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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 Merrick 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

• • • •

Custom private tours that fit your budget - 3, 4 and 5 Set your own pace with your private guide and vehicle Awarded “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth 08’ & ‘09” 80 countries, over 14,000 delighted clients

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

HipCompass Escapes (ISSN 1947-6205) is published bi-monthly (Dec/Jan, Feb/Mar, Apr/May, Jun/Jul, Aug/Sept, Oct/Nov) 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.

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  7

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 uninviting 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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HipCompass Escapes preview  

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 preview  

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