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Baedeker Fall 2018

NYU Travel Magazine


Staff

Editors’ Letter

Editors-in-Chief

With the highest number of international students in the United States and more than 3000 undergraduate students who choose to study abroad every year, NYU positions us at the intersection of diverse narratives and perspectives. At Baedeker, we strive to create a platform for the voices of our fellow students who have chosen to take advantage of this unique position. Collectively, the two of us have been abroad for two years during our time at NYU, crossing all four oceans and visiting five continents. Traveling has been a valuable teacher; through the sometimes uncomfortable and often idyllic experiences, we have been pushed to grow in unexpected ways. We’ve noticed a similar connection to and understanding of the world in the editors, writers, photographers, and designers that work alongside us on Baedeker.

KRISTINA HAYHURST FRANCES YACKEL

Managing Editors RAEVA SAYED MARISA LOPEZ

Treasurer

MORGAN KUIN

Africa Editors

NASSIM BAHET JOHNNIE YU

Asia Editors

MARGUERITE ALLEY BEVERLY TAN

Europe Editors

HANNAH BENSON NIDHI BHAGAT

Latin America Editors SONNET PRIETO THALIA WILOTO

North America Editor LAUREN GRUBER

Social Media Director EMMA PETTIT

Whether we choose to spend our first year abroad, go abroad for one semester, or even travel on our own for winter or summer break, we collect an inspiring variety of stories that challenge the way we think about the world. When we set out to collect submissions for this magazine, we were intent on finding those voices that offer new perspectives and have since been amazed by the responses we’ve gotten. This issue takes us through a thoughtful reflection of visiting family in India, images of the impressive architecture of Sydney, Australia, and even a lifethreatening drive in a blue sedan. We hope you enjoy stepping into these memories as much as we’ve enjoyed making them.

Creative Director SAM WINSLOW

Layout Designers BONNIE CHAN LAURA MEASHER AINSLEY ROH JASMINE SUN KATIE SUN CLAIRE WANG IRINA WIRJAN RUBY WU PATRICK XU

Senior Illustrator ZOYA TO

Illustrators

ANNIE ZHOU CHARLIE DODGE

nyubaedeker.com

Cover: Seeking and finding in Anacapri, Italy (by Parker Reposa) Left: View of Le Panthéon at NYU’s Paris campus (by Daniela Andrade)


Contents

Baedeker NYU Travel Magazine Fall 2018 Letter from the Editors

1

Photo: China

19

What We Choose to See

2

Photo: Sydney, Australia

20

Dublin, Ireland

4

Diaspora Means Distance

22

Cairo, Egypt

6

New Zealand

24

Greece 8

Photo: Sydney, Australia

26

Spain 10

Naples, Italy

27

Granada, Spain

12

The China Hustle 28

Peru 13

Moroccan Mountain Interlude 29

Vermont 14

Mexico 30

New Hampshire 15

Costa Rica

Photo: Shanghai, China

16

Sydney, Australia 36

Istanbul, Turkey 18

Endpaper 38

EDITORS

JOHNNIE YU

P. REPOSA & M. LOPEZ

BAHEY ABOU-HUSSEIN SOPHIA TAKVORIAN CLAIRE WANG

SOPHIE SLADE

DEBBIE TANUDIRJO FRANCES YACKEL SAM WINSLOW

XINYUE HUANG

SONALI MATHUR

JUSTIN HALIM

ANNA LETSON VEDA KAMRA

ALEXANDRA PIENKOWSKI ANNA LETSON JENNY LEVINE IRINA WIRJAN

MARISA BIANCO XINYUE HUANG

SONNET PRIETO

34

ANNA LETSON EDITORS

1


The field is where you get to know them: who’s the badass, who’s the leader, who’s the cheeky one, who’s the lazy one. It’s all in how they play.

Reyna and Jina are newcomers and shy around foreigners. But on the trampoline, they let loose, laughing, panting— comfortable with who they are.

Below: A shortcut through sorghum fields on the way to school Bottom: The chatter inside the bus quiets down; outside, the sun dodges behind trees and buildings, its golden light flickering before our eyes.


What We Choose to See by JOHNNIE YU

Power cut.

I reach out my arms and extend my fingers, wriggling them around in the darkness, squinting my eyes, hoping to distinguish the outline of my hand. A room meant for three suddenly became so dark that my roommates disappeared. I look around for a light source. Window? Door? Door crack? Nothing. “Sorry for the darkness,” I remember the waiter at the resort telling us when he delivered a candle as the orange and yellow light outside faded into cool shades of dark blue and black. The trip to Uganda was one I would make every year. The Peace Centre orphanage, or children’s home, as we prefer to call it, had been like my second family. I shot a documentary there during my junior year of high school, thinking I could take a gap year to pursue a filmmaking career. That never happened, but the trip nevertheless had a great impact on my worldview. I settle back into my bed and zip up my mosquito net. zzzzzzip. The zip glowed white like a sparkler between my fingers.

Amusing. Why did the waiter apologize? I wondered. Darkness is a privilege back in Shanghai. You know, they say you can tell how developed a place is by looking down at its lights in the evening. By this standard, the little town of Bukinda was one of the least developed areas on the planet. It really comes down to how you choose to see things: after all, love and loss both share the same bedroom of darkness. Privilege works similarly. I remember my second night clearly, laying down on the Peace Centre field—all the kids looked at me utterly confused as I brought out my tripod and camera. Six kids huddled over me to look at my camera. I set my camera shutter speed to 15 seconds exposure, closed down my aperture to f/4, and stopped. I realized I had no idea how the image would turn out. I had never actually done this before; I couldn’t have. Not in a city like Shanghai. Under the same darkness, the same stars, same moon, my privilege was seeing their night sky; theirs was seeing my camera. As we proceeded with the documentary the next day, my buddy Sri taped the mic to the chair, and gave me the OK signal. I pressed record. What is one piece of advice

you would give to other children? “To focus in school and learn everything you can…” Guilt hit me as I remembered how ecstatic I was to miss five Friday mornings for vaccination shots as well as the last week of school for this trip. What kind of privilege have I known? On the final day, before our departure, I slid my student council bracelet over a child’s wrist, seeing they were amused by the marble ink patterns on it. “For you,” I said. She squealed in delight, although placed it back in my hand moments later. It’s a gift, from me to you, I explained. Keep it. I thought about how I printed 200 of these with our school budget without hesitation. That evening, she took a bracelet off her wrist, which she had made during one of our evening activities, and gave it to me as a gift in return. What I learned on that trip wasn’t some profound revelation about life and the privileges I had back in a metropolitan megacity. It was the simple fact that a lot of times, our desires are misplaced. What can bring us joy and abundance lies right in front of us. Most of the time we just happen to look instead of choosing to see. All it really takes is a shift in perspective to notice the differences in how each of us experiences the world. 3


Dublin IRELAND

Top: Natural light on breakfast at Meet Me in the Morning Above: Dublin street scene: heading to work, grabbing coffee Left: Jumping for joy in Galway

by PARKER REPOSA 4


The small island nation of Ireland is known for beautiful scenery, sheep, and beer. During a short three-day visit, I had the chance to experience Ireland’s scenic views under a veil of thick haze and cold rain— poor weather being another Irish specialty. While I would’ve liked to have been greeted by blue skies, the weather in no way distracted from the country’s beauty.

Left: Muddy path bordering a cliff’s edge Below: Quaint homes lining Galway Bay, their colors bright against the gray sky

by MARISA LOPEZ


EGYPT by BAHEY ABOU-HUSSEIN

When my family and I visited relatives in Cairo this past August, we visited Khan Al Khalili, one of the oldest souqs (‫)قوس‬, or bazaars, in Egypt. It’s located right next to the first mosque of Cairo, Al Azhar. It was my first time back in Cairo for a while, and it was almost exactly as I remembered. The smell of bakhoor, incense, lingered in the air as merchants tried to sell everything from painted gold figurines of Cleopatra to colorful fawanees, bright hanging lamps used to decorate the home during Ramadan. After haggling with a woman dressed in a metallic gold

niqab, my mother purchased 15 pillow cases, all decorated with ornate Arabic script, to give to her friends back home. As we made our way back out, the athan playing in the Azhar echoed through the narrow, surprisingly well-lit walkways, signifying that it was almost time for the asha, the final prayer of the day for Muslims. Hurrying to make it on time, we prayed the final prayer and grabbed some feteer, Egyptian pancakes, with honey and bananas. Then, we said goodbye to the maze of alleys and vendors that is Khan Al Khalili.


7


GREECE by SOPHIA TAKVORIAN

Above: In the middle of the summer, my mother and I went to Sifnos for a dear friend’s wedding. This is just one of the 365 churches on the island— one for every day of the year. Kastro, Sifnos, Cyclades 8


Left: Our sweet unnamed cat. All summer, my grandmother and I debated whether she was pregnant or not. A few days after I returned to New York, she gave birth to a small litter of kittens. Spoa, Karpathos, Dhodhekanisos

Below: My grandmother picks a φραγκόσυκο, or prickly pear, from our huge plant. The inside of this fruit is bright orange and has large seeds that you swallow whole. A man was hospitalized this summer for eating thirty of these in a row. Spoa, Karpathos, Dhodhekanisos


Hidden Gems in Spain by CLAIRE WANG You’ve probably heard of Barcelona and Madrid, but Spain is a wonderful and diverse country that has far more to offer than just those two cities. If you’re planning on heading to Spain, here are some hidden gems that you absolutely need to visit.

RONDA Ronda, in the Andalusian region of Spain, is intriguing because of its precarious position on the edge of a cliff. To get across a large chasm in the middle of the city, the locals built an enormous bridge, which is the main tourist attraction in the city. Aside from the cliffs, the city also has a quaint atmosphere and tons of small shops to peruse.

PLAYA DE LA GRANADELLA Although the white pebbles that make up the shoreline are not very comfortable to walk on, they are picturesque, and the secluded location of the beach (nestled in the cliffside) is ideal. At the beach, you can swim in the refreshing turquoise waters, rent a kayak and paddle out to sea caves, or lie on a chair and sunbathe.

JUZCAR Juzcar is a small town in the Andalusian region of Spain, and it’s completely blue. It was known as Smurf Village because of the bright blue color and all the smurf statues scattered around the town.


PORT SAPLAYA Port Saplaya is actually a small part of the city of Valencia. While I would not consider Valencia a hidden gem, I’ve heard almost no one talk about Port Saplaya. It’s the port of the city, and it’s painted in a myriad of different colors, making it a playground for photographers. It also has a variety of beachfront restaurants to choose from.

CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES In Valencia, this architectural marvel is criminally underrated. Completed in 2005, this complex is made up of seven different buildings, and is considered one of the 12 treasures of Spain. There’s plenty to do here, as each building is not only aesthetically pleasing, but also serves a purpose. Within the complex is a concert hall, a museum, a sports venue, and a planetarium. You can even rent clear-bottom kayaks to paddle around the shallow pool surrounding the complex.

ZAHARA Zahara is a small town perched on the edge of a hillside, surrounded by a turquoise reservoir. All the buildings in the town are white. While in Zahara, you can explore the ruins of a Moorish castle, and eat delicious food while enjoying a spectacular view. 11


Granada by SOPHIE SLADE

One misty morning in Granada, Spain, I traveled with a fellow group of students to two different miradores (lookouts), from which we had the breathtaking view of the legendary Alhambra. The Moorish palace and fortress exudes grandeur and history like no other; however, these faraway miradores—less rampant with tourists—provide a much more solitary experience. As a world traveler, a static world quickly became my worst fear, and I loathed the idea of being stuck in one place. However, letting my eyes wander beyond the concrete walls of these lookout points, I proved myself wrong. For the first moment in my time spent overseas, I did feel completely still. I was filled with self-reflective calm.


Peru by DEBBIE TANUDIRJO Top: Native to only three other South American countries, llamas are a must see when going to Peru. I ran into a local woman and her llama on the drive up to Cusco. Left: The Pisac Market, one of the most famous markets in Cusco, is filled with stalls upon stalls of souvenirs, fruits, and clothing sold by the indigenous Quechua communities.

13


Vermont by FRANCES YACKEL

When someone asks me where I’m from, I never know how to respond. Sometimes I simply go with “Vermont.” Other times, “a town in southern Vermont.” If I’m feeling particularly talkative, I say, “I grew up in a little town with a population of 500 people called Rupert.” And when they look at me inquisitively, I say, “It’s near Manchester, Vermont.” For some reason, people often seem to know about this little ski town. I’m not sure why it’s popular, other than the fact that it’s driving distance from a few ski mountains. Driving distance in Vermont means it’s about forty-five minutes away. It’s a town that maintains a perpetually ephemeral state, with old shops closing and new stores taking over—despite its constant makeover, it always seems to be just behind the times. Advertised as an outlet town, the clothes and accessories that adorn the windows are always several seasons out of style. Cars would clog up the intersections in chaotic clusters until recently, when traffic lights were installed. It seems that it could have been just a few years before I was born that cars took the place of horse-drawn buggies. The movie theater, which has only two screens, was exclusively film until just two years ago. And the movies are

always shown for way too long—they make it to DVD before they leave the box office.

In other words, it’s the perfect town. The roundabout in the center of town is dressed in the summer with an impressive arrangement of shrubbery, trees and vibrant flowers. If you make your way through town at the right time, you can even catch the local gardeners working on it. During the winter, the untouched mounds of snow lay in beautiful, cloudy puffs on the lawns beside the road. A babbling river cuts through town, alongside the main green which holds outdoor concerts during warm spring nights. The restaurants, the true nuclei of the town, stay for much longer than the transient shops, perfecting the brick oven pizza and Vermont-styled Thai cuisine. The towns in Vermont may be small, but they contain multitudes.


Film Photos of the Manicured Wilderness; or Moultonborough, New Hampshire, Through the Plastic Lens of a Disposable Camera, Summer ‘18. by SAM WINSLOW


Shanghai, China The daughter of a construction worker in an urban Shanghai neighborhood. by XINYUE HUANG


17


Istanbul

The Cat-pital of the World

by SONALI MATHUR

T

ravelling is often described as an experience that changes you. It can help you “find yourself,” or at least find some missing part of you that was floating beneath the surface. Granted, you don’t come to Turkey for such an experience. You trek in some never-ending foggy mountains, or you walk the dusty, brown roads of India in a tank top, elephant harem pants and your new “Om” tattoo. But this summer, surrounded by hundreds of Istanbul’s loveable felines, I found myself changed. I’ve never been a cat person; before this summer, I only ever loved dogs. In fact, I’ve always been wary of cats: their sharp claws, green eyes, and uncaring meows. So, I was perturbed to find out that they lurked around every corner in Istanbul, licking their paws or simply lounging on the sunny streets of the cat capital of the world. It’s the people in a city that make it what it is, my journalism professor once said. In Istanbul, the friendly people and, to my surprise, the cats, made it what it was. The Turkish capital showcased its cats alongside some of the most beautiful Islamic art and architecture. Outside Turkish lamp shops, inside high-end restaurants and cafes, behind bookshelves in libraries—they were everywhere. In an art gallery, cats lay sprawled on leaves on top

of the roof, their black tails hanging down in the gaps. I remained slightly skeptical as I watched them squint and purr, enjoying themselves as my friends and family gently stroked their backs and chins. Their little paw swipes, seemingly aggressive at first, were really just ploys to get you to pet them. After I saw how peacefully the whole city coexisted with them, my skepticism started to wane. Cats are admired for their cleanliness in Islam. Islamic scriptures show that the Prophet Muhammad was fond of cats; after a cat saved his life from a venomous snake, he stroked it three times, gifting cats with the ability to always land on their feet. They were allowed inside the Hagia Sophia, and right next to the mihrab, the prayer wall, in the Blue mosque. They roamed inside while people prayed and priests gave blessings. A small, light grey one with black stripes slept curled up inside, her paws drawn in and her nose tucked into her tail, the tips of

her long white whiskers just brushing the mosque’s carpet. They had as much a right to the mosque as we did. Even at restaurants, we ate surrounded by them. Three of them sat around our table, their heads turned firmly upwards, their eyes fixated on the crispy calamari and sardines before them. Two others watched from a ledge beside our table, vying with the others to get our attention. The other customers, as well as the waiters were amused by their relentless efforts for some delicious fish. “Naughty cat! You’re in big trouble!” a cheerful waiter exclaimed, chuckling, as he picked up a tiny black kitten and put her down in the bushes a few meters away from the tables. After only a few seconds, she dashed across to the tables again as we all laughed. I left Istanbul a changed person. I had tried strong Turkish coffee, eaten my weight in hummus and kebabs, watched Dervish dancers swirl, and made friends with several adorable furry meowing creatures.


Huangshan, China Lion Peak, Fall 2017 by JUSTIN HALIM


Sydney, Australia The main restaurant at the Sydney Opera house, Bennelong, is named after one of the Aboriginal leaders that the First Fleet encountered upon landing on Sydney’s shores. Despite the rough history between the Commonwealth and Aboriginal Australians, it’s now a large part of Australian culture to honor the traditional owners of the land. by ANNA LETSON


21


diaspora means distance by VEDA KAMRA

I

lugged my lovely camera with me all the way to India. I wanted family photos. Though my metal Nikon filmcamera offers comfortable and cool relief to the skin on my hands in monsoon season, carrying it with me in their home feels strange. It feels violating. It feels like perhaps I should have asked, “would you mind if I took pictures?” Even their reactions are a bit forced. Not as though they are necessarily pretending to be candid and act as though there were not a lens in front of them, but as though they are stiffened by the gaze of the purpley-glass lens that is intrusively staring them down. In their home, I am not mischievous or endearing with a camera in hand; I am uncomfortable. Thus, I carry it shyly. “I have no family photos!” I declared once I arrived and again, later, when I was trying to express how painful and frustrating it was to lose an entire roll of film. That roll included photos of my great aunt, a former fashion tycoon, spreading gorgeous fabrics from Delhi and Jaipur on her bed and another of her posing for me—by far my would-be

favorite shot. It had photos of my mom and my family friend on a trip to Chor Bazaar (Thief Market), where goats were wandering into, out of, and around shops on the day before Eid. It had photos of my nani and my masi showing me how to eat custard apple—21 years and at least a dozen trips to India and never had I tried this sweet, seedy, creamy fruit! To have lost these precious photos, then, was devastating. It is not easy to go to India from the States. It’s expensive, it’s time-consuming, it’s exhausting, but I am incredibly fortunate to be able to visit as frequently as I do. When I was younger, these trips meant seeing my entire extended family (admittedly a small family)—cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents. But over the years we spread out and found less time to make it to India in a synchronized fashion. Now those memories exist in fond pieces. Whenever I was told to “go to my happy place” I would picture myself in Calcutta in my grandmother’s old garden, three-feet tall and thus still able to hang from the clothes line while it drizzled and nani was not paying attention. I remember ruining my brand-new

blue (always blue!) Sketchers after making a run for it during a monsoon downpour that brought feet of rain. I remember trying to crawl onto my nana’s motor-scooter at four feet tall (again, while no one was watching), tipping it over and crashing the side mirror. I remember sheepishly telling my nana what I had done and him getting agitated but nonetheless continuing to take me on scooter rides because he knew how much I loved zipping around on that blue (always blue!) bike. I remember making seat-pillow obstacle courses and leap-frogging from tan to blue to tan plushy cushions in my dadi’s small flat. I remember competing with my cousin Maya over who was the real “butter baby,” i.e. who could eat more buttered rotis in one sitting. I shouldn’t even get started on the home-cooked food. I’ll just mention the cakes my grandmother used to make to celebrate our birthdays, since my January brother and March self were never there to celebrate in winter or spring. I remember taking the train to Jamshedpur to see my cousins; jumping from what, in my memory, is a forty-foot tall diving platform that is—regardless of its actual height—definite-


ly unsafe. Belly-flopping from that diving platform and pretending like I “meant to do that.” Eating chili cheese toast and having Limca drinking contests after swimming for hours—just us kids. Winning Limca drinking contests. And the mirchi my cousin dared my brother to eat whole, resulting in him getting to skip dinner and go straight to an entire pint of vanilla ice cream. Hours of jumping up and down to VH1 and watching The Ketchup Song enough times to think I could sing its Spanish lyrics. My cousins putting toothpaste and makeup on each other

while we slept. My cousin’s dog Snoopy. My cousin’s dog Thunder. They’ve both passed now. These little pieces of my world in India—a world that I have been given a claim to by my family—are hopefully stuck to the inside of my soul. As I write, they pour out. Still I fear they may one day escape me. I fear I might forget their details. I remember—I remind myself— that each one has not just stuck to me, but rather, has shaped me. I am the person that I am because my family and I have been able to overcome vast distances of both space and time. Every year I go into my nani’s TV cabinet and raid through her family albums. Some photos have grown familiar to me. Undoubtedly, I will always find a new collection of moments. This past summer, I opened a manila folder and found faxes: an annotated assemblage of photos from my second birthday. I recognized my mother’s handwriting. “Remember this park by the water?! I set up tables here, and that’s Cinderella doing her magic show! Veda is the volunteer” (A scene of us celebrating with balloons and kids and parents at East River Park). “She had such fun blowing out the candles” (Me with my cake and my little toddler friends) I had always thought the annotations of the albums in my house were for my mom to remember details—I had no idea they were meant for sharing with my extended family.

My grandmother told me that she and my mom would speak on the phone for hours when my mother first moved to North Carolina with my dad, after they had just married in Bombay. I took a photo of these faxes and it turned out grainy and dark. I also took a photo on my phone, but my mother’s exact words on this page do not matter anyway. What matters is that my grandmother kept this fax for almost twenty years, tucked neatly in a manila folder, where I could find it at age 21 and tear up in amazement at an astounding ability to communicate. I can’t forget that feeling of love. It is this undoubtable feeling that turns into my desire to communicate and express and share and love. We are pulled in a million directions at once and it gets harder to keep holding onto the ropes that hold us all together. Traveling is a reflective and iterative learning process. More than a mere geographical or spatial process; it is also a temporal one— one that extends as far inward as it does outward. Photographing our travels thus melds into a magical way to share our learning processes. It memorializes and validates existence. Sometimes, a camera offers us the ability to pause and challenge the linearity that time shuffles us into—offering a gateway to jump back into an old or forgotten moment. Other times, we rely on memory and chance to help us work with time. Without my would-be roll of photographs, I am still able to remember. No matter the strength or weakness of a memory, lived experience is not diminished by a lack of documentation. 23


NEW ZEALAND


by ALEXANDRA PIENKOWSKI

O

ur day began as all good hiking days do: about an hour and a half before sunrise. Scrambling around our mountainside Airbnb, my friends and I stuffed our bags with sandwiches, fruit, and trail mix. I stepped out into the crisp fall March air to start packing our Queenstown adventure mobile; a little blue sedan we nicknamed Jimbo. Jimbo had clearly seen his fair share of road, but he was treating us well enough. That morning was one of our last in Queenstown, and we were heading to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. After we all made our way into the car, my friend Ellen offered to drive the first leg of the trip. I couldn’t drive in New Zealand because I don’t have an American driver’s license, but as penance I served as co-pilot/driving instructor/ navigator/moral support for whoever was behind the right-sided steering wheel. We set off into the dark for a three hour drive. With our two other passengers fast asleep, Ellen and I realized a couple of things. Firstly, Jimbo’s lights were broken. The standard headlights didn’t illuminate the road in front of us at all and the functioning high beams would blind the drivers passing us, of which there were a fair amount. Secondly, our route from Queenstown to Mount Cook led through winding mountain roads that were not only dark but also incredibly stressful to navigate.

We settled on a flawed system of turning the high beams on when there were no cars around, then off again when someone drove by. This led to my giving Ellen frantic cues to turn the high beams on when it was safe to do so and warning her to turn them off when I saw another car coming. Ellen heroically toggled the switch while also driving on the left side of the road. I’ve never been so focused on a task before in my life.

When the sun finally came up, the light was a glorious sight.

The dawn progressed into a beautiful day as we finally made it into Aoraki Mount Cook National Park. The hike, the views, and the mountains were transcendental. 25


Sydney, Australia Over one of my last weekends in Sydney, I strolled the treelined paths in Centennial Park, surrounded by small ponds and flocks of ducks, cockatoos, and ibises. by ANNA LETSON

26


Misguidings of Southern Places by JENNY LEVINE

W

hen I began planning my birthday weekend in Sorrento, my parents and friends applauded the decision: “Oh, Sorrento’s a great home base, you can easily take a boat to Capri and a bus to Positano.” Once there, our Airbnb catered to every whim, and the piazza in the center of town sold overpriced margherita pizza and limoncello that made your mouth pucker. When my friends and I walked along the streets at night, we met British pensioners and European high schoolers on holiday. One club actually rejected the only real Italians because, according to the bouncer, they only let foreigners in. A lot of people are perfectly content going to a foreign country with a beautiful facade, only to interact with locals on a client-employee basis.

For the actual day of my birthday, we traveled from Sorrento to Naples; you can’t imagine how quickly people’s eyes glazed over when we told them. Even my own Sicilian mother was worried. “You know what they say about Naples— the pickpockets, dirty streets and grease—it’s all true.” I replied that people think about Sicily that way, too. She just shrugged and said, “at least our food is better.” I arrived to the place known to many Italians and tourists as the most dangerous city in the peninsula: Naples. My friends were planning to catch an afternoon train, so we had to rush to get to the Royal Palace, a 45 minute walk from where the Circumvesuviana dropped us off. I fired up Google Maps and directed our group down one of those impossibly wide 19th cen-

try boulevards. We barely walked a few meters when one of my friends shouted “what’s going on down there?” I was curious about the loud voices and seaside smells. But the more I looked down the side alley, the less I wanted to go down. It was a cramped neighborhood market with fish heads lying in heaps below the vendors. I cautioned my friends about how windy the streets were and how they tend to lead nowhere, but I was overruled in favor of spontaneity. My mood soured as we ventured further down the block. Neapolitans could sniff the tourist on us, and whispers from locals floated unintelligibly between our ears. I underestimated the size of a puddle and stepped into a pool of seafoodgut water. At the end of one of these alleys (a long, long way down), we found Pizzeria Brandi— the home of Margherita pizza. Covered in sugary marinara sauce and oozing with mozzarella cheese, Neapolitan pizza is unique for its brick oven crust. At another unplanned stop, my group stumbled upon one of the most impressive views of the entire trip—the Gulf of Naples, with the enormous Mt. Vesuvius towering in the background. The rest of the day, we wandered into open courtyards and climbed up large hills with cramped apartments’ laundry hanging out the windows. We threw our carefully planned itinerary to the wind so we could experience the spirit of the city. That’s what I came to realize—I could stare at as many places as I wanted to on Google Maps, but the best experiences come from letting go of our expectations and just enjoying the view. 27


THE CHINA HUSTLE BY

IRINA WIRJAN

Huangshan, China A worker treks through the mountain fog in the early morning. Goods must be transported manually by workers who shoulder the heavy burdens on their backs.

Beijing, China Under the heat of the summer sun, builders restore a section of the palace in Beijing’s Forbidden City.


Moroccan Mountain Interlude by MARISA BIANCO

T

hough Spain and Morocco are separated by just eight miles, stepping off a ferry from Tarifa to Tangier felt like crossing a much greater distance. From there, accompanied by a group of students, I began a journey along the Atlantic coast to the village of Asilah, then on to Morocco’s capital, Rabat. After two nights, we roamed inland towards the famed blue city, Chefchaouen, high in the Atlas Mountains. As our van climbed up the undulating roads, we paused at a farm nestled between the peaks. We pulled up to a tin-roofed house whose walls seemed to merge with the ground, where our guide ushered us into a sitting area with cushioned benches lining each wall. An unassuming old woman entered with large, steaming bowls of couscous and soft, colorful vegetables.

We began dipping our bread into the dish. The harmony of spices paired perfectly with a cup of sweet mint tea. As the couscous bowls emptied, the woman returned to sit by the door. A Moroccan student in our company translated the woman’s Arabic. When she asked if we enjoyed the meal she had cooked for us, the room filled with a chorus of shukran, meaning “thank you”. As we asked her questions with the help of our translator, the woman slowly formed the narrative of her life. She had lived in the same area since childhood, never traveling far because her arranged marriage brought her just a few miles away to her current farm. Her gentle smile warmed the room when she told us about raising her children, though she seemed to gaze past us when she spoke of how how she wished she

could see them more often. She did not know who would run the farm when she and her husband no longer could, but her faith in God and his plan was clear and hopeful. Her smile lines, carved deep within her tanned face, revealed a contentedness in her life and her home. The old woman and her husband’s hospitality still warm my heart when I remember the time I spent at their small farm. Though I’m unable to recall her name, or the name of the nearby village, I know that somewhere along the winding mountain roads between Rabat and Chefchaouen lives an old woman sharing stories and couscous. Her life is vastly different from mine, and we could not communicate without a translator. Yet she was able to convey her earnest kindness and openness of heart without a common language. 29


MEXICO by XINYUE HUANG

Left: Surfing along the wall’s edge. (Guanajuato)


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Far left: Hygenic (Guanajuato) Left: Taxi and Saguaro (Mexico City) Above: Human Traces (Guanajuato) Right: Attitude (Guanajuato)


Beijing, China Under the heat of the summer sun, builders and workers restore a section of the palace in Beijing’s Forbidden City.

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Tidal Tendencies by SONNET PRIETO

T

he picture-perfect views of Costa Rica are effortless. To see them, you only need to ascend a wooden deck near the shoreline of Playa Santa Teresa. Once there, simply peer down into the realm of an expansive beach and scan the rarities below. Intermediate surfers exchange pineapple-scented surf wax and laugh joyfully in their custom wetsuits. Lifeguards, proudly displaying their native countries’ respective flags on stickers and rash guards, roam the beach as they shake colorful bottles of refrescos and grin happily for selfies. There is an old man wearing a tropical-print handkerchief, teetering with seasickness and walking aimlessly while repeatedly screeching “Pura vida!” Changing his mantra, he drags himself away, giving what is left of his pocket change to a little boy for fresh coconut meat. Next to the little boy, children with sugar-coated childhoods congregate and pay to have beach attendants adorn their ankles with a sprinkling of cowrie and cerith shells. Hand-in-hand with their parents and older siblings, another group of kids nestle paddle boards under their free arms. By the shoreline, humorous and eye-popping

caricatures of Costa Rican sea mammals are drawn, each artist illustrating a different style—minimal detail, little color usage, and multiple subjects on one piece of paper. Directly behind these artists, neon signs spelling out “Surfers Paradise: Free Tequila Tomorrow” beckon you towards the tiki bar. It’s now late in the day, and the bar is just about to close up, but a boat captain and his son can be heard begging, “Wait, please. Just five minutes! Five minutes is all we ask!” Convinced by their desperate faces, the bartender lets them in and whips them up a refreshing specialty drink—a great end to a long day out in the ocean. They laugh and mount the spiraling staircase that leads them toward a crowded rooftop garlanded with string lights. I drink a chilled bottle of water and watch the time as I wait for my brother to catch his final waves during mid-tide, where a-frame peaks zoom down the beach. Propped up against the wooden railing, I take one last glance at the world-class breaks. I leave before the sun sets, craving a hammock to climb into. In my head, I keep imagining the sights and memories of my idyllic Costa Rican beach holiday. 35


Sydney by ANNA LETSON

Below: To the west of Melbourne is a famous coastside drive called Great Ocean Road, with a number of iconic stops along the way that look out from the limestone coast to the sea. The edge of the Grotto faces the ocean, with a still pool of water that perfectly reflects the rocks and sky.

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Top left: Tasmania, a large island off the southeast coast of the mainland, is home to the cleanest air in the world. Mount Field National Park has a number of waterfalls among the rainforest trees. Above: ACDC Lane is a famous street in Melbourne, lined with graffiti and known for its rich music history, including the eponymous rock band. Below left: Under severe threat from climate change, the Great Barrier Reef is one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world and has been trying to recover from coral bleaching and contamination.

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Endpaper Every issue, we are left with photographs too noteworthy to miss. Here are two.

Right: Lost Goat, Coastal Oman (by Lucy Lyons) Below: Sweetness Overdose, Mexico City (by Xinyue Huang)


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Baedeker Fall 2018  

Baedeker strives to connect readers with incredible people and places around the globe, and present stories and images from diverse and uniq...

Baedeker Fall 2018  

Baedeker strives to connect readers with incredible people and places around the globe, and present stories and images from diverse and uniq...

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