Journaling the independent Arab Traveller.
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We struggled to write an inspiring introduction to these pages, and as refined as we tried to make them, these pages are not meant to accommodate meticulously written articles or award-wining images. These are candid pages with personal experiences that reveal more insight than just about their destinations. Because travel comes in all forms, shapes, and even sizes. There isn’t a right or wrong way of traveling. In our opinion, traveling means stepping outside your comfort zone in order to discover something new; about adjusting to foreign customs and adapting to different environments. Traveling, in other words, offers you the opportunity to look at life from more than one window and to look at your reflection in more than one mirror. We may choose to believe that we belong to our homes, our names, our passports, our languages or our skins, but we seldom choose to believe that we belong to something far bigger than what is within our premises; beyond those barriers we simply belong. The intention here is to share personal stories from people within our usual walk of life because they relate to us. Our intention is for you, the reader, to sift through our stories, absorb our images and maybe learn our tips but never be content to live through our experiences. Our true intention is for you to make your own.
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mohammad AlSanea ASSISTANT EDITOR Fatma AlMattar CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Ibrahim AlRukhais Mohammad AlShatti Rabaa AlHajeri CONTRIBUTING TRAVELERS Ibrahim AlRukhais Mariam Sultan Shaikha AlRashed Musaed AlMejren Fatma AlMattar Abdulkareem AlShatti Abdullah AlQattan Mohammad AlSanea PHOTOGRAPHY All photographs published here are accredited to the contributing traveler and/or the 361 team. Photographers for other contributions: Ibrahim Alrukhais Cover, p15,64,66,82; Musaed Almejren p60,61,62; Mohammad Alsanea,p6,56,58,59.
Content edited by Crowd Creative House www.crowdcreative.me 361 is printed under Khaleejesque Media Est. www.khaleejesque.com CONTACT email@example.com www.361.world
W 70 degrees
. CUBA KENYA MADAGASCAR PERU TANZANIA
|004| SAFETY IN THE LATIN CONTINENT MUSAED ALMEJREN | P38 |005| CUBA FATMA ALMATTAR | P48 |006| MACHU PICCHU ABDULKAREEM ALSHATTI | P62 |008| TEACHING KIDS IN CUZCO| MOHAMMAD ALSANEA | P74
|001| EVERYMAN’S EVEREST IBRAHIM ALRUKHAIS | P16 |002| INTO THE WILD SHAIKHA ALRASHED | P22 |003| EXPLORING MADAGASCAR MARIAM SULTAN | P28 |007|
A MODERN DAY NOMAD BLANCBENA | P70
IBRAHIM AL RUKHAIS Ibrahim is an adventure seeker and a photography enthusiast. Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, Elbrus and recently Everest Base Camp with Rahhalah Explorers. Ibrahim is the Man behind the lens of the 361 Cover.
“The darkest thing about Africa has always been our ignorance of it.” George Kimble
TANZANIA |001| IBRAHIM ALRUKHAIS Ibrahim Alrukhayes always had an adventurous spirit, but never thought of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania until he received an email from a friend. Here Alrukhayes shares his experience of embarking on the journey to Mount Kilimanjaro and how he unleashed the adventurous man within in the process. I received an email from a friend about an adventure company called ‘Rahalah’ that was organizing a trek to the roof of Africa. Though I was not sure I would be able to climb it at the time, being a total amateur and all. After taking the decision, I was lucky to have found myself joining history makers, and owners of “Rahalah,” Zaid Al Refai and Suzanne Al Houby, who were the first Arab male and female to climb Mount Everest. I knew prior to the climb that it was not going to be a walk in the park; that this was a real challenge that needed a lot of preparation both physically and mentally. There are many reasons for climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. It’s the highest freestanding mountain on the earth and has
inspired the entire continent of Africa to freedom as Tanzania was the first African nation to get its independence in 1959 from colonial powers. Julius Nyerere, the soon-to-be president at that time, said: “We would like to light a candle and put it on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, which would shine beyond our borders giving hope, where there was despair, love where there was hate, and dignity where there was only humiliation.” Today, the summit is called Uhuru peak, which translates to “Freedom” in Swahili. It is also known as “Everyman’s Everest” for being the most achievable climb of the Seven Summits. Not to mention Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the world’s greatest natural wonders: a snowcapped mountain on the top of the Equator. But enough about that and back to our climb. We started our trek initially wearing T-shirts as to endure the heat and humidity in the middle of the rainforest and eventually wound up wearing five layers of clothing when we reached the summit. It felt like walking from the Equator to the North Pole within a week.
TANZANIA We had been told by our local guides that if the whole glaciers were to melt, nobody would climb Mount Kili anymore, as there would be no source of water left. Sadly, if you follow up on the status of the ice cap within the past two decades, you will see dramatic regression of the glaciers. On a positive note, many meaningful causes drove people to climb this mountain and raise messages at the top of its magnificent peak. Some of our friends climbed Kilimanjaro to support a good cause, like our fellow Palestinian climbers who climbed to convey a message of peace and support, while other climbers were fighting chronic or incurable diseases and were determined to climb to the top to deliver a message of hope and positivity. My time trekking towards the summit was extremely challenging. I was practically drained and haggard, with dusty hair and chapped lips from the cold, dry winds. I caught a severe headache and vomited a few times from the acute mountain sickness. Like myself, you may find yourself reaching a point where you almost want to give up. Gladly, I was surrounded with a motivated group and amazing guides that pushed and, if necessary, dragged me to the summit. All our suffering vanished once we reached the peak and I learned that thereâ€™s no better victory than overcoming your own weakness. Indeed, when you climb Kilimanjaro and stand on the roof of Africa, you become to see yourself and the world in a different way. What seemed impossible in your life might just be doable. The mountaintop is a place of vision, inspiration and new beginnings. As an Everymanâ€™s Everest, Mount Kilimanjaro is a place where extraordinary things happen.
DESTINATION: TANZANIA Capital: Dodoma Currency: Tanzanian Shilling (1KD |6212.88 TZS) Main Language: Swahili Visa: Citizens of Kuwait (most GCC) can obtain visa upon arrival. Tips: Passport must be valid for atleast 6 months for visa. Get your vaccinations in order (yellow card for yellow fever is required for entering Tanzania). Seasons: Best time to climb is during its dry seasons (Jan-Mar, Jun-Oct) INFORMATION: For any detailed information you can contact Ibrahim and see more of his adventures on his account. Instagram: @Ibra1a
|002| SHAIKHA ALRASHED I had always been dreaming about a safari trip for years and finally, in 2014, my plans were set and it was the time to go. I read for so long about travelers from all around the world sharing their African safari experiences, as well as watching many movies that were filmed in different parts of Africa. Those two mediums were enough to help me build a beautiful image of the vast continent. My adventure began by arriving to Nairobi and spending the night in the city before flying to the Masai Mara National Reserve the next day. Our camp was listed among the best tent camps
in Africa. It was called “And Beyond Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp.” The idea of sleeping in a tent was extremely new to me. I stayed in the camp for three nights, and it was only the begining. I never thought that I would fall in love with such an environment. We stayed in a tented camp right there in the middle of the plains of the Mara, away from the bustle of the city, and socialized with people from around the world and discussed what we saw in our game drives. I met so many passionate travelers, including a bird watcher from Britain and a traveler who has been visiting Kenya for more than 30 years. I learnt a lot from them, and isn’t that what we do when we travel?
I loved all the details about my stay in the Kichwa Tembo Tented Camp; the great Kenyan hospitality, the amazing camp setting, the food, and mostly Charity, a female ranger and tracker who took us on Safari game drives everyday and into the wildlife of the Mara, a job that I had always associated with men. The camp had spectacular views across the open plains of the Masai Mara National Reserve and during the night, guests were advised not to walk around unless accompanied by a security guard. I remember one day while we were on our way to start our safari game drive of the day, we ran into a huge hippo who apparently wanted to take a walk straight into the bushes and trees of our camp. That day I discovered that those hippos are considered the most dangerous animals in Africa.
The safari game drives were amazing; we saw plenty of animals, almost all the big five, as we drove through the African landscape with a safari jeep while coming close to wild animals, sometimes observing them for hours just in order to study their behavior. I saw so much of the Kenyan wildlife that it was enough for me to believe that Africa has its own magic. I saw baby elephants and giraffes nursing their young ones and birds of all kind of sizes and colors. Even though I wasn’t a professional photographer, most of the pictures I took were “magical.” I guess that’s the African magic. One of the most amazing experiences was witnessing the Mara sunset. It was beautiful seeing its influence on animals’ behavior. I was transported to a whole different and untouched place.
KENYA Nothing could ever beat the great feeling of going back home after a trip full of adventures and stories to tell. So what I basically do before taking a trip is to look for adventures that I can experience at a new destination. Have you ever heard of a hot air balloon safari? Imagine yourself flying over the plains of the Masai Mara watching the animals from a birdâ€™s eye view in the early hours of the morning. It was the ultimate experience! Finally I believe that a safari trip is a must for wildlife enthusiasts, nature lovers, photographers, bird watchers and all other travelers out there.
DESTINATION: KENYA Capital: Nairobi Currency: Kenyan shilling (1KD / 310 KS) Main Language: Swahili Visa: Citizens of Kuwait (most GCC) can obtain visa upon arrival. Visa can also be obtained within Kuwait at the Kenyan Embassy in Zahra area, South Surra. Tips: The great migration season can also be a high season so plan ahead. Season: The great migration (Jan-Apr, Sep-Nov) INFORMATION For more information on travel packages, places to stay and destinations you can follow Shaikhaâ€™s travel insights through her blog and Instagram account. Instagram: @amatraveller Blog: www.amatraveller.com
|003| MARIAM SULTAN
During my visit to Madagascar I traveled to different parts of the country, doing some sightseeing and meeting people. What I loved about Madagascar is not only the nature and the fauna of it, but also the big smiles of its people when they greet you with “Salama,” meaning Hello. I like how easy and relaxed the pace of life amongst the locals is. They believe that rushing things up would initiate mistakes and so they live by the motto “mora, mora” which means “slowly, slowly.” Madagascar is full of happiness despite the economic difficulties that people face in their daily lives; they never cease to smile.
My journey started from the capital city, Antananarivo, and ended in the west side of the island in Morondaval. Tana in Antananarivo is a beautiful city to walk around during the day. You will see the heart-shaped Anosy Lake with the Aux Morts monument in the middle, honoring the Malagasy who died in the First World War while fighting for France (according to the Malagasy). Standing on the lake and looking up, everyone will notice the Queen’s Palace located in the highest point in Tana. The Palace was burnt back in 1995 and till this day they are trying to rebuild it while keeping the remains besides the building for everyone to see. My favorite spot in Tana was the Friday Market, which is called Zoma Market. You will find everything from batteries and diapers to vegetables and meat. Walking the market itself is an experience that ends by passing through the Independence Avenue where the Malagasy often warn tourists to be extra cautious from pickpockets. There are two ways to reach the west side of Madagascar, either by flying directly from Tana to Morondava, or by taking a pirogue to cross the Tsiribihina River for two days (including camping). I chose the latter because I wanted to see more of the nature and the Malagasy way of life. We drove from Tana to Antsirabe for about 7 hours. Antsirabe is believed to be the town that has all the tribes of Madagascar, where you can find a monument presenting all 18 tribes next to a train station built by the French in the early 1900s. A fantastic place to visit in Antsirabe is the Hôtel des Thermes, which the Malagasy believe to be haunted by the prisoners who were tortured there by French colonizers.
I made my way to the Lake Andraikiba, which translates to “Oh my belly!” When I was walking around the lake, I noticed that no boats were sailing, no fishermen were fishing, and no one was swimming, which prompted me to ask the local shop owners around the lake. They told me a story about the lake being haunted by the spirit of a young pregnant woman who once drowned there. They said many ages ago King Radama initiated a swimming competition among three women in which they had to swim from the beginning of the lake to the end. It was said that the king was seated at the finish line waiting for the winner whom he would marry. Unbeknown to anyone, including the king, one of the three women was pregnant, who upon reaching the middle of the lake cried “Oh my belly!” By the time it took the boats to reach her, the woman had already been dead and that’s when they realized she was pregnant. After the incident, many people claimed they saw the spirit of a pregnant woman walking around, and from that time, no one had gone to the lake to fish or swim. After visiting the lake, I went to Antsirabe Market to start grocery shopping in preparation for the two camping days on the Tsiribihina River. In the market, I told some kids that if they could take a nice picture of me then I would buy them whatever they wanted. After one of them took the shot, I told them, “Choose anything you want in the market and I will buy it for you,” and they all replied, “We want a banana.” I was surprised to hear that, but then they told me that bananas keep them full and make them strong. That showed me how simple life is when you ask for what you need.
MADAGASCAR After shopping I headed to Tsiribihina River to take the pirogue and start a two day journey down the river. Before crossing the river you have to get an approval from the police to cross the river. After crossing the river, I reached Morondava and started climbing on the sharp limestone formations of Tsingy of Bemaraha Park. Climbing rocks with sharp edges was a new experience for me, not to mention the spectacular view at the top. The trip ended with what I believe to be the best spot on Madagascar, the Baobab Avenue. The kids who live near the baobab trees told me stories about why these trees were shaped so peculiarly. Some said that because of the Gods’ fury on the trees, they had turned them upside down and made their roots facing the sky and leaves under the ground. Others said that the Gods made their roots facing the sky so that they would drink from Gods’ water.
DESTINATION: MADAGASCAR Capital: Antananarivo Currency: Malagasy Ariary (1KD/10,205 AR) Main Language: Malagasy and French Visa: Citizens of Kuwait (most GCC) can obtain visa upon arrival. Tips: Passport must be valid for atleast 6 months for visa. Seasons: Rainy season (Jan-Mar) INFORMATION For more information on Madagascar and other off the beaten path places follow Maryam’s travels. Instagram: @marillimasultan
Word of Mouth Tips on Budget Travelling
Limit your air travel. If you plan to do a gap year then it would be worth investing in the ‘around the world’ ticket. Most airlines today come up with competitive travel packages targeted for early planners. The other option would be to limit you airfare to a specific destination and then experience traveling overland or by boat. Local transportation is much cheaper and can take you from one end of the continent to the other (just make sure you sort out your visas).
Hostels versus Hotels. There is this bad reputation in our region about hostels from the very few people that know what a hostel is. Accommodation can be of concern to many travelers since most don’t want to compromise comfort and security.There are many options that a more adventurous traveler can take, camping is amongst the favorite. Personally, I am a fan of local family stay because it’s one of the best ways to get a glimpse of a culture. The most common options, however, are hotels (if you don’t mind spending) or hostels, which is most common amongst backpackers. Hostels are not all the same. There are the stereotypical ‘party hostels’ and other quiet ones favored by many business travelers. When selecting a hostel you can start by checking the ratings and review through TripAdvisor.com or HostelBooker.com. Many hostels provide the options of private rooms and bathrooms and many provide female only dormitories. What I enjoy about hostels is that you can meet likeminded people and make travel buddies by hanging out in the community areas rather than hotel lobbies.
Ditch your Michelin star restaurant and head to the market. When it comes to food almost every place offers delicious street food that costs you close to nothing. Being aware of what you eat might be wise at times but don’t let fear stop you from experiencing some amazing local food that may have inspired top chefs around the world.
Pay as a local. In some cities that are more open to tourists you will find that many choose to pay with the dollar. It is better to use local currency than foreign to avoid being cheated. Also it helps to think as a local and not as a tourist.
Give back to the locals. Many treks and other adventures require you to join an agency that organizes these trips specifically if there’s a government restriction. While many Western organizers do provide more professional and safe options, they tend to charge you a lot. I advise to look at all your options and try selecting a local grassroot organizer with a good reputation. Giving back to the community is also rewarding.
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.” Paulo Coelho
|004| MUSAED ALMEJREN
Musaed AlMejren, the man behind the local travel blog Mejroxy and a South America travel enthusiast, tackles some safety concerns and misconceptions about the Latin continent. When I say that I traveled to South America the first question I get asked is ‘’Is it safe?!’’ It is not really a question but rather a prejudgement. But to answer this I would say, yes. However, this does not mean that crimes do not happen in South American cities. Infact, crime rates are high just as in big cities like New York, London, Paris, Istanbul and even in our cities in the Gulf. I travel to South America frequently. Cities, towns and villages in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Panama. Sometimes I travel with friends, other times plain old solo, or when I get a chance I tag along with locals I meet along the way. I once took a local taxi to a remote town and between their mostly nonexistent English and my very humble Spanish I arrived. The point is I managed to come back safe and sound every time. You have to be confident about what you are doing. Read about the places you want to visit, check with the concierge if you are staying at a hotel and ask about the places you are planning to visit. As a frequent traveler I personally experienced two incidents. The first one was when a pickpocket stole my phone in Paris and the second incident was in Istanbul, when a taxi driver charged me ten times more than what he should charge and both incidents were not in South America. It is, however, wise to be aware of your surroundings and address any safety concerns but most importantly don’t let fear takeover the excitement to travel, meet people, learn about a new culture and expand your horizons. Do not let safety be an excuse for you not to get your visa and explore the diversity of this Latin continent.
MEJROXY’S 7 TIPS ONE Always take a prepaid ‘licensed’ taxi from the airport upon arrival. TWO Get a local mobile sim card as soon as you touch down. THREE Know your directions from the airport to the hotel and save the full address and contacts on a paper. FOUR Even if you know where you are going and doing, there is no harm in asking the concierge at your hotel about safety concerns. FIVE Know the city map and get orientated. Know the attractions of the city and if you are alone avoid walking in streets and neighborhoods that you know nothing about. SIX Sometimes it is better to avoid stopping random taxis on the street at night. Get to the closest hotel and ask them to call a taxi for you or find a taxi stand. SEVEN Wear the right gear for the right place. If you don’t need it, don’t flash it.
INFORMATION To get to know more about places in South America follow the account of Musaed AlMejrin. Instagram: @mejroxy
“So tell me all about Cuba..” Those are the first words I hear from every friend I met after my trip to the unforgettable Caribbean island,Cuba. It all started when I opened my computer one day to read the news and an article about Cuba caught my attention. It was about the latest developments of the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. There is something about traveling to a ‘forbidden’ country that just fuels your curiosity. So I quickly decided to see the forbidden before it becomes unforbidden and experience the past before it becomes the present. Being an independent traveler, I began my research and asked friends who have been to Cuba for pointers to start planning. Once I read all about it, I knew I wanted to see three places in particular; Havana, Trinidad de Cuba and Varadero. Finally, I was ready to proceed with the rest to finalize my itinerary. If I could confirm something, finalizing your booking for this country is definitely not an easy process. Once a rich country, Cuba is now stuck in the 1950s due to the trade embargo with the US which is a huge obstacle in Cuba’s development. So what’s life really like there you ask?
CUBA |005| FATMA ALMATTAR
HAVANA The capital of Cuba is a dream location for photographers. We were welcomed with Cuban smiles, kind hearts and no suitcases. Wait, what? Yes. Our bags unfortunately did not make it with us. So my first experience in Cuba was to track our bags which were expected to arrive four days later. I had no intention of shopping whatsoever but the plan had changed. The next day I had the sole purpose of finding myself few pieces of clothing. This incident made me remember some words a friend of mine told me before I left to Cuba, “Cuba is not cheap”. I asked some of the locals wondering how could they afford such prices? Though I understood the reality behind their business environment later. The Cuban government legalized home businesses at some point so the locals operate businesses within their homes to make money. Restaurants are inside Cuban houses, clothing stores are based within homes and so on. There’s no gasoline, but the cars are still running, There’s no food in the stores, but everyone cooks dinner every night. They have no money, they have nothing at all - but they drink rum and go dancing. A ride in a beautiful 1957 convertible on the Malecon, Havana’s seaside promenade, simply took my breath away. We headed to the old town, the center of attention known as Havana Vieja, where music is in every corner. Salsa is just an irresistible sound and the face of Cuban culture. There are many types of Cuban music or classifications like Rumba, Son, Danzón and Distinctions. In almost every corner and walls of Havana,
we saw the heroes of the revolution; Camilo Cienfuegos, Che Guevara and Fidel, I’m a big fan of graffiti art and the works on the walls were artsy and catchy. Safety is something that kept on popping up prior, during and after my trip. Cuba is moderately safe although precaution is always good, which would be the normal precautions you would take in any city. TRINIDAD A small village that is rich in history and beauty. The start of Trinidad’s visit was exploring the town by foot. We got lost in the stunning small old streets and ended up at one of their music houses where we enjoyed the young and the old burn up the dance floor with live music playing at Casa de La Musica. Another highlight of Trinidad is a tour to see Valle de los Ingenios (Valley of the Sugar Mills). The tour started with a pick-up from a point infront of our hotel in a 1951 Cadillac which just made our tour extra special. The first picture I saw when opening the first page while researching Cuba was the Tower Manaca Iznaga from Valle de los Ingenios which was the reason why Trinidad was a place I wanted to see and I am extremely lucky to have done just that. The village of Iznaga is the site of the large Manaca Iznaga sugar plantation. In this tour, you get to know all about Cuban’s history, the sugar mills, the slaves, the afro-Cubans and much more. We climbed up the 44 meter tower Manaca Iznaga, where you can experience what the masters did in bygone years as they observed slaves at work.
CUBA VARADERO Blue? Green? Turquoise? What is this color that I see? Our last stop was in the Island of Varadero. Varadero is just like any Carribean island with beautiful clear waters and average resorts. Simplicity and beautiful nature is what you really need. It was a good stop to relax and prepare for the return back home. Experiencing the 1950s, I left this beautiful place with a thought; can this communist society really open up in the next few years? If I could sum it all up, Cuba is a place you either absolutely love, or absolutely hate. It is not for everyone. Check it out, and let me know which team you’re on. Hasta proxima tiempo, Cuba!
Side notes: DESTINATION: CUBA Capital: Havana Currency: Cuban convertible peso (1kd/ 3.33124 CUC) Main Language: Spanish Visa: Visa can be obtained in Kuwait at the Cuban embassy located in Al Rawda area. Tips: One of the best ways to discover Cuba is to rent a car with a local driver who knows the ‘real’ Cuba and can drive you from city to city. Seasons: Cuba is know for its year round festivities, most common between July and August.
Step one to planning is reading. Step two to planning is opening the map, identifying destinations and their proximity to each other. Step three to planning is logistics. Lesson learned: Keep spare clothing in your carry-on when traveling.
INFORMATION: For any detailed information you can contact Fatma and see more of her travel infused account. Instagram: @hello965
نساء من البيرو من أجمل وأمتع حضارات ممكن أن تتعرف عليها هي االنكا. تستوطن حضارة االنكا اليوم بعض الدول يف أمريكا اجلنوبية وأبرزها هي البيرو حيث كانت مدينة كوزكو العاصمة احلديثة لالنكا. تتميز نساء الكيتشوا يف مالبسها امللونة واللتي أبهرت العديد من مصميمي األزياء يف العالم وتستخرج هذه األلوان من الطبيعة. تختلف أزياء النساء من مكان الى أخر ،فهي حتكي عن االنتماء القبلي وطبيعة احلياة التي حتيطها.
ما هي كيفية الوصول إليها؟ هناك طريقتني للوصول إليها ،وكل الطرق عادة ما تبدأ من مدينة أثرية أسمها «كوسكو» يف البيرو: -الطريق املريح :بالسيارة ثم القطار (ملدة ثالث ساعات تقريباً) ثم رحلة مشي قصيرة. -طريق األنكا ( :)Inca Trailوهو ممرات جبلية تقطعها يف 4أيام ،لتصل إليها ،والطريق جميل جداً وجتربته أكثر من رائعة .وهناك عدد محدود ملن يتم قبولهم يومياً لسلوك الطريق ،لذا يجب أن يتم احلجز مبكراً ،ويكون التحرك من خالل قوافل ،والنوم يف مخيمات خاصة على الطريق. الطريق سيحتاج منك أن تعود صدرك على املرتفعات قبلها بعدة أيام ،كما يجب أن حتسن من لياقتك البدنية. بالرغم من زيارتي لعشرات الدول ،وقضائي
ألشهر طويلة مسافراً يف أمريكا اجلنوبية ،إال أن جتربة املاتشوبيتشو لها طعم خاص ولذة ال تفوت. وإذا كنت من النوع الذي يؤمن بأنه« :سيعيشها ملرة واحدة» ،فإن املاتشوبيتشو أحد األماكن التي يجب أن تزورها يف هذه املرة الواحدة .واجلميل أن مجموعة دروب للرحالت @ doroubتقوم بتنظيم أول رحلة لعدد من املناطق يف أمريكا اجلنوبية ومن بينها بيرو واملاتشوبيتشو .املتعة هنا متمثلة يف الغرابة ،فكل ما ستراه سيكون غريباً وجديداً بالنسبة لك ،واملتعة ستتجلى لك أيضاً من جمال املكان وجمال الطبيعة احمليطة بها ،والتنسى متعة البشر ،فهناك اآلالف من السكان احملليني ممن يعيشون هنا ،وهم يف غاية اللطف والظرافة .ومبا أن سكنك سيكون يف مدينة كوسكو ،فستجد كفايتك من األنشطة والتاريخ يف هذه املدينة ،واملفاجئة أن الطعام هنا لذي ٌذ جداً.
عبدالكرمي الشطي السفر هو آلة الزمن. حينما تصل إلى ليما عاصمة البيرو ،ستشعر بإنك رجعت إلى 40سنة للوراء .وحينما تصل إلى مدينة كوسكو يف بيرو ،ستشعر بإنك رجعت 400سنة للوراء .وحينما تصل إلى املاتشوبيتشو يف بيرو، ستشعر بإنك رجعت 4000سنة للوراء! «املاتشوبيتشو» ،إحدى عجائب الدنيا السبع، وهي مدينة قدمية بنيت بتكنولوجيا حديثة منذ مئات السنني .ظلت متسترة بشواهق اجلبال ومتدثرة بقطن الغيوم ،ال يعرف عنها إال مؤسسوها والنسور والصقور.بعض األساطير القدمية تكلمت عنها ،إال أن الناس حسبوها من خرافات قبائل
االنكا ،وكانت تسمى «املدينة الضائعة» أو «مدينة الشمس» .وحينما احتل األسبان بيرو ،اختفى فيها مجموعة من السكان األصليني من ساللة امللك، وظل األسبان يبحثون عنها ملئات السنني ،لكن لم تكتشف إال قبل مئة سنة ال يزال العلماء محتارين أمام عظمة هذه املدينة ،ال يعرفون كيف بنيت ،وال كيف صممت، وال زالت هندستها حتيرهم .ويعتقد بعض العلماء أنها كانت مزاراً دينيا خاصاً يحج إليها الناس ،إلن تقع يف مفترق الطرق بني غابات األمازون واحمليط وجبال األنديز وصحراء تشيلي ،وهناك طرق مبئات الكيلومترات ،مت تعبيدها منذ مئات السنني لتوصل إلى هذه املدينة احمليرة.
PERU|THE INCA TRAIL
DESTINATION: PERU Capital: Lima Currency: Nuevo Sol (approx. 1KD/9.80SOL) Main Language: Spanish Visa: Visa can now be obtained from the embassy of Peru at AlArabiya tower in Kuwait city. Tel: 22267250 Tips: Inca trail passes are limited to a number of trekkers per year so make sure to buy your pass in advance as they tend to sell out. Season: Best time to do the Inca trail is during the dry season (May-Sep)
INFORMATION: For more about Machu Picchu follow Kareemâ€™s backpacking journeys. Instagram: @q8backpacker
A MODERN DAY NOMAD
When you fall in love with someone you offer them your all and it wouldn’t matter to you anyway because you know what you will get in return is far more important. Abdullah, a.k.a Blanbenca (that’s a personal story), fell in love with the world and chose to compromise plenty of comfort in return for adventure. Now, he’s a man with a backpack and a tent on his shoulders, a modern day nomad, seeking shelter in his one true love.
I think most people consider traveling as a means of leisure and many like to go to places which they’re familiar with, which is not wrong, but there is so much more to gain from exploring new places, don’t you think? It is not a matter of going to places known to people or not, most places nowadays are becoming known to most of us, but to me, I see that many places have lost their reality, and shaped their life and culture to suit the expectations of the average tourist and that’s probably what makes me detour from some of the places that may be considered familiar or common. A traveler once said, “When you travel remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” Very interesting. So what was your most unique travel experience? In each trip and each new destination there’s something unique to be experienced. Being able to participate in a culture’s way of life and learn from any positive or negative experiences is what makes every trip unique. Although I am 27 years, I see myself as a 7 year old traveler (not counting my tourist’s years). They do say that traveling is life’s best teacher and this also reminds me of a lecture that talked about how Arabs used to value travel as means of education and how nowadays we don’t have much of that spirit anymore. Yes, I totally agree. I have learned from traveling more than I ever did anywhere in my life, from schools to media. I learned to talk in foreign languages, how to spend my time and money wisely. Even the people around me have noticed the positive change in my personality.
Some people are afraid to interact with other cultures, how do you respond to that? I learned many things from interacting with many cultures. For example, I learned from Cuba that people are happy as long as they don’t know that they are missing something (that is to say that we create a need for things that are not important and this need comes from what we see in the media. This makes us unhappy because we are told that we need it but we can’t afford it). I learned from the Sudanese that trust and loyalty are very important and from the Yemenis, to take care of your guests regardless of your situation. Many people judge an entire culture from a bad experience they had in that country and barely touch the surface of that culture. So what are your top three destinations? Mexico for its diversity of cultures and nature, Socrates Island in Yemen, and Iran for pretty much the same reasons, plus it’s easy to get to and inexpensive. It is always nice to share stories with you and hear about your adventures. I like that you take the bare minimum with you and carry your own accommodation on your back. I always advise others to try something different next time they plan to travel, so what do you advise me and them? I believe any person has the ability to travel with purpose, and that the best life lessons come from real life experiences. One of my favorite sayings that I love to quote often is, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
INFORMATION: Instagram: @blancbena
|008| MOHAMMAD ALSANEA I arrived at Cuzco in Peru to do something I have never done before and for some reason I dreaded more than trekking to the peaks of mountains or jumping off a plane. I was going to teach kids a language I barely spoke (Let’s face it, kids can be very intimidating). Aldea Yanapay is a local school in the Inca city of Cuzco that was established by Cuscanean Yuri to help kids who are raised in a rough and violent environment to achieve better grades and improve their English, as well as learn other skills that would open up new opportunities to them as they grow up. What I loved about the school, and this is
very important when it comes to volunteering anywhere, is that it’s a grass root project with a clear goal and costs nothing except my time and my love which essentially is what volunteer work should be about. I didn’t start as a teacher but more of a supervisor. I played with kids, put on shows, and eventually managed to teach some math and English (and few Arabic slang). What I also loved about the school is that they teach kids how to love and accept other religions, cultures and differences while teaching the volunteers to embrace the local culture. Working with kids is tough, as they tend to be direct and frank. I had to learn how to relax and be
silly at times and how to let go of fear. The kids taught me how to embrace a new culture and most importantly how to be a kid again. Teaching with love, whether you do it perfectly or not, is the most rewarding thing because you are not giving material things but you are giving part of yourself. I was under the impression that when we give others we are helping them but in truth they are helping us or maybe we are helping each other. I would love to think that I did give some of these kids something that made a difference to their lives but there’s
INFORMATION Instagram: @moe_hmd
It is not about the money!
VOL UNT EER ING abroad
One of the most rewarding things a traveler can do is to give some of their travel time to volunteer. However, due to the high demand in volunteering there has been an increase in scam projects, volunteer tourism and human trafficking that leaves us wondering whether volunteering today does more harm than good. We believe that all good intentions are good but it also comes with the responsibility of making sure that we do the best research. We gathered few tips from our experiences and by meeting long time volunteers abroad.
Volunteering is not about giving money and should cost you close to nothing. Some projects may require payment if a service is being provided such as accomodation, transportation, medical care, etc. Make sure when joining an organization to understand how much of your money is going into the organization itself and how much goes to the project and people they support.There are lots of volunteer organizations out there that are purely commercial. Some organizations go beyond commercialism to unethical practices.
Be honest with yourself. There are many ways to volunteer and many reasons to volunteer. Voluntourism is one of the most common volunteering options today where travelers mix vacation with volunteering. However, from meeting few volunteers and reading about volunteering, voluntorism can also be the least effective as it does not give you enough time to invest in the project. It is important to know what you are about and what skills you can provide.
Do your research. This is the most important tip and the Internet is a good tool to start. Do a background check when you find a project or an organization that you are interested in. You will stumble on reviews and read experiences from previous volunteers. Donâ€™t be shy about emailing other volunteers and raising any concerns you have. Contact the organization and ask them for any details you need. Ask why an international volunteer is needed rather than local skills and understand the project and your role.
Follow your heart. Sometimes you are bound to make mistakes. Donâ€™t worry about it. Follow your heart when chosing a project and remember when you volunteer you are not Santa Claus delivering gifts but you are a fellow human being sharing what you have with love and you will leave taking more than you probably gave.
We recommend The Secret Garden Cotopaxi, Ecuador Neslted between the Andes in the Cotopaxi National park area, this unique eco-hostel is a favorite amongst backpackers. Although it is at the higher range of a backpackerâ€™s budget, you can still find a suitable range from camping on the grounds to your own private room while enjoying homegrown food and the outdoor activities in the area. www.secretgardencotopaxi.com
Climbing Trekking Safari Camping Rafting
T: +9714 4472 166 E. firstname.lastname@example.org
F: +9714 4472 165 www.rahhalah.com
Explore your boundaries
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