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Local Knowledge:

DRID, Spain. ON PAGE 56

Issue Number 3 contents. RANDOM INFORMATION
















Small enough that they can, unfortunately, run across the landmine field without being blown to smithereens.

Little did I know it would teach me that baby orangutan make the cutest boots, that breadcrumbs are crack to fish, and that Gucci...

Crsip beauty of the area continues to evoke powerful emotions in tourists and drive them in by the thousands.

“I’m probably going to pee my pants or pass out or something if there are fireworks.”

It was like my dream, but worse, it was real life. I was falling faster than I had ever fallen and I knew...

Try and speak Spanish and avoid wearing shorts, Spanish people just don’t seem to wear them.

Circumnavigating the world carrying incredibly bulky and heavy thirteen foot long pieces of shaped wood.

In my attempts to integrate into French society I have bought several pairs of tight pants and ill-fitting shoes.

Random Information He asked that any male passenger who felt up to it wore a kilt in true Scottish fashion i.e. no underwear, and opted for the alternative option of the full rub down.

I live on the corner of Double Dragon St. and Metroid Blvd. Saragoza Spain’s newest neighbourhood has finally bucked the trend of naming suburb streets after the trees that once stood in their place. Instead, they opted for the pastimes of the soon to be overweight children who will inhabit the houses to be their inspiration: video games. The government sponsored Arcosur area was named through an online poll and hopes to feature such street names as "Avenida de Super Mario Bros" and "Calle Legend of Zelda". Residents are upbeat about the idea saying they would rather see their streets named for something other than war heroes.“Plus,” they say, “the increased exposure for the project on the internet will hopefully mean the project will be completed on time”. I just hope they opt for large green pipes instead of fire hydrants. Right: Creative Commons, photos/aquariawin tersoul/4714398491/

What do you mean I missed it? It is a common sentiment these days that airport security is crossing the line from necessary to invasive. Backscatter X-ray machines now in use throughout the United States force travellers into the uncomfortable position of either being scanned and seen virtually nude by the agents as well as subjected to possibly harmful radiation or being subjected to a vigorous pat-down prison-convict style. Blogger Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, frustrated with the state of affairs, demanded action stating that November 24th was to be national opt-out day. He asked that any male passenger who felt up to it wore a kilt in true Scottish fashion i.e. no underwear, and opted for the alternative option of the full rub down. Vigilante justice in the 21st century, sigh.

The Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India. Photo: Creative Commons,

So what? I’ve seen bigger. The title of world’s largest building is an ever changing, always coveted title currently held by the Burj Dubai. This got us thinking, what about all the other building records out there you never hear about? This month Rove researches perused the globe in search of some of the best record setting buildings, here is what they found: + Largest in the world by volume: Boeings factory in Everette, Washington, U.S.A. (13.3 million m³) + Largest in the world by floor area: Terminal Three of Dubai International Airport, Dubai, U.A.E. (1.5 million m² of usable floor space) + Largest hemispherical building: Ericsson Globe, Stockholm, Sweden. (25,000 m² of usable floor space) + Heaviest building: Palace of Parliament, Bucharest, Romania. (700,000 metric tons of steel, 3,500 metric tons of crystal glass, 1,000,000m³ of marble and 900,000 m³  of wood) + Most visited: The “Lotus” Temple, New Delhi, India. (visited by approx. 100,000 people each day)

I always wondered what would replace the jaggerbomb… At least they are good for something. I have a new reason to hate rats. They are dirty, they carry disease, they eat garbage, and now, they are more useful than me. There is nothing worse than seeing something you hate succeed (see also: Nickleback), but now that I am officially outclassed by rodents I simply don’t know where to turn. You see, in Tanzania they have trained African pouched rats to clear landmines. They do the job faster than men or dogs, are easier to transfer between owners than canines, and are small enough that they can, unfortunately, run across the landmine field without being blown to smithereens. I guess I owe an apology to that guy in my high school English class who always wore that Slipknot sweater and had three pet rats; guess his taste in pets was better than mine after all.

Dawson city, Yukon located in Canada’s icy northern territories is home to what is undoubtedly the next big thing in alcoholism - the Sourtoe Cocktail. Since 1973 the grizzly patrons of the downtown hotel have been drinking concoctions garnished with a shrivelled human toe. They said that the gold rush could drive lesser men to insanity, and the fact that these men are still living in Canada’s arctic tundra and are regularly consuming drinks garnished with human flesh serves as testament to that statement. Although the original toe (a pickled reminder of the frost bite amputation suffered by a rum runner) was swallowed, members of the community have stepped forward to replace the toe multiple times throughout its history. The only rule for joining the club: “You can drink it fast, you can drink it slow, but the lips have gotta touch the toe”.

Left: Creative Commons, photos/cultivarte/4701130515/

Opposite Page (Left): Creative Commons, N05/3932640920/

Opposite Page (Right): Creative Commons, archeon/9559410/

What did you say was in those brownies? In the book Alice in Wonderland, Alice falls down the rabbit hole and sees just how bizarre life can get, Keanu Reeves, after dropping a mysterious pill in The Matrix also gets the chance to experience the surreal. Colombia’s Caño Cristales offers you the same chance, except no mystery pills or floating cats are involved. Cristales is a tie-dyed river wonder showing off colors from yellow, to red, to purple, to green, to blue. Far from what you expect (if you expected a toxic river filled with chemicals like I did), the river blooms to colour during the dry season because of the vividly hued algae along the bottom: it’s 100% natural.


A 'Who' inspired female proboscis monkey surveys her curious photographer

It was late November and the frosty air outside my apartment was etching elaborate designs on the window panes of my apartment. Snuggled warmly inside watching BBC Planet Earth for the millionth time my thoughts drifted from work to the oncoming holiday season at home. Amidst David Attenborough’s velvety smooth voice describing the habits of a particular species of paradisiacal birds I surveyed my finances - it seemed a flight back to Canada would be unlikely. A few more spreadsheets confirmed it. I was to be stranded in Korea, unable to make it home for my holiday break: My first Christmas away. The warm cup of tea radiated into my hand in stark contrast to the cold feelings in my soul. I slumped down beside my boyfriend who was overtaken once again with the beauty of the images displayed in the video and also oblivious to our financial crisis. “It would be so great to go there” he said, either to me or the TV. I sat for a moment staring at the screen in complete agreement. Then in a flourish of inspiration, I attacked my laptop. Several internet searches later I knew where we would be spending Christmas and judging by his zombie like trance, he would have no objections. We decided to spend Christmas in Borneo, a main locale for the Planet Earth series. Little did I know it would teach me that baby orangutan make the cutest boots, that breadcrumbs are crack to fish, and that Gucci is so much cheaper in Asia.

Fast forward a month or so and we are now completely alone in the jungle. Since Christmas is the offseason in Borneo we were almost completely alone, hiking through the slightly less dense undergrowth marked “trails.” For anyone unfamiliar with rain forests, there are layers and layers of life, not

Orangutans: the reds and greens of the holidays

just building up towards the sky, but quietly, patiently, strangling each other at every level. If plants could wield weapons, none would survive. Serial killers, the lot of them. If you close your eyes in the jungle, and a venomous spider doesn’t decide to kill you while you aren’t watching,

the static sound of the creatures is mesmerizing. It’s funny the things I was reminded of in such a foreign place: I heard coffee grinders, screen doors, rural nights outside, and frat parties. The “Woo!” and “heh heh heh” of the monkeys makes you wonder if they’re secretly fermenting the figs up there. This jungle gives me more appreciation than ever of the complexity and

diversity of the world. It’s a wild zoo, where every cage holds hundreds of specimens. The mystery of the rainforest is that you can see how hundreds of new species could easily go undetected. A Sasquatch could have been 30 feet away, moon walking, and I wouldn’t have seen it. Planet earth was right; Borneo had wildlife I never thought I would be able to see. We spent two full days island hopping in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Easily accessed from nearby docks are tiny islands with postcard beaches and vibrant coral reefs. It was easy trading the tackiness of Christmas decorations for the naturally colourful reefs. Spotted rays and brain-like coral were swarmed by fish of every colour. Parrotfish showed their violet stripes and clownfish danced in their anemones. Some fish were quite ballsy and territorial. They’d shoot out at me, then retreat, sometimes pinging off my mask like birds off windex-ed glass. Bottles of breadcrumbs aided our underwater exploration. Step one, swim over coral; Step two, open bottle and squeeze; Step three, get swarmed in a frenzy of colours. The flaky bits of bread are irresistible to the local fish, and great for photo ops unless, like me, your “tough” underwater camera is about as resilient at 2 feet deep, as it is good for making quiche. Thus, I lack many of the fantastic photos of the fish and coral. Instead of worrying about presents and gifts, our main stressor in

Sabah province turned out to be transportation. On a map the highways are straight as an arrow, it seems like a short hop from place to place. To my inexperienced eyes Kinabalu Park looked like a 30-40 minute drive if one were to drive slowly. Due to the mountain range and maniacal engineers who decided to make this the longest road in the world. The whole drive the car is slaloming, upwards or downwards, almost crossing paths with the previous loops. The award for longest time between point A and point B definitely goes to this highway. It took about 3 hours to travel a fingers width on my map. It had been a memorable Christmas and as we careened back toward civilization I watched the scenery flow by, thinking about just how Christmas-y this season had felt even though I was miles from home. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….I guess. Kota Kinabalu, had a refreshing, quirky happiness. Children played soccer, families sat on stoops keeping out of the sun, and folksy painted boats tied up at the docks. Unlike my stressful life in Seoul, there was no option here but to relax. We were surrounded by warm beaches with soft sand and the green peace of a living rainforest. It was a welcome change from the emotionally taxing, stressful holidays of my youth. But it just didn’t feel like Christmas until I opened my eyes a bit, and my ears

Borneo's dense vegetation is home to over 15,000 species of plants

too I guess - the rainforest itself is a speaker that carries and amplifies the cries of even the smallest insects, some of which I am sure sounded faintly like jingle bells. Instead of the normal animated variety, the only grinches we saw that Christmas were deep in the virgin rainforest: the macaque monkeys who were just as interested in our ipods as the bananas we fed them. The gentle proboscis monkeys played the part of the who’s in my Christmas special. The females of the species are fluffy auburn, with Whoville noses pointing

up into the trees. The males are known for the enormous girth of their nose. Our guide explained that they live in harems and the larger his schnoz the larger his harem: size matters in this version of Whoville. After being playfully reminded of the movies I watched every year around this time, signs of Christmas started showing up everywhere. Returning to our hotel we were treated to a beautiful sunset. I have seen so many before but the clouds and colours in Sabah province looked too perfect, I think they had to have been photoshopped. The sky became a psychedelic lava lamp of blues, pinks,

Sunset in Borneo... ...unedited beauty and gold. And as the night sky dimmed, revealing the vastness of the night sky I was humbled again by the “Christmas trees� decorated by flashy fireflies. We stayed until the silhouettes of willow trees twinkled in the night sky before we departed for dinner. For me, the holidays are meant for relaxation, appreciation, and family. While certain aunts may seem like Bornean orangutans sometimes, I knew I was still going to miss my family, so I took it upon myself to find a temporary one. Christmas dinner was spent with

an amazing impromptu family: backpackers. There was a couple from Brazil, who were teachers in Singapore; a 70-year-old world traveller who was an inspiration; a Kiwi girl who worked as an adventure guide in Hong Kong taking businessmen zip-lining, rafting, and climbing; and finally, an Austrian man taking his yearly holiday in Asia. We feasted on coconut rice and traditional Malay dishes. The 70-yearold traveller had all of our attention. He had rarely stopped traveling since he was 30. We were in tears from a story he told about a friend he had known long ago. Right before this trip, he met the same friend by chance on a train through Vietnam. It turned out his

Colourful boats decorate Borneo's coast.

long lost friend had never left Thailand, actually he married a Thai prostitute. Needless to say the table conversation was way different this year. One thing I’d never appreciated before this trip was that I was fluent in English. It’s something I never thought about, I just did it. Yet, here we all were, travelers from all over the world, completely able to communicate with each other. All those carols about peace love and understanding seemed to be believable in this metropolitan

paradise under the fireball heat of the tropical sun. The season of giving: The two main parts of western Christmas are food and shopping. The food was different, but great. I drank my weight in mango juice and it probably cost me 3 dollars. Seafood replaced turkey and freshly cut coconuts, with straw and tiny umbrella

of course, replaced eggnog. The markets of Kota Kinabalu fed my lust for the holiday sales I had come to love, they were full of two things: shiny crystals and knock off Prada. The vendors were hilarious and calm. It’s like they aren’t too concerned that you won’t buy something, perhaps they are skilled in reverse psychology. Some of the products are just rejects from

nearby factories, so it’s a good place to pick up some flip flops and bling for a bargain price, plus there was no repeating track of ‘I’m dreaming of a white christmas’. The eating and shopping weren’t the highlight of the trip, in true Christmas story fashion it was delivered to me through an innocent child. I am used to being a backpacker, staying in hostels, and splurging on experiences. For this

trip though we stayed in a five-star hotel. We tried to find cheap flights, but the cheapest deals came with hotels. Since it was cheaper than the flight alone, we ended up with a bellman and marble counters. The luxury was, well, luxurious I guess. They even had a choir come in from Jakarta to sing carols amidst a Christmas themed atrium. Don’t worry, we still got what we paid for when we were woken up by jackhammers above us the next morning . The divide between the 5 star tourist resorts and daily lives of people here was stark. Right after grabbing some supplies from a corner store, a little boy approached me. He put his hands out towards me and I can’t ignore children. I thought I had nothing to give him, no cash, and was trying to speak with him, but then I realized something. It was 40 degrees outside. He reached towards a bottle of pop I was carrying, just to hold something cool. I passed it to him, he went and sat in the shade, bottle to his face, smiling the whole time. Being Christmas I started to reflect on what had just happened. There are a lot more important things than money. After living in the stress capitol of the world, South Korea - a wonderful place with strong people, but where money more and more defines worth - Kota Kinabalu was the ultimate contrast. Many are monetarily poor yet they seem so genuinely happy. Everyone, not just the vendors, was smiling all the time. Even the way they drove was relaxed and slow paced, but somehow

always moving. The docks at night were full of circles of people, laughing. There was an overall feeling of caring for one another. No one rushed or pushed and shoved. Every “hey, you like watches?” was said with a grin, or even a joke “oh no sir, your watch is too ugly: Rolex?”. Here, in Sabah, even business isn’t too serious; I had a lot to be thankful for even getting to spend a few weeks here. Now wherever I am in the world, I try to take time during the holidays to remember to enjoy, relax, and laugh. Merry Christmas to all, and to all happy travels to all the Rove readers out there.

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TANZANIA Wild and gritty, Tanzania is a treat. A bastion for nature lovers, its red soil supports immense grasslands which in turn roost safari animals in droves. The hearty Maasai people who still live their traditional way of life are adapting slowly to meet the rising demand of tourists who want to see their beautiful home. So although life is changing somewhat for the animals and people of the plains, the distinct, raw nature and crsip beauty of the area continues to evoke powerful emotions in tourists and drive them in by the thousands.



A lone elephant bides his time as he slowly crosses the grasslands.



Hiking near Mt. Kilamanjaro, the world’s fourth highest mountain, and the continent’s tallest peak.

TANZANIA Sunset, the end of another day.


TANZANIA Opposite: A steeple overlooks the Kilema hospital in Tanzania. Above: Maasai men and women.


TANZANIA The red dirt of Africa - totally stains white socks.




A looming Mt. Meru, an active volcano west of the infamous Mt. Kilimanjaro, dwarfs a tree in the foreground.


It all stemmed from an irrational conversation, as do many of my decisions. I was going to Australia on a university exchange and needed to get farther west of Toronto in order to get to my final destination. One of my lifelong friends, Jill, was tossing the idea about going on a cross country road trip with the final destination of Los Angeles. In my mind, that was closer to Australia than Toronto. A simple conversation turned into a plan. I would pack up for the next 6 months of my life, get in a car, and drive to Los Angeles. Many of my friends questioned my sanity, as the logical plan would be to just hop on a plane and be across the continent in about 5 hours. But that’s no fun! Meet the team members - Tyler had just graduated from school in Saratoga Springs, New York - he was our raison d’etre. His car needed to get back home to LA. Sean is Tyler’s cousin who is also from California. Tyler and Jill went to boarding school in the states together. Jill and I have been friends forever: quite the collection of folks to pile into a small car for over 5000 kilometres. I knew this trip would be legendary when I got a call from Jill saying there was already a delay on their way to pick me up. Sean had somehow contracted pink-eye and finding a clinic was not easy. Awesome - sharing a car and potential conjunctivitis for 5000 kilometres. Hand sanitizer to the rescue.  When the car finally pulled into my driveway in Toronto, I started to laugh. The car was tiny. A white Toyota Corolla to drive 4 people and their belongings all the way to LA. After packing and repacking the car numerous times, we finally fit everything in and were ready to go.

Our first stop was Niagara Falls. We spent the afternoon checking out both sides of the falls. We did not want to spend much money so opted out of touristy ventures such as the Maid of the Mist. It was unanimous that the Canadian falls kill the small, American falls. I was the only Canadian in this car, which was the origin of many jokes over the next ten days, however I could always revert back to the Falls if in need of a trump card. We were all feeling elated as we walked back to the car. Tyler commented, “I’m probably going to pee my pants or pass out or something if there are fireworks.” It couldn't have played out more perfectly - fireworks started right then and we ran back to watch them. We unintentionally happened to be there at a fantastic time,

Memorial Day weekend, so the fireworks were out of this world. There was also a light show projected onto the Falls: something which I would recommend to anyone. Music was a passion every passenger shared, so we decided our next stop should be the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. We had spent the previous night celebrating the commencement of our journey across the country, perhaps a little too hard. The Hall of Fame may have been more enjoyable had we been in better shape to explore. Some highlights were enjoying the air conditioning, seeing Flavor Flave’s first clock necklace, and Tyler’s nap in the movie auditorium. The place was definitely interesting and fun to look around though. Cleveland however, was not as

captivating, as everything but Subway was closed because of the holiday. After rocking out in Cleveland, Chicago provided the encore. We stopped long enough to meet up with Jill’s cousin for lunch at Rockit Cafe. Millennium Park and Wrigley Field filled up our afternoon with baseball and outdoor views of some of the best architecture in America. But true to its moniker, Chicago was windy, so windy we blew through before getting to see one it’s most famous residents: Oprah. The taping of her show was booked for months. Milwaukee made it onto our commute strictly because of our love of Pabst Blue Ribbon. We grew up drinking it and wanted to see the motherland. Prepared to be embraced lovingly by our very own garden of Eden we frantically searched about for

the plant as we drew near. Our excitement reached a crescendo when we rounded the last corner - I am sure winning the super bowl was mild in comparison. The car screeched to a halt and we sprinted to the door laughing. I gave it a heave expecting it to fly open, but I was stopped dead in my tracks. The door was locked. Then we saw it, the sign that dashed a thousand dreams. CLOSED the sign said - our dreams of Charlie and the chocolate factory rivers of beer were dashed by our poor Googling skills. I think we may have been the only people in Milwaukee who didn’t know the Pabst plant was closed, and much to our dismay, what was to be a brief stopover became even briefer and we made a turn


for the highway. The distances between locations were vast so we had been rotating the driving. On my turn, I clocked a solid 900 kilometres through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and South Dakota - the most boring drive we’ve ever experienced. To pass the time we took pictures through the window every 15 minutes - each the same - straight highway with flat green farmland. The endless fields of the Midwest slowly gave way as we traversed the States, eventually bringing us to Badlands National Park, South Dakota. It was like nothing any of us had ever seen before. The different layers and colors of the rock were mystifying. Wind and water had eroded away thousands and thousands of years of

minerals and history. Walking through the badlands, avoiding rattle snakes and large cracks in the rocks, was a nice change after hours upon hours of boring scenery. I got a little too excited and ending up giving Jill a black eye. It really only added to the street credibility of our road tripping gang. For a truly wholesome American moment that would have made an eagle scream aloud ‘America, f*ck yeah!’ we made a quick stop to visit Mount Rushmore. It was massive, and pretty impressive. There was an interesting walking tour which explained the history as well as how it was built. All I could think about was the movie Team America: World police.  Pinkeye kid, I mean Sean, got dropped off in Big Sky Montana, as he had to return home

to start a new job. We took the chance to get the car tuned up and cleaned (pink eye phobia). While killing some time, we went to the local Walmart (how American of us) so Tyler could buy a new T-shirt, Jill and I ended up in the camping aisle. We picked up the cheapest tent and an “extra large” sleeping bag. Spending forty bucks was cheaper than some of the hotels we had stayed in along the way. Tyler was not impressed at our frivolous spending. Our tight budget couldn’t afford many hits like this but after we did an oral pro and con list he realized that camping would be fun so he bought a knife so he could feel like a man.  Creeping southward to Wyoming, the car feeling more roomy and germ free. We

entered Yellowstone National Park, the first national park in the world, established in 1872. After talking to the park ranger about the array of bears and snow at the camp site, we apprehensively set up our Walmart home. Dinner was made, beers were consumed and we hiked up to the highest point we could see and watched the sunset over the mountains: life was good. As the sky grew darker, the stars came out in full force. No wonder they call it Big Sky Country. It was the biggest sky I had ever seen. We were all so engaged in the stargazing and life chatting that the sudden temperature change was a secondary issue. However, it was getting extremely cold, windy and the occasional snowflake was falling. In the pitch black, we tried to collect

fire wood. Jill offered up our maps as a way to start the fire. This was a sign it would be a better idea to just head to bed. That night I was expecting to sleep with the Milky Way as my night light and the frozen ground as my mattress. When we went to open up our “extra large” sleeping bag, we were horrified see the size of our only barrier to the harsh weather outside. When spread out, it barely covered 2 of us. Somehow, I ended up the unfortunate soul without any cover. Needing to move for warmth, I climbed up to our stargazing spot a few times, and watched the sunrise. The park was absolutely magical, filled with mountains, lakes, waterfalls, wildlife, and lots of erupting geysers. The slight smell of eggs only takes a little while to get used to. We spent the day exploring, driving, and of course hiking. The park is 8,980 kilometers in area, so we barely touched the surface of all it had to offer before our schedule demanded we continue on, Utah was beckoning us.

We hiked up to Red Butte Gardens in Salt Lake City which has a lookout over the city and the lake. We were all unsure what to expect given that it was Mormon and all but from first view atop our lookout we couldn’t complain: It looked impeccably clean. The ‘Salt Lake’ part of the city turned out to be a different story than the ‘City’ part. When we asked for directions to the city’s namesake, the lovely employees of Wendy’s could not direct us to their famous lake. We did indeed find it, and it was not what I had imagined. It had an awful smell, and there were many dead birds littered on the sand. It looked like there had been some plague and all the birds had fallen out of the sky. The lake took ages to become deep, so we walked out on the bird infested sand until we were ankle depth. Regardless of the strange odours and deaths, the lake was still amazing to see. There was also some very windy salt flats which were fun for photography!

Drawing closer to California we bee lined for Lake Tahoe, being a keen skier I had heard of it before, but knew nothing about it as a summer spot. At the beginning of the day, with snow capped mountains, surrounding a cold but crystal clear lake it looked perfect. As we did not plan any aspects of the trip ahead of time, we missed out on kayaking by mere minutes. We skipped stones, played with our trusted frisbee and simply admired the lake. The locals were friendly, the sun was shining, and we were in high spirits. Until we checked into Foothills Motel in Auburn, California. It is the kind of place where CSI is filmed and they use that blue light to detect different substances. The beds were somehow more uncomfortable than the frozen ground in Yellowstone, the

door was broken so we ended up locked in, and the phone to reception was obviously broken as well. Welcome to California! I’d still give it half a star rating, simply because it was hysterically awful.  Our night of restless sleep behind us we set off with our now bruised backs, headed to Sacramento to see if we could spot Governor Schwarzenegger. Huge old trees and beautiful buildings flanked the boulevards and revealed an underrated gem of California. They did not however reveal the ‘governator’ and let’s face it; Chicago took the crown for architecture. Besides, a shorter stay here meant more time in Wine country. This is when we hit the jackpot. We were near Napa Valley. Tyler had been there


are too many to keep straight.

before, so he was our chauffeur. We visited Cakebread, Markham, Alpha Omega, Peju Province and Beringer. Most of the other visitors were much older than us, and spitting out their wine. What a waste! Tip: if you go at the end of the day, most of the servers at the vineyards have had a few too many, and forget to charge you for your wine tasting! The only thing we took away from this was the word tannins, something about aftertaste and a drying sensation. Thoroughly sauced, except the driver of course, we were soon overcome by nightfall and we were behind schedule. We had planned to spend some time in San Francisco, but our drinking had foiled that plan. We drove over the Golden Gate, turned around, and left the ‘cisco. We stayed overnight in some Santa town, there

We woke up early to an amazing continental breakfast, and made our way over to the Pacific Coast Highway 1. We drove through the Big Sur area, hugging the coast on the beautiful windy road. It happened to be my turn for driving and I will never complain about driving boring, straight highways again. At points, all you see is ocean beside you, and can not see around the next corner to avoid oncoming traffic. Once again, our poor planning made us miss the last tour of Hearst Castle, which is over 90, 000 square feet in size and was built for a newspaper powerhouse, William Randolph Hearst in 1919. It is now a National Historic Landmark. The gift shop was sweet. We continued along the PCH, until it became dark. It seemed as if the days were flying by. We decided to take the less windy, faster highway towards Los Angeles the next day. We were close. Tyler was getting anxious, as we were not only getting close to his home, but also to his favourite fast food restaurant, IN-N-OUT burger. I had never had a fast food burger, but decided this was my chance. It was delicious. If you are ever in Arizona, California, Utah

or Nevada, order a burger, animal style (off of the unwritten secret menu) with a Neapolitan milkshake. You will not be disappointed. With full stomachs, we were ready for the final leg of the journey. Our final miles were logged ploughing through the brutal L.A. traffic. Pulling finally into the driveway well past our estimated time of arrival in the southwestern part of LA we felt an odd sense of completion. We were all tired, and excited to have a long sleep. Jill and I, however, stayed up laughing about the trip for hours. There would be plenty of time for rest and biking getting sun burned on the board walk tomorrow. The only other thing I was sure to do was avoided getting into any type of vehicle, until my 16 hour flight to Australia. But that is another story. 

Horseshoe Lake. “WHY HAVEN’T I HEARD OF” - BY KEVIN LANDRY “It’s easy” they said, “just try and jump into that dark blue area, that’s the deep part”....these poor fellows were dangerously insane.

Ever dream that you’re falling? I have a reccurring dream where my car plunges off a bridge, the water screams closer and closer until I am inches away and then BOOM, I wake up. For years the dream fuelled my fear of heights, it got so bad even ladders made me uncomfortable. I would think of the dream every time I was on a cliff or precipice, it was highly irrational, as most fears are, but felt too real to ignore. Eventually I decided that this irrational fear of mine was getting in the way of living my life, so I decided to fight my fear in the best way I could think of: a seven storey cliff jump. Horseshoe Lake, outside of the resort town of Jasper, Canada, is a popular spot to cool down during the scorching, dry heat of the summer months. It is also the home to some of the best cliff jumping anywhere in the world. Large shelves of rock plummet straight down to form high walls all along the edge of the lake. The towering ledges combine with a lake bottom so deep you couldn’t

possibly bottom out to form a hidden Valhalla in the Canadian Rockies. Like its namesake, the lake is indeed shaped like a horseshoe and although a traditionally lucky symbol, for some this lake has been anything but. The carefree attitude of the locals would have you believe everything is fine and dandy, but yearly many people are injured cliff jumping at this location; people have even died jumping here. Advanced jumpers flip, spin and twirl as they fall; a risky decision considering the dangers involved. Whether you go to jump, or go to watch it can be an enjoyable and memorable day. I however decided to be a participant rather than a viewer on this particular day. After work on a summer afternoon I ventured to the lake with a few friends to try it out. I had not told them of my fear of heights because I was dead-set on overcoming it. We arrived and upon receiving advice from a few acrobatic local youth decided to take the left trail to the

‘beginner’ cliffs ranging in height from the height of a man to the height of a three storey building. Working my way up from the sissy jumps I eventually convinced myself to leap from the three storey ledge after taking much flak from my buddies. It was eerily similar to the dream except that instead of waking up I was treated to the cool smack of the water that was rushing up to greet me. Water was up my nose so far I thought it hit my brain. A critique of my form revealed that plugging your nose is a good idea,

as is wearing shoes, clenching your buttocks, and crossing your legs and arms tightly; loose limbs equal bruised limbs. The local youth who lead us this way in the first place had now returned and were enjoying emasculating me by performing large gainers and a variety of other tricks off the three storey jump. Bored, they suggested that we head over to ‘the big ones’, if of course ‘we weren’t too scared’. I for one was terrified but followed along keenly, manhood dragging behind

me screaming “no, please no!” as we approached the larger jumps. “It’s easy,” they said, “just try and jump into that dark blue area, that’s the deep part”. This sentence had confirmed my suspicions; these poor fellows were dangerously insane and obviously were trying to kill me. The ‘deep part’ looked quite far from the edge of the cliff, uncomfortably far, so far that they recommended a running start. “Just do it like this” they said and quick as 1-2-3 they were off the cliff, and into the water, leaving me alone on the top to decide my next move. Neither plan of action seemed particularly appealing, I could either brave the plummet of death, or walk back down, tail between my legs, fully emasculated. You better believe I took option one: damn that pride of mine.

I stood on the edge, or as close as I dared go and looked down. The water had the same feeling of distance as the ocean does when you’re in a plane: a largely indistinguishable blue mass accented only by the ripples of an abnormally large wave (in this case caused by the previous jumper’s impact). The mountains surrounding the lake were pleasantly lit by the afternoon sun and the emerald-topaz of the glacial lake created a scene of such beauty that I was content in the knowledge that it might be the last thing I see. I backed up, planted my feet and ran to the edge. Then...Nothing. I had stopped short. I physically couldn’t force myself to move. My heart was racing, I felt dizzy and I thought I would be sick to my stomach. The chirping of the locals was floating up to me, the laughter, the comments “Just do it!” and “Don’t

psych yourself out!” rang through my ears but didn’t seem to make sense: the only other time I felt like this was when I had sustained a severe concussion playing lacrosse. I realize now I may have been having a panic attack. Perhaps ten minutes passed as I calmed down. It seemed easy, all that was between me and conquering my fear was a seven storey fall. I backed up again and took a few deep breathes and one last look at the scenery and I went full steam to the edge. The last thing I remember thinking was that I didn’t want to regret not doing it for the rest of my life. I remember distinctly how the rock felt against my foot as I pushed off; I gripped the edge with my foot and noticed the moss tickled me between my toes, it felt fanciful, like I was floating on air. Then the descent started and panic took hold. The wind violently rushed by my ears, the water rushed towards me at a terrifying speed and I felt the most fear I have ever felt in my life. It was an inescapable feeling of panic. No! Why did I do that? I am going to die! It was like my dream, but worse, it was real life. I was falling faster than I had ever fallen and I knew the landing would not result in me jolting awake in my bed, but with an impact that could break bones. I braced myself and then the inevitable came.

Two days later I was still bruised. My left arm hadn’t been tucked close enough and was a color I would describe as midnight purple. From elbow to shoulder my underarm had clapped the water with enough force to turn it fully black on any part that made contact with the water. I hadn’t clenched my buttocks tightly enough either which resulted in water uncomfortably rushing up my innards, nothing a few trips to the doctor didn’t fix though. I tell you this because cliff jumping is a dangerous activity, people do get hurt, and I feel I would be doing you an injustice if I made it seem as if this endeavour is undertaken without consequences and risks. I count myself lucky I wasn’t hurt worse for putting my pride ahead of my safety. I was ecstatic when I emerged from the water that day; I conquered a fear that had affected me since my youth. I soaked up the cheers my friends gave me and only later realized the extent of my injuries. And although I remember the discomfort it caused me, I would gladly endure that pain anytime if it meant I could live without fear. Horseshoe Lake, located in Jasper National Park in Canada provides thrill seekers with an opportunity to test their mettle and do one of the most extreme things there is to do. Do heed the warning though, putting your pride before your safety is a foolish move. Go and enjoy the lake, enjoy the scenery of the icefield parkway as you drive there, but when you do arrive, JUMP AT YOUR OWN RISK.

Madrid, Spain. LOCAL KNOWLEDGE WITH DANIEL EHMAN In the feisty land of Spain, Rove Editor Kevin Landry speaks up with Daniel Ehman, our eyes on España, and our Man in Madrid. Daniel, tell me a fast fact about Madrid that I wouldn't already know.

started let’s take a moment and get to know you a little. Is Madrid your first big trip?

Woah, let’s see, Madrid boasts one of the best transit systems in the world, for a euro, you can hop on to one of the many Metro lines, and get to anywhere you need to go, and if you aren’t one for the underground, the “cercanies RENFE” and the plain old busses can speed you to your destination.

I may not be the most travelled man in the world, but have been lucky enough to see most of Canada, and I have had the pleasure of walking in lava fields in Iceland, strolling the Malecón in Havana, and I stopped in London en route to my current location: Madrid.

Fast transit? I’ll be honest, I did not know that and I even read the CIA Fact File on Spain before this interview, I guess those CIA punks need to get their facts straight. Yeah, it’s speedy. Clean as well? Very. Ok then Dan, before we get

Ole! It seems you have been around the block once or twice, so what are you doing in Madrid? I’m an English language assistant in a Catholic school in Madrid, and along the way trying to learn Spanish, have a good time, and hopefully figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life. Figuring out what to do with the rest of your life huh? I’ve been there before, I eventually decided on exotic dancer/hard-hitting journalist, I’m still not paid to take my clothes off for money yet,

but at least the writing thing is working out. …Exotic dancer? Don’t worry about it, next question: Culture shock, what was the hardest thing to adapt to in Spain? From the minute you land in Barajas airport you can tell you are in a whole new world. While most cities, at least in Canada, have banned smoking in any public place, Madrid is mostly a

cloud of smoke. At the airport they have a special “smoking room” but it is not even completely sealed off, smoke pours out of the top like a chimney. It’s difficult to go to a bar or restaurant without coming home smelling like an ashtray even if you don’t smoke. Things are changing though, starting in January smoking will be banned in most public places, and even bars! Not to say I am pessimistic, but I for one will believe it when I see it. Also, I don’t know if I’m the only person in the world who thinks this

way, but I also assumed that even though Spanish is the official language, most people would still speak some English. Generally this is not the case. In major tourist areas, sure, but once you venture out of downtown finding someone who speaks English is difficult, a few lessons will go a long way to help you communicate. So let me get this straight, one of your biggest problems is that you thought more people spoke English? Yes. In Spain? The home of the language known as Spanish? Haha, well It’s sort of a stereotype, Europeans all seem to speak at least a few languages so I just figured… So Spanish people speaking Spanish was a shock. Anything else? Another thing most people have heard of, but was still a major shock is the “siesta” hours. Everyone told me that the Spanish love their afternoon naps, but I didn’t ever think it would affect me! Walking around between two and five every day is like walking in a ghost town. Most stores bar their windows and doors and shut down only to open up again for the evening. Even most schools have a two hour lunch, which still baffles me. I guess I must be Spanish then because I used to nap at work all

Madrid's 'Gran Via' Shopping District by Night

Photo: Creative Commons

the time, which of course lead to me being fired. Since then I have been a pretty cash strapped, hard-hitting journalist (but I still ask all the tough questions), that being the case, I have twenty euro and a day in Madrid, what do I do?

was I?

Twenty euros can go a long way in Madrid, with one day and a twenty in your pocket, you should be able to take care of your needs for food and drink, and even indulge a little. You will want to budget about four euros for transport, Madrid is an extremely walkable city, but with time constraints, you will definitely want to save time and the subway is perfect for that.

For the morning take a stroll in Retiro Park. You will want to do this before it gets too hot; this won’t cost you a penny, even to take a peek in the beautiful Crystal Palace, where they have frequently changing art exhibits. After you work up an appetite in the park, stop for lunch at one of the numerous “Museo de Jamons” these aren’t your average museums, the only things on the walls are cured hams, and you can get a ham and cheese sandwich on baguette or a croissant for a euro. A couple of those and a beer will only set you back three euros, and you can tell your parents you visited at least one museum.

Start your day off like a true Madrileño with a café con leche and some churros, a delicious, albeit unhealthy fried treat. You shouldn’t pat more than 2.50 for this, and it’s available at most any of the bountiful bars of Madrid. Since you are on a budget avoid sitting at a table, or even worse on the patio. Bars here have “special” elevated prices for these seats, and you can save a bundle just sitting at the bar. The bartenders are also usually friendly, and take time to chat. Don’t feel obligated to tip anything more than the small change, and make sure you say “hasta luego” on your way out. The Spanish love their goodbyes, and even in the middle of a conversation they will take the time to bid you adieu.

Once you have refueled, head down Gran Via, Madrid’s shopping district, you can look in the stores, and see the Plaza del Sol, and Callao, and you never know what might be going on around there. If you keep walking down Gran Via, you will eventually hit the Royal Palace, a beautiful building that on this budget you will only get to see from the outside. Keep walking and you can see the Temple de Debod. An ancient Egyptian temple that was rebuilt in Spain, there is a lookout in the neighboring park where you can enjoy Madrid’s majestic skyline. You will also be in a good place to lay down and enjoy your own siesta. Find some shade and rest up, you will probably need it.

Adieu? They all speak French?

Once you wake up, hop on the metro, and check out one of Madrid’s many real museums, La Reina Sofia, and the

Shut up. You know what I mean. Where

Prado are the majors, and as a bonus between six and eight on most days you can get in for free. With the rest of your budget, you can start the Madrileño “marcha” marching around town from bar to bar, having a drink and some tapas. This is a classic Saturday night in Madrid. Don’t stay in one place for too long, and eat what you can, most places give you something to munch on. Who knows where the night might take you, if you can sweet talk your way into one of the many discotecas, you will enter a whole other world of debauchery, they open till dawn, have multiple levels of different styles and some like the Kapital, have a mix of burlesque, and cirque de soleil go-go dancers. Also don’t be alarmed by the mist that is known to shoot up from the floor to cool you down. The building isn’t coming down. Sorry my phone, one second. Mmmmhmmm, yes he’s right here…uh huh…. I’ll tell him. Shakespeare called; he wanted his hour long monologue back. Do you have Attention Deficit disorder or something? I was never diagnosed, but I do have another question: How do I look like a real Madridian? *sigh* If you want to blend in and look like a Madrileño; try and speak Spanish and avoid wearing shorts, Spanish people just don’t seem to wear them. Walk slowly, and be careful, there isn’t

much rhyme or reason to Spanish people walking around in the street. Try not to look like a typical tourist, big backpacks, cameras on your neck make you targets for the rampant pick pocketing. If you are careful you should be fine, but no sense making yourself a target. More importantly, make yourself at home, and be outgoing, Spanish people are almost always open for a friendly chat.

man passionate about sports, should I go see some soccer, sorry, football and how much would it cost?

*sigh* they don’t speak French Kevin.

Haha you should do two things, first reassess your definition of ‘stunning physique’ and secondly, you should definitely take an opportunity to see some world class football. I might be bias, but forget about Real Madrid, their tickets are super expensive, and why not stick to the team of the people, Atletico de Madrid, they play just south of the river, and you can get tickets for as little as ten euros.

Ok I’ll give up the French thing, next question: As my stunning physique might suggest, I am a

Spanish people are very serious about their teams, so definitely don’t wear another team's gear at the match.

‘Chat’? As in the French word for ‘cat’?

An average ligA match will cost you about forty euros for great seats, but big games like those against rivals Real Madrid, and Barçelona will cost significantly more, and I can’t give away my sources but it isn’t impossible to get in for free after halftime. Not impossible huh? Leaving a little to our imagination, it seems Spain is filled with intrigue. Which leads me to my next intrigue-ing question, what is something I absolutely should not miss if I go to Madrid? If you come during the proper season, go to a bullfight at Las Ventas, it is the biggest bull fighting arena in Europe. It is not for the weak of heart, but worth the price of admission to see the building itself, and you can get tickets from seven euros. You will probably see six bulls killed, and if you are lucky and see a truly great bullfighter, the ears will be cut off and he will parade around the ring with them. Make sure to bring a white scarf to wave when you want to cheer for your favourite Matador. White scarf? How about a napkin? Theres no way I would let that much prime rib go to waste. On that subject, how’s the food in Madrid, what should I be sure to feast on? There are lots of different options for dining in Madrid, a few Madrileño dishes are cocido, which is a stew of chick peas, and pretty much whatever other meats and vegetables

are available, also jamon iberico, or serrano are essential, along with chorizo. Paella while not from Madrid, is common, head towards Valencia if you want some original paella. Alright, you sold me on it, I am moving to Madrid. Well when you visit think central, there are lots of cheap hostels, and hotels, don’t feel obligated to splurge, the time you spend in your bed will be little, and you will appreciate being close to a bed at seven in the morning when you are making your way home. Watch out for the prostitutes and pick pockets on Gran Via, but other than that it is a great place to stay. Yeah we wouldn’t want any of those pesky prostitutes around would we? Ahem, here’s a fun one, If I wanted to offend a Spanish person what should I bring up in conversation? Be careful when talking politics, Spanish people are very passionate about them, and if you say something wrong about their President, Zapatero, you might get into an argument. In a class activity talking about things students would like to do before they die, many students wrote down that they wanted to outlive Zapatero, and other stronger, similar statements. I don’t think my Spanish is good enough to talk politics anyway, the only thing I can really do well is barter, you know for things like hourly room rates (I am a frequent napper).

Remember how I said I was laid off for napping? Well that was only kind of a joke, I haven’t paid my phone bill in months and its getting cut off any minute now, so tell me quickly what I shouldn’t miss in Madrid. One place you must visit in Madrid is the Tabacaleria in Lavapies. It may not be the most well known attraction in Madrid, but it definitely deserves some attention. It is an abandoned tobacco factory, that at first was taken over by squatters, but has since become an officially sanctioned community center. In the building you can find anything: bars, books, dance, art, even a free clothing store. They have sewing classes, dance classes, performances, and most of it is free or very cheap. It is easy to get to, and you will be rubbing elbows with artists, and hipsters alike. Go with an open mind and who knows what you will leave with. You also aren’t far from the villages, and the countryside. Toledo and Segovia are short train rides away, and you can head out of the city for some fresh air, mountains, fresh grapes and almonds with no trouble. El Escorial

is another great place to visit, with a giant school in the same building as a monastery, you might feel like you just took a walk around Hogwarts. I have fallen In love with Madrid. If you can get past the strange bureaucracies, and have a little patience when dealing with some simple day to day activities you will fit in just fine here, plus…. …. Daniel? … Guess my phone was cut-off…and I guess this concludes another edition of Local Knowledge, Check us out next month, I should be able to pay my phone bill by then so I can afford to make another long distance call and keep finding you the best the world has to offer.

The Endless Summer FILM REVIEW BY KEVIN LANDRY The film served to make the site a ridiculously popular surfing location...but the waves they saw that day have pretty much never been seen again.

Released in 1966, the endless summer documents the journey of two men, Robert August and Michael Hynson, as they circumnavigate the world carrying incredibly bulky and heavy thirteen foot long pieces of shaped wood: apparently that’s what surfboards were made of in those days. From start to finish it didn’t stray from its simple formula involving no plot, no stars, just four continents and one goal: the search for the perfect wave. This film was truly an amateur job, and should be celebrated for that, listen to the commentary and you will see what I mean. The cheesy but relaxed style of narrator Bruce Brown, accented with more corny jokes and poor impressions than I care to count, lends the movie a cozy familiarity akin to watching your favourite home videos. Cast wise it was refreshingly different from many of the documentaries I have watched in the last few years, mainly in that it didn’t feature a ginger haired guy eating McDonalds all day and the narrator wasn’t (to the best of my

knowledge) an overweight super liberal bearded man in a windbreaker. There was none of the usual fear mongering that is stuffed into today’s films. It was relaxed and comfortable as a broken in pair of jeans, after watching I felt as if I had meditated. The two surfers provide the visuals, the narrator the laughs, mostly due to his amazingly inappropriate comments. I know that times have changed since the sixties and what was acceptable then is certainly is not so anymore, this point is stressed, painfully, during the interactions with locals in Accra, Ghana. Not only does Brown claim that they were scared “that surfing would violate some religious taboo of the natives and they would attack” but he goes on to make an even bigger ass of himself by constantly calling any adult male "chief” and saying that their fishing boats paddling towards you looked like “they are coming out with their forks to have you for dinner”. The amount of "I can’t believe he just said that" moments clocks in somewhere

between a Sarah Palin keynote speech and any clip where Kanye West has the unfortunate pleasure of speaking. Cape St. Francis, South Africa was the location of the perfect wave the duo had been looking for; year-long, glassy smooth barrels came in for the entirety of their visit. The film served to make the site a ridiculously popular surfing location, which is hilarious because the waves they saw that day have pretty much never been seen again at that location. Other locations like Raglan, New Zealand have thrived from the exposure given to them by the film. Now well known as one of the longest breaks in the world, it may not have ever known the popularity it does today if this ragtag group of beach bums didn’t give it a chance. The general attitude of discovery in this film brings out a feeling of a younger world, one where there were still areas that needed exploring. These two could have spent a year in Hawaii for the price of their trip and enjoyed fine surfing the whole time, but they opted to take the route of finding the next great location for their sport. The essence of travelling is finding a hidden gem to call your own. Tahiti offered a unique enigma, surf that crashed up a steep beach so strongly that on the way back down the slope it created a wave strong enough to carry a surfer back out to sea. My favourite moment in the film is seeing the boards go airborne on their way out to sea after the outward section of

the wave meets with the incoming swell creating a giant ramp. Aerials only became a regular part of surfing in the late seventies; and although accidental in their case, and more getting flung than flying in any sort of controlled manner, these two were almost ten years early on that boat. The fact that Brown, our offside announcer takes the opportunity not to comment on the remarkable feat he just saw but instead make fun of an overweight

Tahitian child is the final ingredient in the mix of bizarre natural phenomenon, ahead of its time surfing and good old fashioned bigotry that make this scene so glamorously memorable. Save the film for a winter day when you need a bit of summer cheer. Use it to learn about surfing, use it to inspire your own quest for an endless summer, just whatever you do, don’t use it as a guide for how to treat people of other cultures.

Click Here to Watch the Trailer on YouTube!

Al Halavrezos TRAVELER PROFILE Q: Best place to stash money to avoid pickpockets? A: Knee high socks and/or man thong. Occupation. Server, at the Experimental Cocktail Club. Current location. Paris, France. Bio. I'm a native of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, I attended McGill university in Montreal where I studied music (percussion), science and marketing. I made my first Atlantic crossing in September 2010 and am now happily settled in the City of Lights. I play for a pretty bad basketball team and excel in my role as the token foreign center. In attempts to integrate into French society I have bought several pairs of tight pants and ill-fitting shoes. I enjoy long runs along the Seine and eating cheese that smells like bum.

Well acquainted with Eastern Canada, I have worked as a consumer consultant for men’s grooming products, percussionist with the Canadian Forces, kayaking coach and human guinea pig. I travel whenever possible and like to write when I have the time. You can read my intermittent musings at, or visit my bird nest @bigalhal. Most Memorable travel experience. Cuba for a high school band trip. We stayed at an “authentic” hotel (read: nightly tarantula visits!) and toured the island playing concerts for schools. Inspiring kids, a great culture and amazing music. Most awkward travel moment. My first night in Amsterdam. Yeah...

Travel tip. A smile goes a long way. Sometimes cash goes further. Next trip. London or Tunisia. Travel is______. Learning how other people live. They should invent a travel product that ______. Vacuum packs t-shirts, socks and underwear. And fits in your backpack. If locals can't understand you how do you get your point across? Know how to rephrase your thoughts and act it out! I recommend practicing with Charades and Taboo. I must________ before I die. Tour with a rock band and visit all provinces/territories in Canada. Hopefully at the same time? Cheapest way to enjoy a night out wherever you are. Buy two bottles of wine, lace up yer dancin’ shoes and bring a deck of cards.

Best place to stash money to avoid pickpockets. Knee high socks and/or man thong.

In my attempts to integrate into French society I have bought several pairs of tight pants and ill-fitting shoes.


next issue coming rd monday jan. 3 on

Rove Magainze Issue Three  

Rove Magazine is a free digital travel magazine published the first monday of each month on In this issue: "Tanzania Photoset,...

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