Penn’s Travel Magazine | Fall 2013
HOSTEL NO MORE HOME IS WHERE THE COUCH IS.
THE NATION —NOT THE NEWS Returning to Egypt after the Arab Spring
In The MARKET Shops and stands around the world
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 GAYS Jules Verne’s classic with an LGBT twist
Letter from the Editor
FIELD NOTES 05
Wear Your Travels Souvenirs that won’t go out of style
Potato, Pota-toh Turns out delicious is the same in every language
Around The World In 80 Gays The best LGBT places to be
A World Full Of Color Traveling ain’t black and white
Hot Off The Press The media and sexual assault in India
Through The Storm Returning home in the midst of civil war
Cheap Street Waiting in line for lunch
Lost In Translation Signs that don’t break the language barrier
Hot And Cold Winter break destinations for every climate Hidden Treasure In The Himalayas A guide for your Bhutanese Retreat
Hostel No More Cushy refuge for every traveler
Barcelona: Barrios, Beauties and Batatas Eat, drink and play your way through the Catalonian city Shop ‘Til You Drop Navigating the world market
Cover photos by Timothy Chow Cover design by Carolyn Lim Content page photos by Jeanette Sha
Letter from the Editor
Editor-in-Chief Jeanette Sha Managing Editor Frida Garza Director of Operations Grace Wang Impressions Editor Zacchiaus McKee Itineraries Editor Nicole Woon Field Notes Editor Vidushi Bhargava Photo Editor Carolyn Lim Associate Photo Editor Brenda Nguyen Sales and Marketing Chair Linda Li Copy Editors Kristian Garcia Jasper Liu Contributing Writers Nolan Burger, Taylor Evensen, Frida Garza, Vera Kirillov, Abigail Koffler, Katie Malykhina, Zacchiaus McKee, Yasmin Meleis, Tim Miller, Stephanie Nam, Tyler Pridgen, Daniel Yu, Asher Sendyk, Charlene You, Guy Viner, Eileen Wang, Alina Wong, Nicole Woon, Huizhong Wu, Shreya Zaveri Contributing Photographers Anna-Marie Babington, Krithi Bala, Timothy Chow, Taylor Evensen, Daniel Khaw, Abigail Koffler, Brenda Nguyen, Jeanette Sha, Sophia Tareen, Charlene You, Grace Wang, Lin Zheng Layout Designers Minjae Cho, Olivia Fingerhood, Amanda Suarez, Virginia Walcott Outstanding Sales Rep Aavni Piparsania
onestly, I haven’t booked a hotel for quite a while. When I traveled alone to London and Berlin two summers ago, I scratched the hotel option and instead booked my stays through Airbnb, an online platform that connects travelers with local hosts. My brilliant hosts, one badass startup CEO and one other hipster animation designer, took me to local spots from the liveliest flower markets to the hottest bars in town. Next thing I knew, I was hanging out with a group of Berliners and Londoners, and I was no longer alone. Similar to Airbnb, Couchsurfing is another alternative to hotels and a fantastic way to save money and meet people. Our feature in this issue highlights some student experiences as Couchsurfing guests and hosts. Meet the “quintessential couchsurfer” Peter, or the “kick-ass couchsurfing host” Tyler (p. 18-21). For those of you planning your trips for winter break, it’s not too late to get some ideas. Do you know what to do in the vibrant city of Barcelona (p. 14)? Have you considered visiting the world’s happiest country, Bhutan (p.12-13)? We’ve also got a list of gayfriendly destinations (p. 8-9) and tailored recommendations for a range of warm and cold places you can travel to, whether you are looking for adventure, romance or food (p. 10-11).
Special thanks to the Kelly Writers House, especially Jessica Lowenthal for her enthusiastic support. We are a student-run travel magazine. We believe travel can be affordable and accessible to students. Like travel itself, we aim to be a means for self-discovery and exploration. By highlighting novel and formative experiences, we promote cultural exchange within and beyond the Penn community. To inquire about advertising or staff positions, please contact us at email@example.com
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Those are our tips and tales along the road, but where are yours? We encourage you to create and share your own stories from travelling. Take some risks and get out of your comfort zone, even if that means you might be sleeping on a stranger’s couch in a foreign country. You will be surprised to find out how rewarding these experiences can really be.
Jeanette Sha Editor-in-Chief firstname.lastname@example.org
WEAR YOUR TRAVELS Stamped staff members remember unique travel experiences through what they are wearing. Photos by Anna-Marie Babington
Vidushi (right) This tunic — or ‘kurti’ as it is called in India — is from Delhi, where my family is from. The earring set is from Indonesia; it was a gift from a family friend who is from there. The bracelets are from the night market in Penang, Malaysia, the island town where I grew up. I forced my parents to buy them for me when I was five years old, and I still have them today. The shoes are my favorite — they remind me of moccasins but are from the shoe shops that line the streets of Jaipur.
Reya (above) My pants are from a little market in Thailand, just outside of Bangkok. We were going to a wildlife sanctuary, and a woman sold them to us out of her house and said her family had been making them for a few generations. The bracelet is from Italy — I didn’t go there, but my aunt got it for me.
When I was in eighth grade, I went to Paris with my family. There was a small boutique store around Christmas. I bought this scarf, and I liked it because it was Parisian and warm. The sweater is from Top Shop in Tokyo. I collect anything related to teddy bears.
Vera (left) I collect scarves, so my mom bought this one for me in Singapore’s Chinatown. One of the rings I got in Peru — silver is everywhere there. They have this high-end store, Ilaria, that sells all silver jewelry that is handmade in Peru — you can even see where they hammer it together. The origin of the other ring is kind of random. It’s from Russia — it’s kind of antique because it’s my grandma’s — but the ring actually came from Ireland. stampedmag.com
FFIELD IELLD NOTES IE NOTES
There are some food concepts that our planet just canâ€™t get enough of. By Vidushi Bhargava Illustrations by Virginia Walcott
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Around the World in 80 Gays
Decked out in rainbow flags and glitter, these gay-friendly destinations are worth the visit, if only for the parade of drag queens you’re sure to find. By Zacchiaus McKee | Photos by Jeanette Sha and Grace Wang Provincetown, Massachusetts, USA Known colloquially as “P-Town,” Provincetown is the premier destination for gay summering. Where else do you think we go during the months when everything south of Rhode Island is one giant sweat stain? A little hamlet that has made a major impact on the LGBT scene, P-Town is nestled on the tip of Massachusetts’s Cape Cod. Boasting a cultural atmosphere for only the most sophisticated of LGBT travelers, Provincetown is home to a main stretch of boardwalk that houses art shops, boutiques, tchotchkes, bars and your occasional specialty
leather shop. But it’s Provincetown’s notable weekly festivals that are the main draw for many niche groups. Leather weekend, bear weekend, the Provincetown Jazz Festival, the Provincetown Film Festival and Fantasia Fair, the town’s trans* celebration, are only some of the many annual events that have members of the LGBT community flocking out in packs to vacation on the cape. For all your LGBT and WASP-y needs combined, Provincetown is the place to go.
The Castro District, San Francisco, California, USA While Provincetown may be the nation’s way of showing the LGBT Renaissance, the Castro District is America’s way of saying, “we’re here, we’re queer, get used to it.” Home to more LGBT history than you could absorb in a weekend, the Castro juxtaposes great historical significance with unabashed revelry. The Castro Theater, the GLBT History Museum and Harvey Milk Plaza (named after The Castro’s most famous resident, former first openly gay public official and assassination victim Harvey Milk) all offer learning experiences. But while the Castro is amazing to visit during its typical operation, it’s truly remarkable during annual events like the
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Castro Street Fair and the Dyke March, both of which are parades and festivals to celebrate LGBT individuals and lifestyles. Need something a little less mainstream? The Folsom Street Fair, held in the neighboring South of Market district, is a huge draw to the Castro, but it’s not for the weak of heart. Almost every kink and sexual fantasy can be found at Folsom, with BDSM being the most prevalent. And it’s not uncommon to see men and women completely undressed or donning kinky gear. If you’re looking for something you can’t find anywhere else, chances are the Castro has it.
FIELD NOTES Left and bottom: NYC Pride 2013 Top: San Francisco Pride 2013
Oxford Street, Sydney, Australia
Nollendorfplatz, Berlin, Germany
With a reputation for being Sydney’s main nightclub strip, Oxford Street bustles with those looking for a gay ol’ time down under. Sydney itself is already known as one of the LGBT capitals of the world, and concentrated within that capital is the anything but quiet Oxford Street. Not only does it possess some of the most historical buildings in Sydney, it also corners the market in high-end fashion shopping and turns into the largest of parties after sunset. It’s a land where even the tawdry and the bourgeois would feel comfortable. Most notably, the world famous Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras happens every March, and droves of queer individuals fly to the island continent to participate. And some of the most popular LGBT films, like the cult hit The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, draw heavily from the parades of fabulosity on display. Surely, if there’s one place on this list that has it all, Oxford Street could fulfill your heart’s gayest desire.
Sometimes known as just “Nolli,” Nollendorfplatz has a history that’s uniquely its own. One of the most popular cruising areas in 1920s Berlin, Nolli was a district where gay men and women could find each other before World War II. However, when homosexuals started being sent to concentration camps, Nollendorfplatz soon became the place to avoid if you wanted to escape the clutches of the Third Reich. Today, Nolli is considered an LGBT mecca. Many establishments proudly display the rainbow flag and the pink triangle, the symbol used to distinguish male homosexuals in camps. The annual Berlin gay pride festival, which more than 400,000 people attend every year, is held in Nollendorfplatz and acts as a beacon for LGBT individuals all across Europe. But one of the real attractions to Nolli is its monthly Horse Fairs, in which, contrary to its name, men only enjoy other men. Without going into detail, it’s clear that Nollendorfplatz has something for just about everyone.
H O T C OLD Charmed by chilly climates or migrating south for the winter? We’ve got you covered for both. By Vera Kirillov | Photos by Daniel Khaw, Grace Wang and Lin Zheng
If you seek
Belize Barrier Reef
The Great Barrier Reef may be half a world away, but great diving is closer than you might think. The second largest reef in the world, the Belize Barrier Reef has stunning corals, cays and fish. Fly down to Belize City, then take a ferry over to Ambergis Caye Island, a launch spot for many diving tours. You don’t need to be an expert diver to experience the beautiful underwater landscapes. Spend a couple of days learning the basics of diving to set out on your aquatic adventure, or snorkel since it requires no prior training.
If you’re already willing to brave the cold, go to the extreme and spend a week in the Alaskan wilderness. With an experienced guide and team of dogs, spend from a day to a week learning how to mush. You’ll be tired out from long days outside, but the snow-capped peaks, bears and other wildlife that you’re certain to see will make all of your hard work worth it. This trip will be one to remember, but it’s not for the faint of heart — pack well and prepare yourself for record levels of cold.
If you just want some Punta Cana If you want to forget about cleaning and chores (and have enough discretionary funds), spend a week at an all-inclusive in the Dominican Republic. Book your stay at an adults-only, 18+ resort to get peace and serenity, along with all of the other amenities. You’ll leave all of your school worries behind, since all you’ll have to worry about every morning will be what bathing suit to wear. Spend each day on the beach or poolside and indulge as much as you like at dinner without thinking about the check.
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R&R... Canadian Rockies Sit back and let the spectacular scenery roll by as you snake through the Canadian Rockies on a rail tour. Travel by car can be difficult in the snow-laden mountains, but you won’t need to worry about roadblocks if you’re traveling by train. Many travel companies offer tours from Vancouver to Banff, in the heart of the impressive Rocky Mountain range. You’ll spend some nights aboard the train in a comfortable sleeper cabin, and others at hotels along the way. Day excursions include sleigh rides, snowshoe tours and spa treatments.
If you crave GOOD Curaçao
Just 20 miles off the coast of Venezuela, the island country Curaçao is a melting pot of dozens of cultures and their cuisines. Originally Dutch occupied, you’ll find French, Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese and Southeast Asian restaurants scattered around this vibrant island. Since most of the local residents are of African descent, you’ll also find a lot of Caribbean-style dishes with African flair. If you’re looking for a taste of this local cuisine, head to the popular Old Market where vendors line up daily to serve hungry customers. Make sure to check out the Floating Market for fresh fruits and veggies, too.
If you go as a Antigua
Napa Valley Napa Valley may be chilly in January, but the wine and food is just as delicious as it is during the summer months. Traveling to this gastronomic hotspot in the winter means you’ll be able to avoid peak season crowds at winery tours. Be sure to come after the New Year to experience Restaurant Month, where you can eat world class cuisine for heavily discounted prices. The valley has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other wine region in the world, so finding that perfect wine and meal pairing will be a breeze.
If you want to sunbathe with your significant other but don’t want to deal with the crowds of kids on vacation with their parents, fly to Antigua. The island’s 365 separate beaches mean you might just be able to find a beach all for yourselves. Skip the big resorts and book a room at a smaller boutique hotel instead to experience the quieter, cozier side of the Caribbean. Swim, surf and sail together until you can’t stand that sunshine any longer.
Want a romantic European getaway, but don’t have the cash? Quebec City has plenty of old world charm to make the holidays with your special someone memorable. You can enjoy hearty traditional French-inspired food and walk quaint cobblestone streets, without paying for international airfare. Venture just outside the city for skiing, snowshoeing and other winter sports. Snuggle at night in the Ice Hotel, where each room is individually sculpted by a different artist.
HIDDEN TREASURE OF THE
Himalayas Perched high in the Himalayas, Paro lies in the heart of Bhutan, the world’s last remaining Buddhist Kingdom. Article and photos by Taylor Evensen
HOW: Bhutan no longer restricts tourist numbers, but all tourists must obtain a visa to travel to Bhutan. You must book through a local tour operator and pay for your trip via wire transfer to the Tourism Council of Bhutan, which will then issue you a visa. Be sure to bring $20 and two passport photos to enter the country. You are going to have to make at least one flight change if you are traveling from Philadelphia. It is best to transfer through Kathmandu, Nepal or Bangkok, Thailand, as they waive visas or offer them on arrival while transiting. You can fly to Bangkok from Philly for as little as $1292, and then fly directly to Paro on Druk Air (Bhutan’s only airline) for about $800. I recommend flying from Kathmandu because you fly near Mount Everest. WHEN: The best time to visit Bhutan is from late September to late November, when there are clear blue skies. In the summer, Bhutan receives more rainfall than any other Himalayan region, and winter temperatures can drop below freezing. WHERE TO STAY: Located near famous monasteries, Zhiwa Ling offers hospitable,
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clean rooms at reasonable rates. A single junior suite starts at just $260 during the peak visitors season. Friday Upon your arrival, keep your bags in your tour guide’s car and head to Paro Dzong, a Buddhist fortress and monastery. Built in 1646, the fortress is one of the oldest dzongs in the country, built by a former Tibetan king. Each of the 20 districts in Bhutan has a similar fortress, built to protect against the Tibetan invasion in the 1640s. Next, walk 10 minutes to the Choeding Temple across the Paro Chu river to witness prayer chanting by Buddhist monks and spin the prayer wheels, which are made up of two million prayers printed on paper and rolled into a wheel. When you spin the wheel, it is like you are saying every prayer. Finally, check into your hotel, Zhiwa Ling, and watch a traditional Bhutanese dance performance upon your arrival.
Saturday Rather than simply reporting imports and exports, Bhutan measures development
using a holistic approach of well-being called Gross National Happiness. The former king of Bhutan, Jidme Singye Wangchuck, introduced the idea of GNH in 1972 to describe his model of economic self-reliance and measure progress or quality of life in psychological terms. Paro’s Drukyel School for the Hearing-Impaired and a visit to a local farmhouse are wonderful opportunities to experience more of Bhutanese culture and lifestyle. The school is run on government funds and private donations, and it also works to generate its own revenue by selling children’s arts and crafts projects. The valley is a very fertile agricultural region that produces red rice, which grows well at high altitudes. People filter water from local rivers to irrigate their farmland. Hydroelectric power is the most important resource in Bhutan, as they export surplus energy to India. Enjoy a traditional lunch of yak milk tea and yak butter rice and then head to downtown Paro to go shopping. Downtown Paro only has three main streets, but vendors sell beautiful handwoven fabric, yahra (woven wool), dappa (wooden bowls), jewelry, and bangchung (bamboo woven baskets). Tonight, enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Sunday Wake up early to hike the 2,000 vertical feet to Tiger’s Nest Monastery, just 6.2 miles north of Paro. Tiger’s Nest was first built in 1692 around the 13 taktsang (meaning “tiger lair”) caves where Guru Rinpoche is said to have meditated for three months in the eighth century. Rinpoche introduced Buddhism to Bhutan and Tibet, and is said to have arrived to Tibet riding a tigress. The Monastery is perched precariously on a sheer rock face 10,240 feet above sea level. The hike takes several hours, but you can take a break at a teahouse a little more than halfway through the hike. Thousands of prayer flags surround the monastery, carrying the words of dharma and compassion. You can walk through the elaborate monastery and listen to monks’ prayers. If you aren’t too exhausted from the hike, visit the National Museum of Bhutan in the Ta Dzong, an ancient watchtower just above the Paro Dzong.
What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever done while traveling? We asked Stamped staff.
Guy Viner: My coolest experience abroad was running the Copenhagen Marathon. I studied abroad there last fall, ran the half marathon in September and trained the rest of the year to return for the full in May. It rained the whole time but was an awesome experience!
Zacchiaus McKee: When I was in Calcutta, I got to visit Mother Teresa’s home. Asher Sendyk: Learning to drive stick on the highway en route to Valencia. I wrecked the poor Peugeot’s gearbox. Reya Zaveri: Gaping at two lions fight each other over a lioness with seven terrified cubs hiding behind her in the Masai Maara, Kenya.
Charlene You: Canoeing in a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico. Glowing water under a canopy of the brightest stars I’ve ever seen made for an experience I’ll never forget. Nolan Burger: When I was in Botswana last summer, my friends and I met a group of local rappers and developed a friendship with them. One day, they actually took us to their studio and had us sing on a track with them. stampedmag.com
ITINERARIES HOW: If you’re traveling from Philadelphia, save up: summertime roundtrip flights to El Prat start in the low thousands. If you’re studying abroad in Spain, hop the Trenhotel to el Estació de França or the TVC to Barcelona Sants.
WHEN: Barcelona is great any time of the year, but May and June are ideal. Located on the coast of the Mediterranean, Barcelona experiences high humidity in the later summer months. WHERE TO STAY: The Confortel Auditori makes for cheap, quality digs in the seaside Poblenou district — around $75 per night. If you’re looking to get a little more, and want to escape the touristy areas, 08028 Apartments is your go-to for around $110 per night. Got more money to blow? Hotel Majestic is just that. Right on the Passeig de Gracía, its location and amenities can’t be topped.
BARRIOS, BEAUTIES AND BATATAS Catalan culture and cuisine fuse in Madrid’s cosmopolitan cousin. Gaudí and gambas — what could be better? By Asher Sendyk Photos by Daniel Khaw, Jeanette Sha and Grace Wang
Friday Your first excursion should be to the tree-lined promenade La Rambla. This 1.2-kilometer pedestrian corridor, a quintessential tourist attraction, is full of sales both kitschy (think: souvenirs stands) and beautiful (think: flower vendors). Its main attraction is La Mercat de la Boqueria, an enormous Catalonian food market. While the fresh juices and sweets at its entrance may be uber-enticing, start in the back and make your way forward, soaking in the vastness of the market and the variety of its offerings. From tripe to local produce to Kinder Eggs, not a single Spanish food goes unrepresented. But whatever may suit your fancy, do not leave without having sampled the jamón ibérico. Make the most of your first day and head to El Barri Gòtic, where you can traverse the centuries-old (we’re talking medieval) cobblestone streets. Odds are you will get lost, but the narrow corridors open into grand plazas. Check out City Hall at Plaça Sant Jaume, Barcelona Cathedral and the Sinagoga Shlomo Ben Adret (yep, pre-Inquisition). El Museo Picasso is another must-see. Provided you’ve managed to make it out of this maze, you’ll be right near Cal Pep. Renowned for its seafood and always-packed serving counter, it’s perfect for dinner and people-watching. But be sure to let the waiters know your preferences. If you don’t, they’ll do the ordering for you. Bottom: Barcelona from Parc Güell Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Palau de la Musica Catalana, Parc Güell, La Sagrada Familia
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Saturday You don’t need to minor in art history to recognize the pervasive influence of Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí on the city. His signature contorted facades and stained glass windows are everywhere. Channel your creative side with a walking tour of the architect’s most famous pieces. Starting on Passeig de Gracia, first head to the striking Casa Batlló. Afterwards, continue northwest to La Pedrera, also known as Casa Mila, a museum devoted to his art. Finally, make your way east to La Sagrada Familia. Still unfinished a century after its conception, this cathedral’s sand castle-esque spires are sure to leave you in awe. All this will invariably leave you in a brooding, bohemian mindset. So it’s only proper that you head to the gritty barrio of El Raval. Eat at the hole in the wall that is Ca L’Estevet — and order the mussels. Looking for a nightcap? Bar Marsella caters to an eclectic mix of the young and unsavory. They serve cava (Catalonian sparkling wine), but if you’re feeling adventurous, spring for the absinthe. Sunday With a few days of the city under your belt, you should be ready to carry yourself like a true barceloné. What this entails, of course, is checking out an FC Barça match at the massive Camp Nou. Follow the locals and have a boozy siesta. Eat and drink at Paco Meralgo. Batatas bravas, fried artichoke, sardines and ham on a baguette perfectly complement the Estrella Damm on tap. Then take the blue and green lines on the metro to Maria Cristina station. Just be warned: the bars closest to the stadium get rowdy as start time nears. When Barça takes the field, you’ll be satiated, (and odds are) inebriated and ready to roar with the crowd. stampedmag.com
SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
WHETHER YOU’RE CHOOSING MEMENTOS FOR FRIENDS, TREATING YOURSELF, OR SIMPLY CHECKING OUT SOME LOCAL FLAVOR, SWING BY THESE GLOBAL SHOPPING HOTSPOTS. YOUR WALLET MIGHT NOT THANK YOU, BUT THE ECONOMY WILL. BY NICOLE WOON PHOTOS BY MINJAE CHO, DANIEL KHAW AND KRITHI BALA
Ginza Japan The luxurious shopping district known as Ginza in Chūō, Tokyo, features numerous flagship establishments, department stores, boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. One square meter of land is worth over 10 million yen, making it one of the most expensive precincts in Japan. To accommodate thousands of passersby on weekends, Ginza becomes hokōsha tengoku (“pedestrian heaven”) when it closes the central Chuo-dori thoroughfare off to all vehicle traffic. Gawk at the high fashion displays of Prada and Louis Vuitton while windowshopping, peruse nine floors of stationery paraphernalia at the prestigious Itoya, and rediscover your inner child at Hakuhinkan Toy Park.
Mercat de Sant Josep de la Boqueria
Ginza, TOKYO, Japan
Spain Famed chef Ferran Adrià once referred to La Boqueria as “a gastronomic temple, a place that congregates all the phases in the food chain, from the producers, harvesters, butchers and fishmongers who provide the food, to the individual and professional clients who wander through.” Indeed, the culinary labyrinth is Barcelona’s shining jewel for foodies. The market has existed since the 13th century and will likely thrive for centuries to come. Both the city’s top chefs and wandering tourists alike come together at the public market, feasting their eyes and stomachs on shimmering shellfish, fragrant cheeses and vibrant produce. Take a hands-on cooking class at the in-house Food School to put ingredients purchased to good use. Check out Asher’s take on La Boqueria and other Barcelona sights to experience on p. 14.
mercat de sant josep de la boqueria, Barcelona, Spain
Open Air Market, Bangkok, Thailand
Egypt The canvas-covered streets of Cairo’s most well-known souk will whisk any visitor back to 14th century Arabia when Khan El-Khalili was the major center of trade. Get lost amongst the bazaar’s alleys for hours as shop owners clamor for your attention and new wares catch your eye at every corner. Put your haggling skills to the test when purchasing glistening copperware, intoxicating spices, stunning artwork, intricate fabrics and syrup-soaked sweets.
Mall of America United States 4.3 miles of total store front footage. 520+ retail stores. 40 million annual visitors. The Mall of America, located in Bloomington, Minnesota, is indeed one of the largest malls in the United States and worldwide (as a point of reference, seven Yankee Stadiums or 32 Boeing 747s could fit inside). What sets it apart from other shopping establishments is the entertainment inside the space other than retail stores. Nickelodeon Universe is the largest indoor park in the United States with 25 rides and attractions, and SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium features over 10,000 sea creatures to satisfy your aquatic desires. Plan your trip well: if you spent only 10 minutes in each store, it would take 86 hours to complete your visit.
Floating Market Thailand It’s not every day that you enter a store by strolling aboard a boat. Thailand’s open-air floating markets pay homage to origins of when water transport played a dominant role in daily life, earning the country its moniker as the “Venice of the East.” The khlongs, or canals, fill with small flat boats jockeying for position as the morning wears on. Eschew the touristy Damnoen Saduak (popularized by the James Bond films) and seek out true village life at the Khlong Lat Mayom, Taling Chan or Amphawa floating markets. Pick up farm-fresh fruits and vegetables grown by the vendors themselves, sample cooked-to-order meals or purchase unique handicrafts to take home.
Mercado Modelo de Chiclayo Peru Go ahead and pick up groceries for the week, but it’s the mercado de brujos (“witch doctors’ market”) section at Chiclayo’s Mercado Modelo that attracts the most attention. The area is a one-stop shop for aspiring shamans. Vendors claim that anything you buy will bring luck in love and money, so stock up on aromatic herbs and succulents, exotic animal parts, do-it-yourself voodoo dolls, shrunken heads and other oddities. If you’re in need of a healing session, seek out a brujo at your own risk.
Open Air Market, Bangkok, Thailand
HOSTEL NO MORE Why travellers are choosing couches over comfort.
Illustrations by Virginia Walcott 18 STAMPED // Fall 2013
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Paying It Forward Istanbul, Turkey By Eileen Wang and Daniel Yu
he term â€œcouchsurfingâ€? is a bit of a misnomer. You might think that with couchsurfing, you contact someone in the city you want to visit, crash on his or her couch for a night, peace out as you head merrily into that city by yourself and then crash on someone elseâ€™s couch for another night. The concept seems sketchy â€” who would want to stay at a strangerâ€™s house, alone, in a foreign city? The possibilities of what could go wrong are endless. Itâ€™s a premise for disaster. However, couchsurfing is anything but. Last summer, when I was in the Middle East, I decided to try it out for the first time. I had been traveling independently for a long time in various countries, often going from hostel to hostel. But after hearing about couchsurfing on differnet travel blogs, I decided it was worth trying. Everyone who used the service seemed to have a good time, and found it a good way to meet people. When I traveled to Istanbul, Turkey as a part of my trek, I ended up contacting and staying with a college student there. While he was the only person who spoke English in the family, it was one of the best travel, and maybe life, experiences that I have had. They were generous enough to cook all my meals, pay for my bus passes and spend three days showing me around the city of Istanbul. They even made the younger brother sleep on the couch so that I, the guest, could sleep on a bed.
What do the hosts get out of it? Iâ€™m getting free meals, free tours and free housing, while they â€œwasteâ€? time and money on this random American traveler. Couchsurfing seems like an irrational economic exchange â€” but it isnâ€™t. Hosts do not give up their space for free. They might house and feed you without monetary reimbursement, but you are paying them back in the form of a perspective from another part of the world. The people who open their doors donâ€™t just want to be generous to foreigners; they want to learn from people from other cultures. Even if they cannot travel around the world, at the very least they can have various parts of the world come to them, even if that perspective is through a single lens: you, the couchsurfer. And for you, the traveler, you earn an experience and friendships of a lifetime. You interact with the city as a local because your host is able to direct you and sometimes even physically guide you through the streets. I returned to Istanbul and stayed with my host a month later. I still keep in contact with him. Even if you feel uncomfortable staying at someoneâ€™s house, at least meet up with a fellow couchsurfer in a foreign city. That in it of itself is valuable. Couchsurfing is not just an economic means of traveling; itâ€™s a community. Use it to your advantage as you explore the world.
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Those Who Ask Venice, Italy By Stephanie Nam
his past May, after studying abroad, I had two weeks of absolutely no plans in Europe. Alone, I messaged the few friends I knew in the area. Growing up, I had always been taught to never ask for help — to figure things out on your own. Simply turning to others for ideas was an undertaking for me. My friends gave me more than ideas — they offered me their homes. I booked bus tickets and explored new languages, cultures and food in their countries. I slept on their couches: one in Paris, one in Brussels and one in London. Afterwards, I returned to Italy and had a vague idea in my head that I would travel around the country, reaffirmed and accompanied by my friend who had been planning to visit. I had used couchsurfing. org in Venice to get involved with the local community and find Italian language partners, so I decided to take the plunge and use the website as its name intended. And so I did, sending an endless stream of requests. First I googled “cities to visit in Italy” and settled on Genova — because of the beautiful photographs and relatively close location to Venice where I would return to meet my friend. Two couchsurfers in Genova generously offered to host me: a psychologist and a wildlife photographer.
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On my first stay, I met a fellow couchsurfer from Germany, rode a Vespa and visited a beautiful beach with large black rocks instead of sand. On the second couch, I learned my host and I had to drive halfway up a mountain, and endure a 20-minute hike to arrive at his home. There, I had no phone or internet service and was only able to speak Italian as neither my host nor his neighbors spoke any English. We shared our mutual interest in photography, and I spent a day visiting Cinque Terre. On my way back from Genova, Jenny and I surfed together in Pisa — experiencing the college student life with our host. Then, we travelled to Colle d’Val Di Elsa, a small town in
Tuscany. We discovered the beauty of the countryside and surrounding towns and discussed philosophy with our amazing host. Italy left an impression because of its people. I was able to strengthen bonds with existing friends, but, couchsurfing introduced me to a lifelong network of friends I hadn’t yet met. And now, I am not afraid to ask for help, travel advice or a place to sleep. These days, I encourage and respond to others’ couch requests — helping to create a community of mutual trust. Turns out it’s possible to trust someone you haven’t even met yet.
The Host With The Most Philadelphia, Pennsylvania By Tyler Pridgen
ouchsurfing.org, my sweet website of adventure, my facilitation tool of anti-tourism, my iPhone app of frugality, how I love thee. I’ve couchsurfed a total of three occasions — once in Amsterdam and twice in Montreal — and I will do it again and again and again until I get murdered or kidnapped or something. I’m kidding. Couchsurfing is a community-oriented group of travelers who pride themselves on making friends, showing those new friends an amazing time and of course, letting them sleep on their couch. If someone is creepy, they get a negative review; if someone has a negative review, don’t let them sleep on your couch and don’t sleep on theirs. It’s as easy as that. But I’m not here to explain to you the canon of couchsurfing or even to recount my electrifying experiences hanging-ten on the flower-print cushions of hospitality — no. I’m talking about hosting, baby. Hosting! The fundamental tenet of couchsurfing and the one experience I had yet to have until this year. Some people were born to be mothers, others great philosophers, but me? I always wanted to be a kick-ass couchsurfing host. I already had a profile with happy photos and glowing reviews. What else did I need? Comfy futon? Check. Extra sheets and towels? Check. I knew I had all the makings of a good host, but I needed a surfer. Then, one fateful day, I got the request. Wout Desmet, 25, from Gent, Belgium — staying two nights — with a whopping 17 positive reviews and zero negative references. I sent him back a big “Accepted,” and a few weeks later I found
myself searching for a confused blond guy at 34th and Walnut, hoping he had correctly followed my instructions from the train station. After learning to pronounce his name (like saying “what” with a “v”), I realized Wout was an instantly charming dude, very inquisitive and enamored with the energy of an American college campus. Unfortunately, I had class all day, and so I walked him home, set up his futon and pointed him towards all my favorite spots in Philly: the Schuylkill trail, the PMA steps, Reading Terminal Market, Rittenhouse Square, South Street, the works. He was still out when I came home, and I texted him to find out that he had met some friends while exploring and was hanging with them. Not surprising at all considering the type of people who couchsurf, very outgoing and adventurous. Later that night we sat and talked about travels and life. He had just begun his two-month journey across the U.S., and he already knew it would be his favorite trip of all time.
I had constant class the next day, but I wanted to show him a good time that night, so naturally I tricked my friend into taking Wout to our fraternity’s “Champagne and Shackles” date party where Wout made quick friends with everyone he spoke to, experienced a BYO and sucked at beer pong. We stayed out late, and he had an early bus to DC the next day. In the morning he woke up, quietly folded his sheets and came in to give me a hug before leaving, as I requested. It was an amazing experience and one that I would suggest to anyone willing to open up their home. Couchsurfing requires you to believe in the expression, “what goes around, comes around.” When I went downstairs later to grab the sheets, I found a saltwater taffy on the table, along with a cheesy postcard from Gent, and a grammatically endearing message telling me how truly amazing his experience was and inviting me to stay at his place anytime. Couchsurfing.org, you rule. Continue reading on p. 30
Opposite page, clockwise from top left: Luna Park, Sydney, Australia; city lights of Seoul, Korea; interior of a church in Prague, Vienna; flowers outside a doorway, London; Seoul; Venice, Italy This page, clockwise from top left: white houses in Santorini, Greece; a statue in Prague; hot air balloons in Cappadocia, Turkey; subway station in Prague; Masai Mara Safari, Kenya, Africa
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HOT OFF THE PRESS By Huizhong Wu
A week before I left for India in June of 2013, an American tourist was sexually assaulted in Manali, a popular travel destination near the Himalayan mountains. This spurred my parents, who were already nervous about my trip, into a kind of frenzy. Before I left, the number of comments my mother made about my safety and how I should not go seemed to multiply exponentially. I was not alone. Nathalie Figueroa, Câ€˜15, who spent the past summer in the Himalayas working for a non-profit organization through Pennâ€™s Center for the Advanced Study of India (CASI), said her parents were very cautious about her leaving for India, just as mine had been. They had reason to be. According to a 2011 survey from TrustLaw, a branch of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, India is ranked fourth on the list of countries worldwide most dangerous for women. Additionally, global media can portray India as being particularly unsafe for women. In December 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was brutally assaulted in New Delhi â€” and the incident made headlines around the world. Since that case, articles in Western media have reported on a decline of female tourists in India. â€œI would say that thereâ€™s a heightened perception in the past few years that thereâ€™s an increase in violence against women in India,â€? said Aparna Wilder, the Student Programs and Outreach Manager at CASI. â€œBut itâ€™s important to ask why. Are we more aware of the offenses or are they simply
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being reported more?â€? Understanding the accuracy of news coverage in India becomes complicated when you consider the slant of media outlets. â€œYou donâ€™t see many reports of the positive things in India. That just doesnâ€™t make the news,â€? said Apoorva Jadhav, a doctoral student studying demographics of India. Rationally, I knew that if I used my common sense, I would most likely be fine, but the news coverage that followed the assault instilled a fear in me. During my first week in India, walking in the streets was terrifying. I assumed every gaze from a male was malicious. I am used to blending in in public, at least in the United States. My time in India forced me to stand out. Whether I liked it or not, staying in India highlighted my physical differences from the local population. Combined with the threat of street harassment, it was a challenge. What was perhaps most damaging was that I was not completely aware of my fear. I came to this realization one night toward the end of my stay. My friends and I gathered together at another friendâ€™s apartment for a small party to celebrate the end of our program. He also invited his neighbors, a group of Indian college students â€” all male. My friend noted after an hour or so that I hadnâ€™t talked to any of the neighbors, and thought I was avoiding them. I remember feeling angry â€” I always try to be open and friendly. Wasnâ€™t living with a host family in a foreign country
The media can have a large effect on the global perception of issues, especially sensitive issues like sexual assault. Sometimes, in order to get an accurate depiction, you need to go directly to the source.
The debate surrounding sexual assault in India, as with anywhere in the world, is rife with biases and misconceptions.
proof enough? But I realized that my friend was right. Because of some of my other experiences, fear was present in my mind around any men I did not know. I had been avoiding them. Annoyed and upset with myself, I approached the Indian college students. And nothing inappropriate happened. I felt glad to have met them. I learned their names and had a pleasent conversation. It was fun. This situation resolved itself for me, at least temporarily. However, my behavior was problematic. The media coverage and negative perceptions of India led me to start placing all Indian men into the category of potential sexual predators. I had become so paranoid that I was unintentionally alienating people. It was a startling revelation. That encounter forced me to take a look at my assumptions about the country I was in.
1 woman is raped every 20 minutes in India. Source: nipccd.nic.in
1 woman is kidnapped every 23 minutes in India.
The debate surrounding sexual assault in India, as with anywhere in the world, is rife with biases and misconceptions. What is important is to remember to not import our assumptions and beliefs and apply them to that culture. It is dangerous to carry all of these negative biases with you. Some travelers were able to look past the stereotypes put forth by the media. Nathalie, who was sexually assaulted during her summer in India, said that, “even when that happened, I didn’t feel unsafe in India. I didn’t feel the need to leave.” She plans to go back. As for me, I’m currently applying to study abroad in Hyderabad, a large city in the southern part of the country. As a whole, India has continually challenged my thoughts and beliefs and shown me the beauty of truly experiencing a foreign culture.
37% of women living in India are abused by their husbands. Source: bbc.co.uk
1 woman is molested every 15 minutes in India. Source: nipccd.nic.in
Source: Crowd Voice, http://crowdvoice.org/sexual-assault-in-india
20 years is the maximum prison sentence for rape. If the victim dies or goes into coma, death penalty. Source: skynews.com.au
By Yasmin Meleis | Photos by Krithi Bala I look forward to the arrival of summer for many reasons, not the least of which is the beautiful weather and the break from exams, work and stress. Its arrival also signals a visit to a country I love: Egypt. I have been traveling to Egypt every summer with my family, and nothing stops us from going — I mean nothing, not even the most recent political turmoil. We were there for the summer after the January 2011 revolution, and despite our apprehension, we encountered no problems. The people freely went about their lives, strolling through the streets with a new sense of pride for what they had accomplished. There were beautiful murals and graffiti of calligraphic slogans from the revolution and of images of martyrs who risked it all for freedom. As we planned our trip this past summer, we closely monitored the news. However, we have learned over time to watch and listen with critical eyes and ears. We’ve learned that media can exaggerate, or even sensationalize the news. Stories about Egypt were no exception. I would turn on the television and every news channel would have headlines like, “A Coup in Egypt” or “Turmoil in Egypt.” Concerned friends asked me if I was still planning on going. I was nervous but I would quickly crush those concerns — I needed to go back to Egypt. I needed to be with the warm people I have visited all my life, and I
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needed to go to the culturally rich places I had grown to love to explore. Landing in Egypt is the best feeling no matter what time of year, but it was strange to see the airport empty. Travel companies had no work, and not many people were coming to visit the sun-drenched country. I would usually see eager faces stepping out of the airport waiting to experience Egypt. Sadly, the country appeared to be deserted. There were military checkpoints during our four-hour ride from Cairo to Alexandria. Military men stopped us, greeted us and allowed us to go on our way. Tanks sat off to the side with Egyptian flags waving high. I snapped a few photos because I had never encountered the military during my vacations to Egypt. I
had only seen them on the news or heard stories. Although one would expect to feel threatened or anxious by the appearance of the military, it was rather reassuring to see. Life seemed to go on in Egypt with nothing out of the ordinary. I saw familiar faces such as the old man I see every year working right near my grandma’s apartment cleaning cars, the man riding a donkey with a cart full of the neighborhood trash, and some boys on the side of the road kicking a soccer ball. We sat on the balconies drinking tea, people-watching while discussing politics. We watched the Egyptian news; on rare occasions we watched American and European news. It was interesting to see the biases with each television station. Where there were pockets of violence, the media depicted Egypt as a war zone. Meanwhile, regions of calm seemed to suggest the routine. It was not until mid-week when we started to hear about the violence. A standoff in Cairo between the
While American media outlets broadcast stories of war, one family travels home and finds something unexpected. military and the Muslim Brotherhood resulted in casualties and destruction. Violence seemed to escalate, and yet I did not feel any different being in Egypt. But then something happened that has never occurred in my previous trips to Egypt: a curfew. No one was allowed in the streets past 7pm. The country that never sleeps became eerily quiet and empty at night. News channels broadcast footage of tanks and military men roaming the otherwise empty streets. In the mornings, there would be video of a fight or a press conference. Things seemed to be getting more serious than I had ever experienced in my beloved Egypt. But being there, you would never realize something was out of the ordinary
in the country. Nothing stood in the way of enjoying the summer. We sat on the beach, walked on the soft white sand, took in the beauty of bright blue Mediterranean Sea. People around us were reveling in the sun. However, we still kept a close eye on what was happening. My mom would call the airports every so often to make sure that flights were still departing. We heard of travel agencies canceling trips to Egypt. It was a sad sight to see that people were not coming into Egypt to experience the food, people and culture. To see only a small fraction of the people represented on television was unfair to the majority. Only portraying the small pockets of violence was
an inaccurate representation of how beautiful the country and the people truly are. Egypt is a place to be seen and to be experienced: the cafes with the hookahs and tea, the street vendors that sell a variety of nuts and fruit, the food carts that make the best falafel, the people that will play a game of backgammon with you and talk to you about anything and everything. It is a country continually writing a new history, a present nation borne out of thousands of years of culture and a people friendly and warm.
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Buenos Aires It’s lunchtime in Buenos Aires and the grill is the menu. The choices are choripan (a chorizo sausage in French bread) bondiola sandwich (made of slow cooked pork shoulder), lomo (a beef loin sandwich) or french fries. The asaderos are pros: they flip tomorrow’s giant hunk of meat, already cooking, and keep track of everyone’s order and pause to ring you up. Want a gaseosa (soda) or beer with that? Quilmes, the most popular beer in Argentina, is the obvious choice at any hour. With so few components, quality is crucial. Look for the longest lines, and cross your fingers for fresh ingredients. If at first you don’t succeed, try again tomorrow. For those looking for something less juicy and more portable, there are empanadas. These baked pastries are sold on almost every corner. The fillings vary but ground beef, jamon y queso and humita (a vegetarian favorite) are common. In a country where people don’t even think about dinner until after 9pm, a mid-afternoon empanada hits the spot.
Story and photo by Abigail Kofﬂer
Beijing Beijing is a city of juxtaposition. Between centuries old buildings, you’ll find modern architecture. Outside some of the most fabulous restaurants in China, you’ll find street markets that cater to a somewhat wilder taste. Bugs, reptiles, sea creatures and genitals are not uncommon snacks for anyone with a more diversified palate. The grilled bull testicles were delicious and easily the best thing on the menu that night, but grilled snake was a close second. Both had a smoky flavor and it was easy to forget exactly what I was eating. I passed over the starfish, squid and sea urchin for the absolute worst of the evening: tarantula. Biting only a leg, which tasted like a hairy, hollow, crunchy tube, I quickly passed it to my friend, who couldn’t finish it either. One scorpion (crunchy stinger, light flavor) to get rid of the bad tarantula taste and I called it a night. It might not exactly be standard cuisine, but I couldn’t leave without trying it. And where else are you going to eat spiders for a midnight snack?
Story and photo by Katie Malykhina
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Street food is usually as intriguing as it is questionable. But wherever they’re located, eating food straight from the vendor is always the same — an experience.
Moscow While not a street food mecca like some Asian or South American countries, Russia still has a lot to offer for the hungry. If you want a quick snack, grab pirozhki, rolls stuffed with chicken or cabbage, or belyashi, small meat-filled deep-fried pies. You’ll often see men and women who are looking for some extra income selling their own homemade versions of these small baked goods in smaller cities. For lunch or dinner, try a shashlik, a marinated beef or lamb kebab. Wash it all down with kvas, a sour, mildly alcoholic drink usually sold out of tankards scattered around cities. For dessert, eat some blini, a cross between pancakes and crepes, filled with honey or berry jam. While Russian is not commonly known for its food scene, the few gems you’ll find there are as appetizing and unique as any other country.
By Vera Kirillov
Glasgow Glasgow has been called Philadelphia’s city double — but the rainy Scottish city’s food scene doesn’t begin to compare. I found one food truck in all of Glasgow — and catching it open was like spotting a unicorn. The truck only sold food between the hours of 11pm and 2am on weekend nights. Maggie’s may or may not have a menu, but hungry patrons only ever order the famous “Scooby Snack.” What looks like a regular burger is actually a heart attack in a fluffy white roll — complete with fried egg, burger patty, sausage patties, bacon, cheese and potato scone. Ketchup and Scotland’s favorite condiment, “brown sauce,” come standard with every order. Ordering one of these late-night meals is equal parts temptation and challenge. I remember my first bite — delicious, though the pool of grease it left at the bottom of the Styrofoam box it came in left me queasy. And friends who dared finish an entire Snack during our walk home? They were always panting and sweating before we reached our flats.
By Frida Garza
An Underground Affair Vienna, Austria By Tim Miller
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eter is one of those couchsurfers that everyone knows. You might meet him at a meet-up in Prague, or run into him smoking outside of a club in Florence. You might mention him to your host in Budapest, who then reveals that she spent a wild night in Cambodia with the guy â€” or maybe youâ€™re lucky enough to catch him at his small flat in Vienna where heâ€™ll host you for a night. Before I met him, I had heard about Peter through a half dozen other people. It had gotten to the point where every time I met a new person in Vienna, they would sooner or later casually mention what kind of misadventures they had with Peter the week prior. Eventually, I straight out asked my friend Tom, â€œJust who is this Peter guy?â€? He sort of stared at me, dumbfounded, for a minute. â€œYou donâ€™t know Peter?â€? Five minutes later we were on the subway; twenty minutes later we arrived at his flat. Tom pushed the door open. â€œDonâ€™t you want to call or something?â€? Tom laughed. â€œItâ€™s Peterâ€™s place. Everyoneâ€™s welcome.â€?
30 STAMPED // Fall 2013
We walked in. The room was clean but unkempt and smelled like hookah. A couple of cute blonde girls were lounging on one of the couches. We were greeted by our host. After a few hours, Tom and I suggested going out to a club. Everyone quickly agreed. Peter led the way to the subway. When we got there, he didnâ€™t stop at the station. Instead, he began walking along the tracks, musing to himself as he went and leaving us to wonder where we were going. Eventually, we reached a heavily graffitied archway, which led us into a tunnel, which brought us under the tracks themselves. Peter hummed to himself as he flipped open his phone and dialed a number. A minute later, a door that none of us had seen before opened in the wall. Peter stepped toward it, gesturing for us to come with. Inside was the strangest room I had ever seen: every surface was graffitied, a rusting VW bug was bolted to the ceiling and there was no obvious front or backside to the bar. Peter asked if we had any change. We emptied our pockets and he dropped
the small pile of coins into a bucket on the ground. â€œAll drinks are on a pay-what-youwant basis,â€? he explained, grabbing a bottle of schnapps and some glasses from the bar. Peter never actually introduced himself to me, but he also didnâ€™t need to; I had heard enough about him from enough people that I felt like I knew him long before I ever met him. He started calling me occasionally to invite me on his adventures: one day was a naked bike ride (uncomfortable), another was a hostel opening in Bratislava (boozy). Sometimes, heâ€™d call to ask if I could host people he didnâ€™t have room for â€” and I always did, when I could. Peter is the quintessential couchsurfer. While he surfs occasionally, he is much more active as a host. Heâ€™s just the kind of guy who is genuinely interested in meeting new people, learning about foreign cultures, doing new things and having adventures that make for great stories. Heâ€™s a center of the community, without being any kind of leader â€” everybody knows him. And, if you surf long enough, youâ€™re bound to meet him too.
LOST IN TRANSLATION Funny signs around the world. Clockwise: 1. Carolyn Lim in Australia 2. Krithi Bala in India 3. Jeanette Sha in Australia 4. Sophia Tareen in Argentina 5. Jeanette Sha in Hawaii 6-8. Carolyn Lim in China
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