelming curiosity about Morocco, its history and its people. Once I had a travel business there, I knew that I would need to find someplace to live, and so my search for a home began. Though this sounds suitably exotic, finding a home within the medina and living in a foreign country can be difficult. I was lucky enough to have Moroccan friends who helped me by translating, explaining customs and procedures, and arranging meetings. After eight months of searching, I finally


the innovative hotelier

found the “home of my dreams” in the old medina: a 350 year old, four-story riad, part of an Alaouite Dynasty palace. My home, Riad Amirat Al Jamal (Arabic for the Princess of Beauty) had a clear title which was something of a minor miracle, for in the medina the land descriptions and titles did not seem to be the most important thing to the owner, and, therefore, while visiting prospective homes, I constantly heard that while there was no title in hand, one could be obtained “in a few months.” Many times I left a pretty riad very disappointed to discover that the owner did not have a clear title. Also, I was surprised at the wretched condition in which I found some dars and riads. Called “fixer-uppers” by the realtors, they more resembled chicken coops, with dirt floors and no plumbing or electricity! And some riads were buried so deep within the medina that it would have been hard for anyone to find them in the maze of compass_knomo_final streets. 2/9/09 09:28 Page 2 The area where I live in Marrakech in the ancient walled

medina (old town) is almost 1000 years old. Marrakech’s medina is the largest in Morocco, a mix of crooked alleyways (like Venice), crumbling and restored dars (smaller traditional homes) and riads (Arabic for garden: a traditional Moroccan home with courtyard gardens), tiny shops, and friendly (sometimes too friendly!) salesmen. The medina always pulses with life: pass a small bakery and the delicious scent of warm khobz (bread) will greet you. Everywhere people are scurrying from one place to another: men in donkey carts rushing with their bananas, apples, and tangerines; leatherworkers grasping in their thin arms A workman removing the vast leather skins of sheep or damaged limestone to cows; or women laden with reveal the ancient original their own bread stacked high, brick wall underneath headed to the community ovens. The medina has districts, and I live in Laksour, or the Palace District. However, all was not idyllic: my home, while in an excellent location and structurally sound, needed restoration. Overall, it was filthy. Some of the limestone walls were cracked or unfinished; the pool was an continued on page 94

MIND THE GAP. We live in London. We know all about the bus chase, squeezing into the tube, getting caught in the occasional London downpour. That’s why the bag we carry to work everyday has to work as hard as we do. It must protect our laptop, store cables and paraphernalia, be comfortable and most importantly look the part. Our travel bags have to work just as hard; what with airport size restrictions, weight issues and ease of use through multiple train stations. A big ask.

TOKYO Slim Brief 15.4” $149 Green, Dark Brown, Blue

So when we came to designing the new Brixton Range, every stitch, design detail and function was considered and re-considered. Then we took it onto the streets and airways to test it with our high-tech varnished canvas in dry finish Blue, Dark Brown, Green & wet finish Black.

SAXBY Courier 15.4” $199 Black Wet,Blue, Dark Brown, Green

LISBON C/ON Trolley 22” $299 Blue,Dark Brown

ROCHA Flap Brief 15.4” $199 Dark Brown, Blue, Green

all photos courtesy of amirat al jamal

Faces of Travel |

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Faces of Travel |

inside the author’s studio

Q&A with Thomas Kohnstamm author of Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?

The book, “Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?” follows Thomas Kohnstamm’s journey from Wall Street cubicle worker to guidebook writer. Unlike many books that only talk about the glory of travel writing, Kohnstamm took the leap to disclose the underbelly of this supposedly glamorous career. His brazen truthfulness has caused a stir in the guidebook writing community, however, most readers will agree that it makes for an insightful and often comedic read… 26

photos courtesy of Thomas Kohnstamm

by Michelle Rodriguez


: What was your motivation for writing this book?

: The book started as a meditation on the decision between pursuing one’s passion in life vs. following a secure career path and fulfilling middle-class, post-collegial expectations. I felt like there were a lot of earnest travel books out there about giving up the rat race for a satisfying life fixing up a house in the Tuscan countryside or learning important life lessons from Mexican campesinos. I, however, wanted to take a grittier look at the good, the bad and the ugly of the tradeoffs that ensued once I decided to become a travel writer. I had also studied travel and tourism at a graduate academic level long before I became a travel writer. I wanted to share some insights on the effects of the “backpacking trail” and an evaluation of the contemporary state of “independent travel.”

the publisher, we settled on their desired, “Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?” (believe me, some of their suggestions were way worse). I think that the title gives a bit of a wrong impression.


: What was your favorite town in Brazil to explore/ research?

: Hard to say. I love Brazil and see different value in different parts of the country. That said, there is something very appealing about the little beach villages in the Northeast that have a lost-corner-of-the-planet vibe.


: Any words of advice to those wishing to enter a career in travel writing?


: Did you expect the not-so-happy reaction you got from Lonely Planet?

: Well, I knew that they wouldn’t be pleased that I was talking about the realities of being a guidebook writer as a profession, and guidebooks were rather shrouded behind mystique and a general reverence. That said, there was a ton of histrionics before the book even came out that made it sound like I had said terrible things about Lonely Planet, which weren’t actually in the text at all. I still don’t think that I said anything so negative about Lonely Planet.


: How have other travel writers reacted to your book?

: I’ve heard a little bit of everything. A lot of new travel writers and aspiring travel writers hate me. I think that they are a lot less secure about their career (or desired career) and feel like I rained on their parade. Most of my support has come from the old timers who know the score and appreciate that somebody was willing to talk about it in a frank way and stop with the double-talk.


: What is one thing you would have done differently if you had a chance to do it over again?

: I wish that the level of controversy surrounding my book could have been avoided. I think that it really detracted from some of the messages and themes about which I set out to write. I also don’t like the title of the book. After a long battle with


: Things have changed in the years since I started, as there are now many more on-line writing opportunities. Generally speaking, I think that it is good to balance a wider knowledge of the world and travel with a specific area expertise or occupational expertise. For example, I had an MA in Latin American Studies and spoke both Spanish and Portuguese. It was invaluable for me to have that deeper understanding. An expertise in cuisine, wildlife biology, motorcycle travel, soccer, string instruments, surfing, organic farming, ecotourism, traditional handicrafts, or whatever can separate you from the pack.


: What do you think is the most important skill for a travel writer to have, other than writing?


: It would be a really hard job if you were a wallflower. You need to get off your ass and talk to people and involve yourself with everything that is going on around you. You need to be entrepreneurial too, as there is no set career path.


: In the book you say, “Travel writing is disorienting since you are expected to work in a tourist environment that is built for pleasure”…many people not in the industry do not realize the fine balance it takes to get the job done in this environment, what is your trick now to staying on track?


: Later in my career as a guidebook writer, I found it a constant recalibration between the roles of observer and participant. The difficulty of this balance is definitely influenced by where you are working. In places like a dowdy small city in Chile you are not confronted with the same distractions continued on page 95 Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? is available at


Faces of Travel |

traveler making a difference

Let there be “When I first visited Gasi Springs, Ethiopia, I was horrified,� reflects Scott Harrison. The founder of charity:water saw women and children wading ankle-deep in mud trying to get at the eye of a spring that they shared with livestock. Animal defecation was everywhere. The water the women were putting into their yellow jerry cans was brown and viscous. 28

all photos courtesy of charity:water

by Nancy D. Brown

Harrison immediately promised that he’d help them get access to clean water. A few months later, he visited again. The people were clapping their hands. Women were throwing popcorn in celebrations, singing and dancing. The mud was gone and clean water flowed from two new taps. A hygiene worker, named Guday, had moved into the village and was using the clean water to promote better hygiene and sanitation. All of this is an exhilarating experience Harrison gets to repeat often in many countries. In 2004 Harrison left his New York City job, trading nightclub and fashion events for a year as a photojournalist on a Mercy ship in Liberia, West Africa. “You know, so many problems facing the poor track directly back to water. You almost have to think like a detective. You learn astonishing facts, for example how 80% of all disease on the planet is directly related to unsafe water and sanitation and realize by doing water, you’re in the healthcare business, too. You see schools without water and learn that the lack of water is the number one reason girls drop out of school. So by doing water, you’re also in the education business. You hear about the 40 billion hours wasted in Africa fetching water, and you realize you’re freeing women up to be better mothers or engage in microfinance opportunities. Water is a basic necessity. It’s the starting point of all successful development,” notes Harrison.       In less than three years, by God’s grace and the generosity of more than 50,000 people around the world, Harrison and charity:water have raised over $10 million and helped 720,000 people get clean water to drink. “We’ll break through a million served this year and have really started thinking bigger. As crazy as it is, we’re now focused on serving 10 million people in the next five years, or one percent of the problem. Then, we’ll set our sights on 10% of the problem, or 100 million people, and then we will keep going until we put ourselves out of business.” Surprisingly, Harrison didn’t travel at all as a child. “The minute I left home for New York City, I explored new cities whenever I had the money.

Venezuela, Uruguay, Brazil, Spain, France, Czech Republic, and Italy were just a few of my favorites.” At the moment, Harrison’s favorite hotel is in Adwa, Ethiopia. According to Harrison, it’s a little overpriced at $6 a night, but they have a great roof where his satellite unit works incredibly well. That’s one end of the spectrum. At the other end, his speaking engagements have landed him at hotels he’d never be able to afford on his own dime. Since charity:water started, Harrison has not had much time for personal travel. “I did escape for a week last year to my favorite hangout in the Pyrenees Mountains of Southern France. A good friend of mine has a house in the mountains that’s well out of cell phone range. I’ve visited more than 10 times. As far as work, I go where our water projects take me: India, Bangladesh, Liberia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Honduras.” From a personal travel perspective, Harrison fell in love many years ago with the Pyrenees. “The Cathar castles and vineyards in the Corbiere region of Southern France are magical. Climbing mountains and meadows with the goats and cows, it’s such a spiritual place for me.  I love Dali’s hometown, Cadaques, as well. As a photographer, I admire that it has some of the most special natural light on earth.  Professionally, I love Northern Ethiopia the most. It is home to one of our biggest water commitments, and we have the most amazing local partners who work tirelessly and efficiently to bring some of the poorest people on earth clean water. Ethiopia is epic: mountains and rock churches and people with incredible dignity and heart. I’ve been to Ethiopia six different times in the past continued on page 95 To read more from Nancy D. Brown visit


Faces of Travel |

celeb in the air


by Vanessa Torres

But transforming the faces of fashion victims is only her day job. She frequently makes magic happen on the pages of the world’s most popular fashion magazines, and works with commercial clients such as Sephora and Maybelline. And if that weren’t enough to keep the beauty maven busy, she has also recently developed her own line of beauty products with Sally Hanson (Natural Beauty: Inspired By Carmindy), and still finds time to hold private consultations in her Manhattan studio. She is also currently working on her third book, “Crazy, Busy, Beautiful” due out spring 2010. This artist-in-demand knows a thing or two about staying beautiful while juggling a busy schedule. Her work has taken her all over the world. Carmidy has lived in Los Angeles, Miami and Milan, and it is her globetrotting habits that are the source of inspiration for her work, providing the palette from which she continually creates. HipCompass Escapes caught up with Carmindy while she was on the road yet again, but took a few minutes out of her crazy, busy schedule to answer a few of our questions. Q: How much time do you spend on the road? A: I fly about once a week. I never like spending too much time in one place and so travel is very much a part of my life. Q: What’s your preferred mode of transportation? A: I hate red-eye flights and fly mainly American Airlines because of all my miles. However Virgin America is my favorite airline. Q: What are the must-have items in your carry-on bag? A: Crème De La Mer Moisturizer, Sally Hansen Natural Beauty: Inspired By Carmindy Ultra Soothing Lip Tint in Pinkberry, and my travel cashmere shawl and slippers. 


Q: What is your favorite destination - for business or pleasure? A: Bora Bora for pleasure and London for business. Q: What city is best for shopping for beauty products? A: New York for sure! You can get everything there. 

 Q: Which products make all the difference when you’re on the road? A: My Sally Hansen Natural Beauty: Inspired By Carmindy Luminizing Face Primer. It gives your face and body instant radiance, smoothness and luminosity. My Skinceuticals SPF 30 sunblock that I wear year round every day, and my Blinc Kiss Me Mascara that never smudges! I actually co-created (my line with Sally Hansen). Sally Hansen Natural Beauty: Inspired By Carmindy is 100% me and most of the colors and names are inspired by hues I experience while traveling - everything from sunsets, flowers, shells, colors of old walls in a beautiful tropical village - all give me inspiration. The natural ingredients like mango, bamboo, papaya and pomegranate also come from things I eat, smell or find in spa treatments around the world. Q: How do you stay connected while traveling? What techie gadgets can you not live without? A: My Iphone...I’m a junkie!

 Q: What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while traveling?  A: The funniest thing ever was when a raw, uncooked chicken was going round and round the baggage claim belt with all of our continued on page 96 luggage in the Miami airport. People were To read more from Vanessa Torres visit

photo courtesy of tlc

As the beauty host of TLC’s popular makeover show, “What Not To Wear,” makeup artist, Carmindy, teaches women of all shapes, sizes and colors how to look and feel beautiful every day. In fact, her foolproof minimalist beauty regime led to the publication of her first book, “The 5-Minute Face: The Quick & Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman” in 2007.


Destinations |

canine correspondent

Riviera Maya As I am reaching my 2nd birthday (14 in dog years), I figured it was time to visit the homeland of my breed, the mighty Chihuahua, and take a trip to Mexico. Since I was raised with a penchant for all that is posh, I decided to forgo the desert landscape of Chihuahua and head over to the tropical Riviera Maya.

Waking up from a nap on the hammock


It turns out there is only one resort in the Riviera Maya that accepts pets, Xpu-Ha Palace. This resort does not only accept pets, it caters to them in a way I have never seen stateside. As we arrived, my loyal owner was immediately given a cocktail and I was offered a doggie bowl with bottled water. The staff was so excited to have a pet guest that many asked for my photograph, giving me major celebrity status…if only all hotel pet arrivals were this way. The rooms at Xpu-Ha are bungalow style with huge verandas that include hammocks and lounge chairs. The view off the veranda was purely jungle and since none of bungalows face each other, you feel as though you are in a secret hideaway –not at a huge resort. As with many pet-friendly hotels, there were the usual amenities waiting for us in the room: a dog bed and food/water bowls. One addition that my Mom appreciated was a tag for the door that said, “pet inside”…this way no one would open the door and accidentally let me out. As an extra precaution, the railing around the veranda had netting on it to make sure I did not fall through the rails. With small patches of lawn in between bungalows, this was a true dog paradise…safe, private, relaxing and convenient. Although it was nearly impossible to peel myself off the inviting hammock where my Mom read and I napped... it was totally worth it to explore the rest of the resort.

photos by michelle Rodriguez

by Manola Rodriguez

Relaxing at the beach

Looking at the turtles in the cenote

Monkey watching

Set up more like a zoo than a hotel, the paths that lead from the bungalows to the pool and beach are lined with animal habitats, exhibiting everything from monkeys to flamingos. My Mom always calls me her “little monkey,” so I was curious to see what these creatures really looked like. Since dogs are not allowed in zoos back at home, this was my first time seeing so many animals…and let me tell you…I want a new nickname, as I do not look anything like a monkey! Throughout the resort there are several cenotes, sinkholes that form beautiful pools of water…commonly found in the Yucatan Peninsula. Xpu-Ha is also home to a natural mangrove that has a family of manatees that often come to visit. The resort provides free kayaks and snorkeling gear so you can wander through the mangrove exploring at your leisure. The only problem here is, dogs are not allowed on kayaks, which made sense. I had no interest in floating on a plastic yellow banana anyways. For non-pet friendly activities like kayaking, XpuHa offers a complimentary dog daycare service. At first I was a little hesitant at staying at a daycare center, I imagined it would be a boring room with nothing special about it…but I was very wrong. The dog center at XpuHa was comparable to most human-child play centers at other hotels. There was a beautiful fenced-in yard with an agility course, and an air-conditioned room with a plush bed to relax in. The center is open all day and is included in the room rate, so I never had to be left all alone in the hotel room. All in all, discovering my homeland was a pleasant experience, as I was treated as an equal…maybe even better than the two-legged folk! For more info visit: 

Playing at the Pet’s Club On my way home


green report

Buenos Aires:

View of Downtown Buenos Aires from the Reserva Ecológica de Buenos Aires


A Green Destination (If You Look Hard Enough)

by Kimberly and Elizabeth Sanberg

In scorching 95 degree Fahrenheit heat we walked forty-five minutes from our hostel through thick exhaust, honking horns and roaring traffic. Then, almost instantly, the exhaust was replaced by fresh air, the horns by birds' chirping and the traffic noise by a cool breeze rustling the trees. We found ourselves looking back the direction we came from, across a marshy area, to view the perfect silhouette of the downtown of Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve was my favorite green activity in Buenos Aires.

photo by kimberly and elizabeth sanberg

Destinations |



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green report


buildings along a caminito (little street/path) in the La Boca Neighborhood, Buenos Aires

take advantage of them. And there is certainly no lack of restaurants in this metropolitan city. While there are several vegetarian restaurants in Buenos Aires, the biggest attraction for both tourists and locals are the parillas (steakhouses). Grass-fed Argentine beef is world renowned and the average Argentinian consumes over 140 pounds of beef each year, the highest average of beef consumption in the world. While some people may not think of steak when they think of eco-friendly food, the fact is that it's hard to find beef anywhere else that's traveled a shorter distance, producing little carbon emissions to get to the plate.

Abundant Public Transportation Every savvy traveler will enjoy the public transportation system in Buenos Aires. Buses (called colectivos) or the subway system will take you almost anywhere you want You won't find Buenos Aires in any lists of “best cities for to go for a cheap fare.  green travel” - at least not yet.  There aren't any green hotels or For instance, instead of spending $25 (US) on a cab ride eco cabs. There are few recycling bins and vegan restaurants. into the city from the international airport, we paid $0.50 for But that's not to say that you can't be a green traveler in this a colectivo ride. The bus route was long (2 hours) but we got cosmopolitan Argentine city.  There are plenty of eco-friendly a taste of what the outskirts of Buenos Aires were like. Unlike activities to be found, if you look for them. Plus healthy food, the beautiful old buildings in downtown, houses and buildings public transportation and a twist on recycling make Buenos in the neighborhoods surrounding the city were more recently Aires a green gem in South America. built and haphazardly constructed of cinder-block and cement. Refreshing Green Spaces Different Take on Recycling The Buenos Aires Ecological Reserve, or Reserva Who lives in some of these run down buildings? Some Ecológica, is located at the eastern edge of Buenos Aires, are cartoneros (trash collectors or “recoverers”). When the providing not only a spectacular view but also a respite from economy collapsed in 2002 and put millions of people out of the bustling city life.  Porteños (as residents of Buenos Aires work, some began rummaging through trash at night, selling are called) rollerblade, bike, and run, along the paths in this recyclables to salvage and recycling centers to make a living. protected nature reserve in the city.  Birdwatchers enjoy the While illegal at first, this form of work has recently been variety of endangered species that live in the reserve. And we, legalized as the government recognizes the environmental as tourists, appreciated the natural beauty, photo opportunities, benefit of their work -- through this, there has been upwards of and peace and quiet. a 25% reduction in waste going to landfills. While the Ecological Reserve is the only protected reserve This form of salvage and recycling is perhaps the most in the city, Buenos Aires has numerous public parks. Perhaps unique aspect of viewing Buenos Aires as a green destination. It the largest is Parque Tres de Febrero in the Palermo district. In seemed depressing during the evenings when we frequently the 62 acre green area, complete with lakes and a rose garden, saw children and adults digging through trash. They would pile you'll find people throwing tennis balls for their dogs, children recyclables and items that could be recycled or sold onto large playing tag, as well as teenagers romancing. Parque Tres de carts. However, as one hostel owner told us, “It's a way of life Febrero is also home to a gorgeous Japanese garden and a and how they get by. In fact, I have a friend who does it to make planetarium. some extra cash.” Buenos Aires is home to a number of green spaces where Leaving the city on colectivo 86 to the airport, we viewed the eco-conscious traveler can read a book, capture photos, or the city from a different perspective than the one we had just relax and people watch. overlooking the city from the ecological reserve. Buenos Aires, Delicious Local Food The green traveler will also find that in Buenos Aires, locally produced and grown food is easy to come by. Walking down the street, you'll pass a number of produce stands. Be sure to 36

while lacking in some obvious green destination features, has plenty of others that make it worth the trip for anyone desiring a city visit in South America.  To read more from Kimberly and Elizabeth Sanberg visit

photo by kimberly and elizabeth sanberg

Destinations |

Destinations |

mommie files

The Kona Coffee Trail: making naptime fruitful

photos by meg keough

by Meg Keough



ids and coffee? This recipe for disaster makes a great combination in the Kona coffee district of Hawaii. My husband Jack and I applied our wine tasting skills to coffee while Mirielle was napping in her car seat and percolated a passion for Kona coffee. With approximately 600 independent farms cultivating close to 2300 acres of coffee, the 30-mile long, mile-wide Kona coffee district provides diversity in style and flavor. Lions Gate Kona Coffee & Macadamia Nut Farm On Highway 11, south of mile marker 105, lions crouched on lava rocks invited us down a coffee tree fringed road to Lions Gate farm. Pulling up to a typical Hawaiian house, we were unsure whether this was the farm but Diane stepped out and invited us to the lanai where Lions’ Gate coffees and macadamia nuts were displayed. Lions Gate is a small family farm with ten acres of 60-100 year old heirloom coffee trees and five acres of mac nuts, which they have been selling since 1993. We asked Diane questions about the farm, coffee growing, roasting and selling. Lions Gate sells both a medium and dark roast coffee made exclusively from their estate beans. If you call ahead, they will brew coffee for tasting. Be sure to try the macadamia nuts fresh from the shell. It takes a specialized tool resembling a medieval torture device to crack the infamously hard shell, but you are rewarded with a rich, oily raw nut that bears no resemblance to the canned variety. With supervision, older kids can keep busy cracking away and throwing the shells off the lanai. There is also a large lawn, fruit trees, geckos and enormous spiders to keep entertained. Oh, and did I mention the mac nuts?

Kona’s farmers, so there is always something happening. The roasting room, which roasts up to 900 lbs of coffee a day has two roasting machines, a drum or “coffee-shack” roaster and an air roaster. The air roaster is state of the art and can be programmed to produce a range of roasts using a combination of time and temperature. The drum roaster has less precision but gives the beans a smokier flavor. Taste is personal, but I preferred the added flavor of Holualoa’s coffee shack roast. As a bonus, we were offered some of Hawaii’s sweet apple bananas for Mirielle. Mahalo.

Hula Daddy Kona Coffee What do you get when you cross a successful lawyer, 30 years of Hawaii vacations and colleagues with vineyards? Lee and his wife Karen, with a little naming help from colleagues, came up with Hula Daddy. Less than a mile south of Palani Road on Mamalahoa Highway, Debbie welcomed us to the tasting room, introduced the coffees and recommended a tasting order. She explained that two of Hula Daddy’s coffees (now three) have been rated 90+ in Coffee Review, the Wine Spectator of the coffee world. Their Kona Sweet rated 97 points, an honor shared with only five other coffees worldwide. Prompted by questions on my need for a new coffee maker, Lee joined us in the tasting room to talk about the perfect cup. It turns out most coffee makers don’t get the water hot enough to properly brew coffee or lose their heat after a couple months. The perfect cup starts with great quality, fresh beans preferably fresh ground. Add filtered water and brew close to 200 degrees. The best coffee comes from a clean French press. Guess how I brew my coffee now? When Mirielle woke up, Lee invited us out to the coffee fields to show us their trees and talk about the evolution of the farm. Mirielle was not interested in the talk, but rather Holualoa Kona Coffee Company In the cooler climes, 1300 feet above Kona town, the bright red coffee cherries. Lee explained that historically, Holualoa Kona Coffee Company is north of mile marker coffee was enjoyed for the fruit as wells as the bean and two on the Mamalahoa Highway. We started in the roast invited us to try. They were delicious. Mirielle couldn’t get shed tasting Holualoa’s organic coffees. Include the kids by enough and snacked away while we learned more about the filling a cup with milk and adding a splash of decaf or flavored operations. coffee. The busy two-person staff were simultaneously Check with your concierge or packaging, selling and replenishing coffee. Without missing drivingtour for a map of coffee farms. Call ahead to confirm a beat, they handed us an information card and pointed us hours as Hawaii runs on island time. to the self-guided tour of the processing facilities. Holualoa Coffee processes, roasts and packages coffee for many of To read more from Meg Keough visit


Destinations |

24 hours here and there

24 hours in...Cheyenne ­­ easy to spend 24 hours in a town like Cheyenne, Wyoming. This capital city may be It’s small, but it packs a huge punch, providing visitors with tons of options for shopping, dining and entertainment. You can walk pretty much anywhere within the historic downtown area, but if you choose to drive, parking is free. You could even opt for a traditional carriage ride to get around town. Whatever you choose to do, there is bound to be a Western theme to it.


by Carrie Williams of


PM When you’re visiting the Western United States, you might want to dress the part. Cheyenne’s city center is filled with charming stores, thrift shops and consignment boutiques that sell country clothing and cowboy boots. The Wrangler store near the Depot Square Plaza is laid out in such a way that you will be able to create the perfect country outfit from head to toe. Credit cards are accepted at Wrangler, but if you go to any of the other shops nearby, you’d better have cash. 1518 Capitol Avenue; 307-634-3048;


PM Visit the Bit-O-Wyo Ranch, about 30 minutes away from downtown Cheyenne, and hop on one of the many beautiful horses to enjoy a scenic trail ride. Pass over high ridges overlooking vast valleys and sparkling creeks. Rides last between one and three hours ($35 per hour) and are offered daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Reservations are required. Stick around for the Barn Dinner Show. For $40, you’ll get a steak dinner (complete with beans, a baked potato and a brownie) and you will be treated to a musical act afterwards. 470 Happy Jack Road; 307-638-6924;


from top to bottom: food/carrie williams; hats/courtesy of cheyenne; bit-o-wyo/michelle strashoon

PM Ask the locals where to find a good meal and they’ll most likely send you to Poor Richards. A warm wood décor welcomes you and you can relax in the lively bar or enjoy some peace and quiet in the elegant dining room. Wherever you sit, and no matter what you order, you’ll be able to access the endless soup and salad bar for a small charge of $2.95. If you want a light lunch, grab a burger or a sandwich for under $15. Closed Sundays. 2233 E. Lincolnway; 307-635-5114;

Destinations |

24 hours here and there


PM Cheyenne is a pretty sleepy town once the sun goes down. That’s why everyone heads over to The Outlaw Saloon for more food, plenty of drinks and tons of fun. While the patrons may be more authentic than the bar’s décor, the people who frequent The Outlaw really make it an exciting place to spend an evening. Whether there’s a band on stage or the music is blasting from the jukebox, you’ll always find some shakers on the dance floor. Expect a $20 cover when a big-name band is playing. 312 S. Greeley Highway; 307-6357552.


AM The Luxury Diner is a “greasy spoon” kind of place offering some down home cookin’. Unlike a typical diner decked out in 50’s décor, this place boasts a train theme. After all, its small dining area was once a trolley during the early 1900s. Breakfast is served all day, so you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get it. For less than $10, order eggs (any style), pancakes or French toast, to name a few things. And don’t forget about a real Southern delicacy: sweet tea. 1401 W. Lincolnway; 307-638-8971.


AM One of the best free attractions in Cheyenne is the Botanical Garden in Lions Park. The staff, which consists of 90% volunteer workers, maintains nine open landscaped gardens, as well as a completely solarheated greenhouse, year round. You’ll find a wide variety of plant life within the gardens, including everything from dry cactus to non-grafted roses. Check out the other activities that Lions Park has to offer, like summer swimming and fall fishing, in addition to outdoor concerts. Donations are suggested. 710 S. Lions Park Drive; 


from top to bottom: outlaw/carrie williams; nagel warren/courtesy of cheyenn; luxury dinner & rose/carrie williams


PM When you’re visiting a charming town like Cheyenne, there is no other place you should stay than the Nagle-Warren Mansion. Built in 1888, this bed and breakfast is rich in history. The sitting room, the library, the parlour and the dining room, all rest on the main floor. There are six guest rooms in the mansion, as well as six more rooms in the carriage house that average about $150 a night. Booking for Halloween is ideal, as the Nagle-Warren hosts a who-dun-it Murder Mystery Dinner for all of its guests. 222 East 17th Street; 800-211-2610;

Destinations |

24 hours here and there


24 hours in...

The city of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico mixes old-world charm with modern conveniences. At one moment, you’ll be strolling down a brick-paved road, with the faint musings of a Mariachi band strumming in the distance. Hours later, you might rent a movie inside your hotel room to watch on your flat screen television. One thing is for sure: in order to explore the best of Guadalajara in just 24 hours, you have to be willing to explore tons of different communities in and around the city. You won’t be disappointed.


by Carrie Williams of

AM You can’t go to Mexico without sampling tequila. The La Rojeña José Cuervo Distillery in Tequila offers both non-tasting (one-hour) and tasting (one-and-half-hour) tours every day starting at 10 a.m. It takes roughly an hour to drive from Guadalajara to the distillery. When you arrive, enjoy a complementary margarita. While on the tour, which is offered in English and Spanish, you’ll get to sample Cuervo’s most aged tequila. Only 17,000 bottles of the rare Family Reserve tequila are produced each year. 73 Jose Cuervo; 800-006-8630;


PM The Fonda Cholula restaurant is directly across the street from the distillery, next to the Main Plaza. Walk right in and seat yourself at one of the white-clothed tables. One of the best meals to order for lunch is Arrachera. This small plate features a cheese quesadilla and a few ounces of steak, complemented by a caramelized pearl onion, a mound of Spanish rice and a salty dollop of guacamole for about $10. This dish is great for lunch because it fills you up just enough so you’ll have room for dinner later. 55 Ramon Corrona;


all photos by carrie williams


PM If you’re looking for some free attractions, the Government Palace and the Cathedral in Guadalajara’s city center are great places to see both political and religious natives at work. A ticket into Cabañas Cultural Institute costs less than $10. Twenty-three courtyards and 106 rooms display temporary and permanent art exhibitions, including 57 fresco murals by José Clemente Orozco. One of his most famed creations, “El Hombre de Fuego” (Man of Fire), draws people in from all over the world. While photographs are allowed, you may not use a flash. 8 Cabanas


PM If you want to treat yourself to a gourmet dinner, the Argentilia restaurant will provide you with just that. For a starter, try the Pear Salad, which combines sweet pears and strawberries with savory spinach greens and a light vinaigrette dressing. All of the steaks ($20-$30) are imported from the United States, but they are cooked using Argentinean flair and served with piquant chimichurri sauce. Heading to a given restaurant early is a great idea, as most Mexican natives won’t be eating supper until well after 8 p.m. 840 Avenue of the Americas;


PM One of the best places you could go to experience Guadalajara nightlife is the El Parian in the heart of Tlaquepaque. This huge square has operated as a cantina, housing 17 different bars/restaurants, since 1878. Mariachi bands wander the center courtyard of El Parian, waiting to entertain you. They typically charge $60 per song or $230 for one hour. However, if you consider that a typical Mariachi band is made up of five or six musicians, their asking price is pretty reasonable. Centro Tlaquepaque.


PM The Guadalajara Plaza Expo Hotel sits in a residential area. All 204 rooms (priced between $80 and $120 a night) have been completely remodeled to include a 25-inch color TV, wireless Internet and a marblefinished bathroom. Inside a given room, you’ll find either two double beds or a queen bed with a sofa. There are designated smoking and non-smoking rooms, as well as spaces for guests with disabilities and families. A swimming pool, a jogging track and a gymnasium are on the top floor, offering a spectacular view of the city. 3261 Avenue Mariano Otero; 800-98-PLAZA;


AM The Ingreso Arch at the entrance of the Zapopan community is an indication of Guadalajara’s impressive architectural beauty. Zapopan is a popular place for shopping, as it showcases 20 outdoor malls. The largest of them is called the Plaza del Sol, which is considered to be the first mall in Latin America. Tented shops line the streets, giving the town a Bohemian feel. The Basilica de Zapopan often hosts public music performances because of the church’s ideal acoustics. While paid tours of Zapopan are offered, they are not needed, as the streets are easy to navigate.  45

adventure life vs spa life

Adventuring through Laos

Adventure travel has always been one of those things that seems to be on my list of things I said, “I’d do tomorrow.” It’s not for lack of trying but more a lack of having the balls to ignore the negative practicalities and get on with it, and that’s exactly the attitude you need for it...less thinking and more doing! A few months ago while traveling through Laos that was exactly what I did. We were staying in the small and stunning town of Vang Vieng, overshadowed by the towering limestone peaks and blinded by the natural beauty around every corner; with each new view, something in me burst to the surface.

by Aaron Bradford and Georgina Pearson

Every traveler has done it - during a long but airconditioned bus ride to some picture perfect beach, pulled out their adventure travel book from their bag for a spot of inspiration on an otherwise uninspiring journey. However, this time I was determined to do it. My inspiration came in the form of two monstrous looking dirt bikes. The mental image of the bikes sat inside my head, rattling around for a few days as I got down to some serious tubing (if you’ve ever been to Vang Vieng you will know exactly what I mean by that and if not...go see!) Then, out of the blue during a rare moment of sobriety, the idea of my adventure was born.

To my left…the dirt bikes…to my right…cloudtopped limestone peaks leading off northwards over mountains and hills and on to Luang Probang


photos by aaron bradford and georgina pearson

Juxtapositions |

To my left…the dirt bikes…to my right…cloudtopped limestone peaks leading off northwards over mountains and hills and on to Luang Probang. A day’s planning had informed me we would be looking at 135 km each way and we had a time frame of two days in which to do it. Our party consisted of three - myself, my fiancé Georgie and our good friend Toby. Toby owned his own dirt bike back in the UK and was no stranger to offroad biking. Georgie was a very eager passenger, which just left me – and my limited motor-biking experience. But what’s an adventure without a challenge? The sun was blazing down on the sleepy streets of Vang Vieng which seemed to be roasting us alive, so we bought a map, saddled up and set off with a roar. We passed through rice fields and small villages, along winding roads and rivers - all idyllic and stunningly beautiful. We made our way over the hills that surround Vang Vieng and back down the other side. The road was smooth enough and any serious potholes were scoffed up by our trusty steeds with ease. We found a small cafe

down by the river as it meandered between the last of the hills and pulled over for coffee and a refreshing dip it was stunning! The limestone peaks stretched high into the sky and scratched the bellies of the low-lying clouds. Completely rural and silent, at that moment I realized, that was what I left home for. Mixed with the excitement of the journey ahead, a sense of sadness washed over me. It was a sense that all my travels before had been done the wrong way. If I were on a bus I would’ve breezed past the river, and its beautiful setting would’ve been nothing more than a fleeting glimpse. All the places I may have missed started racing through my head and all I could do was hope that this time I would make up for it. The journey wound up mountains and back down again, we stayed a night in a tiny town called Phou Khoun, far away from anywhere. We woke at 5 am and drove through clouds and we stopped at countless villages along the way. I could write about the hard bits, about the miles, the hills and sore bums, but it doesn’t really seem fair. Not when we passed so many warm continued on page 96 To read more from Aaron Bradford and Georgina Pearson visit 47

Juxtapositions |

adventure life vs spa life

Spa-ing through Asia If you’re ready to pack your bags for Laos, but alas, the economy has dwindled your savings to something that is more likely to pay for an Asian dinner rather than an Asian vacation, take heart. While you wait for your 401K to rebound, take a trip to Asia at your local spa with any number of popular Eastern-based treatments. And believe me, relaxing at the spa beats a 20-hour flight in coach any day of the week! Check out these spas and treatments for the flavor of Asia stateside. Thai Massage:

Best Spa for Thai Massage:


Joya Spa at the Intercontinental Montelucia in Phoenix, Arizona. Schedule your 60-minute treatment with Joel, who teaches Thai massage throughout the country. I found the treatment loosened my permanent shoulder knots better than any massage I’ve ever had.

If you’re ready to take a walk on the wild side, Ashiatsu is for you. Often known as barefoot massage, the therapist will literally walk on your back! The treatment combines deep massage strokes done by hand, foot and hot stone. As the therapist walks on your back, she holds onto bars suspended from the ceiling. This massage is best for someone who needs or wants a deep tissue massage

Best Spa for Ashiatsu: Allegria Spa at the Park Hyatt in Beaver Creek, Colorado. While the massage works deeply, it is also relaxing. I was surprised how often I couldn’t tell whether the therapist was using her hands or feet.


from top to bottom: thai massage/konstantin tavrov, dreamstime; ashiatsu/al wekelo, dreamstime

This unique massage is most often performed on a futon-style mattress, instead of a traditional massage table.You’ll be fully clothed in loose garments and no oils are used. The goal of Thai massage is to release your joints and open up the body. To achieve this, your therapist manipulates all of your body parts using his hands, feet and knees. He will gently guide you into a series of stretches, always sure to push you to your own flexibility limits, but not beyond.

Watsu: Take the plunge at the spa with this water-based treatment.You and the therapist are in a Watsu dedicated swimming pool as she holds you in her arms and maneuvers you around the pool, performing a series of gentle stretches and massage. This treatment is the ultimate in relaxation.

Best Spa for Watsu: Canyon Ranch in Tuscon, Arizona. The Watsu pool has underwater music, providing an enhanced experience. I thought that the feeling of Watsu must be what it feels like to be in the womb. It is a very peaceful, relaxing experience.

from top to bottom: watsu/courtesy of canyon ranch; reflexology/juriah mosin, dreamstime; tibetan/courtesy of vh spa

Reflexology: This treatment is found all over the streets of Asia. It’s based on the theory that certain points on your hands, feet and ears correspond to different organs of the body. By using pressure to manipulate those trigger points, the therapist can affect change throughout the body.

Best Spa for Reflexology: The Spa at the Mandarin Oriental in New York City. The entire spa is seeped in Asian treatments and the therapists are extremely knowledgeable. Guests will especially enjoy the relaxation room overlooking Central Park after the treatment.

Tibetan Yoganic Massage: For the ultimate in unusual spa treatments, this service unique to the VH Spa at the Hotel Valley Ho in Scottsdale, Arizona, is for the experienced spa diva looking for something different. Performed by a former Tibetan Monk, the treatment begins with a series of deceptively easy-looking stretches, including poses that will have you in the air on the monk’s back. It finishes with a massage using trigger point and acupressure techniques.

Best Spa for Tibetan Yoganic Massage: VH Spa. This was the deepest and most intense treatment I’ve ever done.You definitely need a fair amount of flexibility or many of the stretches will be very painful. The treatment is a good choice for the spa goer who has done it all before and is looking for something very different.

by Dena Braun of


Juxtapositions |

ticket to romance vs solo flyer

Knocked up?


hat’s the first thing an avid traveler thinks about after seeing the big positive sign on the home pregnancy test? You guessed it... where in the world should we

babymoon? The last travel fling before the baby arrives, known as a babymoon, are growing in popularity as more and more couples take advantage of their last moments of solitude to connect with each other on a pampering getaway. First, a few words of wisdom on planning a babymoon. Timing is crucial and you’ll definitely want to travel during the second trimester when your energy levels are higher and you’re not too encumbered by a growing belly. Don’t over plan with an ambitious itinerary -- you may actually want to choose a location with few


by Lyla Naseem Gleason sights and attractions so you won’t be tempted to overexert yourself. If you can, upgrade your accommodations and splurge on meals and spa treatments. Discuss all travel plans with your doctor and definitely listen to your body. I originally had sights of cruising through Greece but my OB put the kibosh on that due to germs on a closed ship and food contamination fears. Lastly, take out comprehensive travel insurance that covers cancellation and emergency transport if needed. After much research and many chats with my doctor, my husband and I decided on a week long babymoon in Anguilla. This under-the-radar Caribbean island was an ideal choice for us since it met all of our babymoon criteria: 1) It is less than five hours from our home base of New York.

photos by lyla naseem gleason

Grab your baby daddy and plan that babymoon!

ticket to romance vs solo flyer

2) It has a hospital and I could be easily transported to St. Martin or Miami in an emergency. 3) The island’s hotels, restaurants and spas are known for their top caliber standards. 4) The island is not crowded, easy to navigate and English is wide spoken. Anguilla turned out to be a great choice for us. After a direct flight from JFK, we landed in St. Martin and took a taxi to the ferry terminal. Our bags were loaded and within minutes, we were sailing to Anguilla. We split our visit between two hotels and they could not have been more accommodating or pampering. The Cuisinart Resort and Spa (www.cuisinartresort. com) rolled out the red carpet with a luxurious one bedroom beachfront suite complete with three terraces. At Cap Jaluca (, we enjoyed pampering touches like fruit kebabs, iced water and sorbet on the beach. Breakfast at both hotels was served on our terrace each morning and our most taxing decision was where to lunch. A babymoon must is a maternity massage, and the one I had at Cuisinart’s Venus Spa did not


disappoint. As foodies, we chose to take advantage of the island’s top restaurants and enjoyed amazing meals at Barrel Stay (, Scilly Cay( and Pimms ( In addition, my avid photographer husband took advantage of the stunning beach backdrop to chronicle our stay with a million belly photos. Renting a car was a great way for us to explore the island’s many beaches and restaurants while ensuring little to no schlepping and a quick trip home when I got tired. Our favorite day was a visit to Shoal Bay Beach, where we floated in the ocean, had lunch and caught up on our reading. The beach was like a backdrop for a movie and as we relaxed with ice cream after lunch, we both felt the baby kick for the first time making us feel like we were starring in our very own episode of “A Baby Story.” If you’re looking for a low key, yet pampering babymoon locale, you won’t go wrong with Anguilla. To read more from Lyla Naseem Gleason visit

photos by lyla naseem gleason

Juxtapositions |


ticket to romance vs solo flyer

Just me in Tahiti

s the ferry passes between the breakers of the Vaiare Pass and I get my first look at Moorea’s stunning lagoon, I immediately realize why I left Tahiti for the solitude of its sister isle. The distance between islands may be only 12 miles but arriving at the ferry port in Moorea is like entering another world. Ringed by a coral reef enclosing a narrow lagoon, Moorea boasts hues of translucent teal I’m not sure I’ve witnessed in all my globetrotting days. This is, quite possibly, the most beautiful place on earth. I had arrived in the bustling town of Papeete, Tahiti late the night before with two goals in mind: 1) enjoy a few days of R & R to celebrate the end of an arduous trip around the world; and 2) to experience Polynesian island life from the balcony of my own Bali Hai-style overwater bungalow. After spending my first night in relative chaos on the island of Tahiti, I was more than ready to move on to the real object of my affections…Moorea. As the ferry docked, I knew I had made the right decision. Leaving Tahiti for the seclusion of this nearby gem was a nobrainer. Though lavish French Polynesia is a known budgetbuster, I decided to splurge on a rental car so I could explore the


by Jenny McIver

island on my own schedule. Moorea is much smaller than Tahiti, only 36 miles around the perimeter coastal road; easy to traverse in a single day with your own wheels. I arrived at my hotel, the Hilton Moorea, in no time and was swiftly escorted to my “spa bungalow,” half over the water and half over the beach. The lagoon beneath my bungalow was a brilliant crystalline blue and alive with darting tropical fish and brightly colored coral. Moorea is believed to be the inspiration for James A. Michener’s mythical isle of Bali Hai and is also considered to be the birthplace of the legendary overwater bungalow. As the story goes, the trio later known as the Bali Hai boys came to the island from California in the 1950’s. They developed several hotels and are credited with dreaming up the idea for the signature hotel rooms over the lagoon. To this day, the islands of French Polynesia are known worldwide for this exotic style of accommodation. When I enter my bungalow, it is all that I dreamt it would be and more. From the viewing window in the floor (known locally as “Tahitian television”) to the private dock allowing direct access to the lagoon, this was truly a unique experience. Tiare

photos by jenny mciver

Juxtapositions |

Juxtapositions |

ticket to romance vs solo flyer

and plumeria flowers placed discreetly throughout the bungalow gave it the scent of a luxuriant garden. Though the bungalows are not large, every inch of space is efficiently utilized and each is luxuriously well appointed. It was my own little slice of heaven in the middle of the South Pacific. The star attraction of the Hilton resort is, without a doubt, the lagoon. Extending for what seems like miles in every direction, it is a 4ft-deep dazzling aquarium filled with vibrant coral and tropical fish. In fact, the water is so clear you can see the fish just as well from your deck as from underwater with snorkel gear. It would be easy to spend days snorkeling, kayaking or simply walking around in it and that was, by far, the most popular activity. The convenience of your own private dock to enter the water–complete with snorkel gear and a freshwater shower–made it almost impossible to stay out of the lagoon. But who would want to? I spent as much time as I could there but eventually had to tear myself away to explore the rest of the island. After all, I did splurge on a rental car. I took a drive inland to the Belvedere “lookout point,” the island’s highest point accessible by car. The views were breathtaking and definitely worth leaving the lagoon. Next, I hopped back on the coastal road and took a self-guided tour around the island stopping to appreciate every flawless view. I wrapped up my day with an afternoon dip in the lagoon and a Tahitian sunset viewed “Michener-style,” with a tropical cocktail from the balcony of my own private bungalow. It was just another perfect day in paradise. While French Polynesia is, without question, one of the world’s ultimate romantic destinations, I found it to be ideal for the solo traveler as well. There are few resorts in the world where you can attain the kind of indulgent solitude offered by an overwater bungalow. No neighbors and no communication with the outside world if you so choose. It was the ideal place to wrap up my travels and an isolated refuge to which I already long to return.

To read more from Jenny McIver visit


photos by jenny mciver

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manfriends vs girlfriends

Brothers on the...

ince I never had a brother, I’m not the authority on malesibling travel. However, I had close friends growing up in Cleveland, Ohio who substituted for brothers. When we were 17, my buddies and I road tripped it to Lake George, New York. It was the four of us and we dubbed ourselves, “The Others Brothers.” Don’t ask; let’s just say that Dan, Chuck, Rick and I were “different.” When we arrived in Lake George with Dan’s parents’ wood-paneled station wagon, we were bored. “Let’s hit the city!” Dan and Chuck exclaimed. “New York is only two hours away.” We embarked to the Big Apple the next day only to learn that it was a horrible idea to drive into the city with so little cash. As I look back, I must say that all four of us felt like brothers.



by Robert J. Nebel

We learned a lot about ourselves on that adventure. Dan and Chuck were night owls. Rick and I enjoyed daylight. I’m not sure how sisters work things out, but somehow all four of us learned how to deal with our differences with using as few words as possible. For me, having brothers meant having three buddies that were around for the long haul. For someone else, brothers could be siblings through blood, having a close relative or getting a brother-in-law. In any case, traveling with brothers seems to always lead to some kind of new adventure. My brotherly teenage travel story however, is nothing like the story of twin brothers, Kitt and Cody Doucette. The photojournalist/writer team has traveled to places like Indonesia,

photo courtesy of cody doucette

Juxtapositions |

Mississippi State Parks 1-866-SEE MISS (733-6477)

manfriends vs girlfriends

Chile, Western Australia, and Panama, as well as all throughout Europe and North and Central America. The Doucette’s grew up in Idaho where during the 1990’s, a 15-year-old could get a driver’s license. When the boys obtained their licenses, they were off traveling the Western U.S. in their old Suburu to paddle rivers and jump off bridges. “Our first real trip outside the U.S. was a kayak and surfing expedition in Ecuador when we were 19,” Kitt recalls. “It was an eye-opener and set us on that track to where we are now.” Kitt says that the Ecuador trip stands as one of the most intense trips in his eight years of travel. “We got stuck in a ‘paro,’ an indigenous strike where all the roads going into and out of the jungle were blocked,” he explains. “We also survived a tear gas canister landing in the place we stayed and witnessed a shootout in the streets between the military and indigenous guerillas.” There were also lighter moments on the Ecuador excursion. Kitt and Cody paddled class five rivers and surfed perfect waves. The twins have experienced the heat of Central America to the cold of Svalbard. Kitt describes the chain of islands in the northern depths of the Arctic Ocean as one of the rawest most raw and most extreme places he’s ever been. Kitt and Cody had viewed polar bears in their natural habitat and dined on smoked seal meat. Smoked seal meat is tame compared to the other delicacies that the twins have consumed on their travels. “We had fried termites in Oaxaca, Mexico, rattlesnake in Arizona, bull testicles in Idaho and a monkey in Sumba, which is disgusting,” Cody confesses. Kitt and Cody make the perfect travel journalist team. Kitt is the writer while Cody performs most of the photography duties. Cody says that he and Kitt have learned to compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses on their travels. “I’m more visual and tend to act on impulse. Kitt tends to be more analytical and thinks things through before acting,” Cody explains. “I get


frustrated when things go awry and Kitt has a supreme confidence that everything will work out.” Cody sees the relationship that way because he is the photographer who performs under pressure to get the shot, while Kitt can write about the trip at a later time. While Kitt and Cody seem to make the perfect traveling brother duo, Rich Grant of the Denver Convention and Visitor’s Bureau also says that he’s never had a bad trip with his brother. Grant says that a bad trip would be sitting around one of their houses, visiting relatives or having barbeque with kids and being bored stiff. To combat this usual boredom, Rich has met up with his brother Donald, a Parisian, to go to places like Austria, Croatia, India, the Bahamas and a little bit of the U.S. “I’d have to say we both sort of like drinking… not to drunken excess, but just part of life and certainly as part of the experience of any trip we’re on,” Rich explains. “So we’ve done quite a few places known for great drinking options, like pubs in Ireland, Oktoberfest in Munich, Italy, Prague and all over England and in Scotland.” Even though he says that he hasn’t had any bad trips, Rich recalls many “glitches” in his travels. “We were in Cancun for one hour and got arrested,” he says. “The official charge was that Donald was using their park as a restroom. We were both hauled off and bargained with the judge to get the fine down to $200.” Rich and his brother also had run-ins with authorities in Turkey, Greece and Austria. If there is any piece of advice Rich could give to traveling brothers, it is this: “If you’re two brothers on the road and something is boring, then do something else.”

For more information on Kitt and Cody Doucette, visit To read more from Robert J. Nebel visit

photo courtesy of cody doucette

Juxtapositions |

manfriends vs girlfriends

Sister Act:


s traveling with your sister on vacation a recipe for disaster? It doesn’t have to be as long as you lay down some ground rules first. Here are a few travel-tested truths for keeping peace in the sisterhood. 1. Leave the baggage at home: Traveling with sisters should be easy. You carry the same DNA. You’re alike. Right? Wrong. Sibling relationships can be fraught with the peril of childhood roles, divergent interests and unspoken resentments. So, no matter if you’re the big sis used to being in charge or the baby accustomed to being indulged, leave the birth-order baggage at home. Commit to appreciating each other as you are NOW and let the magic begin. The bonds born out of the shared experience of upbringing is like nothing you can ever have with a friend, partner or coworker. Let it blossom. 2. Privatize: Allow for private time in your itinerary. Even if you and your sister(s) are BFF, heading off on separate adventures gives you something to chat about when you regroup. Compare wish lists and decide which activities are best suited to individual exploration. If you love tromping through museums and castles and she thinks the perfect vacation is watching life from the seat of a café table, then one of you is going to be disappointed or resentful. Make time to break away and


Five tips for keeping it in the family

by Ellen Barone do your own thing. It will enhance your experience and the quality of time spent together. 3. Get thee to chocolate: Not much sweetens a disagreement or hurt feelings better than chocolate. If you start to get snarky, or she does, take two chocolates and another in the morning. If symptoms escalate, wine is also recommended. 4. Play well with others: Remember those grade school report cards with a check box for plays-well-with-others? Well the rules haven’t changed much. Return home from your vacation with top marks. Say please and thank you a lot. Show respect, admit your mistakes and never be a tattletale. What happens in Nevis, stays in Nevis. 5. Money, money, money: Communication is important when it comes to money, especially if one of you has to watch your pennies more than another. Sharing the expenses can be a big motivator for traveling together. But, don’t insist on eating at the most expensive restaurant in Paris and expect your unemployed sister to split the bill. Or, book $150 Cirque du Soleil tickets on a whim and then ask to be compensated after the fact. Be sure to discuss in advance your expectations for sharing costs, the level of accommodation or how paying for meals is to be handled.

photo by nick stubbs / dreamstime

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The Wanderlist It’s a big world out there. For those ready to hit the streets, or trails, here’s five sister-friendly faves to get you started. Bon Voyage!

photo by mike adrian, courtesy of swell women

1. Soul surfing: Right around February when you’re shivering on your living room couch somewhere frozen and landlocked, a Swell Women Surf Retreat in Maui is going to sound just about right. Warm and tropical, you bet your lily-white legs! Better yet, how hard will it be to convince that penny-pinching sister of yours to agree to delicious meals, surf lessons, massage and daily yoga? Sign me up! 1.800.388.MAUI; 2. Must love food: Does the new film “Julie & Julia” have you craving a gourmet getaway to Paris but you don’t know foie gras from faux pas? No worries. Add Paris’ top culinary travel specialist, Wendy Lyn, to your Rolodex and launch your own behind-the-scenes food-focused vacation armed with a customized food and wine itinerary of insider favorites. 1.850.303.0697 (US); (Paris); 3. Back to school: The towering rock walls and vivid colors of Abiquiu, New Mexico, are so unlike the cinder-block-cells you may associate with learning, you’ll actually WANT to return to

school. Pack your creativity and learn to paint the landscape where Georgia O’Keefe painted for fifty years enrolled in a Ghost Ranch ‘plein air’ workshop. If your sister won’t, I will. 1.800.821.5145; 4. New you: Jumpstart a new, healthier version of you at southern Utah’s Red Mountain Spa. The resort’s Girlfriends Spa Road Trip Package includes all the necessary components: welcome gift & spa treatment; stylish villa suite; healthy gourmet meals; complimentary bike; guided hikes; unlimited fitness classes; cooking demonstrations and nutrition classes; healthy living lectures; and full use of resort facilities.1.877.246.HIKE; 5. Road trippin’: If you’re looking to connect and spend some quality time together, there’s nothing like a road trip for chatting, reading, solving the world’s problems or, God forbid, your own. My fave? Coastal California, Route 1 from L.A. to San Fran, top down, iPod pumping, no-holds-barred, baby. Tack on a few days touring the wine country and it’s the perfect chick trip. Enjoy! 916.444.4429;

Hat tip for some great suggestions from my virtual Twitter sisters: @swellwomen; @pen4hire; @ableimes; @writerjudie. If you’re not following them, you should be! To read more from Ellen Barone visit


Juxtapositions |

frugal foodie vs gregarious gourmet

Local delights from land and sea: frugal foodie finds in Portland, Maine


Portland’s Public Market House as well as an expert on local makers of fine cheese. Ben was enthusiastic about recommending his favorite places to dine in Portland, one of which, The Grill Room, I was headed to for lunch just after our interview. As I left The Grill Room for an afternoon stroll after lunch, I encountered “Farmer Bob” Bowen of Sunset Acres Farm, purveyor of chicken, eggs, meat, and cheese to The Grill Room, whose wife, Ann, is one of the Cheese Lady’s favorite cheese makers. Even though Farmer Bob had already put in a long day loading his wares and making the three-hour drive to Portland, he was willing to stop and chat, showing me his well-packed truck full of freshfrom-the-farm products. He’s been making that 6-hour-plus round trip for 18 years. Cruisers on the Lucky Catch lobster boat can purchase the day’s catch at market price from Captain Tom and take their fresh catch up to next door Portland Lobster Company, where manager Ethan and staff will prepare and serve it for

photos by lanora schoeny mueller


hen you visit Portland, forget the old truism warning travelers that the closer the restaurant is to the waterfront, the more expensive—and less appetizing—the food. Portland’s Old Port district serves food to tourists, that’s true, but it is also full of local diners who know their way around the city’s tables. With the advice of local foodies, I didn’t make one bad choice, either for my palate or my wallet, in seeking out Portland’s best bets for frugal food lovers. As I noshed my way around the walkable central city, leaving a trail of crumpled paper napkins in my wake, I learned a lot about the close-knit community supporting Portland’s culinary charms. The world of Portland cuisine is a small one, as I’ve found to be the case in other similarly sized cities. Ben Alfiero, for example, proprietor of Harbor Fish Market, was a high school classmate of Kris Horton, better known as the “Cheese Lady,” who is a driving force behind

by Lanora Schoeny Mueller

Juxtapositions |

frugal foodie vs gregarious gourmet Duck Fat

The Belgian-style fries. Dear Lord, the Belgian-style pomme frites, fried to a deep crisp brown in, what else, house-rendered duck fat. With dipping sauces on the side, these could have made a light meal on their own. I also sampled an herbed pork loin and cheddar cheese panini with apple-mustard confit. After some arm twisting by my server, I agreed to try dessert: blueberry jam and Nutella on toasted brioche with a dusting of powdered sugar. Half went back to my bed and breakfast fridge, making an excellent snack on my return flight to Chicago.

Flatbread Company

Owner, Bobby Wagner, was full of justifiable pride for his successful flatbread pizza restaurant on the Portland waterfront. When he visited my table, I asked why my choice of pizza was called, “Coevolution.” He assured me the name had nothing to do with pizza’s topping of tomatoes, olives, red onions and goat cheese, but rather was a random selection, if you’ll forgive an obscure Darwinian pun. When Bobby branched off on his own from former partners at American Flatbread, he was able to bring along the pizza recipes but had to give them new names. In the original nomenclature, my pizza was called “Punctuated Equilibrium.” I approve the change, and the flatbread pizza.

a small fee. While you enjoy your meal, you can also take in the priceless view from the dock. Is it clear that I loved Portland and felt embraced by its foodie culture? Here are some short observations on where and what I ate.

Becky’s Diner

In the Midwest, any dish containing more than a garnish of lobster meat is “market price,” meaning that if you have to ask, you probably shouldn’t, and certainly not if someone else is footing the bill. But when I saw that the lobster roll I had come looking for at Becky’s Diner was labeled market price, I ordered it anyway. It was going to be my first (and so far only) lobster roll, so I couldn’t miss the chance. Sitting down at the lunch counter, I did ask the market price, just to be safe: $13.95 for the lobster roll (or the lobster salad or omelet). The price included a perfectly toasted buttered bun, stuffed full of large chunks of lobster claw meat, plus fries and tasty, not-too-sweet cole slaw. In the name of research, I also ordered a cup of the day’s haddock chowder, a perfectly simple preparation of fish, milk, potatoes and butter, with a bit of bacon. For dessert, I succumbed to dining peer pressure and had a slice of the owner’s own Whoopie Pie cake, moist mayonnaise-based chocolate cake filled and iced with fluffy white “Poor Man’s Icing,” a variation of boiled frosting.


My lunch at The Grill Room was a delight, thanks to Mary Fay, the floor manager, whom I trusted to make all the choices, saying only that I hadn't had real fried clams in ages. While I waited for my food, I sipped an extraordinarily delicious Malbec Rose, remarking to Mary Fay on the wine list's more than (or rather less than) reasonable prices. Mary told me that chef-owner, Harding Lee Smith, doesn't mark up his wine offerings to the same heights usually seen in fine dining rooms, instead choosing to make good—even great—wine accessible to all his guests. My server soon appeared with my surprise first course, a huge succulent grilled scallop on chopped greens with a porcini mushroom and bacon vinaigrette. This was followed by several more small dishes in succession: mussels steamed in local Allagash White Ale with chorizo and poached lemon slices, then a poached egg on a large grilled oyster mushroom with asparagus and hollandaise for a twist on eggs Benedict. Next, I got my fried clams, crisp and tender, served with water cress and a delectable sauce gribiche accented with chopped hard boiled eggs, capers, shallots, fines herbes and lemon. Somewhere in between these delights appeared a raw oyster on the half-shell, posed on a small mound of rock salt and garnished with a very proper sauce mignonette. Powerless to refuse dessert, I again let Mary Fay choose for me. The result: a strawberry-rhubarb crisp unlike any other, large, lightly sweetened chunks of fruit cooked to a

photos by lanora schoeny mueller

The Grill Room

point, with crisp-tender rhubarb, sweet strawberries and a light crunchy oatmeal topping, balanced perfectly by scoops of blueberry and blackberry sorbet. It was almost too pretty to eat, so I took lots of photographs.

Harbor Fish Market

Ben Alfiero, co-proprietor of the family-owned Harbor Fish Market, gave me a short course in the fresh seafood business. As we toured the offices, he pointed proudly to a recent L.L. Bean advertisement that features a photograph of his front door as one of Portland's landmarks. Harbor Fish can provide everything you might need to prepare a seafood feast if you're lucky enough to stay in self-catering accommodations. They also ship live lobster anywhere that can be reached by overnight express.

Lucky Catch Cruises

Only the lobsters (and other accidental visitors to the traps) dined on seafood here. I took the Portland Headlight Tour, a 90 minute cruise to Maine's most famous lighthouse past the Civil War fortifications of Fort Gorges and Fort Scammel. In less than two hours, I learned more than I ever dreamed could be known about lobsters, including how to tell a female lobster from a male. This is a great family excursion and also provides unmatched photo opportunities.

If You Go Becky’s Diner 390 Commercial Street (207) 773-7070

Harbor Fish Market 9 Custom House Wharf (800) 370-1790

Duck Fat 43 Middle Street (207) 774-8080

Lucky Catch Cruises 170 Commercial Street (207) 761-0941

Flatbread Company 72 Commercial Street (207) 772-8777

Portland Lobster Company 180 Commercial Street (207) 775-2112

The Grill Room 84 Exchange Street (207) 774-BEEF (2333)

K.Horton Specialty Foods at the Public Market House 28 Monument Square (207) 228-2056

Portland Lobster Company

Two lucky families bought lobster fresh from Casco Bay as they disembarked from the Lucky Catch lobstering cruise. At least one family enjoyed their fresh catch at Portland Lobster Company; the other may have had access to a kitchen to cook their own. Later in the week, I tore into my own lobster here, served with corn on the cob, fries, mussels (ordinarily steamer clams, which were unavailable because of the red tide), and coleslaw, washed down with the local Allagash White Ale. Manager, Ethan, apologized repeatedly for the unseasonably cold weather for July that had forced him to cancel the evening's live music. I was happy sitting inside, although a number of guests chose to sit in the heated space near the outdoor bar.

Public Market House

On the same square where Portland's historic public market once stood, the Public Market House is a one-stop source for your travel picnic provisions. Here you'll find Kris Horton's K. Horton Specialty Foods, the Maine Beer and Beverage Company, and the Big Sky Bread Company, along with Greek takeout from the Spartan Grill. Try to visit on a Wednesday between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. when the Portland Farmer's Market fills Monument Square with fresh local foods.

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Juxtapositions |

frugal foodie vs gregarious gourmet

Shop by day Feast by night by Michelle Rodriguez


ince gourmet meals in Portland tend to involve multiple courses, as the tasting menu reigns supreme in this town, the best strategy to tackle Portland is: shop by day, feast by night. Portland, Maine is a food shopper’s heaven. The town has more restaurants per capita than any other city in America, and an equal amount of gourmet shops to match. Maine’s Pantry offers a vast selection of products all made in Maine. From lobster-shaped chocolates to hand-pickled vegetables, it is the perfect stop to create a Maine-themed gift basket. ( If you are looking to pair your new Maine treats with the proper utensils, then head over to Le Roux Kitchen to find every kitchen gadget under the sun. Le Roux also offers an extensive array of olive oils, along with a tasting station to tie you over until your next stop. (www. Browne Trading is a specialty food store/mini-grocer that carries all the necessary items for a high-end picnic. From several types of caviar to hard-to-find cheeses and one of the most extensive wine collections in the area, even the hard-to-please connoisseur will find what they need here. Browne Trading will also ship the requisite Maine lobster back home so that you can keep the foodie vacation going. ( For dessert, stop at Dean’s Sweets for handmade truffles in unique flavors like cayenne. ( Right next door to Dean’s, Rabelais sells rare, new and used culinary books. ( After touching, tasting, reading and feeling food, all that is left is to smell. 2 Note Botanical Perfumery is just the place to get your nose


FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: Wharf Street, 2 Note Perfumery, Le Roux Kitchen, Sea Bags

photos on this page by michelle Rodriguez


in on the culinary shopping action. 2 Notes is the brainchild of two musicians with a “long-standing love affair with the art of bottling nature.” All products are handmade in Maine and beautifully wrapped in sheets of music. ( To carry all your gourmet foodie finds home, visit Sea Bags. Their sturdy and one-of-a-kind bags are handmade from recycled sails. There is a selection of bags to choose from in the store or feel free to come up with your own design and have it custom made. (


photo of lighthouse courtesy of the greater portland cvb

As mentioned earlier, this town has a plethora of choices when it comes to dining, and it is difficult to go wrong. But there are two places that simply are a must while you visit: Hugo’s and Eve’s at the Garden. Hugo’s is home to acclaimed Chef Rob Evans, who this year won the title of Best Chef of the Northeast by the James Beard Foundation. With amazing presentation, your meal will be just as much a feast for the eyes as it is for your palate. Instead of the standard chef-created tasting menu that many restaurants offer, at Hugo’s each item on the menu is served in a tasting portion, which allows you to create your own tasting meal. ( Eve’s at the Garden is located in the lobby of the Portland Harbor Hotel. Executive Chef Earl Morse recently took over the reigns and brought with him a flair for elegant and light cuisine. Using seasonal fruits and vegetables, Chef Morse plays with a dichotomy of ingredients, pairing scallops with plums, and chiffon pineapple upside-down cake with foie gras. (www.

Harbor on the Harvest Festival

The perfect time of the year to visit Portland for gourmet foodies is in October for the annual Harvest on the Harbor food and wine festival. Happening this year from October 22-24th on the water at Ocean Gateway, the three-day food & wine festival will include many wonderful new events such as the “Man Cave,” the “Harvest Haute Fashion” brought to you by designer MADgirl, a cocktail contest and the “People’s Choice Lobster Competition” brought to you by the Maine Lobster Council. Harvest on the Harbor promotes Maine as a culinary destination by celebrating great local chefs, wines from Maine and around the world. ( 


Woodford Reserve

Spirits of America

by Michelle Rodriguez photography by Jack Azar

America has always been known as the land of the inventor, but one place we seem to have fallen behind in is the invention of new libations. As we set out to unearth the “spirits of America,� we assumed there would be a couple of items in the liquor cabinet that had their roots in the United States, but as it turns out, there was but one drink that we Americans lay claim to: the mighty bourbon. 71

Originally, bourbon began as a type of whiskey produced in Bourbon County, Kentucky. In order to qualify as a bourbon whiskey: it must be made in the US from a fermented mash containing at least 51% corn, it must be produced at no more than 160 proof, stored in new charred oak barrels at no more than 125 degrees and bottled at no less than 80 proof. Although bourbon does not technically need to be made in Kentucky, almost all bourbons are. In order to make good bourbon you need iron-free water, and Kentucky’s limestone spring water is naturally ironfree, lending itself to producing the highest quality bourbons in the US. Produced for over 200 years, bourbon’s history is a bit cloudy and often debated. The most popular version dates back to Thomas Jefferson when he was the Governor of Virginia. Jefferson offered pioneers sixty acres of land, later to be known as the state of Kentucky, as long as they would cultivate crops of corn. Soon there was more corn than anyone could use, and the pioneers used the excess corn to create a corn-based whiskey. Several of the counties where this whiskey was being made were named after the French, in honor of their help during the Revolutionary War. One of these counties in particular was named Bourbon County, after the French royal family. From Bourbon County, came Reverend Elijah Craig. This is the man credited for giving bourbon its distinctive color and taste. Craig used charred oak barrels to transport his whiskey, which became widely popular- beginning the tradition of bourbon.


Woodford Reserve

Maker’s Mark

Buffalo Trace

For those looking for the next frontier following wine tasting, Kentucky offers an entirely different kind of tasting experience. There are two ways to taste bourbon, one is through the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the other is the Urban Bourbon Trail. The Kentucky Bourbon Trail takes you on a scenic drive roughly an hour out of Louisville. There are officially eight distilleries that make up the trail: Buffalo Trace, Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Tom Moore, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve. This drive will take you through thoroughbred horse country and through historic, charming towns like Bardstown. Eight distilleries can be a lot to undertake in one trip but if you are a die-hard bourbon fan and insist on seeing them all, I suggest leaving three full days to meander though bourbon country. If your time is more limited, here are three distilleries not to be missed: Buffalo Trace This bourbon was named after the “Great Buffalo Trace,” which was a buffalo path that went through the land that makes up the distillery today. Buffalo Trace is the oldest continuously operating distillery in the US and has received the most awards. All tours

are free and there are three options to chose from: Trace Tour, Hard Hat Tour and Post Prohibition Tour (the last two require advance reservation). I suggest the Hard Hat tour, as it is a more intimate and informative. Buffalo Trace is a great place to start a bourbon trail journey and offers one of the more comprehensive tours available. Woodford Reserve Nestled in horse country, the drive to Woodford Reserve is truly majestic. Tours are free and lunch is available for purchase in the visitor’s center. The large porch that wraps around the building makes for the perfect bourbon picnic spot. Woodford Reserve is the official bourbon of the Kentucky Derby. Maker’s Mark Instantly recognized by its iconic wax-dipped bottle, Maker’s Mark is the best distillery to visit as a family. The visitor’s center is a replica of the founder’s home, with interactive features such as talking 3D picture frames that tell of the brand’s history. The free tour of the picturesque grounds ends in the tasting room, where for a fee you can purchase a bottle and hand dip it in wax yourself.


If you are visiting Louisville and choose not to wander past the city limits, do not despair, as opportunities for bourbon tasting are plentiful in the city. The Urban Bourbon Trail consists of eight bars and restaurants that carry at least 50 different types of bourbon. The not-to-be missed picks are: Bourbons Bistro Offering a bourbon-infused menu alongside a selection of over 130 bourbons. This is the quintessential dinner stop for bourbon aficionados. The Brown Hotel Bar Built in 1923, this hotel is where the “hot brown,” a popular openfaced sandwich, was invented. Upon entering the lobby bar you will feel as though you stepped into “The Great Gatsby.”

Brown Hotel Bar 21c museum installation


Proof on Main Located at the 21c Museum Hotel, a hybrid modern art museum/ hotel, Proof on Main offers an updated twist to the Urban Bourbon Trail. The innovative bourbon cocktails, outstanding nouveau Italian cuisine, and modern art installations that line the restaurant and bar walls, will provide for an evening you will not forget. For more information on Bourbon Country visit

Bourbons Bistro tasting

Although bourbon may be the only liquor with its roots in the US, we discovered two other history makers in other parts of the country‌


Deborah Hall at the winery

Gypsy Canyon History in a bottle


he ranch was a mess, but there was something about it. It was just a beautiful country place,” Deborah Hall began. Little did the Hall family know that their move to the countryside, right outside of Lompoc, California, would embark them down a historical journey to California’s past. Gypsy Canyon, located near La Purisima Mission, was originally a farmland for lima beans. It was an accidental clearing of brush that revealed a small patch of grapevines, seemingly abandoned and forgotten for years. It is Deborah’s belief that perhaps these vines were kept up and hidden underneath sage during the Prohibition Act in the 1920s, and after were left untended and forgotten as ancient history. Finding interest in the lost vines, Deborah began tending to and cultivating them, selling them as Zinfandel grapes, which is what they were thought to be at that time. After a few years, Deborah had the grapes’ DNA tested, only to find that the


by Lauren Ashley Tirador photography by Whitney Elizabeth grapes were in actuality, Mission grape vines. The fact that these were Mission grapes made the previous buyers of the fruit uninterested. Not wanting to give up on these vines herself, Deborah set off to do her own research about her “heritage plants.” She found that Franciscans originally planted the Mission vines, as they established California Missions three centuries ago. The reason that this particular type of vine was brought over from Spain was because of its sturdiness and ability to withstand many environments. In her research in the mission archives, Deborah found a wine recipe from Emile Vache, written in 1891. From this recipe, came the “California Original Angelica,” a rich and fruity fortified wine with a color that resembles citrine. The name Angelica was actually coined by padres, who made most of their wine in the City of Gabriel, more commonly known as the city of Los Angeles. With history in mind, it became Deborah’s mission to preserve the tradition of these vines, and this is where she found

inspiration to recreate the “historic wine,” as she likes to call it. Wanting to respect the history of Mission wine, Deborah even went as far as to create both a unique and traditional wine bottle. The bottle itself is made from recycled, hand-blown glass, labeled with antique paper, sealed with beeswax and finished off with a traditional seal. All of these details about the bottle have historic value. The beeswax, for example, taken from the estate directly, is something that the missionaries would have used to seal cork and Deborah wanted to keep that authenticity in her own collections of wine. Deborah’s wine, which also includes a Gypsy Canyon Pinot Noir, has had a lasting effect on the preservation of California’s history. There are only 10 acres of 100-year-old Mission grapes left. Deborah’s vines are the oldest vines in Santa Barbara county and perhaps even in California. Gypsy Canyon Winery is not typically open to the public for tasting, unless you are a part of the wine club, which has a long waiting list of eager patrons ready for a taste of the Angelica and the Pinot Noir. With each bottle being personally signed off by Deborah Hall herself, you are in for a treat if you can experience the product of a genuine “labor of love” resulting in truly historic wine.

If you go: Gypsy Canyon Winery is located an hour north of Santa Barbara, California. To learn more about the winery: To find out more about the surrounding Santa Rita Hills Wine Country, go to: For more information about the La Purisima Mission: Listings of all historic California Missions:



Dick Yuengling in the brewery

America’s Oldest Brewery celebrates 180th year in 2009


Germany. (Canadian firm Molson, chartered in 1786, maintains its claim as the oldest brewery in North America.) Today, the company is headed by Dick Yuengling, fifth generation descendant of the founder. He attributes the brewery’s longevity to his family’s commitment. “There has always been a member of the family interested in taking over the business,” said Mr. Yuengling. Two of his four daughters are now involved in the company’s daily operations, learning the brewery business from the ground up. He commented that it is remarkable for a company to be run by one family for six generations, and he hopes to see the seventh generation join the business as well. Yuengling’s first brews were English-style porter and ale, both still brewed today under the labels Yuengling Dark Porter and Lord Chesterfield Ale. In fact, according to beer historian Bill

photos courtesy of yeungling


vidence of beer making is found in almost every ancient civilization. Some say beer is as old as humanity, an accidental byproduct of fermented grain, and a happy accident at that. Others quip that beer is simply bread in watery form. Historically, beer was considered a necessary foodstuff, even by the Pilgrims of the Mayflower. Since the earliest settlers, Americans have been brewing beer for their own use and for sale. Of the many breweries that flourished in the nineteenth century, D.G. Yuengling & Son of Pottsville, Pennsylvania, has survived as the oldest continuously operating commercial beer maker in the United States. Originally named Eagle Brewery, the brewery was founded in 1829 by David G. Yuengling, an immigrant from Württemberg, near Stuttgart in southwestern

by Lanora Schoeny Mueller

Yenne, Yuengling was one of the only brewers producing porter in the United States during the midcentury decades before it was repopularized by microbreweries in the 1980s. David Yuengling brought with him from Germany a lagerstyle beer as formulated in his native Württemberg. The resulting brew, Yuengling Premium Lager, has become synonymous with the term ‘lager’ for beer drinkers and bartenders throughout Pennsylvania. Other Yuengling beers are Traditional Amber Lager, Light Lager, Black & Tan (a combination of Yuengling Porter and Lord Chesterfield Ale), and Premium Light. Yuengling beer is distributed along the East Coast from New York to Florida, with the most recent expansion into West Virginia. Since April 2009, USA3000 Airlines, with hubs in St. Louis, Chicago and Cleveland, has been offering Yuengling beer to passengers on board its flights. Yuengling's Pottsville brewery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. Each year some 60,000 to 80,000 visitors tour the company's brewery operations, with numbers up 20 percent this year over last.

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If You Go Yuengling's Historical Brewery 5th & Mahantongo Streets Pottsville, PA 17901 (570) 628-4890 Pottsville is approximately 100 miles from Philadelphia and 120 miles from New York City, all on the interstate except for about the last 10 miles. Brewery tours take place Monday through Friday at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., with three tours on Saturday at 11 a.m., noon and 1 p.m. Tours are free except for groups of 20 or more. For information about the city of Pottsville and environs, check out the Schuylkill County Visitors Bureau online, or phone 800-765-7282 for a visitor's guide.


The Heart and Soul of Toledo Lies in its Artisan Past and Present In Back to the Future, a DeLorean whisked Marty McFly back in time, but in Spain it’s a new bullet train sending me back through the centuries to a time when artisans and craftsmen ruled Castilla-La Mancha in central Spain. In just 20 minutes I’ve gone from modern day Madrid to Toledo, a walled city seemingly frozen in medieval times when it was the capital of the country. Strategically perched on a promontory surrounded by a gorge in the Tagus River on three sides, Toledo was the religious, political and economic heart of old world Spain. Today its roots are still evident in the traditional crafts that flourish down little alleyways and plazas that dot the town. 80

Toledo by Dena Braun Photography by John T. Braun



Declared a World Heritage City in 1986, Toledo’s artistic secrets unfold while leisurely meandering through the labyrinth of cobblestone streets that wind through the old town. From the Plaza de Zocodover, the central meeting square in Toledo, I stroll in the direction of the famous Toledo Cathedral, one of the most exquisite gothic structures in Europe, featuring a gilded Baroque high altar and two paintings by the iconic Spanish painter, El Greco. After exploring the church, which I find even more awe inspiring than Notre Dame in Paris, I continue heading east towards the old Jewish section of the city to the Santo Tome Marzipan factory and shop. Historians dispute the origins of Marzipan, a sweet confection made from almond paste, sugar and honey, but one theory places its birth in Toledo in 1150. Today marzipan is a symbol of the city, and out of the 300 shops selling the treat the best is Santo Tome. A family-run business since 1856, the company still produces the treat by hand according to traditional methods. To create marzipan, large batches of almonds, sugar and honey are mixed and fed through granite grinding wheels to create a smooth paste. The mixture is rolled out and covered for 24-hours. Confectionary artists then cut out each individual treat, add a dab of a sweet egg yolk mixture to the center and sculpt the marzipan into its final shape before baking on traditional wood pans. The wood infuses a subtle roasted flavor into the confection. The shop sells a variety of marzipan including chocolate covered pieces, squash filled treats and larger portions shaped into fanciful eels and dragons. Riding a sugar high, I head back in the direction of the Cathedral to Calle de la Ciudad to check out Mariano Zamorano, a tiny shop tucked into the corner of a small plaza. In this unassuming space, Zamorano, a third-generation sword maker, preserves Toledo’s illustrious blade-making tradition. Of all the crafts that flourished in Toledo, none was as famous as sword making. During the 15th-17th centuries the city was the unequaled sword producing capital of the world. Armies and Kings worldwide wielded blades forged in Toledo. Today you’ll find machine-made, massproduced swords in every souvenir shop in the Old Town, but here at Mariano Zamorano, the real deal is still being produced. When I

enter the store, Zamorano greets me like a long-lost friend and quickly leads me past the small storefront to the workshop where several craftsmen are working on different parts of a sword’s construction. In his heavily accented English, Zamorano explains the process for crafting the old-fashioned weapon. Basically, hard Toledo steel is forged at a whopping 1454 degrees with a high content of carbon and soft steel. After forging, the blade is cooled with water and olive oil. This process gives the blade incredible strength and flexibility. It can be finished with trimmings in polished bronze or brass. Zamorano produces many popular Toledo sword models like the sword used by Spain’s famous King Carlos V, but can also create a custom sword fashioned to your own design. My husband’s family can trace its lineage back to the Carlos (yes, that Carlos) family and I leave Zamorano’s shop contemplating purchasing the King Carlos V sword. The problem is that the king had the biggest, and therefore the most unwieldy to transport home, sword in the shop. I decide to mull over the purchase while I head north to find Simon, a shop located on Calle de Comercio specializing in Damascene. Nearly as iconic as the Toledo sword, Damascene is a process where steel is decorated with gold, silver or copper thread, then fired in the oven. The process turns the steel black, producing a beautiful contrast with the precious metal work. When light dances on the object, the metallic threads sparkle. The decorative trinkets fashioned run the gamut from plates, boxes and ashtrays to pendants, earrings and cuff links.


There are over 24 Damascene workshops in Toledo, including Simon where the master craftsman has created these beautiful works of art for over 60 years. His family has another shop in the Jewish quarter of the city with a more extensive workshop and small museum dedicated to the craft. Damascene came to Toledo with the Moors in the eighth century and very little has changed since then regarding the craft or the traditional circular, crests and insignias designs. While some shops like Simon are the product of passing the craft from generation to generation, today the National Arms Corporation in Toledo offers a tenyear apprentice program to train people in the art of damascene. Perhaps the most curious thing about the city’s famous craft is that Spaniards rarely purchase any damascene for themselves. After hours steeped in Toledo’s artistic history, I decide to end the day exploring one of Toledo’s modern artisan offerings— wine. In the last five years the region has produced 87 gold medal wines and 100 silver medal wines. To learn more about this new viniculture I enlist the help of Hugo Vicente, owner of Wine Time, a company that leads a tour of Old Town Toledo’s wine bars. Vicente, a Portugal native, who moved to the city two years ago when he quit his job as a psychologist to take up “wine therapy” as he calls it, expertly navigates the criss-crossing


alleyways to Catame Despacito. This hole-in-the-wall bar features the original 14th century wall of Toledo as one of its interior walls. Inside I’m treated to a tasting hosted by Bodegas Ercavio vineyard owner, Margarita Lopez, while featuring the regions most unique grape, Irene. Vicente explains that like a strong woman, this grape is able to thrive despite the poor soil of the region, and that new fermentation technology allows the Irene grape to now be made into a drinkable white wine. The nose invites comparisons to Sauvignon Blanc and the taste is full of tropical fruits. Next, we head to the oldest bar in the city, El Botero. This dark, smoky watering hole is housed in a former wine boot factory. Made of leather and resembling a canteen, several beautiful wine boots decorate the walls of the establishment. Here we sample Finca Los Nevados Viognier and a typical tempranillo. Interestingly, Vicente explains that in Spain what we refer to as “legs” in a wine are called “tears.” But with traditional arts and crafts being expertly preserved alongside 21st century artisan offerings, there is nothing to cry over in Toledo, except perhaps having to leave this magical medieval town.

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Chimei Islands famous Double-Heart Weir is one of the most recognized sites in the archipelago. This beautiful stone weir fishing trap was built hundreds of years ago by local fishermen.

The Pescadores 86

article and photography by Carrie Marshall 87

The sparkling white coral beaches of Jibei Island are some of Asia’s best-kept secrets


On a day of gusty wind and white-capped waves, I set out for the northern islands of the Pescadores archipelago on a large high-speed boat. Within thirty minutes, the boat has docked at the tiny island of Jibei and I’ve found a scooter to rent for the day. With map in hand, I find myself following a narrow scorched and sun-baked trail down to the water’s edge. Every twist and turn reveals a stunning landscape of white coral and golden sand beaches. Other than the colorful sails of a few windsurfers on the horizon, the beaches are empty. Jibei is just one of over 90 islands situated in the Taiwan Strait between Taiwan and mainland China. The Pescadores, known collectively as Penghu in Taiwan, are named after Penghu Island, the main island in the archipelago. From the 17th century up until the Nationalists arrived in 1945, the islands have been ruled by pirates and a number of colonizers, including the colonial Dutch Empire, the Ming loyalist Koxinga, the Qing Dynasty, the French and the Japanese. Today, the islands are visited throughout the year for their panoramic views, spotless sand, coral beaches, marine life, incredible temples, ancient relics and traditional Chinese-style homes and villages.

The Pescadores – The Islands of Fishermen The Pescadores, which mean “islands of fishermen” in Portuguese, are one of Asia’s best-kept secrets. Hot summer days draw ardent island travelers who flock to the beaches in droves to relax. Adrenalin junkies are also drawn to these islands, which offer a wide variety of adventure sports including jet skiing, paragliding, snorkeling, boating and deep-sea fishing. The blue waters of the Pescadores are home to a diverse variety of marine life, including coral, colorful tropical fish, green sea turtles and migrating dolphins. The islands are also popular with bird watchers, who come to observe the many different species of birds that arrive during the migration season. Divided into three main areas, the islands each have their own unique geological terrain, ecological resources, cultural and historical attractions and plenty of idyllic beaches. The islands were designated as a national scenic area in 1991. The Northern Recreation Area is well known for its beaches. Jibei Island, the most popular of the northern islands, has a stunning golden-sand beach that reaches thousands of meters

into the sea off the island's southern tip. Another popular northern island, Sianjiao, is mostly covered in white sand beaches and is surrounded by splendid submerged coral reefs and schools of colorful tropical fish. The Makung Recreation Area boasts fine sandy beaches, a sea-eroded coastline, fisheries and historical attractions, including the oldest temple in Taiwan, while the Southern Recreation Area is known for its basalt rock formations, ecological conservation programs, and traditional Chinese homes. In addition to the incredible natural scenery, these islands are a seafood lover’s paradise. Raw lobster and five flavor balloon fish are two popular island dishes. Other island snacks include fried noodles with pumpkin, salty cakes, black-sugar sponge cakes and cactus juice.

The Seaside City of Makung Being the only city in the islands, Makung City, situated on Penghu Island, is brimming with welcoming smiles and small-town charm. Many of the buildings here are etched in fine Traditional Fuijian-style sandstone patterns with splashes of limestone cottages on light pastels and bold cheerful colors. Wangan Island This beautiful little seaside town is as pretty as a postcard with old buildings, narrow cobblestone alleys and temples. Makung City, also known as Matsu City, is named after the guardian goddess and protector of all fishermen. Matsu is widely worshipped in Penghu as well as throughout Taiwan. There are more temples on the main island of Penghu than any other place


The scooter trails on the island of Jibei are a popular way of exploring the island

in Taiwan. These three- to five- story religious structures dominate the flat landscape and are a riot of colors, legendary scenes, handsome hand-carved doors, statues and devotional artwork. One temple that shouldn’t be missed is Tianhou Temple. As one of the main attractions in Makung, it also has the honor of being the oldest temple it Taiwan. Sailors have come here for centuries to pray to the goddess for safe voyage. The temple, which was built at the end of the 16th century, is a shining example of Chinese temple architecture, and is still used as a center of worship today.

Stone-trap fishing and unique geological terrain It should come as no surprise that two of Penghu’s biggest tourist cards are deep-sea fishing and its geological terrain. The natural harbors and oceanic life have been drawing fishermen to Penghu for centuries. Fishing continues to be a main source of income for most families here. The ancient practice of building stone fishing traps to catch fish began hundreds of years ago and they are still used as a primary means of fishing today. With over 570 basalt and coral weirs dotting the waters surrounding the islands, they have become quite the tourist attraction in their own right. The traditional fishing technique in Penghu involves laying a net on the sea floor and placing stones along the edge to keep it in place. This forms a trap, which fish can easily swim into but cannot get out of. The stones are moved aside and the net is raised after enough fish have been trapped. Visitors help to remove the fish and then rebuild the trap for the next group to arrive. This activity not only teaches visitors about the lifestyle of Penghu’s early settlers, but also allows people to enjoy the fun of catching their own meal. The Pescadores are not only good for fishing and skin diving. Several islands, Tongpan, Dinggou and Jishan, are famous for having miles of magnificent geological coastline featuring columns of basalt rock formations, which were formed millions of years ago by volcanic eruptions. Tongpan Island has the most spectacular display of columnar basalt in all of Penghu, with columns reaching up to 30 meters in the air. It is considered to be one of Taiwan’s top ten natural wonders.

Chimei - The Isle of Seven Beauties The ferry to the southernmost island of Chimei leaves daily, and visitors have several options for exploring this beautiful island. Scooters can be rented for the day, private tours can be arranged, or the island can be navigated in a leisurely day stroll. Chimei is well known for its sorrowful legends of yore. Its name means the Isle of Seven Beauties because of an ancient story from the Ming Dynasty. The story tells of seven maidens who were washing laundry by a well when Japanese pirates attacked them. Rather than lose their innocence, the women


Hundreds of baskets of tiny silver fish are laid out on the sides of the road to dry in the sun on Makung Island


threw themselves into the well and perished. The villagers honored their death by closing the well and calling it the Tomb of the Seven Beauties. A trek around Chimei includes several spectacular stone formations, such as the Waiting Husband Rock, which resembles a woman reclining on her side. According to legend, a fisherman died at sea and his pregnant wife is said to have turned to stone while waiting for him to come home. Visitors also enjoy looking at a sea-eroded platform called Little Taiwan, which looks remarkably like the shape of the island of Taiwan. As well, Chimei’s famous Double-heart Stone Fish Trap is just off the northern shore.

Wangan Island – Historical Wonders and Eco-tourism My last stop in the Pescadores was the beautiful low-lying island of Wangan. I traveled by boat along the coast of Chimei , catching a view of the island’s sparkling white sand beaches. The natural beauty of Wangan doesn’t just attract tourists. Green sea turtles come here to lay their eggs between the months of May and July. Because of this, beach activities are restricted here, as the island was designated a green turtle conservation area in 1994. Wangan Island also has an extremely popular historical attraction as well. Visitors are drawn to Jhongshe Village, which is famous

for its traditional hundred-year-old Fujian style laogu (coral limestone) houses.

The Jewel of the Taiwan Strait When the heat of summer is gone, visitors to these islands can still enjoy a number of activities and attractions in Penghu. In addition to its historical sites and ecological conservation areas, the Pescadores also enjoy a reputation as one of the windiest sailing spots in the world. A growing number of windsurfers arrive here between the months of October and May in anticipation of high winds and pounding surf. Average daily wind speeds during this time of the year reach anywhere between 10 and 40 knots, with top wind speeds reaching 55 knots or more. The Penghu Pro-Am Windsurfing Festival is held here every November and attracts enthusiasts from all over the world. The Pescadores are a beautiful vacation destination at any time of the year. The islands may be tiny, but they offer an array of culture, history and natural beauty that is unequaled anywhere else in the world. These islands truly are the jewels of the Taiwan Strait. Their dramatic beauty, ecological resources and laid-back atmosphere are sure to delight visitors for years to come.

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The coral limestone cottages on Wangan Island teach visitors about traditional island lifestyle and culture


The idyllic scenery of Wangan Island

If you go Penghu County Government: For water sports activities: Liquid Sport Accommodations: Sunrise Bed and Breakfast, rooms here start at $40 a night and include breakfast, pick-up and drop-off. How to get there: Flights to Penghu, Chimei and Wang’an Islands leave daily from major cities in Taiwan. A ferry operates between Khaohsiung and Makung cities from mid-March to September. Call the Taiwan Hangye Ferry Co. 886+ (07) 561 3866

The sea-eroded gully and magnificent coastline near Fenggui Cave on Makung Island is a popular attraction for most visitors


Continuations living the fantasy continued from page 24

uninviting “concrete pond” with a leaky fountain, the kitchen cupboards were full of chipped and mismatched dishes; toilets and sinks leaked, air-conditioners malfunctioned, and chipped and discolored paint flaked from the walls and ceilings. On the terrace, halfdead plants and trees were choked with weeds. To complete the picture, dirty and mismatched furniture set the décor. The old palace doors were parched gray and desperately needed wood oil. The appliances consisted of a rusty stove and a tiny ancient washing machine; the staff, a sullen, middleaged woman and a timid man who stared at me with suspicion. On the first night I stayed in my new home, I shivered under the weight of four dirty blankets, for the heater did not work and it was a cold January evening. As I lay there, I realized what I had just done, and fear gripped me. I felt like I had, the first day of high school: I had come from a small private school to a large public high school, and fear of the unknown had gripped me then. But I managed to survive high school, and I knew I would manage to survive this. After all, I had just invested in a home in North Africa, did not speak the language or completely know the customs, so what was there to fear? Immediately, I was able to find the first of my own staff. Fatima, the niece of Rachid, came aboard as housekeeper and spa specialist. Then Hamidou, Rachid’s first cousin, came to help when the entire riad was filled two months later, and he has stayed and is my right hand, as well as an excellent chef. Rachid’s nephew Pau arrived when the pool was restored, and Rachid acts as manager of the entire operation when I am in the US. Though I face many challenges ahead, I am lucky to have this wonderful and trustworthy staff. Problems flowered even if my plants failed to thrive. I quickly learned


that workmen spoke only Arabic, and all I could say in Arabic was “hello.” How do you say cement, tile, hammer, or nail in Arabic? Also, the workers had a completely different notion of what work hours were and how they should be paid. It seemed to me that for every hour they worked, they used another hour either eating, having tea, resting, or praying (five times a day), searching the medina for supplies, or attending to family business. I learned to lower my expectations regarding how much work could be accomplished in a day! I carefully controlled my temper so that the workers would accomplish their tasks quickly. One day, at the bottom of the pool, I exploded with anger at a job poorly done. I climbed out of the pool unhappy with myself for losing my temper with the workers. Surprisingly, one of my staff came over to me and whispered, “ I love you when you talk that way!” This puzzled me: did they really prefer a grouch issuing orders? It was one of many lessons I learned my first year. Anger expressed at a poor job was admired: it was my mild comments about a job that were not respected. As I improved my Arabic, I used my computer to draw exactly what I wanted. I would give a copy to the workmen, and then we would sit down to haggle about the price. Haggling is part of living in Morocco. You haggle about the prices of everything: apples to cars. The purchase of any item reminds me of playing poker: you must put on your poker face and try to bluff your opponent. But with any game, no matter who “wins,” you leave as friends. When buying something in Morocco, if you lavish praise on the quality of the item, you have just cemented the price, for what salesman would lower the price of something highly desired? After almost a year, I managed to complete the main part of the restoration, and now on the ground

floor, there is the courtyard with large banana and papyrus trees and openair living. My reception area and dining room, while covered, are open to the courtyard on one side. It is marvelous to consume a delicious Moroccan tajine (a hearty and tasteful traditional stew) while enjoying either sun or rain. There is no sharp definition between indoors and outdoors. Birds, usually finches, enter the kitchen and the bedrooms, chirping as they sit on the top of the armoires and preen as they see their reflections in the mirrors. Bulbuls sing melodically as they bathe in my water fountains, and ring-necked doves perch at night on the curtain rods of my covered terrace or coo together while atop my castle wall. The second and third floors have the five bedrooms, all en suite, and a traditional hammam, a special room where you can enjoy a Turkish-style steam bath. On the fourth floor, I have two terraces: these have many places to sit and relax, reading a book, eating, sunbathing, or star gazing in the evening. From here, you can see amazing distances because no building in the medina can exceed five floors. Most of the riads have four floors, so one enjoys unobstructed views of the fabulous High Atlas Mountains in the distance or the historic 12th century Koutoubia Minaret (tower for a mosque) nearby. The best place to experience the “call to prayer” is on the roof terrace. From there the cacophony of dozens of muezzins (the man who sings the call to prayer) is at its best! Today, Peggy Ward Engh and Rachid Izemreten own Morocco Custom Travel, and are proud to say that Frommer’s travel guide has awarded their company with three stars, its highest rating. Though differing in gender, religion, nationality, culture and experience, they have forged ahead as a team, trusting and learning from each other. &

all photos courtesy of charity:water


Greeting Cards Q&A with thomas kohnstamm continued from page 27

and temptations as a sultry party town on a Brazilian beach. I’m not a guidebook writer anymore, so I don’t have to pay attention to opening hours and hotel prices and all of those niggling details in the same way. With book writing or longer-form prose writing you can focus on story and the essence of the experience, and less on marrying your experience with data entry. I spent a lot of time paying my dues as a guidebook writer, copywriter, researcher etc. and never take for granted that it is a luxury to be working on feature-length projects. Q: What’s next for you? A: I am writing a new book called “The

let there be water continued from page 29

year and a half, and we’ve helped more than 150,000 people here get clean drinking water. “ Fans of the micro-blogging service, Twitter, may be familiar with charity: water’s Twestival. “It was so much fun. It was January 1st, and I was about to jump on a plane to see our projects on three continents. I spoke to Amanda Rose, who was the volunteer that organized the Twestival. She told me her vision of 50 cities coming together for one cause, and I loved it. I empowered her as much as I could, and when I came back a month later, she’d lined up 202 cities around the world.”

Amazonian.” It is about my friend Miguel Hilario-Manenima who grew up in the Upper Amazon Basin on the Peruvian/ Brazilian border. He did not know about the existence of Western Society until, at 11 years of age, he saw a National Geographic that his father salvaged from the garbage dump at a Baptist jungle mission. As the outside world arrived in the Amazon and began to destroy his people’s way of life, Miguel left the deep rainforest in search of an education and a way to defend his homeland. He taught himself to read and then climbed all the way to the Ivory Towers of Oxford and Stanford. He became the Minister of Indigenous Affair of Peru and is now running for the President of Peru in 2011. He will be the first Amazonian to mount a serious presidential bid in any country.

Perfect for sending to loved ones, no matter where they are in the world.

“The one night event around the world raised just shy of $250,000. Later, we flew to Ethiopia, where I met Amanda for the first time. We drilled the first well and broadcasted the four daily videos around the world via satellite.” You can learn more about the campaign at www. and follow charity:water on Twitter @scottharrison and @charitywater. Readers can learn more about projects and donate at www. – Each $20 donation gives one person clean drinking water for 20 years. One hundred percent of donations directly fund the construction and rehabilitation of clean water projects.

As unique as your


Continuations carmindy

continued from page 30

roaring with laughter! Another funny thing was that once I had to sleep in an old farmer’s shed in Cuba after missing the last ferry to an island I was trying to get to. In the middle of the night the shed became infested with thousands of frogs! Carmindy is the author of three books: “The Five Minute Face: The Quick

adventuring in laos continued from page 47

and friendly people who desperately wanted to go out of their way to make us feel welcome, who call that terrain home, and whose everyday lives make our adventure seem like a walk in the park. The hardships that made it an “adventure” were also the things that pushed us on when we were exhausted.

and Easy Makeup Guide for Every Woman,” “Get Positively Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide to Looking and Feeling Gorgeous,” and “Crazy, Busy, Beautiful,” due out next year. Her collaboration with Sally Hanson has yielded an affordable line of paraben-free cosmetics filled with natural anti-oxidants and botanicals. Carmindy uses it exclusively on “What Not to Wear,” and it can be purchased online at www. and Carmindy’s commercial clients include Maybelline, Sephora, Clairol, Avon, Aveeno, CoverGirl, Almay, Bath and Body Works, Sally Hansen, Crest Whitestrips and Q-tips. She writes a monthly e-newsletter featuring answers to questions submitted through her Web site, and is a freelance beauty writer for several other high-traffic beauty web sites. “What Not to Wear” recently wrapped its seventh season on TLC.

The funny thing is Vang Vieng to Luang Probang is a road well traveled, except mostly on a bus behind glass, passengers reading books as they go - but we really “traveled” it. We felt every mile and every bump, and the people we met and the places we stopped at would’ve been missed if we’d taken the bus. A motorbike has the power to connect you to your environment and you have to work with

the road not in spite of it. Laos is the most charming country we’ve ever been to, the people and landscape are truly beautiful and those few days were some of the most interesting, fun, hard and rewarding of our whole travels. What it taught me was - the only thing that ever stands in between people and an adventure, are the people themselves.

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Russian National Group 877-221-7120


The Traveling Eye

Croatia in the Light Photographer Liza Carlson gets lost in the beauty of nature and civilization of Croatia... For more from Liza Carlson visit

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Cat and clock in Zagreb; Plitvice Lakes National Park; CafĂŠ in Split; Trout in Plitvice Lakes National Park


CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Star trails over the Adriatic Sea in Pula; Waterfalls and trees in Plitvice Lakes National Park; Hands of a beggar in Zagreb; Nighttime at Diocletian’s Palace in Split; Pula Arena completed in 81 A.D.


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"When I look out at the window at the pouring rain and can't stop surfing the web for photos of tropical beaches." -Heather

"When you think airplanes are a new invention." -Vanessa

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"When the most exotic place you’ve been lately is the local Chinese restaurant." -Stephanie

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Knowledge Compass

“When your idea of a staycation is taking your computer outside to work on the balcony.” -Lauren Elyse Matison

"When I'm unable to sit still." -Jessie Voigts

"The alarm clock goes off on "When reading about inflight food service makes you drool." Monday morning." -Jacob Madden -Ethan Gelber "When all the cheap flight searches have your travel dates and destination automatically saved." -Adena Harford 100

Don’t be a chicken....get out there and travel....

....tons of tiny travel tidbits today....

Don’t be a chicken....get out there and travel....

....tons of tiny travel tidbits today....

HipCompass Escapes Travel Fall'09  

HipCompass Escapes is the first members-only travel magazine, edited by its readers. The magazine is for affluent travelers who seek out wha...

HipCompass Escapes Travel Fall'09  

HipCompass Escapes is the first members-only travel magazine, edited by its readers. The magazine is for affluent travelers who seek out wha...