Happy Travels, Licole Paroly and Kwanki Tang
10 Wandering Solo by Min Yi Tan
8 Somaliland by William Daley
6 1° 17’ 0” 103° 50’ 0” E by Wan Jing Lee
For this issue, the Tufts Traveler is exploring what it means to “go native.” We have great articles by Jumbos around the world, immersing themselves in culture and gaining local insight. We hope you enjoy reading about these exciting adventures!
4 Tufts Map
As winter approaches, we are excited to introduce Tufts to the new Traveler team. We have an enthusiastic, well-traveled group of contributors: on the next page, you can see a map of the places we explored during 2012, and our articles reflect our passion for travel. On our blog you have seen us expand our outlets for discussions of travel. Whether you are currently studying abroad or went hiking over the weekend here in Boston, please share your experiences and love for exploration with us at tuftstraveler.wordpress. com, or check us out on Instagram and Facebook.
22 Photo Contest
20 Rocky Mountains by Slide Kelly
18 Badimo ba Teng by T. Howell Burke
14 Nadryv by Licole Paroly
13 Tufts in Talloires
16 Visiting Gdansk by Kwanki Tang
Editors-in-Chief · Licole Paroly · Kwanki Tang · Layout Editor · Lindsay Atkesin · Photo Editor · Sydney Char · Literary Editor · Betsy Allman · Public Relations · Kimberley Alyssa · Slide Kelly · Web Editor · Pauline Leong · Contributors · Wan Jing Lee · William Daley · Min Yi Tan · T. Howell Burke · Lydia Collins · Sunaina Basu · Yeehui Tan · Nathan Yuen · Vanessa Lin · Katherine Scheer · Zara Juneja · Yiqing Li · Patrick McGrath 3
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1° 17’ 0” N 103° 50’ 0” E Wan Jing Lee The history of Singapore is a rather straightforward one. After a prince stumbled upon the island during a shipwreck in 1299, Sir Stamford Raffles transformed Singapore from a “sleepy fishing village” to a “bustling sea port” and earned himself the title “The Founder of Modern Singapore”. After World War 2 and being “expelled” from Malaya, a new chapter of Singapore’s history began. The People’s Action Party (PAP) won their first general election and has been winning ever since. Today, they are synonymous with the government and are said to be responsible for the relative economic success of the city-state. For many years, the government tried to construct a Singaporean identity. The new casino, aquarium and a Singaporean equivalent of the famous London Eye were built within two years with the hope of branding Singapore as the top tourist destination, in Asia and in the world. There is an obsession with being the first and the best – the world’s first night safari is the pride of the Singapore Tourism Board, along with our world-class zoo and bird park. Beyond the glamour of new integrated resorts and white cement-porcelain statues of the Mer6
lion (a trademark of the tourism board), Singaporeans struggle to answer the simple question, “What is Singapore like?” In Singapore, any form of delays is not acceptable. An extra ten-minute wait for the train will result in complaints and a flood of expletives on twitter. A train breakdown, God forbid, would result in a front-page news story on how everyone’s lives are affected. Suddenly everyone thinks the government is incompetent for they could not even make the trains work! Never mind the fact that any maintenance work on trains could only be done when the trains were not running in the wee hours of the morning. The Chief Executive Officer eventually stepped down for being responsible for train breakdowns. With a huge variety of cuisines available, from Thai, American, Malay to Chinese-Vietnamese and Asian-Italian, it is no wonder that food is such a huge part of our lives. Disputes over cooking make up 30% of all neighborhood disputes. One of the biggest disputes was when a Chinese family objected to their Indian neighbor’s decision to cook curry, significantly raising racial tensions in an otherwise peaceful society. It caused such a huge uproar that the Minister of
Law had to make a statement to say that it has been for broadcasting rants, ranging from the presence resolved. of parking wardens at the Registry of Marriages With the government’s refusal to be a welfare to distasteful valedictorian speeches at a particular state, not everyone is well taken care of. In a society college’s graduation. STOMP is now also a verb, where career is arguably valued over family, workmost commonly heard in the phrase “I STOMP ing adults might find the elderly, their own parents, you” which means “I am going to put this up on to be a burden. Some of the elderly are abandoned, STOMP (to embarrass you)”. left homeless and hungry. Some resort to picking up Like any other country, there are prominent metal from trash cans, hoping to make an income issues that form the basis of many debates. 21 000 for themselves. Some eventually die alone in their people attended Pink Dot in its fifth year in support apartment, and are only found when the smell of of the LGBT community, including the first “out” their rotting bodies disturbs their neighbors. gay politician Vincent Wijeysingha. The success Everyone has to go through at least six years of of the event alarmed conservatives in society, with formal schooling but one should not assume that an many comments being made about how homoeducated society is a civilized one. “Woman jailed 5 sexuals should remain closeted instead of making years for biting off Indonesian maid’s nipple,” said a “parade” out of it and how incest is going to be a a newspaper report. On the very bright side, it is problem in future. Despite the event’s success, it was always about 90 degrees all year round. only given a small section in the newspaper that said With one of the lowest crime rates in the world, only a little more than “The police rejected the orgathe police are dead serious about maintaining order nizer’s bid to close a road for the event, but over 20 in society. Spraying “democracy” 000 people showed up anyway.” on a war memorial will earn you All religion-related conversa“Beyond the glamour of three months in jail and three tions are avoided until the popunew integrated resorts and strokes of the cane, as someone lar City Harvest Church was white cement-porcelain stat- charged for misusing SGD$24 recently learnt. This also means ues of the Merlion (a trade- million in building funds to someone can walk home at 3am in the morning without fearing mark of the tourism board), advance the music career of one for his life. of the church’s founder and pasSingaporeans struggle to Efficiency is key, even if it answer the simple question, tor, Sun Ho. As faithful church means creating our own grammar goers continue to support the rules. When expressing disbelief, ‘What is Singapore like?’” pastors through this ordeal, simply say “How can?” instead of the public is outraged and/ “How could this be?” Use other languages or dialects or amused by a video of Sun’s husband and fellow if they can help you bring across your point. “Bojio” pastor declaring how God apologized to him for is the Hokkien phrase for “why did you not ask me putting him through this. One could only imagine along?” and “siam” means “get out of my way!” the reaction of parents who watch their kids work Singaporeans love “coffee shops,” a form of notwo jobs over the summer to fulfill their pledge to frills dining in the heartlands where you can get a the building fund, as Sun dances around Wycleaf drink for a dollar and a hearty bowl of noodles for Jean singing about murder. two. There is no shame in putting down a packet of If one has to make a prediction on Singapore’s tissue to show others that you are coming back to future, it would be safe to say that many things are this particular table and everyone else respects that uncertain. In 2011, the PAP lost a major Group packet of tissue enough to not touch it. Representation Constituency to the Workers Party, Everyone is allowed to visit the red light district the biggest threat to PAP rule to date. There is a named Geylang. The district is known firstly for the growing discomfort with how things are run, even good food, such as frog leg porridge, which makes if they are run well at the moment. The governit acceptable to be seen in that area during the day. ment’s intention to increase Singapore’s population It is, however, not without its fair share of old men yet again met with more public opposition than sipping beer in slippers. ever. A couple has stepped up to challenge the law Citizen journalism is a big deal. With the against gay sex and even though they were fined launch of the website STOMP, which stands for SDG $3000 in the end, they made a statement. In the Straits Times Online Mobile Print, many are a country where the government plays a large role quick to whip up their iPhones and catch videos of in shaping the people’s lives, a change of the ruling foreigners screaming and refusing to give up their party could change everything. We can only wait precious seats on the trains. STOMP is a platform and see. Photo Credit: Eva Parish, Kathryn Robinson
Somaliland William Daley Beads of sweat collected on my dusty forehead. Dazed, I sat curbside and watched a little girl jump over sewage in a nearby alley. With one slip she found herself face deep in shit. Crying, her mother dragged her off. At the same time, someone tossed my rucksack onto the roof of a 1982 Toyota Land Cruiser. They told me the overland journey from Djibouti City, Djibouti to Hargeisa, Somaliland would take twelve hours. In its purest form, going native is when a traveler’s presence does not inherently alter the natural way in which their current environment functions. Whereas cultural commodification is rampant in neighboring Ethiopia, Somaliland’s tourism industry remains barren. As a result, travelers to this self-proclaimed sovereign state – yet internationally recognized as Somalia – encounter a largely organic environment. Two wires flicked together and the engine rolled over. No key, no windshield and no inside paneling necessary. Baul, our crazy driver, whisked seven Somalis and me into the evening glow. We arrived at the border just before nightfall. After officially departing Djibouti, I walked through no mans
land – the Gulf of Aden at my left and the barren desert at my right – and entered the shack that was my Somaliland welcome. Stepping into the darkness an hour later, Baul motioned for me to wait. A few stick huts dotted the waters edge; a stray camel wandered the moonlit beach. I began to doubt that I’d arrive in Hargeisa by morning. Little did I know. The night dragged on. At one point a fight broke out between two men. They awkwardly screeched and slapped at each other before falling to the ground. After rolling around, one broke free and screamed as he fled. I watched, embarrassed for both of them. In a way, the whole scene was actually comforting. If this was how Somalis fought (besides the pirates, of course), I figured I wasn’t in too much danger. Catfight over, the only remaining entertainment was to observe my fearless leader, Baul. With a toothless grin and a booming laugh, he was the kind of guy that used the same rag to wipe his ass and his face. He spent most of the evening chain smoking, chewing khat – the Horn’s drug of choice – and pounding energy drinks. I shrugged. There was nothing to do but embrace my situation. I lay down
and drifted in and out of sleep under the Somali stars. We went no further that night. I awoke at dawn to a goat licking my face. After more waiting, we finally departed. Baul was a man of extremes. He went from lazing about for hours near the border to maniacally speeding through the desert. Our first major breakdown occurred on a massive mudflat. We made it about halfway across, Baul erratically flailing the wheel back and forth, before the engine failed. Getting out, he opened the hood, slammed the hood, repeated this tactic multiple times, banged the engine with a rock, repeated this tactic multiple times, and then went quiet. The Land Cruiser was dead. Infuriated, one of the other men berated Baul. More Somali awkward fighting ensued. Then, we waited. The hours melted away. The wind whipped my face and the sun scorched my skin. Without sufficient water, I became dazed and dehydrated. What was my exit strategy? There was none. We drove into the desert together and weâ€™d have to find a way out together. Preparing for one last stand, we dug our feet into the soft earth. With our remaining strength, we stumbled the Land Cruiser forward to solid ground. After further engine repair, we attempted a rolling start. Our weary legs heaved and the engine breathed to life. I was sweaty, exhausted and caked in sand. It didnâ€™t matter; we were finally moving again.
I awoke from a weary haze as we pulled up to a small village. More khat, more tea, more sitting in the darkness. However, this waiting session was different. We were no longer a mere collection of individuals. We talked and laughed as friends. Despite not understanding a word, I was now part of the conversation. We were in this together. We were companions. In the end, the twelve-hour drive turned into a sixty-hour journey. We came to a halt at the outskirts of Hargeisa. Flashing his toothless grin, Baul gave me a slap on the back and I stepped out of the truck, waved goodbye and turned toward town. I never saw them again. Going native relates to the way in which a traveler interacts with the foreign environment around them. The Horn of Africa presents a fascinating spectrum of experiences. Somaliland is sandy beards, scorched earth, disgusting khat, roaming camels, dark yellow urine and dilapidated Land Cruisers. Somaliland is becoming part of the group not through artificial means, but through organic experience. Somaliland is going native.
Wandering Solo Min Yi Tan I was wearing an outfit I would have never worn at home in Singapore (bright red ankle-length skirt with my dad’s sports sunglasses), carrying 6 days’ worth of supplies, perspiring on the top of a hill in Taegeukdo Village. No one was with me on this steep slope under super bright sunlight; I was on my first solo overseas trip. After an overnight flight with minimal sleep (which I made up for by sleeping on the airport shuttle to Jalgachi Fish Market, only to be woken up by the driver), I decided to hit the ground running before heading to the backpackers hostel. I’m normally bad with directions, but when the rare signpost is in a language I don’t understand I become the stereotypical lost and confused traveller. It took me 3 hours to scour Taegeukdo Village, instead of the 1 hour that tourists from other parts of Korea took to collect the 9 colorful stamps that could be found throughout the village. It was a sweaty way to spend my first few hours in South Korea, but time to yourself is a luxury that means you can postpone breakfast and hike an urban trail. The first time I traveled overseas alone was when I flew to Boston Logan Airport from Singapore with 100lbs. of luggage in tow. There was a
lot of luggage and a lot of hours spent traveling (33 hours, 9h layover in Heathrow). This trip to Busan was a feat of stamina of a different sort, though. The company of others means several things: more pairs of eyes to watch over valuables, more brains to make decisions, and the reassuring knowledge that whatever you encounter, you share with a fellow human being. When you’re traversing unknown streets alone, the only person you can rely on is yourself. But being alone is pleasurable precisely because it means that your experiences are uniquely yours to witness and to keep. Nobody has to know about your whoop of glee when finally spotting the ocean after a lengthy, winding mountain hike, and nobody has to know how you gave up trying to find a certain monument moments before you realized you’d been walking in circles around it. These adventures are yours to share or to savor privately. Over the next few days in Korea, I enjoyed long walks where everything was fascinating because everything was novel. It didn’t have to be a destination marked out by Lonely Planet - perfunctory visits to the Top Ten Places To Visit are easily bested by a day you spend wandering, genu-
inely enjoying yourself and feeling enriched. At the first backpackers’ hostel I stayed in, I met a new friend and changed my plan to visit the popular Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, a temple built on the cliffs facing the ocean. Instead, we went to my first shooting range, played with happy puppies at a dog café, and lived vicariously through Koreans bobbing about in bright yellow floats at the crowded Haeundae Beach. Life, and traveling, is what you make of it. And I made sure to keep my mind open to a part of the world which I only temporarily belonged to. Being ethnically Chinese and looking “Asian” helped me to blend in, though the two cameras slung around my body always gave my tourist status away. My most liberating enterprise had me naked and camera-less along with the scores of other women at Haeundae Spa Center. From toddlers being bathed at the rows of showers, to senior citizens expertly withstanding the 108F spa waters, everyone was naked and it was like nothing I had ever experi-
enced before -- glorious. I didn’t expect to bring toiletries to a jjimjibang, so I sneakily pumped shampoo from the unattended bottles in a locker room, and kept it in my fist until I reached the showers. I also didn’t expect how natural and pleasant it was to be rid of clothes. That night, wearing a stiff, pink pajamas set which the Spa Center provides, I slept under the on a balcony where other Korean women and men snoozed as quietly. Atop a mattress separating me from the wooden floor, I promised myself I would come back someday. That summer, I traveled to Mexico, Japan, South Korea, China and Indonesia. In an age where social media lulls the susceptible into fervently believing that photos with famous landmarks is the most enviable and important aspect of travel, I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to experience another part of the world while tracing the footsteps of the people who call it home.
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The diferent views of Tufts in Talloires: Lake Annecy (top), Annecy Old Town (middle), the Rhone-Alpes (bottom) 14
Nadryv* Licole Paroly The white nights on the Neva Sunset at midnight and sunrise before sunset A tangle of lights drifting in the sky above the Kremlin (they catch on the roof, on the spires and points, on sharp objects that puncture the sky) and sinking, for only a moment, before rising again over the Hermitage. The dust rises in the hot summer air (mosquitoes fly so quickly around the apartment, get caught in the curtains that swing in the breeze and billow out, pregnant) and settles on the cat perched on the basement steps, his tail swishing in time with my breathing.
*A Russian term describing a self-imposed struggle and internal isolation 15
Visiting Gdansk Kwanki Tang Gdansk (pronounced as ‘Ger-dance-sk’) was featured in the latest season of the Amazing Race, when Phil Keogan called it the “starting point of the fall of Communism”. There Solidarity, a non-Communist labor party, was formed in 1980, paving the way for elections in 1989 and the eventual collapse of the Soviet Union. But this was not the first time Gdansk played a significant role in Polish history. After the First World War, Gdansk was emancipated from Poland as the Free City of Danzig, as the city had a huge population of Germans. When the Nazis decided to annex Poland, they went through Danzig, relying on the city’s pro-German sentiments to support its incorporation into Germany. The Nazis then launched their first attack on Poland through Danzig. Today Gdansk continues to play an important role in Polish history as Poland’s major modern seaport. I traveled to Gdansk from Warsaw on a six hour train ride reminiscent of the Soviet-era trains prevalent in Russian film and photography. The path to the city was very scenic, with majestic scenes of the Polish countryside and views of several key landmarks such as the Malbork Castle. I arrived in Gdansk at nightfall and I realized that the port is more than just a sleepy town; it boasts a significant nightlife that is peppered by clubs, nightspots and various entertainment options. My tour guide, a personal friend who was studying in the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH), insisted that I try the local beers. She described them as “significantly different from the American or Asian beers that (I) can have back home”. I was not disappointed.
Gdansk in the day is full of life, culture and history. On a replica 19th century pirate ship I took a breath-taking tour of the Motlawa River and headed to Westerplatte, the northern Peninsula where Nazi troops first attacked Poland. Today, Westerplatte is a natural reserve rich with historical imprints â€“ the most striking of which is a 20 foot tall monument that overlooks the Baltic Sea. It seems to represent a lighthouse, calling out for peace within the murky seas of our uncertain futures. A lot of the barracks, guardhouses and train tracks which were used and destroyed by the Nazis were left in their state of disarray after the war. My tour guide commented that it was the best way for future generations to remember the painful episodes of the Nazi invasion. On the cityâ€™s main street, museums, shops and rustic buildings flank the walking paths. Gdansk also plays host to plenty of modern research facilities, most significantly on amber preservation. A museum of amber was dedicated to showcase wildlife specimens in amber. Once the cityâ€™s jail block, the museum has become a symbol of modernity for Gdansk. Bucket list aside, visiting Gdansk was like a journey into Polish history. From the historical buildings that are still intact from the 19th century, to the war-torn buildings of Westerplatte, the city has witnessed many turning points in history. Gdansk is not just a city of the past; it is a city of promise.
Badimo ba Teng T. Howell Burke The Khubayi Family Home. Tshiawelo, Soweto. South Africa. July 2012. “But Ma Grace,” I ask, “Do you think my ancestors will understand Tsonga?” Ma Grace laughed and hit me in the shoulder, a slightly violent display of affection that usually happens at least twice whenever we have a conversation. She was explaining that we would be going to Soweto – a black township on the outskirts of Johannesburg from which I am otherwise explicitly forbidden by Peace Corps to visit – to participate in a ceremony to offer prayers to the ancestral spirits. “They will Thabo!” she assures me, offering no absolutely no evidence for why my EuropeanAmerican ancestors – some of who held AfricanAmericans as slaves in colonial Virginia – should understand an African language. The Setswana word for ancestral spirits, Badimo, comes from the locative godimo, meaning above. The prefix ba- refers to people, so substituting this prefix for go- in godimo changes the meaning of the word to “Those Above.” Similarly, the prefix mo- refers to a single person. Substituting this prefix for go- gives the meaning “The One Above,” or God. A belief in Those Above, the badimo, pervade spiritual thought in South Africa. Though Christianity is the nominally the dominant religion in South Africa – 80% of South Africans identify as Christian – it is largely a synthesis of the teachings of the Good Book and of traditional southern African religion. Many pray to the badimo, either in special ceremonies like the one my family would be dragging me to, or more informally on a daily basis. My friend Jewel tells me the extravagant tombstones are erected in part to placate the badimo. Sangomas – healers trained in the old traditions – are consulted in matters of health and social relationships. Fates are discerned by throwing bones or through
dreams. Conditions are diagnosed, and prescriptions for muthi, traditional medicine gathered from the bush, are given. (Say what you will about muthi, but the African potato at least, frequently prescribed by sangomas, has been independently shown to have a therapeutic effect for those afflicted with AIDS.) Theologically speaking, this synthesis of Christian and traditional beliefs prevents a potential conflict: how do you reconcile belief in a God demanding singular devotion with an allegiance to a host of ancestral spirits calling for their own prayers and sacrifices? Regardless of what language my own ancestors might or might not speak, a couple of weeks later I found myself on the road for Tshiawelo, a primarily Tsonga neighborhood in Soweto. I was crammed in the family bakkie with Father Fanuel and Ma Grace, my brothers Amolekani and Gomolemo, and a herd of pre-school age cousins. We arrived to the home of Ma Grace’s mother in Tshiawelo in the early evening. I sat around the kitchen table with my family, politely cradling my cup of tea and understanding very little of the animated blend of Tsonga, Tswana, English, and Afrikaans which spoken at incredible volume. Occasionally, the conversation would stop, everyone would look at me, someone would shout “Thaaaabbbooo!’ and everyone would laugh before resuming their chatter. When we finally went to bed at close to three in the morning, I crashed on a twin mattress on the floor with my brother Obed, who stands at well over six feet and two hundred pounds. I’ll let you guess who the little spoon was. When Obed lumbered out of our twin mattress at six o’clock, I had no choice but to arise as well. For the next two hours, I stumbled around the house taking every cup of tea offered to me and trying not to butcher Tswana, Tsonga, or for that matter, English. I had finally reached a state of full
consciousness when the ancestor ceremony started at eight. The various members of the family were marshaled to a narrow passage between the house and the wall that marked the boundary of the property. Mid-July on the Highveld gets cold – frost isn’t uncommon – and the shady alley was chilly. Very different from the tropical Limpopo, the home of the Tsonga ancestors we were preparing to honor. Kneeling beside a young man’s assegai or spear, an old man’s cane, and a drinking bowl made from a gourd, Ma Grace’s mother began the ceremony. She began clapping a beat and chanting in Tsonga, my family’s native language. Soon, everyone was clapping along. Father Fanuel held his infant grandson, named for his grandfather, and clapped his hands together, smiling and bending down to kiss him every now and then. With Ma Grace’s grandchildren, children, mother and grandmother in attendance, five generations of the Khubayi family were represented at the ceremony. We made offerings of gin, bojalwa, money, tobacco, and money. I tendered R20, and Ma Grace offered a prayer on my behalf that my learners would behave in the coming school term. Someone passed me the bottle of gin and then the gourd of bojalwa – a foamy, home-brewed beer made from sorghum
meal and tart enough to make your mouth pucker – and I was happy to drink to the health of the badimo. After the ceremony, more people arrived to celebrate. Bottles of beer and whiskey were opened and shared. The men passed around foamy jugs of bojalwa while the women set about peeling vegetables and cooking massive cauldrons of bogobe, the cornmeal porridge that forms the staple diet here, over a coal fire. The celebrations continued throughout out the day, carrying on late in the night. That night I crashed on a bed with my brother-in-law, our toddler nephew curled up between us. Earlier that day, I sat with Father Fanuel, asking him about his beliefs in the badimo. I was curious in the potential conflict between Christian and traditional beliefs. Between sips of bojalwa, Father Fanuel explained how this synthesis presents no apparent conflict in contemporary South African spirituality. “The minister at church, he is telling us we mustn’t worship the badimo,” he smiled, “But we are not worshipping them. We give them prayers, and they are taking them to God.” “They are like messengers, then?” I asked. Father Fanuel clapped once. “Yes, that’s right.” He broke into a big smile, and we raised our glasses once more to honor the badimo.
Northern Alternatives to Rocky Mountain Snow-Chasers Slide Kelly Every year the first big storm over the Continental Divide brings a mass pilgrimage of overworked coastal professionals to the glimmering slopes of Colorado. Skiers and boarders alike flock to iconic resorts like Vail and Aspen for a taste of the infamous “champagne powder” found there. As a Colorado native myself, I have known all my life how spoiled I was to grow up in a state where ski tourism is such a huge part of the state culture. Yet, as more and more snow-chasers hear the call of the Rockies, locals like me are being squeezed out of our favorite hills by long lift lines and large crowds. Untapped paradises of powder and pitch are disappearing in my home state, and one season I, along with my family and a few friends, packed my bags and headed up north to the remote expanses of the Canadian Rockies on a mission to find powder we didn’t have to share. A short flight took us to Spokane, Washington, where we packed like clowns into the biggest minivan we could find and headed for the border. With ski poles poking out at our heads from the trunk, the drive was not the usual comfortable cruise up the interstate we were used to. With a little artful maneuvering, however, we made it to our first destination: Red Mountain. Located just across the border, Red Mountain was branded as the most
popular ski resort in the area. Even so, there was plenty of elbow-room in the steep glades dotted with pockets of powder that served as challenging obstacle courses to the group. After losing each other a handful of times over a dozen or so runs we said goodbye to Red and continued into the expanse of British Colombia. Our next stop was at a local’s hill named Whitewater. If we thought our local haunts in Colorado were retro, this place was downright old-school. The only amenity was a small lodge that displayed grooming reports on a whiteboard and only served poutine (a local delicacy of fries, cheese, and gravy) and coffee as refuge from the near white-out conditions outside. Braving the unpredictable weather, we hit the slopes and were greeted by a handful of short runs with great pitch. After just a few quick laps in the rough conditions, we called it a day and hit the road again, this time for a newly established mountain named Revelstoke. As we drove, it quickly became dark and we arrived at the side of a long finger lake created by the movement of glaciers millennia in the past. Suddenly the road ended with a heavy-duty truck at the edge of an old, rusty metal dock. As we got out of the van to check out the scene we watched as a glowing red light at the prow of a boat inched
its way to the dock and moored with a crunch. We loaded into the boat and set sail into the snowy night. Afloat in the middle of the remote lake, the boat was enveloped in a rough blackness and a feeling of complete isolation. All we could see was the deck light, which illuminated a solitary cone of snowfall over our car. With a sudden bump we made landfall once again and continued our way up to Revelstoke. With the rising of the sun we hit the slopes yet again, this time on the mountain that boasted the run with the longest vertical feet in North America. The top of the mountain soared above the Colombia River, providing a picturesque backdrop for long, steep runs that each lasted over 40 minutes. The snow was abundant and often untouched, with a light covering of fresh powder cushioning each turn. At last we had found a place we could call paradise, with challenging and fun conditions that were enjoyed only by those serious enough to pursue them. Having found that special place, we set up camp and finally got a chance to relax by a hot tub after an intense few days of skiing. After getting our fix of Revelstoke, a mountain that puts most of my home hills to shame, we made our way to our last stop in Banff, Alberta. Banff, ironically is most widely known for its summertime attractions, yet its skiing was certainly nothing to complain about. We devoted out time mostly to Lake Louise, the largest resort in the area. While it was certainly the most crowded of the resorts we had seen along the Canadian Rockies, there was still ample room on the cornices of some of the best and steepest pitches we had ever skied. Even the skied-out sections were far superior to some of the slopes I had grown accustomed to sharing back home, and our trip was concluded by a massive blizzard that gave us one last day of powder to ourselves. To any of those like me looking for something better that the crowded resorts where untouched snow is a scarce resource, I can tell you that it is worth the extra effort to go across the border and see what Canada has to offer. Never have I felt like I had so much personal space than while skiing for miles down the heights of Revelstoke or through the glades of Red, luxuriating in more powder than I knew what to do with. Colorado has its great points, but trust me, thereâ€™s more to be seen in the Rockies than lift lines of Vail. 21
Photo Contest â€œGoing Nativeâ€?
Vanessa Lin - First Place Yulongxue Shan (Jade Dragon Snow Mountain) shines in the background of this picture taken outside of Lijiang, Yunnan, China.
Min Yi Tan - Second Place On a sweltering summerâ€™s day, two Chinese boys entertain themselves at Gulangyu Island in Xiamen, China.
Nathan Yuen - Third Place A participant gets ready to cast off his decorated lantern into the ocean at the Japanese Buddhist Obon Festival on the North Shore of Haleiwa, Hawaii.
Tufts Traveler Magazine