Gyeongbok Palace, Seoul, Korea
Travels Around the World
Korea (Seoul & Jeju Island), Tasmania, Panama, Myanmar, Antarctica
The Magazine Written by North American Travel Journalists Association Members
TravelWorld International Magazine
Letter from the Editor
is the only magazine that showcases the member talents of the North American Travel Journalists Association
Whether it's a movie called "Around the World in 80 Days" or a memorable comedy about a crazy, globe-trotting race entitled "The Great Race," it is, for many, a bucket-list obsession to circumnavigate the globe in search of exotic and enchanting places. The appetite for world travel appears to become insatiable the more one experiences! Thus, our NATJA writers have endless
Group Publisher: NATJA Publications Publishers: Helen Hernandez & Bennett W. Root, Jr. VP Operations: Yanira Leon Editor: Joy Bushmeyer Staff: Andrea Velazquez Staff: Nicolas Adams
stories to tell and pictures to display from all corners of the earth. In this magazine you will see a smattering of stories, including two videos, from several far away lands. I'm sure, as with me, they will whet your appetite for wanderlust and experiencing nomadic adventures of your own.
Contributing Writers & Photographers: Melissa Adams Judi Cohen Nathan DePetris Marc Kassouf
Len Kaufman Susan Kime Janet Rae-Dupree
From Korea to Tasmania, to Panama, Myanmar and Antarctica, you will be fascinated by the creative and unique presentations of the North American Travel Journalists! Happy Travels and Cheers!
Editorial /Advertising Offices: TravelWorld International Magazine 3579 E. Foothill Blvd., #744 Pasadena, CA 91107 Phone: (626) 376-9754 Fax: (626) 628-1854
Joy Bushmeyer, Editor
Volume 2019.03 Fall 2019. Copyright ÂŠ2019 by NATJA Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Advertising rates and information sent upon request. Acceptance of advertising in TravelWorld International Magazine in no way constitutes approval or endorsement by NATJA Publications, Inc., nor do products or services advertised. NATJA Publications and TravelWorld International Magazine reserve the right to reject any advertising. Opinions expressed by authors are their own and not necessarily those of Travel World International Magazine or NATJA Publications. TravelWorld International Magazine reserves the right to edit all contributions for clarity and length, as well as to reject any material submitted, and is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts. This periodicalâ€™s name and logo along with the various titles and headings therein, are trademarks of NATJA Publications, Inc. PRODUCED IN U.S.A.
travel world FALL 2019
F E A T U R E S
& S T O R I E S
I N T E R N AT I O N A L M A G A Z I N E
10 Korea: Seoul (video p.11) and Jeju Island (video p.12)
Story, Photos & Videos by Len Kaufman
20 Bedeviling Tasmania
Story & Photos by Janet Rae-Dupree
27 Cosmopolitan Panama City
Story by Marc Kassouf & Nathan DePetris Photos by Nathan DePetris
travel world F E A T U R E S
& S T O R I E S
I N T E R N AT I O N A L M A G A Z I N E
32 Reverent Myanmar
Story & Photos by Melissa Adams
36 Small-Ship Expedition Cruising
on the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar Story & Photos by Judi Cohen
42 Antarctic Moments: Encounters with
Wildness on the White Continent Story by Susan Kime
http://www.uncloggedblog.com Melissa Adams is an award-winning American writer/photojournalist and UCLA grad who launched her career as a travel writer for AAA. After four decades as an advertising copywriter, PR writer, and newspaper columnist, she traded sunny Southern California for the soggy European capital that inspired UnClogged in Amsterdam: An American Expat Plumbs Holland, named a top Amsterdam blog by St. Christopher's Inns, The Flying Pig, ExPat Focus, and International Locals. Melissa is co-author of 48 Heures/Amsterdam, published by National Geographic, and editor of the AFAR Guide to Amsterdam and Where to Stay in Amsterdam: A Guide to the Best Neighborhoods. Her features have appeared in numerous publications, including The Expeditioner, Perceptive Travel, Sonderers, GoNomad, Matador, TravelWorld International, Here Comes the Guide, and OC Metro.
http://TravelingJudi.com Judi Cohen has travelled the world in search of unique experiences and off-the-beaten-path destinations. She is a connoisseur of small-ship cruises that pack big adventure, and local cultural and dining experiences. Judi became a full-time traveller and travel advisor in 2015 following her 35-year career in engineering and transportation, and today she writes about her experiences to inspire others to step outside their comfort zones and embrace new kinds of adventures. Judi has been to over 80 countries on six continents and enjoys sharing her stories along the way. Her training and experience as a Health Coach and Travel Advisor allows her to seek out wellness destinations and design travel experiences. Combined with her story-telling skills, she has become an accomplished Travel Writer accredited by SATW, NATJA and IFWTWA, and her work has been published on travel websites. Traveling with family and friends, and sharing ideas and itineraries so others can plan their own unique adventures is her passion. Her “next trip” is always on her mind and on her calendar.
S. Nathan DePetris http://www.gaytravelherald.com/
Nathan DePetris is a NATJA multiple award-winning photo journalist and editor and has owned a fullservice travel agency that specialized in catering to gay and lesbian clientele. Currently serving on NATJA’s advisory board, he’s also served as the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association USA Ambassador, chaired the southern California American Society of Travel Agent’s Young Professional Society committee, and served numerous nonprofit and community services clubs like Rotary International. DePetris has sailed on over four dozen cruises and traveled to almost 40 countries. When not gallivanting the globe, Nathan is living his dream of running a boutique Inn and B&B.
Marc R. Kassouf
http://www.wanderlustjournal.com/ Multiple NATJA award-winning author and editor Marc R. Kassouf focuses on experiential, cultural, spa & wellness, and culinary travel narratives and guides, often of interest to the gay and lesbian traveler. Prior to writing, Kassouf ran a travel agency and holds numerous industry certifications, most notably Elite Cruise Counselor by CLIA, and the Certified Travel Industry Executive by the Travel Institute. In recent years, he’s acquired and revitalized two boutique bed & breakfast inns in California’s mountain haven of Idyllwild. Marc sits on the governing boards and councils of the California Hotel & Lodging Association, the Professional Association of Innkeepers International and the California Association of Boutique and Breakfast Inns as it’s chair. Marc has traveled to almost four dozen countries, lived on four continents, and sailed on more than 70 cruises.
http://www.lenkaufman.com Travel photographer Len Kaufman is famed for the dramatic images he's made in 90 countries. His advertising photography has been featured by cruise lines, airlines, and tourism destinations around the world. His works have also appeared in a wide variety of major U.S. Publications, including Travel and Leisure, Travel Holiday, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. Airline magazines worldwide have featured Kaufman's images. And his YouTube channel has received over 3/4 MILLION VIEWS. His philosophy in the game of life: "Always chase the horizon. Whoever finishes with the most experiences wins."
https://www.justluxe.com ; https://muckrack.com › susan-kime Susan Kime's career combines luxury travel/adventure writing, blogging, and editing, both print and virtual. She was the Destination Club/Fractional Update writerfor Elite Traveler, and senior club news correspondent for Robb Report’s Vacation Home. She has published in Stratos, Luxury Living, European CEO, The London Telegraph, and ARDA Developments. She was also the Editor-in-Chief of Travel Connoisseur, a high end magazine whose main focus was the news and evolution of the private residence and destination club industries. Susan now writes for JustLuxe.com, a luxury portal that receives over a million visitors per month. She also writes for Taste Of Life magazine, a Canadian luxury monthly print magazine, and A Luxury Travel Blog. Other outlets are Haute Residence, EatLoveSavor, JamesEdition, Joe’s Daily, TravelSavvy, and Caviar Affair. Last year, 2018, Susan traveled internationally on Viking Star from Venice to Athens, exploring islands near Croatia, the truffle hunting regions of Slovenia, islands of Montenegro and Corfu, to name a few. She climbed Mt. Parnassus to experience the Temple of Apollo, home of the Oracle at Delphi. Then in November, she took a two week Hurtigruten expedition cruise to Antarctica. Susan has two articles published, and two in the pipeline. This year, 2019, she traveled to Norway, Tucson, California, and on the Douro in Portugal. In October she will be taking an 18 day cruise on Hurtigruten down the Andean Coast in South America., and in November will be on a five day equine retreat in Sasabe, Arizona. Susan has a B.A., M.A., C.P.C. and N.C.C in American Studies and Counseling Psychology. She is also an active member of SATW, NATJA and the Wellness Tourism Association.
https://weblogtheworld.com/ ; http://jraedupree.pressfolios.com/ Janet Rae-Dupree is the sole proprietor of Unboxed Media, a freelance writing and editing service focused on innovation, emerging technology, health/medicine, science and -- most recently -- travel writing. Over the past 18 months, Janet has been on adventures in 14 countries in all four of Earth's hemispheres as well as a dozen states. This is her first article for TWI Magazine. Before launching Unboxed Media, Janet was an awarding-winning journalist on staff at several newspapers and magazines, including the San Jose Mercury News, U.S. News & World Report, BusinessWeek, and the Los Angeles Times, where she shared in a team Pulitzer Prize in 1993. A 2006 Knight Fellow at Stanford University, Janet created the monthly "Unboxed" column for the Sunday Business section of the New York Times and has freelanced for numerous publications. Author of “The Anatomy & Physiology Workbook for Dummies,” Janet specializes in clarifying complex science, health and medical issues for lay audiences.
What makes a classic? Judged over time to be remarkably definitive, historically significant and of the highest quality. A classic knows when to hold true to its roots yet always be evolving. One thing about Newport is that it’s constantly in motion; always moving forward – just like the sea itself – even though its old New England soul is forever unchanged. It is the Classic Coast.
DiscoverNewport.org NINE COASTAL TOWNS | ONE BIG EXPERIENCE
SEOUL, KOREA: Then and Now Story, Photos & Video by Len Kaufman My trip to Seoul, Korea was going to be a nostalgia trip. Fifty years had passed since I was stationed there for a year when I was in the Army. It turned out to be not so much nostalgia. So much had changed that the things I remembered have been replaced with a modern bustling city, a resplendent new face with towering architecture.
An inclined elevator in Seoul that takes you from street level to the hilltop where you can get the cable car to Mount Namsan.
Modern buildings in downtown Seoul, Korea. Certainly a departure from anything seen by the author when he was last there, 50 years ago.
Gyeongbok Palace, in Seoul. Originally built by King Taejo. With two young Korean women, dressed in traditional Hanbok (Korean) clothes.
But history was not forgotten in the process of renewal. The old city walls and the gates that were the entrances to the ancient city remain, but with a fresh coat of paint and a new interest in the old. A changing of the guard ceremony, twice daily, is presented to remind onlookers of a noble past. There is even an entire section of the city, Bukcheon Hanok Village, where the houses built in the traditional style can be found.
The Changing of the Guard ceremony in front of Gyeongbok Palace.
Young ladies posing in Hanbok (Korean traditional clothing). Note the white sneaker, peeking out from beneath the traditional garment.
Many youths in the city connect to their cultural heritage by renting traditional Korean garments called Hanbok. The streets and alleys with traditional architecture were teeming with young people, proudly wearing Hanbok, a link to generations ago when the old city walls and gates were new and youth walked the same streets, looking forward to the future. At a glance, the only giveaways of the present were the ever-present cell phones for selfies and the sneakers that peered out from beneath flowing Hanbok gowns. Without exaggeration, I saw more traditional Korean garments in a half-day of this trip than I saw in an entire year, 50 years ago. Such is the new Korea: boldly modernizing, but keeping one foot anchored in the past.
A guard dressed in traditional Korean uniform, on duty in front of the City Gate in front of Gyeongbok Palace.
A young Korean couple, dressed in Hanbok (Korean traditional clothing) approaching the Gyengbok Palace.
Young Korean couple, looking at their â€œnew/old selvesâ€? on their cell phone.
Young Korean couple looking at their cell phone in the Bukchon Hanok section of Seoul, an area comprised of traditional houses.
Note: tradition gives way to comfort. See the sneakers. This is in the Bukchon Hanok section of the city, which is made up of traditional houses.
Click on image to see VIDEO on Seoul Hanbok clothing.
Young Koreans, dressed in Hanbok (traditional Korean clothing) strolling through the Bukchon Hanok section of Seoul, an area containing traditional Korean houses.
Hyeopjae Beach on Jeju Island, quite popular with newly-weds and families. The beach has a gentle slope into the water, with no sudden drops.
JEJU ISLAND The
KOREAN HAWAII Story, Photos & Video by Len Kaufman
Click on image to see VIDEO on Jeju Island.
Jungmun Saekdal Beach on Jeju Island. It is located near a cluster of luxury tourist resorts.
Saeyeongyo Bridge connects Seogwipo Port and Birds Island. The architecture was inspired by the wind and â€œTewu,â€? Jeju's traditional boats.
Dol hareubang, a large rock shaman statue considered to be a god offering both protection and fertility
Jeju Island, just off the southern coast of Korea, has been referred to as the "Hawaii of Korea." The island has become a popular vacation and honeymoon destination for many Asians.
Until recently, 80% of visitors to Jeju were Chinese, but due to politics, that's changing. Many resorts, hotels and guest houses have sprung
up in the 50 years since I was last there. Expanding the island's tourism industry is decidedly in the island's sights, and they've pledged to do it sustainably.
Sanbangsan Mountain stands as a sentinel in the distance.
75' high Jeongbang Waterfall, pours into the sea.
Tiny islands ringing Jeju, some with caves created by the waves, are great diving spots.
The island is significantly larger than you might think by looking at a map, and things are pretty spread out. The roads are good, but hiring a cab for a halfday tour might be a good idea if you want to do some sightseeing. One of the main tourist attractions on the island is a three-tier waterfall called Cheonjiyeon Waterfall, which means â€œsky connected with land.â€? At 72 feet high, the waterfall is pretty impressive.
A giant Buddha is a formidable presence on the slopes of Sanbangsan Mountain. A lighthouse greets fishing boats returning to Seogwipo Port.
This was certainly a beautiful site to see but my favorite attraction was in the town Chagwido Port, in Western Jeju, where vendors hang cuttlefish on fences and lines to dry and sell.
Cuttlefish hang to dry in Chagwido Port, a town on the western coast of Jeju, known for that delicacy.
SOME CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS GROW BRIGHTER EVERY YEAR. In Branson, we believe in a few things. And the only way to experience a Christmas vacation is to be here with us. Branson. You wonâ€™t believe it, until you do.
877- BR ANS O N
BEDEVILING TASMANIA Story & photos by Janet Rae-Dupree
Island bush area near the research center
ucked away 150 miles south of mainland Australia, the island state of Tasmania too often is a travel adventure afterthought. Talk about a missed opportunity. Superlatives come easily in “Tassie,” as its 500,000 residents call it, where the world’s tallest flowering trees shelter some of the planet’s oddest mammals. Even a short visit can yield indelible experiences. Protected wilderness makes up more than 40 percent of the island’s 26,000 square miles of land. And for good reason. Tasmania is home to scores of plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. We explored two of Tassie’s best places to see these unique species.
Small stream feeding Russell Falls
Falling for Mount Field
Falling for Mount Field Tasmania’s oldest national park, Mount Field lies about 50 miles northwest of the state’s capital city of Hobart. Its terrain ranges from snow-capped mountains looming over alpine moors to eucalyptus rainforests riddled with fairytale-worthy waterfalls.
We hiked the Tall Trees Trail past towering swamp gums, which at more than 300 feet tall rank as the world’s tallest flowering trees. The mossy rainforest where they’re found is home to giant Tasmanian ferns, familiar to any Jurassic Park fan, and a diminutive marsupial called pademelons, a chunky two-foot-tall kangaroo-like In the autumn, leaf-peeping visitors come to see “the turning of the fagus.” creature. During just two hours of exploration, we encountered Endemic to Tasmania, the deciduous beech (Nothofagus gunii, also known several of them foraging along the forest floor. They’re so common in as “tanglefoot”) can be found in Tasmania that they’re considered pockets throughout the park. A subsix-foot tree, fagus sports small, ridged pests -- a bit like rabbits in North America -- and have become a diet leaves that shift from dark green to rusty red and shimmering gold as the staple for captive Tasmanian devils at the UnZoo (described later). seasons turn in late April and May.
Horseshoe Falls, just off the tall trees circuit trail
fter enjoying the lush greenery of Horseshoe Falls, we worked our way down a steep set of stairs from the top of Russell Falls, a multi-streamed cascade of water that’s also easily accessible from the opposite direction via a short paved path that starts at Mount Field’s main visitor’s center. We weren’t lucky enough to be there at night, when intrepid travelers can explore the Glow Worm Grotto just off the main trail, where the luminous larvae of a fungus gnat produce blue light from a chemical reaction in their abdomens.
Looking out over the top of of Russell Falls
A lower section of Russell Falls
Prison ruins & surrounding village
Port Arthur Prison museum
Undoing Disease at the UnZoo
Undoing Disease at the UnZoo
A family of Forester kangaroos
he Tasmanian Devil UnZoo, about 10 miles north of Port Arthur on the Tasman Peninsula, has no formal boundaries to keep wildlife in or out, making it possible to see foraging echidnas, bandicoots, and wombats, as well as nearly 100 species of wild birds (about 10 percent of Australia's bird species). Trails wend past a stream into the Norfolk Bay Waterfront Park, where a viewing platform offers views of sea eagles, pelicans, black swans, herons and egrets. We fed wild Forester kangaroos and wallabies -- the kangaroos are always eager for a handout and a leisurely skritch behind the ears -- before enjoying Tassie’s only “flight” show featuring several domesticated bush birds.
White silver-crested cockatoo
ndangered Tasmanian devils, though, are the star of the UnZoo show. Bearing no resemblance to the Looney Tunes cartoon character of the same name, devils are stocky, fiercely loud meat-eating marsupials about the size of a small terrier. Not big hunters, devils dine primarily on road kill and other carrion. Once common in mainland Australia, they’re now found in the wild only in Tassie -- but they may soon be gone from there, too. For nearly 30 years, the Unzoo has played a key role in the effort to save the Tasmanian devil from facial tumour disease, an infectious viral cancer that spreads through biting and has killed nearly 90 percent of wild devils. With government permission, the UnZoo maintains a devil-proof barrier fence at the narrowest connection of the Tasman Peninsula to the main part of the island -- the same place where 19th century jailers set up barriers to keep nearby Port Arthur’s escaped convicts from making a clean break.
Tasmanian Devil, elderly female
Because the peninsula is home to the only known populations of uninfected wild devils, UnZoo researchers monitor the local population closely and breed healthy devils for later release into the wild. We took a 90-minute Devil Tracker four-wheel-drive tour into the native bush to see where researchers set up and monitor infrared cameras to keep an eye on wild devil activity. Any animals that appear to be injured or sick are captured and brought in for treatment, rehabilitation and -- if possible -release back into the wild.
Elderly female Tasmanian Devil gnawing on a pademelon joint
IF YOU GO Tasmania’s capital city of Hobart is served by direct flights from mainland Australia, including from Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne. Both the UnZoo and Mt. Field National Park are a bit more than an hour’s drive away, or you can arrange for guided tours to either location. If you have more time and are inclined to adventure, you may also catch the one weekly ferry operated by Spirit of
Tasmania between Melbourne and Devonport near Tasmania’s other large city, Launceston. It takes more than nine hours to make the transit across Bass Strait and you’ll want to rent a car to go exploring after you’ve arrived. Both the UnZoo and Mt. Field are more than three hours south of where the ferry docks, but there are myriad other breathtaking attractions along the way.
Story by Marc Kassouf & Nathan DePetris
Photos by Nathan DePetris
Within the revitalized Casco Viejo, thereâ€™s an abundance of rooftop restaurants, bars and clubs to catch a glimpse of the skyline.
As majestically as it sets, the sun also rises on Panama Cityâ€™s breathtaking skyline .
ith a colorful cocktail in hand, I lean close to the edge of the balcony and watch the show beginning to unfold before my eyes. Towering buildings begin to gleam, flash yellow, then orange and finally fade to black. As the last rays of sunlight dip below the hill, a million electric lights flare into existence. I sit in wonder, order another imaginative cocktail, and gasp as one of the best skylines in the Americas come to life. When the Panama Canal was returned to Panamanian control in 1999, the city was still recovering from the U.S. Invasion that ousted Manuel Noriega from power a decade earlier. Overnight, Panama became a trading powerhouse on the world stage and foreign investment quickly followed. The economy took off, leading to a building boom that resulted in a magnificent skyline. Panama City’s biggest attraction remains the Panama Canal. Whether sailing on a Panamax vessel or smaller leisure crafts, the canal is a sight to behold. Visitors not on a cruise ship can join several tours that navigate daily through the locks, while the museum at the Miraflores Locks will satisfy your canal curiosity.
The skyline of Panama’s capital, known simply as Panama City, has been redrawn into an oceanfront tableau of steel and glass to rival any metropolis.
The Casco Viejo, one of Panama’s five UNESCO Heritage listed sites, was --to put it plainly-- a dump not too long ago. Now Casco is home to some of the city’s hottest hotspots. Restaurants and clubs bring the ultra-hip Latin scene to newly renovated 17th and 18th century colonial buildings. Narrow, sometimes maze-like streets lead past the city’s cathedral and older Iglesia de la Compania de Jesus ruins. Cafes, shops and galleries abound, making Casco Viejo beckon you to tarry a little longer. The nearby Malecon, Panama City’s bayfront walking park, connects Casco Viejo to the busy downtown area of Punta Paitilla. Walkers and joggers make use of the pathway at all hours of the day, and the setting sun brings out street vendors and performers in droves. A scenic southwesterly drive along the Amador causeway passes the Bio Museo, arguably Frank Gehry’s most colorful design, en route to the city’s islands by land bridge. The biggest, Isla Flamenco is filled with shops and restaurants and offers even more stunning views of the city’s skyline and the perfect place to people watch.
The Bridge of the Americas, an attraction onto itself, straddles the colossal mouth of the Panama Canal on the Pacific Ocean side.
Just east of Panama City’s center and a short Uber ride away, the ruins of Panama Viejo offer the first European settlement on the Pacific Coast, and another UNESCO World Heritage site. Founded in 1519, the old city was sacked by captain Henry Morgan, along with 1400 other pirates that trekked to the rich port from the Caribbean coast. The resulting attack destroyed the city and the new Panama was built just a few kilometers west, now the Casco Viejo. As I sit on my rooftop balcony watching the final rays of sunset, Panama City bustles. A modern city, with half a millennium of history, well on its’ way to becoming my favorite modern cosmopolitan city in the world. As I sit on my rooftop balcony watching the final rays of sunset, Panama City bustles. A modern city, with half a millennium of history, well on its’ way to becoming my favorite modern cosmopolitan city in the world
Panama City has spectacular and ocean views, no matter where you are in core of the downtown; you just have to go up high enough!
Reverent Myanmar Story and Photos by Melissa Adams
A young monk prays at Hsinbyume Pagoda near Mingun, about an hour from Mandalay.
The whitewashed waves of Hsinbyume Pagoda are said to represent Mt. Sumeru, the mountain at the center of the Buddhist cosmos.
Rows of monks with their alms bowls in hand are as ubiquitous as golden pagodas in Myanmar.
Boys form a brotherhood of close connections as they live, play and learn together in Myanmar's monasteries.
THE WORLD'S MOST DEVOUT BUDDHIST COUNTRY The headlines are jarring. In account after account, they report incidents of jailed journalists, ethnic genocide, and other appalling human rights violations. They're grim snapshots of Myanmar, Southeast Asia's most mystical, least understood landâ€”a country of more than 100 ethnic groups that opened its doors to foreigners less than a decade ago, after years of diplomatic isolation and military dictatorship.
A reclining Buddha and unfinished sitting Buddha complement a giant standing Buddha at Bodhi Tataung.
Yet reports about atrocities in an isolated region of Myanmar belie the truth about the gracious and gentle people of the world's most devout Buddhist country. With 80â€“90% of its population practicing Buddhism, the nation formerly known as Burma is a spiritual land with the highest proportion of monks and nuns of any country on Earth.
A LAND OF MONKS AND NUNS It's a reverent land that spares no expense on building shrines of devotion, many maintained by monks who survive on rice, vegetables, and other donations from local villagers. In cities barely touched by tourism, barefoot monks with shaved heads, clad in neckto-ankle vermillion robes and clutching black alms bowls, are as ubiquitous as golden pagodas.
Novice monks learn the principles of Buddhism in training that lasts from a few months to a few years.
A young monk peers through the ornate doors of a teak monastery in Myanmar.
In Myanmar, every Buddhist boy is expected to join a monastery sometime between the age of seven and 13. As a novice monk, he receives training for a few weeks to several months. At any time during his training, he can return to secular life or choose to stay on as a monk. Growing up together in ancient monasteries, novice monks eat, pray, learn and play together, forming a close brotherhood. Many come from poor and rural families that send daughters, as well as sons, to monastic schools to take advantage of the free education these locally-supported institutions provide.
A young monk's serene gaze contrasts with reports of ethnic cleansing in an isolated region of Myanmar.
Young and old learn together in ancient monasteries
MERIT THROUGH GOOD DEEDS Most Burmese practice Theravada Buddhism in conjunction with nat worship, which involves placating spirits who can intervene in worldly affairs. This spiritual path recognizes accumulating merit through charity and good deeds, in hopes of an honorable rebirth. In sharp contrast to jarring headlines, it's a path that should convince anyone about the peaceful spirit of this reverent land.
Photographer Nathan Horton shares portraits with novice nuns at the Aung Myae Oo School in Sagaing.
A novice nun works at her studies at Aung Myae Oo, the second largest monastic school in Myanmar.
Small-Ship Expedition Cruising On the Irrawaddy River In Myanmar Story and Photos by Judi Cohen The Pandaw Kalaw riverboat (home for a week) glistening in the sunshine
Climbing to the top of a pagoda provides a view of the Bagan stuppa covered plain Magnificent Sunset at the Shweddagon Pagoda in Yangon
Sunset on the Irrawaddy For many years our family took enjoyable and entertaining trips and cruises to Florida, Mexico, the Caribbean and the Mediterranean. But once we discovered expedition cruises to off-the-beaten-path destinations there was no turning back. We have done several of these unique cruises, including trips along the Mekong River in Cambodia and Vietnam, and the Brahmaputra River in India.
AN OUTSTANDING ADVENTURE WITHOUT THE “BELLS AND WHISTLES” One of our most memorable family expedition cruises was in Myanmar (formerly Burma) with Pandaw Cruises along the Irrawaddy River. Planning to cruise with a 24 and 26 year old, my husband and I had some apprehension initially about whether they would find it boring, with no gala
shows, limited internet, and no TV’s or pools as you would find on the bigger cruise lines. Our concerns dissipated as soon as we were welcomed across the makeshift gangplank aboard the 20 passenger Pandaw Kalaw, a teakwood replica of a 19th century British K-class river boat.
Burmese residents washing and bathing alongside the boat.
Yandabo Village truck loaded with hand-made pots ready for market.
Fully loaded truck seen on the road to Mandalay
Visitors can make a pot with a village elder in Yandabo Village
The local taxi service in Yandabo
Children gather to receive stickers in every village along the river
Immersing in the Culture of Magical Myanmar As we cruised upstream from Mandalay, the crew used bamboo measuring poles to test the water level and ropes were thrown ashore when we arrived at each village or to overnight. All around the boat we could see children playing, women washing laundry on the jagged river rocks, villagers bathing and washing their hair, and a cacophony of animals like cows, dogs, goats and pigs ambling along the shore. With the river being the main transportation artery of the country, there were numerous fishing operations using large nets, the loading and
unloading of bamboo and assorted building materials on barges and the movement of fresh fruit and vegetables from diverse boats to wagons, carts and trucks waiting on the shore. As we travelled down the Irrawaddy on this small boat, we truly felt like we were immersed in traditional life. Along the river we were also able to visit many landmarks of past Burmese dynasties and Buddhist sanctuaries including those in Bagan (our last stop) with over 3,000 stupas and pagodas dating back to AD 1086. Climbing to the top of the Shwe San Daw stupa, one of the few monuments travellers are still allowed to ascend,
we had a 360-degree view of the â€œother-worldlyâ€? pagoda-studded terrain. Transported by tuk-tuk, ox cart, horse carriage and small buses we visited small towns and villages, each with its own unique character. In Pakokku we saw markets where tobacco, cotton, peanuts, textiles and thanatkha (traditional make-up and suntan lotion) are made and traded. In Yandabo, a village wellknown for its terracotta pottery production, we tried our hand at making a pot with the village elders cajoling us on. We also had an opportunity to visit a medical clinic and primary schools that are supported by Pandaw Cruises.
Fisherman posing for photo in Inle Lake
Nuns queuing for a meal at a nunnery in Sagaing near Mandalay.
Judi Cohen and family posing in the doorway to the Kuthadow Pagoda where the world's largest book is written on over 700 stone slabs. Photo by Valerie Macklin
As far as Iâ€™m concerned nothing provides a better learning experience than an expedition cruise in remote Myanmar. Interesting daily lectures coupled with traditional puppet shows and musical performances, and the high level of interaction with the crew and other well-travelled guests without the distraction of TVs and the internet 24/7, offers a wonderful opportunity to immerse in the culture, history, and wildlife of magical Myanmar. I have also explored Antarctica, Alaska, Cambodia, India, Vietnam, Europe and the Great Lakes in Canada on smallship cruises and am always planning my next off-the-beaten path adventure by land or sea!
If You Go: 1
Take crisp new, unmarked, US bills in small denominations to buy local products in markets and on the streets, or convert some money to local currency upon arrival. In order to exchange for local currency, itâ€™s important that the bills be crisp.
If time permits, plan to spend a couple of nights in Yangon (previously Rangoon) and in the Inle Lake area as pre and post cruise additions.
Pack sturdy waterproof walking shoes.
Pack sandals or flip flops that can easily be removed when visiting temples. Nearly all temples require you to remove your shoes and socks to enter.
Disposable wipes to clean your bare feet before putting your shoes or sandals back on are extremely handy.
A visa is required to enter Myanmar. You should get an e-visa online well before your trip starts.
Shoulders and knees must be covered when entering temple properties, so pack accordingly or buy what you need locally.
Antarctic Moments: Encounters with Wildness On The White Continent
Damoy Point, Gentoo Penguins and green walking sticks. Photo by Karsten Bidstrup
ailing into the mystic unknown, I realized this expedition cruise to Antarctica on the Hurtigruten Midnatsol was quite different from any cruise I have ever been on. It was exploratory and research-based, where scientists were sailing to the land of silver blue glaciers and ice floes, to learn about climate change and
Traveling on Rib Boats going toward DECEPTION ISLAND in blizzard. Photo by Karsten Bidstrup
Story by Susan Kime
migration patterns of the wildlife who lived there. We went from Ushuaia, Argentina, and were given many facts about this land. First, we went in November 2018, so it would be spring: ten below instead of 60 below. And, yes, it is an inhospitable land to humans. No human lives there permanently, but, in contrast,
devoid of permanent human life, there are vast amounts of animal life. It is said that over 30 million penguins live on the White Continentâ€“ AdĂŠlies, Gentoos, Kings, and Chinstraps. The sea also abounds with whales: Blue, Fin, Humpback, Minka, Orca and Sei, fur seals of multiple species, and Wandering Albatross and other birds, in addition to penguins.
ut such animal magnitude was But such animal magnitude was yet to be experienced, as the first phase of our Antarctic sailing was a test of our mettle: crossing the 600 mile Drake Passage, the worldâ€™s roughest body of water that separates South America from the Antarctic peninsula. Martin Iversen, Captain of our vessel, said the Passage had nicknames denoting whether it was calm or NOT: the Drake Lake or the Drake Shake. It was where the Atlantic and Pacific meet, and often, turbulence ensues.
MIDNATSOL and Me
On our voyage and in both directions, going and returning, we encountered the Drake Shake: twice, for a day and a half. Midnatsol was pummeled with high waves on both sides. The rocking and rolling began quickly one day, and ended quickly the next. Then we were on glassy ice blue, glacier-laden water. The first place visited -- in our RIB, rubber inflatable, boats, and wearing our new (provided by Hurtigruten) fire-engine red Helly Hansen Jackets with black lifejackets -- was Deception Island, created through entropy, or, the volcano falling in on itself. It was still smoldering from the conjoined fire and ice. It was in the South Shetland Islands off the Antarctic Peninsula. Its landscape comprised of barren volcanic slopes, black steaming beaches and snow-layered glaciers. It is one of the only places in the world where ships can sail directly into the center of a restless, entropized volcano. On shore is an abandoned British Antarctic survey base and rusted boilers from an old, Norwegian whaling operation. And it was the first place I ever saw vast numbers of Gentoo penguins, and one very sleepy fur seal.
Stepping on THE ANTARCTIC CONTINENT
Photo by Susan Kime
Photo by Karsten Bidstrup DECEPTION ISLAND Steamy Beach, Gentoo Penguins, abandoned Whaling Station 31
Photo by Karsten Bidstrup
CUVERVILLE ISLAND On Rib Boats, moving toward huge glaciers
A Gaggle of Gentoo Penguins
Hiking toward the Glacier
Photo by Stefan Dall
Photo by Stefan Dall
The Governoren, still bobbing up and down, partially sunk since 1915
Photo by Stefan Dall
rom our RIB boat, we landed on the black sand beach, and stepped into the steamy water with our Hurtigruten rubber boots. The water emitted steam from its sunken volcanic core. So, our first impressions were unique: the steaming black beach, the rust-reddish buildings, the fur seal sleeping next to them, and down the beach were colonies of squawking Gentoo penguins, enjoying themselves as they swam, or walked, and just looked out to sea. Or at us. That was our first, not last, encounter with penguins. We saw many others on different islands. Half Moon Island, a crescent moon-shaped South Shetland island is home to a large Chinstrap penguin colony, as well as nesting Antarctic terns, kelp gulls, snowy sheathbills, and Wilsonâ€™s storm petrels. On our snowshoe hikes, and in our kayaks, we were consistently astonished with vistas we had never seen anywhere else: near the Lemaire Channel around cathedral-sized blue glaciers we saw whales swim nearby; another day at Wilhelmina Bay, we encountered a partially sunken rusted-out whaling boat, the Governoren, bobbing up and down, essentially in the same place since January 27, 1915. We visited islands, bays, and harbors, all historic in their own ways. But actually, being on the continent of Antarctica was soulgrabbing.
e stepped onto the land where intrepid explorers -Shackleton, Perry, Byrd, Scott, Amundsen, and many others -- walked at one time or another. We were struck with a sense of gravitas and gratitude that remained for the trips remainder. In those last days, I pondered about those I had met here and would not see again. There were two sisters who had just spent a month in a Monastery in Katmandu, and had always felt Antarctica was next on their “Worthiness List.” There was a retired university professor from Southern California who had “finally heeded the call of the wild” and was traveling to places she always wanted to see. Others shared similar stories, all validating an undercurrent of what we had sensed and almost heard, at different times in our lives. It was, as the Greeks mentioned in The Odyssey, the siren song of the wild, paired with an encroaching desire to explore the unknown. The Antarctic moment combined these two things, now motivating factors on our journey of transformation. Each day we became more risktolerant, more open to kayaking as we explored glaciers, where we observed, up close, huge ice floes, and trekked nameless mountains. Somewhere between Ushuaia, the Waddell Sea, and the Antarctic continent, our mortal coils of daily hesitations were thrown away. What was left was our sense of wildness without fear, looking forward to the newness, the thrill of the next adventure.
THE WADDELL SEA
Photo by Susan Kime
The colors of Antarctica: silver, blue, black, white
Ice floe with window on Rib Boat to ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
On Rib Boat toward ANTARCTIC PENINSULA
Photo by Susan Kime
Photo by Susan Kime
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