LIFE ON THE RUN
Nomads is a quarterly Travel magazine.
02. . . . . . . . EDITOR’S LETTER by LAURI LYONS 05. . . . . . . . BAGHDAD JOURNAL by STEVE MUMFORD 15. . . . . . . . STORMY MONDAY by GERALD CYRUS 37. . . . . . . . DAWN OF THE GODS by MARLENE NADLE 41. . . . . . . . STILL ALIVE by SCARLETT COTEN 49. . . . . . . . SOUTHERN COMFORT by HANNAH MORRIS 53. . . . . . . . MASQUERADE by PHYLLS GALEMBO 63. . . . . . . . COCINA DE LOS ANDES by MARCUS NILSSON 67. . . . . . . . RULES OF THE ROAD 69. . . . . . . . SOUTH AFRICA by LAURI LYONS
Cover photo by SCARLET COTEN
FROM THE EDITOR
If there was any doubt about who the boss is, Mother Nature served up a brutal 2010 winter as a reminder. While cabin fever was in full effect, dreams of Spring began to take shape in our conscious daily life. The Big Easy kicked off Mardi Gras celebrations, the Trinidadians paraded around in butterfly wings and the Brazilians have now taken to the streets in full feathered regalia for Carnival. In the North Africa and the Middle East, dreams of democracy also took shape in the peopleâ€™s daily life. A multitude of generations throughout the region are now in the process of taking their countries and destinies into their own hands. In this Spring issue of Nomads we are celebrating the idea of cultural evolution, with features about Harlem Jazz clubs, Egyptian Bedouins, African Masquerades, and life beyond war in Iraq. As the seasons are changing, the world is changing. We hope you hang on for the wild ride. Live, Transform, Inspire,
- Lauri Lyons
LIFE ON THE RUN
Nomads is a quarterly Travel magazine.
LAURI LYONS Publisher, Editor-in-Chief
Lauri is a jet setting artist, journalist and consultant. She is the author of Flag: An American Story and Flag International, as well as a contributing writer for The Huffington Post. Her photographs and essays have been featured in Fortune, Stern, Trace, The Fader and The London Observer. Her installations and photographs have been exhibited at The Walker Art Center, Brooklyn Museum of Art, The International Center of Photography. She is a faculty member of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Founder of the Nomads Photography Workshop. - www.laurilyons.com
MAD ANTHONY aka ANTHONY MARSHALL Creative Director
Anthony is a New York based Artist, Creative Director & Brand Builder. He has designed for companies such as Nike, The North Face & HEAD Tennis. He is also the owner of the apparel brand Mad Anthony - www.madanthonynyc.com.
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......................................... STEVE MUMFORD is a contemporary American painter. His practice has lately included the depiction of scenes from the ongoing American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mumford is the author of the book Baghdad Journal. www.postmastersart.com
PHYLLIS GALEMBO is a New York based photographer and a professor at the University of Albany, where she heads the printmaking department and teaches photography. Her books include Divine Inspiration from Benin to Bahia and Vodou: Visions and Voice of Haiti, and Maske. www.stevenkasher.com MARCUS NILSSON is a New York based photographer, whose images have been featured in GQ, Esquire, Details, and O Magazine. He has won several awards including American Photography 26, PDN Photo Annual, and Communication Arts. Marcus contributed the Cocina de las Andes cuisine story in this issue. www.marcusnilsson.com
HANNAH MORRIS is a New York based illustrator and fine artist. She is a recipient of the
Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators Grant and the Sacatar Fellowship. Hannah is also the co-author of Contos de Itaparica, a book of Brazilian folktales. www.morridesign.com
JOANNE CHAN is a North Carolina based photographer and illustrator. Her clients include Random House, Rubin Museum of Art and Harry Winston Inc. For this issue Joanne illustrated the Dawn of the Gods feature. www.jchanphoto.com GERALD CYRUS is a Philadelphia based photographer and professor at Haveford College. His work has been recognized by awards and fellowships from the Pew Fellowship for the Arts, Light Work Residency, Sacatar Fellowship and the New York Foundation of the Arts. Gerald is the author of Stormy Monday: New York’s Uptown Jazz Scene. www.geraldcyrus.com SCARLETT COTEN is a photographer based in Paris. Her photographs have been featured in Elle, Marie-Claire, Libération and Le Monde. Scarlett is the author of Still Alive, and the director of the documentary film, Sinai. www.scarlettcoten.com
MARLENE NADLE has reported extensively from Latin America and Eastern Europe for the New York Times, LA Times, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Village Voice, Ms. and the Chicago Tribune. Her work has been recognized by the MacDowell Artists Colony, Columbia Pictures Workshop and a nomination for the Kennedy Journalism Award. 04
Steve Mumford entered Iraq on April 9, 2003, the day the statue of Saddam Hussein was toppled in Baghdad, and he has periodically returned to the region to document the daily lives of both Iraqi citizens and American soldiers.
Baghdad Journal Excerpt: At Checkpoint One, a short distance from the tarmac, I’m the last person left waiting for a ride. The flights famous corkscrew landing wasn’t scary so much as spectacular. I was seated on the side with the views: Baghdad in all its grimy glory straight below me, shining in the hazy morning sun, helicopters circling beneath our landing path. At last I make out Esam’s massive figure in bright white shirtsleeves, striding past the security guards down the road. He’s here with a taxi. I first met Esam Pasha back in September, when he was translating for a Florida National Guard company, where I was embedded.
He’s a self taught artist, who also works
as a translator and fixer for journalists, an occupation he loves both for the excitement and the closeness it brings with Americans. Yet to me, he’s a curious mass of contradictions. A devout Sunni, he prays five times a day, facing Mecca. He takes the Quran and Bible quite literally and doesn’t believe in evolution, yet knows as much about American technology and popular culture as any mall-rat, privileging in Friends and Garfield.
generous and open-minded, but also a self-proclaimed monarchist who believes that the International Brotherhood of Free Masons exercises a strong influence over world events. His perfect English was picked up from watching American movies and TV. When I asked him if actual Americans seemed different from the way we portray ourselves in movies, he said “No, they are very much the same, very open, honest and friendly. I really like hanging out with Americans”. 09
After checking in at my hotel, we spend the day
wandering around downtown Baghdad. I’m trying to gauge how much things have changed since I was here last, back in March. We’re hanging out in the park, underneath the massive sculptural mural in Tarir Square. Businesses are open; the streets are relatively clean and bustling. People seem as friendly as ever. One shopkeeper kisses my shoulder when I tell him I’m American. Esam advises me to tell Iraqis that I’m Canadian. I find myself oddly resistant to telling this lie. I haven’t yet encountered overt hostility. Ive met a lot of Iraqis while out drawing. If they haven’t been happy about my nationality, they’ve politely kept it to themselves. Yet it would be foolish to imagine that I’m safe here.
A couple of nights later I meet my friend Naseer
Hasan, a poet, who works at a city architectural office. Ive brought him two books by authors he asked for: Derek Walcotts Omeros, and the collected stories of Luis Borges. Naseer has been translating Borges into Arabic, and puzzling over some discrepancies he’s found in English versions on the web. Just words, he muses, flipping through the pages. I cant tell you how nice it is to have these. We talk about the situation here. Naseer is surprisingly sanguine. You know, I feel as though we are emerging from the tunnel, after all these long months.
I spend a lot of time at Ahmed Al Safi’s studio,
down in the working class neighborhood of Bab Sherji. I take a bus here in the mornings (actually a van that someones operating privately along the standard routes). I shout out “Nozil!” when I want to get off, though I recently discovered that I’ve been mispronouncing the word for some time and have been shouting “Victory!” which must have mystified, if not irritated the other passengers. I buy fresh bread and cream from the local stores and then call up to Ahmed, to let me in.
The last of Baghdad’s famed Shena-Shiil houses
are falling apart. Like most of Baghdads artists, Ahmed loves the old houses, and mourns the recent loss of four buildings, to a fire set by an angry pimp. He thinks that the city should give the abandoned buildings to artists to turn into live and work studios. The sanctions were boom years for Ahmed. He sold out several shows of paintings and sculptures, both to UN and NGO personnel as well as to Iraqis. For a time he was rich by Iraqi standards. He wishes he’d bought some property then, when the dollar was sterling against the Iraqi dinar. No one is selling much art now. Ahmed has a wry sense of humor, which comes through despite his broken English.
As we’re sitting over tea he tells me a story about
his time in the Iraqi army: “There is an officer. He is from Falluja, but he is good guy.
He want me to paint scene of Falluja. But I say, No,
I cannot, I never was in Falluja. He say, Yes, its easy: There is a bridge. So, I paint bridge. He say, here there is a street, very straight. OK, I paint a street. Here, he say, there is tire shop. I paint that too. He, very happy! He cry, Yes! This is Falluja!” Ahmed, Esam and I are having lunch at a local Bab Sherji restaurant. My presence at these places always elicits interest. When I get up to wash my hands, someone asks me where I’m from. “He’s Canadian”, says Esam. “Is he Jewish?” asks the stranger. “No”, says Ahmed. “Dont you know Jews look like us, with the same big noses?”
That evening we go to the swimming pool at
the Al Hamra Hotel. Esam and Ahmed have been suggesting this outing for several days and at last I have the time. The Hamra, like the Palestine, is one of the fancy hotels that well-heeled news organizations set up in. The pool is outdoors, surrounded by a patio for eating and drinking. There is a $5 charge to use the pool, a substantial amount for Iraqis. Esam is already in trouble with the restaurant here for leaning back on one of the cheap plastic chairs and snapping the legs. He’s reminded that he still owes them a new chair. 10
It turns out that neither Esam nor Ahmed
has ever gone swimming here before. We change and I jump into the cool water. There are a couple of reporters studiously doing laps, but after Esam and Ahmed tentatively enter the pool and start splashing around like kids, the lap swimmers soon leave. My friends aren’t strong swimmers and keep to the shallow end, practicing their dog paddles. Completely unselfconscious, they whoop it up, their kicks sending sprays of water at a nearby group of journalists having dinner, who nervously eye them but leave them alone. After an hour I’ve gotten cold, and get out to have a cigarette. Esam and Ahmed wont leave the pool. An hour later they’re ready to have dinner, but after we eat they jump right back in. Esam likes to submerge and then come up, his long, glossy hair streaming down over his eyes. He says he can check out the gaymar (Arabic for cream, i.e., blondes) that way, without them knowing he’s spying.
Looking across at the crowd of journalists
eating and chatting, I’m reminded of summer dinner parties in New York, among artist friends. But thinking of my companions here in Iraq, I feel proud to be with them. My project has allowed me the time and luxury to become close to people with whom I don’t need to have a professional relationship with. I’m wondering if it will ever be possible for them to travel as Iraqi tourists to the U.S.
When I was growing up in Los Angeles in the 60â€™s, I was often
present at parties my family would have with their friends and other relatives. The music at these parties was usually jazz or sophisticated urban blues like Ray Charles, Arthur Prysock, Hank Crawford, etc., and the atmosphere was always raucous and free-spirited. When I was old enough to start going to jazz clubs in L.A. on my own, I found the atmosphere much more sedate and restrained. The audience sat at tables or the bar and clapped politely as the band performed their set. The same was true when I moved to New York in 1990 and started frequenting the jazz clubs in Greenwich Village.
So when I stumbled upon the Metro
Bar in Harlem in 1994 based on the recommendation of a stranger, it was a revelation. I found myself in an atmosphere that reminded me of those parties from my childhood. It was an environment of musicians and audience members interacting freely and of open jam sessions with unexpected musicians sitting in with the band.
there was dancing, something I was convinced had been banned from jazz clubs! On the following night I went to another small bar called St. Nickâ€™s Pub that was even more lively than the Metro Bar, and it was from there that I started my sojourn through the nightlife of Harlem in the 90â€™s.
. 24 01
Harlem is a much larger and more
diverse place than most people realize. It truly is a village as opposed to simply a neighborhood, and many changes have taken place there since I left in the late 90â€™s, but at that time it still had plenty of places to hear live music for little or no cover charge. It is these kinds of venues that have trained and nurtured up-and-coming musicians since the development of jazz in the early 20th century. The musicians have a laboratory to hone their skills and try out new ideas, and the club patrons have a convivial spot to hear good music and socialize with their neighbors.
York is one of those cities fortunate enough to be crawling with musicians, so it was not unusual to find world-class performers in the most unlikely places. Corner bars and lounges that appeared to be no more than dives from the outside, were transformed into powder kegs of live entertainment once the night came on. I can remember many a night when I felt too tired to go out and photograph in the clubs, but I would drag myself anyway. And once there, the music and the energy would almost magically chase my fatigue away, and the next thing I knew it would be 4am.
had photographed jazz in those L.A. and Greenwich Village clubs as well, but only the musicians on stage and from a safe distance. It was in Harlem that I actually got to know the musicians and form friendships that have lasted till this day. I made a conscious effort to photograph the activity off stage as well, since this was often where most of the action was happening. My presence as a regular in the clubs gave me the chance to know the other regulars and allowed me to photograph them almost as I would my family.
live in Philadelphia now and certainly miss those wonderful times in Harlem. Many of the venues I used to frequent have closed (the Metro Bar is now a taxprep office), and I hear there is not as much wide-open jamming as there was back then. However, St. Nick’s Pub is still around, though under new management, and a few new places have appeared including a new version of Minton’s Playhouse, the legendary spot where be-bop was supposedly born in the 1940’s. Here’s hoping the music never dies in Harlem, one of our national treasures. 33 01
I stayed at a ramshackle wooden lodge on the site of the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu and rose at 5 AM. Even the clerk at the reception desk was still asleep, wrapped in a woolen poncho and the chill of the Peruvian Andes.
I stepped out into the misty morning, into the high grassy plateau lined with beige stone buildings and took possession of the place, for myself. I always explore far from tourists. I donâ€™t want a familiar companion along either. Not even the Peruvian painter I left behind and might love. Tending to his needs or anyoneâ€™s only distracts from entering into a new world, or in the case of Machu Picchu, a very old one.
I went into one of the stone houses without windows, where flint was
once struck to light the lamps. In my imagination I became the woman in the old dimness, weaving cloth on a back strap loom. I conjured up a bench, some pottery, and thatch for the naked roof.
Back in the swirl of grey and white mist, I climbed steep granite
staircases through levels of terraced farmland, and peopled the soil with ghosts of peasants hoeing.. I stopped to nod to the Inca gods inhabiting the sacred plaza above the fields and rested with my back against the temple wall.
As I sat puffing I thought, if I was going to spend all that energy on a slope, it should be on Machu Picchu. I went down to go up the center mountain at the far end of the green plateau. As I approached, it appeared no bigger than one of the hilly bumps in the Catskills.
I figured it would be an easy stroll. The people at the lodge had told me
there was a path on Machu Picchu. I started walking the side of it facing the plateau, and wandered through wildflowers looking for the path. It wasnâ€™t there. I realized I was on the wrong mountain and started laughing at myself. Every time I get on a plane for some obscure corner of the world, I wonder what trouble I will get into on the trip and how I will get out of it. I welcome the test.
Now, on the wrong mountain, I began playing with the situation.
Never far from words I started tearing up some pages of my paperback, scattering pieces of it behind me to leave a trail, and giggling as I went. I stopped giggling when I rounded the right side of the slope. The drop was thousands of feet straight down to a river gorge, and I was on the rocky edge.
One wrong step and I was dead. No one would know what became of me if I fell into oblivion. I started to shake. I didn’t dare climb off the slope while panicked. To calm myself, I sat where I was and began to read my book of Pablo Neruda’s Machu Picchu poems: .. I climbed through the barbed jungle’s thicket until I reached you... Tall city of stepped stones... High reef of the human dawn
My hands trembled the pages. I couldn’t focus. Instead I snatched at random lines. I was jolted back into my fear when I came to his words about the Incas who, ”from perforated rocks...plummeted like an autumn into a single death.”
Quickly, I switched the page. For an hour I read Neruda, joined my
curiosity to his about the people who long ago.”found rest at night near eagle’s talons.” It gave me an emotional escape from my precarious present and lulled my nerves enough for me to risk backing slowly down the mountain.
There were a couple of foot slips. Some boulders I had to grab. Some stops to read Neruda again, when fright overpowered.
Scratched and sweaty, I finally reached the plateau. I was full
of gratitude to the poet who saved my life. I gave a second nod to the Inca gods.
Itâ€™s six in the morning and in this month of February Iâ€™m crossing a border on foot for the first time! It gives me a real sense of adventure. I leave Taba in a crowded taxi, radio cassette playing in the background, and let myself be carried away, totally alert, toward the unknown. A desert road leads to the water, circled to the west by the mountains of South Sinai. Now and then, a few huts lie flattened on a pure sky, facing Saudi Arabia some miles away. Only a ship traveling to Jordan separates sea from sky.
Outside, a narrow strip of beach, men
in robes and kefieh, camels and a huge wooden porch opening onto a horizon of sand. The Red Sea is turquoise. A light bulb swings over a pool table. The wind carries the smell of the sea and songs of love drift through the open windows. 41
The end of the line: Tarabin, a small
coastal village. AĂŻd, the driver, tells me that he is Bedouin and my curiosity is aroused. I accept his invitation and settle in one of their homes, a few kilometers away in the lone hut at the edge of the water. Friends and acquaintances appear, some speak a few words of English. In the evening they grill beautiful fish and invite me around the fire. Two men, in passing, ask me to accompany them to their village, a dayâ€™s journey away, in the middle of the desert. They are cheerful and considerate, proud to reveal their world to me. The next day, wedged between them on the seat of a bone-shaking pick-up, the crossing takes my breath away.
The village is a collection of scattered
houses, arranged without apparent logic. Low, rectangular, with corrugated iron roofs and outside courtyards. A few electric poles. No cafeteria or bus station, not even a store. Here, you’re invited – or you are lost. I feel a thrill at the idea of being so deprived of my free will. The welcome is amazing. Women lightly touch the men’s inclined foreheads and then greet me with a hand placed quickly over the heart. Night falls, in a few moments, a piece of oilcloth on the sand, a shared dish of rice and lamb and a cup passes around the gathering. We’re surrounded by a few men who have joined us and who speak a language that I do not understand. I feel at ease and happy. This is the beginning of a long history of love, between these people and me, between this country and me. “56,000 miles of nothing” wrote Loti, the Khala, this empty country will become my Eden, my second family. Later I will travel this desert from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Gulf of Suez, from Rafah to Dahab, from Abu-Zenima to Naqhl, from Sarabit to Ras Abu Galum.
Day after day I photograph my journey.
What happens, what surrounds me, those I meet. My backdrops are the desert, our travels, stopovers. My breadcrumb trail is these. I photograph those who invite me to, those who ask me to, all those who pose. They are at the heart of this project. Gestures and laughter replace speech. The time is different, the people too. The summer is hot. From one shadow to another, we inhale every current of air, every wave of wind. I no longer know which day it is, we live in the present.
Photography is a rarity for them and
my camera never leaves them indifferent. A joyous complicity develops. The men joke in lascivious poses, the women make their black veils, embroidered with flashing pearls, fly. The generator runs for a few hours a day, the sheikh has a television satellite dish, installed under the stars. Everybody benefits, a bare light bulb flickers over the screen, we switch channels: football, live concerts from Arabia, Egyptian melodrama, CNN, we laugh. Some have never seen a foreigner, they demand my presence.
Faced with so much novelty, surprise,
kindness, I fall into the rhythm, I dissolve. I gain the trust of women, who show me their private areas. In their bright dresses, between a heart-shaped clock and a stylized palm tree on the wall. The Bedouin pose with all the seriousness and attention that a new experience requires. They smoke, raising their veils with one hand. I love these cheerful, curious people, who agree to pose with delight.
between reality and fiction, I photograph the inward journey. I’m a witness to my experience, following the thread of my inspiration, where play and mise en scène bring us together, beyond our own cultures for a moment of shared happiness. At each reunion, I am welcomed by these words: “still alive! “
These photographs are the illustration of the humor, the enthusiasm, and the modernity of an unknown people. Forgotten, threatened, but alive.
s most of us defrost from Winter and dodge Spring showers, the Southern Hemisphere is feeling the heat of Summer. Carnival, sunshine, caipirinhas and samba. Southerners always seem to do it better. 48
The Andes snakes its way through
Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, making it the worldâ€™s longest continental mountain range. The best way to explore Andean culture is via the local kitchens, where you can savor the taste of purple potatoes, ceviche, salted beef, hot chiles and pollo a la brasa. Delicioso!
PRICELESS TRAVEL TIPS from our contributing Road WARRIORS
If you are going on a reporting
trip, take an extra empty suitcase to bring back the local newspapers, magazines, reports, brochures, and other things you will collect.
half the clothes you packed. All you will need is a couple of pairs of slacks, two or three tops, a suit or an outfit for important occasions.
starting on a foreign trip get the name and contact information for a company that rents cell phones in your destination. Your American cell phone will probably not work in most foreign countries.
If you going to Machu Picchu for
pleasure, pick up some glucose caramina that is sold over the counter in Peruvian drug stores. It helps with breathing and energy in the high altitude.
you fall in love in Peru, a great birthday present is the little machine used for making Pisco Sours, the national drink. - M. Nadle ..................................................
Make a list of things you need to take. It’s amazing how many basic things you can forget when you’re thinking of a dozen things at once.
Pack light as for as clothes go.
If you find out you need something while you’re away, clothes are relatively easy to buy.
Better to pack heavy in terms of equipment (including back-up cameras, batteries, film, digital media, etc.)
you still shoot film, leave plenty of time to have your film inspected by the TSA agents. They seem to be more agreeable to doing this lately, but you never know. You can also use a protective x-ray pouch to place your film through the x-ray machine. Sometimes it will pass through without a problem, but if they do flag it, you can request a hand inspection.
If you know of a good camera
store at your destination, you can wait and buy your film once there.
Carry small examples of your
work. This can give prospective subjects an idea of your qualifications as a photographer.
Be a good conversation starter.
If you wear eyeglasses, pack an extra pair. You don’t want to lose your eyes! - G. Cyrus ...................................................
I bring extra xerox copies of my passport and ID.
I often research in advance if I
am able to get cash easily from a local ATM machine, instead of carrying a of cash.
I carry medical ointment such as 2.5 hydrocortisone from a doctor’s prescription, Neosporin, travel size disinfectant, tweezer and No.11 exacto blade (not possible as a carry on in the plane) and carbon pills and learn the local language for doctor. I always carry packaged snacks when I travel with a kid, in case we are stranded.
I always carry packaged
snacks when I travel with a kid, in case we are stranded. - J. Chan ...................................................
Try and have personal
connections before arriving in a new place.
local currency-avoid carrying US dollars and leave your fancy jewelry behind.
Have back up equipment such as extra batteries, chargers etc.
cool when trying to photograph. Be prepared to spend time working out arrangements ahead of time if you are looking to photograph less like a tourist.
Have a sense of humor. - P. Galembo
I try to carry small bills in the country currency, and not be showy with my cash.
Since the success of the 2010 World Cup,
tourism to South Africa has dramatically increased and for the first time, Americans are leading the pack with reservations for South African adventure packages.
If you feel that you are past the stage
of backpacking and youth hostels, South Africa offers a multitude of luxury adventure activities that allow you to experience Africa without roughing it. To set the tone for a luxury vacation, I recommend that you splurge on a business class ticket on South African Airlines to compensate for the extensive flying time. You may pay more for the ticket, but your body will thank you later. Upon arriving in Johannesburg, I quickly realized a reason why Americans are flocking to South Africa in droves; most of the countryâ€™s infrastructure is extremely developed and therefore is equipped to provide Western tourists with all the creature comforts of home.
One of the first lessons I learned in South
Africa is that all tents are not created equal. While staying at the Mattanu Lodge in Kimberlee, I lived in a tent that included heat, a four poster bed, marble sink, and a jacuzzi! During the day, you can work with the owners of lodge, who are professional large game vets, as they tend to the giraffes, antelopes, and buffalo that roam freely throughout the range. If that wasn’t enough, you can also go on safari, make rounds in their helicopter and at night enjoy torch light gourmet dinners in the middle of the bush.
If diamonds really are a girl’s best friend,
than the Kimberlee diamond mines are a must see. Kimberlee is where the fever for diamonds began and is consequently the home to the De Beers diamond company. ‘The big hole,’ as the site is referred to, is actually the largest hand dug hole in the earth. You can get aerial views of the holes via helicopter or take an underground tour into the actual mines. Kimberlee is also known as the most haunted area in South Africa, due to the large number of miners who lived and died in the area. You can also add ghost walk tours to your itinerary too, fun!
If wild safari animals and ghosts roaming
around your luxury tent isn’t enough of a thrill for you, don’t worry -- the South Africans have more wild activities stored in their vuvuzelas. For some reason if you feel completely out of your mind, as I did, you are more than welcome to sign up for a shark cage diving activity. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.
I don’t recommend the shark activity for
anyone who is on heart medication, sentimentally attached to their limbs or worried about getting their hair messed up. If you have an aversion to blood, blood and more blood, you may also want to reconsider.
To participate in this activity you can
go to Cape Town and sign up for a cage diving tour to Shark Alley. Yes, you read that last sentence correctly. Once you arrive in Shark Alley you will put on a wet suit, climb into a thin metal cage attached to the side of the boat, allow yourself to be marinated in old fish parts and blood, then wait to be surrounded by an infinite amount of great white sharks who are eager to get up close and personal for lunch.
The sharkâ€™s lunch consists of old fish
parts and blood, which you will just happen to be wearing. After you get over the shock of your stupidity and check to see that you still have all your limbs, you will realize that diving with the oceanâ€™s greatest predator is truly a once in a lifetime experience.
Back on land in Cape Town, you can
pamper yourself at the luxurious One & Only hotel which is considered to be a seven star hotel, due to the private island, butler service, massive suites, art gallery and NOBU restaurant. The average price of a room is roughly $650 USD (though of course thatâ€™s subject to change).
The hotel is a great launching pad for
the Cape Town water front district, shops and restaurants. You will also see an up close view of the glorious mountains that surround the city. Just outside of the city you can visit the Table Mountain nature reserves. The historical Cape Point is within driving distance and provides a stunning cliff side view of the tip of Africa. Whale watching is also pervasant along the coast.
If youâ€™ve had your fill of traveling by
road, you can experience South Africa via The Blue Train. The Blue Train is Africaâ€™s equivalent of the Orient Express. The Victorian train features immaculate tiger wood cabins, full size beds, bathtubs, formal dining, and an excellent waitstaff and butlers for each cabin. Once on board all meals, drinks, toiletries, and Cuban cigars are provided free of charge. Each cabin also has a bay view window.
Just in case you thought you exhausted
the adventure possibilities, you can also see South Africa by air. To see the great expanse of farmland and vineyards from above, take flight in a hot air balloon. Generally, hot air balloon rides cost approximately $300, takes flight just before dawn, and lasts approximately two hours. The ride gives you a feeling of gliding effortlessly across the sky, in serene silence.
As things begin, they often end, and in
this case all roads lead to Johannesburg. The city of Johannesburg serves as the hub for arrivals and departures for South Africa. One of the most compelling destinations in Johannesburg is the amazing Apartheid Museum, which houses a dynamic presentation of South Africaâ€™s cultures, politics, and art. The museum is simply one of the best art institutions in the world.
The next must see is the historical Soweto
township. Soweto is no longer a mass of shanty dwellings that were broadcast on our western TV screens. Soweto is now one of the most popular destinations in all of South Africa, boasting a population of four million people living in a diverse landscape of Mandela estates, middle class neighborhoods, local shops and stadiums.
is in Soweto where you really get a tangible sense of the local people celebrating their journey of resistance and reconciliation, as they march toward the future. If you are searching for both a cultural and action packed adventure, South Africa is waiting for you.
The Nomads Photography Workshop
The SPIRIT of SALVADOR da BAHIA August 10 - 18th, 2011 Discover the magical culture of Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Salvador da Bahia is the epicenter of the African Diaspora in the Americas, as well as the gateway into the diversity of Latin American culture. Join photographers, Lauri Lyons and Dr. Javier Escudero, for an insiderâ€™s view of Bahiaâ€™s legendary art, culture and festivals. In Bahia you will experience spiritual ceremonies beckoning the ancestors, historic colonial architecture, exhilarating street parties, alluring beaches, and quite possibly some of the most beautiful people on the planet. The Nomads Photography Workshop is a golden opportunity for you to enhance your photographic skills, create a dynamic new portfolio of images and explore a vibrant culture during the festival season. The workshop is open to photographers of all levels and photo enthusiasts. The workshop fee includes your hotel, meals, guided tours, admission to itinerary events, photographic critiques and ground transportation. The itinerary includes visits to two colonial towns (Salvador, Cachoeira), Praia do Forte beach resort, Itaparica island, Atlantic forest reservation, the annual Boa Morte Festival and more! The workshop leaders will be with you every step of the way, to make sure your experience is informative, safe, and enjoyable. We have already handled all of the logistics, so all you need to do is sign up and shoot!
For more information and registration visit: www.nomadsworkshop.com