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FEBRUARY 2012

Fontaine Bleau’s

liV night CluB Behind the sCenes: daVid grutman

TRAVEL


Issue No. 002

TRAVEL


A Letter From the Director oF operAtions A list of goals can be a powerful motivator, and in the world of travel and leisure, no list is more so than the Urbane Sophisticate Travel issue. Travel can be a serious business, and though there may be an element of fantasy and adventure to many of the articles showcased in this issue, Urbane Sophisticate’s focus is on the people just as much as the destinations. Once again, this month, I am proud who represent Urbane Sophisticate’s distinctive lifestyle. The work and travel of these visionaries range in styles from the charmingly classic traveler to the cutting edge minimal risk taker. This month’s issue is unfailingly confessional. However, the most important the present, and the future of travel. It is at once a tribute and a challenge to all of us in our pursuit of traveling and living like an Urbane Sophisticate.

Hunter S. Gaylor

UrbAne SophisticAte Editor-In-Chief

Luis A. Navia Fashion Editor

Justin BriDges Executive Vice President

John FLoyD director of operations

Hunter Gaylor

Director of Public Relations

DAnieLA DeLFino


URBANE SOPHISTICATE

CONTENT Abroad in London The Burden of educaTing oneself MoTher india israel saMoa: a Journey of a lifeTiMe Marrakech: uncovering The sensuous red ciTy good viBraTions: dJ crespo Musical raMBlings froM a nyc Buyer The MasTerMind Behind liv [cover] a fashionisTa’s Travel guide My advenTures: Bolivia a TourisT guide on how To Be a Traveler JaMaica: a liTTle piece of heaven iMMigraTion welcoMe To arizona


Abroad in

London Alyssa Giannirakis

John Carroll University students are able to Atchoose from a wide variety of study abroad

options. Some students travel to Vatican City to study art and religion. A few will venture to China to immerse themselves in a culture far from their own. From January to May I will study literature and politics in a city rich in history, yet growing more modern each day. I will no longer be an average American college student; I will be A Broad in London. My first step towards preparing for my adventure abroad was to get my academic affairs in order. As a double major I needed to make sure it was feasible to spend the semester abroad. It is imperative to let your academic advisor know about any plans to leave your college or university, even if it is only for a short period of time. Your advisor will be able to help ensure that the courses you take abroad count for academic credit and whether your GPA will transfer or not. Another important item to think about is how many classes you want to take while abroad. I

am scheduled to take 5 courses, two for my majors and three courses that are required by my school. I am using my opportunity to study in London to take a class on Shakespeare and a journalism course that will be covering the upcoming Summer Olympics that are being held in London. Although it seemed easy to make the decision to study abroad on my own, I needed to speak to my parents about it, considering they would be the ones paying for me to go! It is better to fill them in about every meeting, rather than springing the idea on them the day before a deposit is due. After making the final decision to spend the semester in London I set out to find as much information as I could to prepare. The Center for Global Education at John Carroll proved to be a great resource. They held monthly meetings for the group of students studying in London and provided us with all the necessary materials. Most schools will hold meetings in order to make sure students are prepared to depart. The first thing I needed to do before I even be-


gan packing was figuring out how many bags I was allowed to take with me. After careful research, and finding out that my suitcases could only weigh 50 pounds max, I confirmed that I would have two checked suitcases, one large duffle as a carry on, and my Longchamp tote bag as a personal item. Packed in my checked bags were the majority of my clothes and shoes. Each bag was filled to capacity with jeans, blazers, blouses, cardigans, boots and flats. In my duffle bag I packed two changes of clothes and travel sized toiletry items including some makeup, my Clinique moisturizer, and Philosophy face wash. Planes are notoriously dry and I want to have some items ready for a quick touch up during a layover. I packed my phone, computer and camera chargers as well as my jewelry. In the event that my luggage gets lost, I want to have my most important items with me on the flight. In my Longchamp I packed my laptop, iPhone, agenda, wallet, passport, Classy by Derek Blasberg (any young woman’s guide to being a lady) and The Time of Our Lives by Tom Brokaw (a Christmas present that will hopefully be finished before I land.) The final piece of advice I could give in preparing to study abroad is summed up in my “Don’t Forget” list. This list starts with calling your bank. It is important to let your bank know the dates that you will be abroad, that way they won’t put a hold on your credit cards because of foreign activity. Next on the list is a passport. I had a current passport when I applied to study abroad but that is not always the case. Having some local currency will also be beneficial. Your bank should be happy to order currency for you. I wouldn’t want to be spending my first hour in a new city standing at the airport currency exchange counter. After the affairs are in order, the bags are packed, and the goodbyes are said, the only thing left to do is board the plane, and take the plunge. The thought of living in another country can be nerve-wracking, but it is also the opportunity to have an unforgettable adventure. To follow along as I study and travel through Europe, check out my blog A Broad in London


AcADemiA

THE BURDEN OF

EDUCATING ONESELF Miloš Lončarević

Times in which education was exclusively available for members of the nobility have clearly changed. Or have they?


According to the National Centre for Education Statistics the average annual tuition fees for a 4-year undergraduate program in a public or private institution are 20,986$. This makes up roughly 8,4% per cent of the top 2% per cent households in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2006). However, the bottom 20% of the population with an annual real income of less than 19,178$ for an entire household would not even be able to afford a college education if they abandoned all their other expenses for food and rent for an entire year. In order to underpin the initial sentence there is a broad offer for federal and private student loans with repayments starting after graduation, sometimes an interest payment is due during the studies. Teenagers and parents, who in most cases never experienced college education, have to make a financial decision for tens of thousands of dollars without any knowledge of how the constantly shifting primary labour market will comprise in 5 or 10 years, how hard floating interest rates can vary and how dangerous they can be, how well one will perform academically and consequently how the professional career will look like and most severely if macroeconomic figures will indicate upcoming recessions, not to mention personal risks like accidents or illness. Recent studies show that the cumulated student loans are higher than the entire credit card debt in the U.S. This is gambling on a whole new level with young souls as a stake. U.S. conservatives defend the high tuition fees with the idea of investing into one’s future and most importantly into highly competitive facilities and equipment for high class education, research and innovation. Yet, Katherine Ott from Toledo, Oregon reveals in her Master thesis that the majority of the University of Toledo’s tuition fees flows towards the athletics department and cheerleading. Some 4,000 miles further east in Austria, university students are consistently occupying lecture halls and going on strikes because of the desolate Austrian educational system and severely underfinanced educational institutions. Studying in a public institution in Austria is free, while the law forbids any quantitative limitations on the numbers

of students for most courses. Every EU citizen who wishes to study in Austria gets to study. The only payments are the fees for the mandatory membership in the Austrian Students Union which are 34€ p.a. (44 U.S. $). In other words: With the money due for one year of college education in the U.S. you could study longer than 476 years in Austria. If you still cannot afford to study, the government pays you a monthly support of up to 679€, i.e. 8,148€ p.a. (10,344 U.S. $). A deeper look into this gift horse’s mouth: The government spending on the institutions themselves is not high enough to compensate the lack of tuition fees. At the Vienna University of Economics and Business e.g. the relation of lecturer to student is 1:331. Students have to pass a parkour of knockout exams which means the first semesters you do not enjoy education, but you learn how to master mass multiple choice exams with failure rates of 90% per cent. People wait a long time before the start of a lecture in front of the halls in order not to be forced to sit on the floor. Although law protects your right to study it does not necessarily mean that the legislative provides the resources, i.e. it is possible that you do not get into a class with limited slots, which means that you possibly have to wait a semester or a year until a new one is offered. These factors affect both the GPA and the average duration of study, which makes Austrian academics often unattractive on the international labour market. Of course many other components have to be considered before drawing any conclusions but the main goal is to deliver knowledge to as many people as possible. If the U.S. government and educational institutions can find solutions to provide everybody with college education who demands it and Austrian citizens and their legislative stop thinking of knowledge as a philosophically free resource but start taking the real practical problems into account and consequently obliging people to contribute themselves to higher quality education then maybe this awareness itself is the biggest step towards a functioning solution because “being conscious that you are ignorant is a great step to knowledge.” (Benjamin Disraeli)


inDiA

MOTHER INDIA SANTANA IGLESIAS


is quite difficult to explain the unexplainable without lessI tening it in any way. It all started with a desperate need for change, a burning desire to reach for something more than what I was currently experiencing. The materialistic lifestyle that Miami so lovingly embraced me with many years ago was no longer as comforting as it used to be. This discomfort only increased over time, until it finally it hit me, and one night at approximately 1 AM, I decided to buy a one way ticket to India. I left everyone and everything I knew, grabbed a backpack, and I was off to not only better understand who I was, but also to become strong in that knowing. After a series of chaotic events, I found myself arriving at Integral Yoga Institute, a beautiful Ashram in Southern India and was embraced with open arms. The setting was surreal, I was surrounded by beautiful flowering trees, cows that filled the streets and monkeys that, although were quite cute, were to be avoided at all costs due to their thievery reputation. After taking a full day of sleep to recuperate from the jetlag and overwhelming culture shock, the first part of my four month journey began. My yoga certification was a thirty one day course that swiftly changed my life forever. Two yoga classes a day, many meditations, and hours of study took up a majority of my time. Unfortunately this wasn’t enough of a distraction to cope with the fact I had just left the known in order to experience the unknown. My first two weeks in India were filled with sadness and a deep longing for the comforts of home. No hot bath, let alone hot water, no more comfortable bed, and, worst of all, no more Rocky Road ice cream. It took all I had to not buy a return ticket home. Fortunately, I stuck it out, and during the rest of my time there I began to not only let go of all that I was not in order to discover who I was, but I became a part of a loving family. As the end of my stay was rapidly approaching, I realized I had no plans as to what my next move would be. I prayed about it, and that night I had dream that I was helping children at an orphanage. I awoke with this burning desire to work with children there, but I had no idea were to even begin to look for a place to volunteer at. I got dressed and walked down stairs just in time to see a young man about my age and his daughter walk through the door. As I began to speak with them more about their future plans, they shared with me that they would be volunteering at the Aum Pranava Ashram, an orphanage a little further


South. I immediately took this as a clear sign that this was to be the next part of my journey, and decided to join them. I sat on the bus on my way to the Aum Pranava Ashram, and the same homesick feeling I felt when I arrived took over once again, however, this time the home I missed now is the Integral Yoga Institute. I realized then, that this trip had also become a huge lesson on nekkhamma (detachment). Mike and his daughter Emily met me at the bus stop, and led me down a bumpy road to the Ashram were I was again greeted with open arms, but this time by the arms of over sixty orphans. The next three weeks flew by as I spent my days teaching and playing with the children, spending tea time learning many lessons from my new found Guru, chanting and meditating. It was as if I blinked my eyes and my time there was finished. It was time to say goodbye to my family again, but this time my family had grown to over a hundred Ashramites. With no future expectations, I was off to Delhi. My welcome was far different this time, I stepped off the train and into a cloud of pollution, screaming rickshaw drivers, and beggars ranging from children to the elderly that refuse to leave you alone. My travel book led me to a backpacker’s hotel at the end of a long trash covered alley. My room had no windows and no AC, I was then left with no option but to go wandering in the streets for some sort of relief from the extreme heat. Luckily, I found a small restaurant filled with backpackers from all over, and spent my night eating good food and meeting new people. The next day I visited the Akshardham Temple, and all I will say is if you ever find yourself in Delhi it is a must that you visit this place. Delhi was a short stop on my way to Bodh Gaya, a small Buddhist village in the North. I was luckily able to meet some locals there that took my up to the cave that Buddha spent six years meditating in before he was enlightened. From there I found a small Bhutanese Temple that allowed me to stay for the night before my trip to Varanasi the next day. It is hard to find the words to describe Varanasi. It is a labyrinth of small alley ways, and it is said that if one dies in Varanasi, they immediately reach enlightenment. Upon arriving, a friend and I decided to wander around and found ourselves at the burning Ghat. I sat there and the bank of the Ganges, and watched bodies burning. You would think I would be filled with sadness, but instead


I felt a feeling of happiness that sprung out of knowing that their souls were now able to transition. I just sat there realizing these bodies were just empty bodies, returning to the ash. I realized that they are not permanent, and that nothing is. As we walked away in silence through the streets, I slowly began to realize how much this experience had affected me. It’s hard to describe it; it is like I was no longer caught up in the illusion of outward appearances. I was immediately thankful for this realization which allowed me to view the state of anitya (impermanence) that bound my everyday life, which in turn furthered my journey of nonattachment. I said my good byes to this peculiarly beautiful place and I was off to the Himalayas. I spent some time trekking the Pindari Glacier Trail. I continually stopped in small villages along the way which were filled with people leaned over the fire making Chapatti and Chai tea while sending each other texts on their newly updated cell phones. It was weird to see that globalization had even reached Khati, one of the highest and oldest villages in India. From there I traveled to Ladnun and decided to attend a University there in order to study Jainism (an extremely non-violent

and intriguing religion). From Ladnun, I set off for my final destination, Jaipur. The Pink City was filled with shopping and chaos. Since I only had a backpack, I had saved all of my shopping for the end of the trip. I spent the rest of my rupees on souvenirs for friends and family, bought a new suit case to put it all in, and left for the airport to return home. It is particularly funny how one can so quickly adapt and attach to a new environment, and, how the nostalgic feelings I now felt was not of America but of India. There was something about that land‌ Mother India‌ which inspired me to grow with every step I took. Each chapter of this epic journey left me feeling more and more empowered and taught me vital lessons which I will never forget. As I returned to Miami, I experienced a reverse culture shock which is still present, but overall, I realized that everyone in the universe is ready to teach us a lesson if we are open and ready to learn it. Light and Love, Santana Iglesias


Israel A Journey of the Holy land with an unexpected destination: Self

Hunter S. Gaylor


I taly, France, Spain, and Greece all share one com-

mon thing, The Mediterranean Sea. This is a remarkable body of water, which still to this day continues to elude the common man’s mind. Now I could bore you with facts and data about the shipping trade and the politics surrounding the economies of maritime trading and the facts and figures surrounding oil commodities and explain that the Mediterranean has a coastline running for approximately 28,600 miles, through several nations consisting of Europe, Africa and Asia. Some of the major nations lying along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea include France, Spain, Croatia, Italy, Egypt, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Algeria, Morocco and Cyprus. However, this ar-

ticle isn’t about that. This is, in my opinion, an informative slash inspirational story of a journey that I ventured on—A journey to a land that is Holy, filled with excitement and education. This was a search for something more in life, a change, a sign, and a relationship. The best way to explain this journey is to simply say that I believe that there is an innate yearning inside all of us to find something more, to grow and to become better is some way. Coming from a very strong conservative Christian home and being raised in the church, it has always been a dream of my to travel to Israel. As an Undergraduate within the Extension School at Harvard University I have taken classes, studied conflict and


have attended a plethora of lectures. I have had the opportunity to meet and speak numerous individuals of position from Israel and the surrounding countries. Of all the meetings and classes attended, what is it about the Holy Land that has people always questioning it? Why the conflict? As a young person in todays ever-changing society, I am always inquisitive. Questioning the way of life and asking that never ending and unanswerable question of “why?” I simply ask my self, Why is it that Israel- a country of approximately 7.3 million people that is less that 70 years old, which is surrounded by enemies that want to utterly and irrevocable destroy it, with little to no natural resources-- produces more start-up companies, and intellectual patents than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, and yes, even the United States? I had to witness this for myself. During the summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to study abroad in Israel, an opportunity that I jumped at. Israel is no bigger than the state of New Hampshire yet, produces more international headline stories that New Hampshire has ever produced throughout every Presidential primary race since the dawn of man combined. This is not putting down New Hampshire; I am just giving you a simple comparison that will help understand how incredible and unexplainable this country is. My journey begins in Tel Aviv, Tel means “city hill.” Now, Tel Aviv is an amazing place with great restaurants, bars, clubs etc., and is the most modern city in Israel comparatively speaking. I would recommend this little bistro called Container; this is a great little bistro that overlooks the old Jaffa port. The Dead Sea, where you can float in, is a sea that is 8.6 times saltier than any ocean, where you can just lay back and float with absolutely nothing around you except the breath taking scenery of rolling mountains and desert. This is a must do item on your journey. During my seven-week study abroad I learned a lot about myself both mentally and physically. Visiting the Holy sights and the old walled city in Jerusalem, which still operates they way one would imagine it would

have Hundreds of years ago, with the few additions of WiFi and the modern accouterments that would lead one to believe that they are in a developed country. Words cannot describe the land, or the sights, you must be able to take it in for yourselves; the land alone, with the miles of dessert and beautiful coastline can take anyone’s breath away. Now I did say earlier that this was a journey, at one point of my trip I was held at gun point with no passport at a Palestinian check point, which was not listed in the Avis rental car map, the experience of negotiating with the local merchants, finding myself in the middle of riots during the flotilla, and living for seven weeks in the city of Ashkelon which is less than a morning run to the Gaza Strip which is known for firing missiles into the city. I will simple focus on the bikini fashion show in at the Sea of Galilee, the paddleball tournament, and the experience of Jerusalem’s old city at night and during Shabbat. Looking back I can definitely see that Israel is truly an incredible land, a land of hope, vision and inspiration. The journey of finding something more was not a road traveled alone. Though I was by myself, half way around the world and out of touch with my family, friends, and my girlfriend. I can say that they were all with me. This may be hard to explain, but distance truly does make the heart grow fonder. If it weren’t for my girlfriend who is truly my best friend, and her prayers for me, and the relationship that we have, I would not have had the experiences that I did. Many ask if you would do it again. My answer is yes, but I would only go with my best friend. It is a land that should be experienced with others. The land of Israel and experience that it presented to me, made me realize that how blessed we are to live in a country like the United States, a country were there are no real problems like the problem that people of Israel face on a daily basis. It allowed me to truly find myself growing into a man that wants to strive for excellence and a man that knows the meaning of respect and sacrifice. The simple act of going over and above for the people you care about, simply because it is the right and honorable thing to do. This may be a deep story for a travel issue, but these are the things that one experiences


when walking were Jesus walked, and exploring a land that has to fight for its survival every waking hour. I encourage everyone; if the opportunity presents itself for you to visit this land—Go! The ability to wonder the old city at midnight, sleep on the roof of a hotel listing to the worlds religions while they pray is simply astonishing. The view from the roof of a building, which I climbed to witness the gathering at the whaling wall, was simply remarkable and spiritually breath taking, something I advise should be experienced with someone special. I can remember the sun falling and darkness covering over the city, I saw a couple of little boys running, I followed them and climbed up the side of this building about 5 stories high. When reaching the top, with the small children, the view of the wall, with hundreds of people praying at sunset literally takes your breath away. These experiences are what the land of Israel has to offer. My hope is that you are inspired to go and experience your journey to help find who you are, to truly become your version of an Urbane Sophisticate.


SOAKING IN THE SUN-KISSED ISLES: JOURNEY OF A LIFETIME V. G. Wudhaus

This is an account of a long journey. A very long journey. A journey that spanned two decades. A journey which commenced in a provincial town on one continent, nay, a sub-continent, and ended in a couple of sun-kissed rocks in an ocean on the other side of the world.


I

n the words of Carl Sandburg, ‘Nothing happens unless first a dream’. And it all started with a dream and a desire to travel. To go to a place far, far away. It became a full-blown obsession when, as a nine year-old, I encountered the phrase the ‘South Seas’ and that magically evocative name Samoa while reading a half-page biography of Robert Louis Stevenson in an abridged version of Treasure Island. A couple of decades later, when circumstances, and indeed the dream to visit this magical isle took further root, things started to move from obsessive dreaming to vigorous planning. Travel guides were purchased and pored over, Polynesian friends from my base in the Land of the Long White Cloud were consulted, tickets were purchased and accommodation was reserved. Stepping off the flight in Faleolo International Airport, and on to the tarmac, a million emotions vied for supremacy, with a deep sense of coming home, the foremost among them. It was going to be two and a half weeks in the two sun-soaked rocks that comprise Samoa (formerly called Western Samoa – the western being a prefix to distinguish these jewels from American Samoa to the south east). First up, a week in the more populous island of Upolu (population approximately 130,000), and then a week in the larger but more sparsely populated island of Savai’i, winding down with a threeday spell back in Upolu before heading back to the bracing winter in New Zealand. As a nation, Samoa could quite simply be defined by its deep faith rooted in Christianity, its incredible beauty and charm, its friendly locals and its verdant virginity. But what these words (or any amount of rhapsodising) can never manage to convey is the extent to which all of these come together in a totally intoxicating blend of richness in culture, simplicity and genuine charm. What the words cannot possibly conjure up is the diversity in terms of the landscape: the beaches, the rock formations, the caves, the blowholes,

the rainforests, the waterfalls and so much more, to the glorious accompaniment of the unique ambience of Polynesia - the glowing sunsets, the shimmering sunrises, the sudden soaring temperatures and the equally sudden roar of swift thunderstorms to settle the temperature to comfortable levels. The oh-so-heart-tugging faded charm of the capital Apia on Upolu includes a local market, the Parliament House, a magnificent museum, that grand dame of Samoan hospitality Aggie Grey’s Hotel (your writer’s place of stay), a charming clock tower and a collection of churches that cast a benevolent eye on the quiet pace of life on the island. Just off Apia, about 4 km (around 2 1/2 miles) by road, stands the noble pile of Vailima, the erstwhile estate of Robert Louis Stevenson, fondly remembered in the magical isles as Tusitala or storyteller - stunning in its majesty, dignified in its bearing. Once the great man’s residence, it now houses a museum and a bookstore. A gentle-ish 40 minute hike up Mt. Vaea, just beside Vailima, takes one to the final resting place of the Scotsman who endeared himself so completely with the locals. Handpicked as his eternal abode, the summit of Mt. Vaea commands sweeping views of Apia and the vast and gentle Pacific beyond. Further on, the island’s lush interiors reveal a landscape rich in verdant ‘eyecandiness’ - the gentle Papapapaitai waterfall, the Papase’ea sliding rocks, the spectacular Lake Lanoto’o and a Baha’i temple perched in splendid near-isolation. Beaches include the stunning Lalomanu with its crystal clear waters, perfect for snorkelling, and several nameless stretches of unsurpassed beauty. Food and drink on the island is varied. Pork is the meat of choice. Local pizzeria, including that splendid institution Georgie’s, serve up enormous helpings of fresh pizza, topped with genuine embracing Polynesian hospitality. The portion sizes of food items in this South Pacific paradise tend to almost always be well off the charts. Local delicacies include preparations made out of taro and breadfruit - fabulous in terms of taste and nutritious


WHAT THE WORDS CANNOT

POSSIBLY CONJURE UP IS THE DIVERSITY IN TERMS OF THE

LANDSCAPE: THE BEACHES,

THE ROCK FORMATIONS, THE

CAVES, THE BLOWHOLES, THE

RAINFORESTS, THE WATERFALLS AND SO MUCH MORE!


in terms of health value – especially in the context of vigorous touring all day. Entertainment of the local variety tends to be wholly refreshing – strong pulsating local percussion (which serves as a summons for a performance), the hypnotic strums of the guitar reminiscent of Hollywood films set in the South Pacific from the 1950s and 1960s, graceful wave-like dancing, vigorous fire dancing (if you are lucky enough to catch it being performed) and cheery, drawn out style of singing, mostly of the choral variety. All these are on offer at various places around the island where life dances to a different beat from what we are normally accustomed to, and where the Relaxation Quotient is sky high. Accommodation options on both islands include hotels, resorts (thankfully far fewer in number, compared to its more touristy neighbour Fiji) and fales or beach huts, and span a spectrum of budgets. The trip over from Upolu to Savai’i is by fer-

ry and takes approximately 1 1/2 hours. The ferry docks at Salelologa in Savai’i which is the main and - applying non-Samoan yardsticks - only town on the island. The writer’s place of stay was Stevenson’s (very highly recommended) at Manase on the island’s eastern coast, with the ‘villas’ opening straight on to the Pacific. The week at Savai’i was spent exploring the island’s most valuable resource - its remoteness and its sense of peace. This sense of remoteness and peace were evident everywhere – in the extraordinary blowholes at Taga (on the south coast), the other-wordly air at Falealupo (on the northwest coast) with its ropeways high above the rainforest (and possibly the remotest school you are likely to see!), the surreal lavafields of Mt. Matavanu on the north coast created by volcanic eruptions that savaged the island over 1906 and 1911, countless waterfalls, each in its own glorious setting and the colourful, bustling market at Salelologa.


On returning to the Land of the Long White Cloud after skipping back across the International Date Line (which ensured that July 7 was lived through twice in this writer’s life and July 23 was skipped entirely, on account of computational peculiarities), out of the deep sense of personal peace arose a series of questions: ‘Is that the end of the twentyyear journey, which culminated in a two and a half week trip? What next? What animates me now?’ Given how much travel had been (and still is) apart of my mental make-up, it only seemed prudent to delve into these questions as a means of exploring what makes me tick. Even after a few years, I do not claim to have a concrete answer to these questions. But it does seem that the Journey is Eternal. The Journey is about a Perennial Quest for something that exists on the Farthest Reaches of the Imagination and seeing if we can chart a path There and in that process become a certain kind of person. Life’s Journey is probably about understanding that person.

Samoa was just one trip – a magical trip to a magical place. But the Journey continues and so does the state of mind that sustains this perennial reaching out ‘to the Farthest Reaches of the Imagination’. There have been trips before Samoa and after. Each has been memorable. Each has helped me understand myself in the context of the wider world, as the part of the intricate pattern of society, the world and, indeed, of life itself. But the journey to Samoa will always be unique because it was more of a pilgrimage – a pilgrimage to a physical location which afforded the opportunity to take a peek into an elaborately constructed sacred mental space that arose out of a child’s soaring imagination – never to be repeated because it was the trip when the Man paid tribute to the Boy from a little provincial town in peninsular India who set him off on this Journey of a Lifetime more than twenty years ago. The author is an ex-IT and business consultant, with a passion for far too many things. He currently works in the field of education and culture. V. G. Wudhaus is his nom de plume.


Marrake Uncovering the Sensuous Red City Sophia Raji


ech to transcribe the magical qualI tityis ofimpossible Marrakech without marring its obscure

charm. Its name originates from the Amazigh words mur (n) akush, meaning “Land of God,” and daubed nonchalantly with variegated hues of tangerine, coral, silver, and aubergine, Marrakech seems indeed an impossibly idyllic setting. Having lived in Morocco the greater part of my life, to this day, I remain mystified by the grandeur of its ubiquitous ochre walls and elusive, dim-lit passageways. A foray to Marrakech is a slow poetic journey into luxuriousness, savory-sweet sublimity, and an opulent marriage of Moroccan and French sensibilities. When the inexhaustible bustle of my native Casablanca becomes too oppressive, I know that an oasis of momentary tranquility awaits me a mere Sudoku pamphlet, restorative nap, and romance novella away (approximately two hours by car for a 220 kilometer trip, in proper metrics). Every time, upon arriving, I am greeted in a similar fashion, as though the ambient consistence were an ironic prelude to yet another whimsically unpredictable experience: the air is warm and arid, the sun’s lurid rays cast deep, uneven shadows on the horizon, and my head spins from the change in scenery. I find a distinct pleasure immersing myself in its hypnotic amalgam of musky fragrances, grimy trails, and swarming souks, and it comes as no surprise that such great minds

as Yves Saint Laurent, Edith Wharton, Winston Churchill, or George Orwell found contentment in its beauty. What makes Marrakech most singular is perhaps its lovingly incongruous mix of old and new. While celebrities flock to the red city in search of palatial interiors, designer boutiques, cocktail bars, Michelin-starred restaurants, couture caftans, and sybaritic nightlife, Marrakech remains deeply entrenched in rich, traditional Moroccan culture, the primary culprit for its ineffable exoticism. Marrakech was founded by the Almoravids in 1062 before being conquered by the High Atlas Berber clan Almohads. Under Sultan Yacoub el Mansour Marrakech saw such monuments as the city gates Bab Agnaou and the Kasbah Mosque shape its southern precincts. Not far from Bab Agnaou are lush courtyards with rosemary abound enclosing the Saadien Tombs, majestic buildings made with whittled cedar and ornate plaster that house the graves of sixteenth and seventeenth century Saadien sultans. About five kilometers west of town, at the gates of the Atlas Mountains, is the Menara, with its verdant orchards, olive groves, and pavilion. At the heart of the city lies the Medina, the city’s old quarter, where restless vendors and labyrinthine souks so complex they have never been fully charted bewilder even the hardiest tourists. The Medina bursts with myriad souks, each rife with remarkable craftsmanship, silver


silverware, golden henna dyes, Mauritanian leather bags, hand-spun textiles, artisanal lathes, ceramic vases, pungent tanneries, colorful pharmacies, herbs and spices, Berber, Yacout, or Tuareg kilims and rugs, lanterns, embroidered pillows, inlaid mirrors, wooden chests, fruits and vegetables, and all sorts of imaginable commodities. While some are more traditional in essence, such as on Rue Souk Semarine, with its jellabawearing throngs, veiled women, and mule carts, and the Souk des Babouches which sells camel-hide footwear, others such as the Souk Cherifia are full of designers who give a modern spin to Andalusian motifs. The Medina also contains the ancient Jewish Quarter, known as Mellah, with its moving ruins of the late sixteenth century Palace El-Badi. Nearby is the Bahia Palace on Rue Riad Zitoun, a public harem with customary decorative precision built in fin de siècle by Sultan Mohamed IV’s grand vizier to accommodate his four wives and twenty-four envious concubines. The center of the Medina encloses a gem, the quintessential main market Place Jemaa el-Fna. It contains over 10,600 souks organized according to merchandise type, and delivers a chaotically carnivalesque experience after dusk. With its monkey handlers, brash merchants, unstoppable traffic, lurid stalls, Gnawa musicians, disparate goods, drummers, acrobats, snake charmers, fortunetellers, henna painters, medicine hawkers, and the best orange juice in the world, Jemaa el-Fna feels like a vast playfield for interminable bargains.


The northern precincts of the Medina house the Ben Youssef Medersa, a fourteenth century Koranic school with religious verses carved in stucco, cedar panels, and elaborate mozaics known as zellij. The prominent Koutoubia Mosque, with its characteristic lancet-windowed minaret, illuminates the neighboring area, and a call to prayer may be heard. In close proximity lies a fabled landmark, the Mamounia Hotel on Avenue Bab Jdid. Originally opened in 1923, the Mamounia was renovated by the architectural genius Jacques Garcia, whose signature style is very much based in his French heritage, with its bold reds and lush chandeliers. Having previously designed the Hotel Costes in Paris and Shanghai, Fouquet’s in Paris, La Réserve in Geneva or even Métropole in Monaco, Garcia refurbished the Mamounia to effuse a thoroughly traditional, Moroccan style. The Mamounia has four restaurants with cuisine from around the world: L’Italien, Le Français, Le Marocain, and Le Pavillion de la Piscine. There are also five bars: Le Bar Marocain, Le Bar Italien, Le Bar Churchill, Le Bar de la Piscine, and Le Menzeh Glacier & Patisserie. Le Bar Churchill is a sumptuous and elegant homage to its most fervent adorer, and the entire premises, with its profuse roses and fountains, exudes an imperial feel of the luxurious Arabian Nights epoch. Finally, northwest of the Me-

It comes as no surprise that such great minds as Yves Saint Laurent, Edith Wharton, Winston Churchill, or George Orwell found contentment in its beauty.

dina is Gueliz, or the Ville Nouvelle. This French section of the town comprises hints of Old World colonial styles and contemporary Western influences. The Hivernage district is located southwest of Gueliz and is one of the trendier quarters, with several hotels and the imposing Royal Theater and Congress Palaces. The Islamic architecture and mountainous landscape is perfectly complemented with fashionable boutiques on Rue de la Liberté selling plush tunics and natural cosmetics such as kohl and cochineal and the Jardins Majorelle, designed in 1920 by the painter Jacques Majorelle. Beautiful palms, yucca, lily ponds, tropical flowers, and cactuses are freshly discernible. I find the gardens to be the most peaceful place in the entire city, with their cobalt-blue walls and the twelve acres of prolific green foliage, which, for a time, served as Yves Saint Laurent’s backyard. A cultural and artistic haven, Marrakech is an unremitting inspiration to Moroccans and foreigners alike. The Maison de la Photographie is a gallery built in a restored fondouk, or traditional inn, which documents Berber life in the Medina. With a collection of 4,500 rare photographs of Jewish Berbers and glass plate assemblages dating from 1862, the gallery provides an exceptionally insightful outlook of Moroccan life through time. Dar Si Said Museum of Moroccan Arts and Crafts exposes carved doors from High Atlas kasbahs. Likewise, the Islamic Art Museum has


Laurent’s personal collection of textiles, along with Persian astrolabes and Syrian copper work. There are also modern galleries, such as the David Bloch Gallery in the Ville Nouvelle, which promotes upand-coming Moroccan artists and exhibits contemporary pieces, street art, and graffiti. Marrakech is also lauded for its yearly organization of the FIFM (Festival International du Film de Marrakech), one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world. The most enthralling part of visiting Marrakech is indulging in pampering rites inherent to its hospitable atmosphere. A day in a hammam consists of entering a steam room, being lathered in black Moroccan beldi soap, scrubbed and exfoliated with a kissa glove, massaged with Argan oil- a precious and coveted elixir of life produced solely in Morocco, coated in ghassoul clay, and rinsed in hot water, all of which takes place with a delicious mint tea in hand. Gourmets and epicureans will find their gastronomic paradise with the rich flavors and textures of Moroccan cuisine. Jemaa el-Fna offers a palatable immersion with its spice merchants, bowls of snails in saffron baths, stewed meats, and savory chicken tagine with caramelized pumpkin.

Oranges, clementines, and dates are particularly flavorful, and such delicacies as spice cake and carrot soup with ginger and cumin inherit their taste in their subtle, audacious mix of aromas. Perhaps one of the better-known Moroccan meals is a raisin couscous- cooked granule of semolinadoused in harissa sauce, and the equally famous dessert Pastilla rightfully deserves its caloric notoriety. It consists of a flaky pastry with cooked pigeon and finely chopped pistachios and almonds topped with cinnamon and powdered sugar. Quince with Argan oil and deep-fried sole are also readily found in the Medina. The Place de Foucauld is filled with caleches that take tourists out for a very quaint, open-air visit of the city. There is a wild pleasure in finding solace by losing myself in the effusion of unique tastes and smells that constitute a foreign city, amid the alternating monuments and distant palm trees, the luxury resorts and dilapidated red fortress walls‌ its regal gardens, sunny clime, camels, temperate winters, strong gusts of wind, blue and gold sunset atop the snowy tips of the Atlas Mountains‌ a timeless site of treasures, tranquility and supreme beauty.


Good Vibrations From Humble Beginnings to Festival Stages.

LynDsAy hALL


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s an opening act on the main stage for world renowned DJ’s Afrojack and Tiesto at the 2011 Electric Daisy Carnival in Orlando, FL, up-and-comer DJ Crespo entertained the ears of an empty field. By the end of his set, however, 4,000 people danced and cheered for the unknown act whose talents were now flooding through the speakers. Within the last few years DJ Crespo has grown from playing small house parties, stuffed behind the beer kegs in his college town of Tallahassee, FL, to now opening up for some of the largest acts in the industry, such as Benny Benassi and Avicii, among others. “DJing is now a full-fledged addiction. It started as something fun, as a hobby in my dorm room. To come where it has, well, I never thought I would get here. Something I loved as a hobby is now my personality; it has become a part of me. I live, eat, breathe DJing,” Crespo said. Daniel Crespo, 23, was introduced to music at an early age, spawning from his mother’s diverse heritage and musical tastes. Growing up, his fingers were introduced to a piano and, by his freshman

year of college, they were introduced to DJ equipment, discovering he preferred the act of spinning music. His first taste of the nightlife scene was when he worked as a promoter, bringing his musical supporters to venues as a mechanism for convincing the owners to allow him to showcase his talents. “People started recognizing me,” Crespo reminisced. “I got recognition from the owner of 20/20 nightclub, the biggest club in Tallahassee, and they asked me if I wanted to be a resident DJ.” Weekend after weekend, as his music blasted through the stereo systems, more people paid close attention to his talents until Ian Ruzal-Bron, a fellow college student from another promotional company, asked Crespo to open for headlining DJ Steve Aoki. What is now “second nature” and what he considers to be the thing he looks forward to the most, was once an incredibly daunting task. “It was nerve wracking opening up for Aoki. Before I went on, I was thinking, ‘I don’t know if I want to do this,’” Crespo remembers. “I had never played for a crowd as big as [that one], but we killed it.” Crespo attributes part of his musical success


to keeping himself limitless in terms of the genres of music included in his mixes, appreciative of being introduced to various styles at a young age. Style similar to his can be found in DJs like ATrak, Chuckie, Afrojack and Daft Punk, seamlessly blending the mainstream electronic music with songs from a mixture and variety of other genres. “I’m not afraid to play any type of music. Most DJs limit themselves to one genre, but I grew up listening to everything,” Crespo said. “I’ll play classic rock and hip-hop. My main focus is electronic, but I like to throw in that cool flavor that people never expect.” Crespo, humbled in nature, accredits best friend and fellow DJ, Ryan Killinger (DJ RBK), as one of his greatest influences, saying that Killinger was the first to teach him how to mix. Beyond his friends’ impact, Crespo finds inspiration in the crowd. “I would go to clubs and see how music would move people. I was fascinated by how a DJ could move an entire dance floor. It’s a natural high, getting people to dance,” Crespo said. With memories of playing in front of sold-out crowds and of a well-known DJ, Avicii, showering him in patron while he played his set, along with an endless list of new milestones he would like to meet – such as becoming a huge DJ in the festival circuit, being featured on Beatport and producing his own records – Crespo looks forward to indulging in his passion for music. “The DJ scene has been saturated because the DJ is the rock star of our generation, but to get where big DJs are at you have to have a passion and love to do it. Don’t do it for the money, for girls, for champagne – do it because you love it,” Crespo advises. “I love every minute of it, and hopefully one day I’ll have people opening up for me.”


LiFestyLe

Musical Ramblings From A NYC Buyer. KAteLyn gLAss

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buy shit for a living. As a chick growing up as a lover of any-item-one-can-spend-moneyon, naturally it was my dream job. Of course, my mother didn’t want me to become Rachel Green, but without going into the gnar details, it turns out there is much more to it than that. I spend my days scouring the inter-web for inspiration only to promote items I myself can’t afford—unless I were to stop paying all my bills for the rest of my life. You can glorify what I do and chalk it up to “trendsetting,” but really I’m out there every day finding the beauty in brands that hopefully none of the other 238,943,279 competitor sites, which spring up over night, have found first. Maybe it’s because I am not accountable for reaching a certain dollar amount every month, that I can enjoy music without thinking about others. I’m not obligated to listen to tunes every second of every minute of every day, but I put on headphones every chance I get because the words speak to me and get me going.

On the contrary from what I do for a living every day, music isn’t about trends that will come and go, it’s about the meaning it brings that will change lives. I grew up in a hard hittin’ town in Connecticut jamming to Bruce while pops grilled kosher chicken and ma whipped up a fresh to death salad in the kitchen. I still wear dark eyeliner to make me look like a raccoon because when Billy Joe speaks, he’s speaking to me. I like particular shit because when it comes on I get chills down mine my spine and sure, I’ll stay in the club Westway for a tad longer. I have been told I have the attention span of a gnat, which pretty much sums up all the different types of jams that get me off. It doesn’t matter where you come from, your major in school. Music doesn’t care if you listen to hardcore hip-hop one minute, or rock out to what’s on radio the next. It’s all just beats and lyrics in its purest form. So, even once your travels are just a memory in the dusk, you’ll still have this playlist to come back to. You might not remember who or what you were journeying with, the duds you were wearing, or the spots you frequented. You won’t be able to pinpoint why, but you’ll remember that at a certain moment in your life you heard these tracks (hopefully not for the first time) and something clicked.


{Click Throu Billy Joel – For the Longest Time If this song doesn’t rekindle your love affair with Billy, and make your feet start keeping a beat immediately, stop reading now and go pick up the latest issue of hightimes.

Firehorse – Our Hearts

Dave Matthews Band – Ants Marching

The “I swear I’m not a fucking hipster” right side of my brain is pumping. I was introduced to Firehorse when Leah Seigel performed the aforementioned “Such a Fool” with Boog and an entire bottle of Stolichnaya. Long story short, I look up to this bird,- not only because I’m 5’2”. If you don’t want to take my work that this song is the shiz, just ask our Editor-in-Chief, he came upon listening to this track. Download it here.

Like I said, I grew up in Connecticut. If it wasn’t published somewhere that I grew up on DMB and it changed my life forever, I’d be lying to you all.

Dada Life – Kick Out the Epic Motherfucker

Brooklyn Boogaloo – Such a Fool

For two years I worked at a jazz club in the city. I was introduced to the world’s greatest, and although they didn’t piss on underage chicks, they still knocked my socks off with the music that came out of their holes. Snag the full album on iTunes. Yeah, they’re that legit.

The one and only Nasty Nav is my go to for all things house/techno/electronic. I was fortunate enough to live with the messy kid for a semester, and he never fails to inspire when you least expect it. Essentially I chose this out of many because, who doesn’t like a bunch of boys with a bunch of bananas. Call me immature, I dare you. But really life’s a vacation, go out and party.


ugh To Listen} Girl Talk- That’s Right

Directions of use: Press play, chug one 5 hour energy, and swallow with one caffeine pill. Enjoy your vacation, kiddies.

Relient K – Be My Escape

I’ll tap into my roots here. For the past few years I’ve listened to this song only when I’ve needed to. I can find no time truer, then blasting this as I write my first ever article that’s intention is to be published. As with any relationship I’ve ever been in, I use the shit out of it, and maybe that’s the reason it sticks with me. I’ll keep it on lock, and only whip it out on special occasions. Like vacation.

Jay-Z - Glory In some odd twist of events, you #menswear folk (big ups to Fashion Editor, Justin Bridges of tuckedstyle.com) are the reason I’m writing this at all. Plus, who doesn’t love a song a father writes about his newborn? Listen here

Toto – Africa One of my college roommates/pledge sisters/best friend till I ride or die said our senior year of college that if she ever opened a bar, every night she would play this song last no matter what. Coincidence it’s the last track on their album as well? Everyone leaves happy, and this song makes you belt out the words louder than if you were in the basement of Sing Sing on second avenue.

Rihanna ft. Calvin Harris – We Found Love I don’t care if your #menswear eyes are burning from reading this, but I’m a #whitegirl and I live for this jock jam. Word on the street is after this tune, yellow diamonds actually were in the sky. Thug life.


coVer FeAture


the mAsterminD behinD

nightcLub

FeAturing Vip host DAnA LebeL eDitoriAL LynDsAy hALL

photogrAphy Anthony AnDerson


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rriving to the nightclub venue roughly fourteen minutes past his 12:00 p.m. call time, even on a national holiday Dave Grutman, 37 - evidently rushed, but kept together in his pressed black suit has his Blackberry locked in its handheld position. Eagerly thumbing away with brash keystrokes, Grutman only breaks his momentum a brisk couple seconds to firmly shake the hand of the photographer, before returning his gaze to the matter appearing on his cell phone’s screen. After bouncing a short series of questions off his publicist, she offers up a quick draw response to Grutman, which seemingly relieves his mind, and his phone rests easily, still in his hand but by his side, for a couple minutes – until, of course, it begins chiming its melodious ringtone. “I see the top of his head more often than I see his face,” his publicist quips as Grutman excuses himself to the opposite side of the 18,000 square foot watering hole. Grutman is the creator of “magic,” as he so eloquently puts it, with his company Miami Marketing Group (MMG). The previous evening, one of the nightclubs fashioned under his management, LIV, residing in the recently remodeled and widely famed FONTAINEBLEAU MIAMI BEACH hotel, created magic with rapper T.I. During this daylight there is no evidence of the disheveled state the venue was surely in just a mere six hours before: the white, leather sofas and pristine marble bars were scrubbed and polished, and the classic winding staircase encompassing the DJ booth had been swept free of debris. As it appears, the only telltale sign of last night’s seven straight hours of jarring entertainment and vodka drinks surely sloshing out the cups from the hands of their inebriated owners is the single feather-like confetti softly drifting to the dance floor. LIV has been a dominant force in nightlife entertainment; always topping the ‘best of…’ lists in its category and indisputably staring most every Miami nightclub venue

in the eye before flashing them their impeccable middle finger. The final week of 2011 had no mercy on the evening, with renowned DJs such as Laidback Luke and Sebastian Ingrosso casting their beautifully pieced musical drops into the eardrums of the at-capacity establishment. “It’s an experience,” Grutman said, sitting at one of the metallic sofas on the top floor beneath the lit roof that resembles a rocky texture. “You never know what is going to happen here, or who’s going to make a guest performance. All of a sudden at three in the morning, the LIV robot pops up and gets you going, or he may be joined by his friend Big Bird,” Grutman said, noting the array of stuffed and enthusiastic characters that often momentarily replace the standard arousing and talented onstage dancers.


Open most every night of the week, sparing only two days for imperative rest, crowds venture into the exquisitely crafted and chandelier-clad FONTAINEBLEAU MIAMI BEACH to gain access into this widely-celebrated yet immensely exclusive nightclub, that Grutman jokingly describes as “the Catalina wine mixer” and claims it “is really on its own,” even compared to the notorious Las Vegas nightclubs. The hype is an obvious one after a vast amount of media rumors arose regarding celebrities casting blame on the nightclub for their deteriorating marriages and ‘irreconcilable differences’ (“it’s so important because people read about the brand and it’s repetitive,” Grutman says of their frequent tabloid mentions.) No stranger to all the gossip talk surrounding LIV is rapper Lil Wayne, who Grutman claims is at LIV, “nearly every Sunday – he treats this place like his own home.”


With a rousing line-up of DJs night after night and spontaneous celebrity sightings, along with streams of confetti catapulting into the air and a stimulating lightshow costing far into the million-dollar range, Grutman describes his nightly goal in one assured action: “to dominate.” With a roll of her eyes, Grutman’s publicist details the management style of the rather intimidating man, as he smiles and nods along: “His goal when he walks into LIV is to make people feel like they are VIP. The difference is that a lot of nightclubs hire talent and they’re hired help, but Dave treats them like they’re friends, artists, rockstars and legends. [He] gives them the experience that keeps them coming back for more.” It can certainly be said that while Dana

Lebel, 24, experienced a small amount of prestige in his hometown of Westbrook, Maine (“I was homecoming king four years in a row. I was a big fish in a small pond,” Lebel noted), he probably never anticipated this to be his backyard: the Miami Beach apartment hotspot, the Flamingo South Beach, offers up a sublime view of the Downtown Miami skyline positioned just on the opposite side of the peaceful bay. Palm trees circle the pool behind him, and the miniature beach is complete with bikini-clad beauties tanning in the winter sun. Lebel, an ashy blonde with light eyes, charming looks that could be recognized from his previous Abercrombie and Fitch modeling days, is part owner of the promotion team O.D. Miami and a VIP host for LIV nightclub and its lounge-style neighbor Arkadia, also under the management of MMG and the ownership of the FONTAINEBLEAU MIAMI BEACH. “I remember one time going to [a South Beach club], sitting outside the VIP and asking ‘what do I have to do to get in there?’” Lebel recalls of his first few experiences after moving to Miami three years ago from his humble hometown. “It was pretty intimidating. I knew everyone was looking inside the VIP, all the girls dancing around, and [everyone was] staring inside at the important people.” The career move to promoter and VIP host for a line-up of Miami Beach clubs owned by the Opium Group was an obvious one for Lebel, as the opportunity was essentially placed rather neatly on his inviting lap. A friend, paying mind to his potential in the industry, introduced Lebel to the business. “Now I realize there’s such a broad range of success that is crazy and here you get to see it and live in it a little bit,” Lebel details of this lifestyle. “You see people that drive Ferraris and Lamborghinis and live in mansions, and I’ve been to them, so I see the comparison. I’m not even close to where I want to be or where I could be.”


iF

eVery

hAD A

FerrAri

person

FerrAri,

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WouLDn’t

be speciAL. iF Anyone couLD get in to LiV, it WouLDn’t be thAt speciAL


In a facetious tone, Lebel describes the living arrangement he has found himself immersed in as, “normal,” an adjective most obviously a misrepresentation of the truth. Noting his bedtime is 5 a.m., Dana counts the amount of sleeping hours he habitually gets in a day: eight, as required, except his days commonly begin around most others lunchtime. “My lifestyle is pretty different from a 9-5. I can pretty much do whatever I want; recover during the day and party at night,” Lebel describes of his Miami-standard and rather aberrant lifestyle. “I try to use my nights off to make myself normal; just stay in and be quiet. I cherish a night in.” During his afternoon photo shoot, it could hardly be told that Lebel had been up until 7:00 a.m. that morning – fitted black suit, and a confidence that was picked up quite easily from the photographer, it could also hardly be told that Lebel was a Maine native, apart from his pale-in-comparison complexion. “I need to be me from Maine three years ago and see me now: we stand up on stage and pour girls shots from bottles into their mouths – that sounds not normal, but it’s become normal for me now, which is the problem.” After some time with the Opium Group, Lebel made the switch to LIV, which forces Lebel to wine and dine clients’ shelving out money in the thousand dollars and upwards range. A night at LIV for VIP hosts and their high-spending clients is as unanticipated as the guest appearances Grutman formally mentioned (“champagne showers, dancing on the DJ booth, sitting next to celebrities – we’ve done it all,” Lebel reminisced), but like all the others astonished first-time visitors of this nightclub, Lebel’s jaw dropped just the same. “My first reaction – everyone’s first reaction – is awe. Most people are speechless when they walk in there; it’s overwhelming.” But, according to Lebel, it is the exclusivity, the cascade of beautiful people and the sheer luxurious vibrations radiating off this place that seemingly keeps LIV breathing fire down the neck of their competitors. “If every person had a Ferrari, a Ferrari wouldn’t be special. If anyone could get in to LIV, it wouldn’t be that special,” Lebel claims.


Along with this exclusivity factor comes the accused stigma of superficiality. “It’s the unspoken rule: there’s places that let everyone in and there’s places that do not,” Lebel explains. With a dress code that requires men to wear suit jackets outside of the office and women to wear heals that add nearly half of a foot to their height, accompanied by a “who-you-know” or “how-much-you-spend” policy abided by the doormen, it is no wonder LIV is about 60% locals (according to Grutman) who are familiar with these basic rules. “If you’re not dressed properly or look a certain type, you’ll have a hard time getting in,” Lebel advises. “It used to bother me a lot more when I first started, but you get

used to it. It’s my job.” While evening guests may be floored upon entrance, the memory of a night at LIV will not quickly dissipate, as festive souvenirs are dispersed at large as to hit a fond note whilst digging through your memory boxes later on. Giving a nod to these eclectic souvenirs, Grutman notes that guests may be spotted departing with the neon lit glow sticks, custom designed plastic ware sunglasses, or child’s playesque DJ hand puppets (“I really think hand puppets are the future,” Grutman acknowledges.) According to Grutman’s publicist, “there’s not a single person that’s walks in here that didn’t have a great time it’s always the best night of their life.”


Fashion

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Fashionista’s

Travel Guide Words & Model

Brittany Michèle Lynch PhotograPhy

Jordan Donnelly

hether you are jet setting off to a warm exotic island, traveling to a wintry wonderland, or taking a weekend trip to an exciting major city, it is fashionably wise to bring versatile clothing while on vacation. Versatility to me means clothing that can double as both day and evening wear, clothing that can be dressed up for a night out or dressed down for a casual stroll on the beach. I, for one, am guilty on all counts of over-packing on short trips. My philosophy

W

was to always travel with all my options readily available. This lead to unwanted stress and additional costs for exceeding the 50 lb. weight limit. Giving extra money to the airlines was certainly not the perfect start to a vacation. Packing does not have to be so cumbersome. I have created some simple tips for all of you ladies when it comes to planning your vacation. Following these five rules before your trip will keep you looking glamorous while on vacation, and happy once you return home and have minimal unpacking and laundry to do.


Tip #1

Your clothing should be multi-functional. Items that can be worn during the day, but jazzed up at night are perfect for your vacation. To follow this tip, pack essentials and classics: your favorite pair of jeans of any style, a simple dress (whether it be an LBD or another timeless piece), and your favorite blazer (your go-to outer-wear that can be worn with jeans, skirts, or over a dress). Each of these items are perfect for mixing and matching and can be worn endless ways.

Tip #2

If you plan on traveling to a cold weather destination, always remember, layering is essential! Think less of bringing your heaviest coats, which can cause overcrowding in your suitcase; rather, opt for multiple layers to keep you warm and toasty. For example, if you plan a northern trip, you would want to layer in this order: a tank top, long sleeve shirt, sweater, multi-purpose coat and then a scarf to top it off!

Tip #3

Find a pair of sunglasses that compliment your face. Wherever you go, there is a good chance of sun during the day. Sunglasses are the perfect accessory to all daytime looks because they add pizzazz to your fabulous ensemble, protect your eyes from the sun and prevent premature wrinkles!

Cinthia Rowley Cobalt Blue Dress


Tip #4

ALWAYS accessorize. Accessories can take an outfit from drab to glam in a split second. Pack earrings of various lengths, a few statement necklaces, bangles and cocktail rings. One of my favorite accessories that can take your outfit from day to night is a bold clutch! Try not to limit your accessories; they will transform an outfit instantaneously, leaving you with a fresh new look! Plus, they don’t add too many extra pounds to your luggage.

Tip #5

When choosing shoes, think practicality. What will you wear most? Will your trip require a lot of walking? Will your vacation include evenings out? If you are anything like me, comfort is your main goal. For warm weather, pack flats and sandals; for cold weather, don’t forget your stylish boots. Make sure all of these options can be worn with the majority of outfits you pack. My obvious choice for the evening is a great pair of nude pumps because of their versatility. Nude pumps will go with most nighttime ensembles and give the allusion of longer legs. That in itself is a must-have for your traveling necessities!

8JMTFUFS4IFFS.BYJ4LJSUJO5BVQFt1IPUP$BSMP$MFSJDJ


BOLIVIA Richard Forensky


Staring out the window of a Land Cruiser, my eyes fixated on the landscape of blinding white expanse that lay before our racing vehicle. In every direction the surreal terrain which we drove upon resembled a Salvador Dali painting as the blended color of the sky and ground concealed the horizon. Resting claim to being the world’s largest salt flat, the hypnotic experience of driving over Salar de Uyuni was most unique—where an ancient lake bed left behind a 12,000 foot salt crust spanning several thousand square miles. As a native Floridian who grew up in a state boasting a low elevated terrain with relatively uniform climatic conditions, traveling throughout Bolivia was a thrilling experience for me. The country is home to some of the most unique environments and landscapes within the Western hemisphere, ranging from the mighty snowcapped peaks of the Andes to the tropical

Amazonian lowland. The nation possesses an ethnic makeup, rich history, unique customs, delicious cuisine, and a linguistic variation unlike many of its fellow Latin American neighbors. Additionally, being that I’m a student who enjoys traveling on a budget, few places can bring about such a great bargain as Bolivia did. While one can argue how airline prices have skyrocketed the last few years, , the cheap costs for accommodations, eating meals at favorite local hangouts, and low-fare transporta-


ion between the cities and towns make up for the costs of getting to the country. In total, it would typically be well below the norm of European or America standards for most vacations. My three weeks time in Bolivia was predominately spent traveling on the rugged Altiplano, the high altitude region of the Andes; which spans across the southwest of the country. Renown for its extreme conditions, this area is geographically situated at an average of over12,000 feet, hence the reason why it holds the title of being the Latin American version of Tibet. The windswept plains that sit under the shadow of the highest mountain peaks are dotted with remarkable features such as high altitude lagoons, geysers, canyons, and active volcanoes. Herds of llamas and alpacas can be seen grazing all over the plateau expanses while the Andean condor watches from overhead. The variety of natural colors and rock formations found throughout the region leaves one wondering if you’ve traveled on another planet. Lago de Titicaca, the world’s highest navigable lake in terms of commercial activity, sits at the frontier of neighboring Peru. In the backdrop of this lake that is regarded for it’s sacred presence in the Inca religious life lies the Cordillera Real and icy Andean peaks and glaciers towering at over 20,000 feet. Here it is possible to visit villages along the lake shore and tiny islands that were once the location for Inca ceremonies and rituals. Bolivia is home to numerous protected areas such as Sajama National Park, location of the countries highest peak and once-active volcano Nevado Sajama. Traveling south along the Andean crest marking the Bolivian and Chilean border as I did, one will encounter the famous ‘Southwest Circuit’ that contains lagoons brilliantly colored by sediments, minerals, and algae. Included on the typical three day tours done by off-road vehicles are visitations to Laguna Verde, Laguna Colorada, several natural hot springs that you can bathe in,

steam vents, and other geothermal features. And when you thought flamingoes were only found in tropical and sunny vacation spots, visiting the region will teach you otherwise as you drive by nesting colonies of the species that inhabits this remote corner of South America. While the alien scenery throughout the Bolivian Altiplano will leave anyone in awe, another attraction are the colonial and historical towns that trace their foundations back to the time of colonization by the Spaniards. These would include architecturally attractive Sucre and the legendary mining town of Potosi, two compact yet amazing destinations for any visitor. As for the latter of these Unesco heritage centers, Potosi and the surrounding mines are the location of the silver supply that the Spanish Empire acquired during their years of conquest and rule though the Western hemisphere. In Bolivia, you can partake in some traditionally off-beaten activities such as touring one of the silver mines in Cerro Rico that gave Potosi


Lago de Titicaca


the historical fame in being one of the richest cities in the world at the height of colonial rule. Upon visitation, you will be given the proper clothes and equipment before descending through the complex network of underground tunnels. Additional gifts such as dynamite and gallon-sized bags of coca leaves were most appreciated by the working miners, most of who spend day after day in such tough conditions for many years in hopes of striking it rich. Regarded as Bolivia’s most beautiful city by most locals, the judicial capital of Sucre is a real showpiece when it comes to the whitewashed buildings and ornate churches. A wealth of museums, landmarks, cafes, and traditional markets scattered throughout the city are the means behind a few days worth of exploration. Within close proximity of both cities lie trekking and biking opportunities in mountain areas that contain indigenous villages. On these trips, a visitor can immerse themselves in the rural lifestyle by arranging a home-stay with a Bolivian family with the help of a locally based travel agency. A world away from the rural countryside lays the bustling administrative city of La Paz at an elevation of almost 12,000 feet. Now that will take your breath away, literally! One of the most interesting metropolitan areas that I’ve ever been to, La Paz is the highest world capital and physically sprawled out amongst the towering sides of a valley as the city center lies in the heart of it all. On days that pollution and cloud levels are low, the backdrop of the second-highest peak in Bolivia clearly watches over the daily craziness the city endures as approximately 2.5 million inhabitants go about their business. Government buildings and cathedrals dating back from the colonial era are scattered across the center while inhabitants of the outlying communities occupy themselves in daily life of the developing world. Rich entrepreneurs and dirt-poor beggars brush aside each other in the streets. Venturing into eateries packed with locals eating delicious chicken and soup dishes will land you a content and full stomach for under a dollar. Hustlers and vendors sell their products in the streets with the most interesting items being found at the famous Mercado de Hechiceria, or otherwise known as the Witches’ Market. A place where goods are often purchased for carrying out Aymara rituals and spiritual ceremonies, vendors will sell the most unusual items from

animal parts to herbal remedies. Within a few blocks distance lies the Coca Museum, which displays the history of a leaf that has gained an infamous reputation for its converted state into cocaine through the harvesting of its base chemicals and material. While the illicit drug gets a terrible reputation, the leaf has been used for centuries by the natives to combat illness and sickness as well as in playing a sacred role in religious rites. As any visitor travels throughout the country, they will see bags of it sold that are ready to be chewed one-by-one. Once you have purchased a bag for combating altitude sickness, it’s time to hit the slopes and endure one of the most insane mountain biking trips ever to be done on the renowned ‘World’s Most Dangerous Road’! Lying on a stretch between the routes that connect La Paz to the sub- tropical town of Coroico, this road has had a tragic history of hundreds of vehicles tumbling off the cliff-side at sheer heights up to several hundred meters. And what better than to allow the brave-hearted and most adventurous to bike down while dodging waterfalls and pickup trucks along the way! One thing I learned when biking sixty kilometers of the road is that the elevation drop is just as great as the plunge over the side, as a few hours journey will take you from a bitter cold mountainside prone to hail storms down to the tropical lowlands which feed into the Amazon basin. Once you are in the sub-tropical zone, the amount of fauna and flora species that claim home to this area will be most noticeable as tropical birds fly overhead and exotic flowers hydrate in clouds of mist. Further down in elevation lies home to the largest rainforest on the planet and several national parks that Bolivia has established to help protect large swathes of land from poachers and to encourage eco-tourism. For those who are interested in traveling here, two of the more famous of protected areas include Madidi National Park and Noel Kempff Mercado National Park. In these places and throughout the entirely Amazonian basin, it’s most possible to visit remote indigenous villages well off the radar and to see jungle animals that most people only get to see in wildlife documentaries. When roads are too muddy in the rainy season to transverse, it’s time to hitch a ride with cargo ships that plow up and downstream snaking rivers.


As investment continues in Bolivia’s infrastructure, it has become much easier to visit this difficult environment with once-dirt runways at department airports being paved and tour agencies in La Paz able to contact and arrange week-long jungle stays at eco-friendly camps, airplane or boat fare included. Though the country of Bolivia might not be the first place of choice that most would think of for spending their vacation holiday, it’s truly a fascinating country that displays a wealth of exotic environments, an interesting history, and intriguing variance of cultures,

languages, and cuisines. Decently priced hostels and hotels can be found in any large city or often-visited town. The local eateries offer a delicious variety of hearty Andean dishes as well as a chance to get a glimpse of listening to how the natives go about in their daily affairs. Finally, though the route of travel can be a bit crazy at times, there is always some way between one point to another, and that is an adventure in itself! I’ll leave this all now to any reader willing to discover this land for themselves!


A TOURIST’S GUIDE

ON HOW TO BE A TRAVELER


SARENA BAHAD


your stereotypical tourist. For the sake M eet of story-telling purposes, let’s call her Hol-

ly. Holly Day. Holly is going on vacation! The flight is booked, the hotel is secured and she’s taken a whole week off from work. She lands at her destination and settles into her 5-star hotel. It’s been a long flight, so you can find her by the pool sipping away on fanciful cocktails, mingling with other hotel guests. Next morning is the first day of her tours – so much to see here! Several sightseeing points, museums, galleries, the works! Holly is a clever one and prebooked her tours well before she arrived; her agenda is jam-packed with activities where she’ll be going from one point to the next in her comfy airconditioned tour bus. She brought her heavy-duty camera with her too and is thrilled about all the incredible shots she’ll get on this trip. “Excuse me sir, can you take a picture of me please? Be sure to get that in the background. Yes, that right there. Thank you.” Cheeeeeese. New Facebook profile picture, done. It’s been a beautiful trip! She saw everything that she had planned to and met some lovely fellow “travelers” in her tour groups. She didn’t get a chance to wander through the city much or meet very many locals though, but it doesn’t matter, she successfully saw everything that she had wanted to. Checklist, complete! It was important that Holly see all these sites because who knows when or if she’ll ever come back here. At least now she can say she’s been here, she’s seen & done everything the guide books told her to, and she’s got the pictures to prove it. The above, of course, is the description of an extreme tourist: the one who treats each

day abroad as a big to-do list. Thankfully, this hyperbole isn’t the norm, but this sort of travel mentality does indeed exist. In no way am I condemning the want to do some sightseeing while abroad, I’m just advocating that it shouldn’t be the priority on the travel agenda. Traveling allows us to immerse ourselves in new cultures, allowing us to experience different traditions and lifestyles beyond our own. It would be a shame to travel to foreign lands and not take the time to sincerely blend into the local culture. Richer appreciation for a place comes from human interaction. You will learn far more about the country and its culture from the elderly lady in the market compared to what the guidebooks could ever teach you. To clarify, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t read books and do research for a trip, just do it all before you travel and in doing so, have it serve as background context. Be sure to learn a few words in the local language before you arrive and at least know the basics of the country including political leaders, major cities, currency, etc. But besides that, allow yourself to travel freely, to see the things that you see, instead of seeing things that you came to see. The stereotypical tourist is not looking for new discovery; they are looking for the already discovered that they need to see with their own eyes. The traveler, on the other hand, gets a thrill from discovering something on their own, knowing that far fewer people have seen it, or perhaps no one else has seen it at all. From the locals’ perspective, when you come across a traveler who is sincere in their curiosity about the country, people are more than happy to talk to you and tell you tips and stories about their land.


This interaction is beautiful as it enriches both the local’s and the traveler’s life in a positive way. People are inherently good; I really believe that. Some think I’m naïve in thinking so, but experience after experience across the globe has confirmed my belief and trust in my fellow neighbor. When I travel, I travel with an open heart and open agenda. I know of things that I would like to do, but I don’t restrict myself to things that I must get done. I have a habit of also telling myself, “it doesn’t matter if I don’t get to do item XYZ, I’ll be back here again some day.” That’s the dreamer in me talking, but the planner in me will actually make it happen. So you might be wondering, who the hell I am and where I come off being such a travel authority. Well first off, I don’t claim to be a travel guru at all, I’m just a twenty-something that’s all too curious about the world around me. My travel adventure began just a little over a year ago once I had graduated university. I had started working at the ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky, where the first sparkles of my career

in advertising were beginning to shine. I’ve always known that a businesswoman lifestyle was for me, but there I was, at twenty years old, taking my initial steps into Corporate America and it all felt a little too rushed. I was one of those “I put myself through university” students, always juggling at least two jobs and involving myself in a plethora of school activities while also attempting a social life. While in university, I never had the money to do a study abroad, but lived vicariously through my Honors College peers who got the opportunity to explore foreign lands. I had always wanted to travel independently but various hurdles were always in the way. Call it fate, call it destiny, but a few months into my job at Crispin, I got presented with the opportunity to circumnavigate the globe. On a program called Semester at Sea, I traveled throughout countries including Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, India, Singapore, Vietnam, China, and Taiwan. It was the experience of a lifetime.


A combination of exploring new lands, trying new cuisines, learning new languages and meeting incredible people along the way for months on end was a sure way to begin my (healthy) addiction to travel. After my initial voyage, I continued to travel throughout all of Central America, finally making my way back to Miami, Florida (my home at the time) to get back to the “real world.” After quitting my job and spending the bulk of my savings on travel, I came back with the open opportunity to take any leap of faith I desired. Wanting to get back into the advertising industry, I landed an opportunity working at leading social video distribution company, Sharethrough, based in San Francisco. The year 2011 was continuing to be quite the adventure. The biggest challenge that comes with being bitten by the travel bug is finding the appropriate balance between work life and travel dreams. Ideally, I’d want to secure an opportunity where my travel efforts go hand-in-hand with my career endeavors, and I feel I am on that track. In the past year alone, I traveled to over twenty countries, across all the continents* (except Antarctica), making sincere friendships with people across the globe from all different walks of life. Traveling is an activity we should all actively make time for – not only to see all the incredible sights this world has to offer, but also to get to know our fellow man in other lands. Traveling has made

me a deeper thinker, a better listener, and best of all, a bigger dreamer. Please feel free to contact me at sarena@bahadvoice.com if you’d like more information on Semester at Sea, if you have any questions, or if you’d just like to share some of your travel stories – always happy to connect with fellow explorers. The world is our oyster people! Dive in.


Jamaica

A Little Piece of Heaven Jahbari McBean-Willis

T

he breeze, the island vibes, the smell that reminded me of so many childhood memories, an ambiance that ultimately begs the question “why did you ever leave?” Although I’ve never tried personally, the Jamaican experience is biochemically comparable to ecstasy…. You become strung out on its sheer ambiance, the rush, and lively feeling it provides. The atmosphere is almost startling, both wild and sweet, yet as years pass, the island remains a refreshing oasis from the everyday mundane hustle and bustle of the “dream chasing” American city life; everything is simple, everything’s Irie, “everything is everything”. As we arrived on the island my brother, mother, sister, and I split up, and respectively so, in order to cover as much of the terrain as possible. With a very limited time span, we saw fit to employ the tactic “divide and conquer” as it was the best way to see all of our friends and family during our short stay. Not to mention, each location in Jamaica

provides its own special property and what better way to see and experience them all than to have a “Link”- a person who knows the best spots, and even better people, functioning as my Tour Guide. My brother and I took Kingston, the city, and home of reggae, dancehall, as well as the tastiest chicken patties known to man. The “concrete jungle” lifestyle of Kingston is similar yet different in comparison to many other cities, it is home to the worlds craziest cab drivers, street vendors selling items ranging from coconuts to designer jeans, kids and adults alike playing football (soccer) in any location with a bit of wiggle room, and a myriad of other vices that one may find themselves in search of. Anything you want, you will find here, and not only will items be well crafted, but less demanding on one’s wallet as well. We started in Kingston in order to see my brother’s father as well as old time friends we grew up with. On a less personal note,


we dually sought refuge the city in order to stock up on materials to take back with us, materials such as clothes, electronics, etc. that would otherwise cost a fortune back in the States. Our source spot would most likely be the well renowned Half Way Tree Square, but we also went to Pavilion Mall, Sovereign Shopping Centre, and mainly street corner vendors deeper in the city of Kingston, there I learned, after my visit to Coronation Market, that it was actually in the heart of the concrete jungle that one can get the freshest fruits and vegetables for the best bargain. The second part of our family vacation saw us on what can be called the more “tourist” side o’ the island-- Montego Bay, Ocho Rios, Negril----Other than Hedonism, Couples, Sandals, and Breezes, the more popular resorts on the Island’s coast, there are many other hotels/resorts that offer a mixture of paradise-like beaches and scenery, pleasurable entertainment, and a delicious collection of island treats and savory dishes. Let’s start the break down in Negril, one of the most exciting places for travelers seeking a breathtaking coastline and vivid nightlife. The Caves is an all inclusive resort that has the set up of a Beach- House on the cliff. The Caves in Negril is a little taste of paradise. From the gorgeous cliffs, caves, and views to the amazing staff and personal touch. If you’re looking for a quiet, romantic, private, unique resort with amazing food (hard to believe for an all-inclusive resort) an attentive staff and by far the best view in the world,

check out this place. Catch A Fallin Star, not only is the name catchy and unique, the “homestyle” customer service from the staff and the overall “Villa” like setup of the resort offers a refreshing alternative to the beach front hotel. All-inclusive packages are recommended while staying at this picturesque property filled with vintage cottages, beautiful gardens, romantic rooms, and private lounging areas hidden in every corner. In Negril also make sure to check out Rondel Village, Grand Pineapple Beach Negril, and Coral Seas are also great alternatives to the overpopulated resorts yet still located in Jamaica’s vacation hotspot. Montego Bay is the number 1 tourist destination for groups, especially for family vacations, weddings and company retreats. Not only can you find the most popular resorts and beachfront hotels here, Montego Bay is known more for the adventurous tours, hikes, and trails of some of Jamaica’s most treasured nature preservations including the Jungle River Tubing Safari, Jamaica ATV Off Road Adventure to Sandy Bay, Jeep Safari Adventure Tour from Montego Bay, Montego Bay Dune Buggy Adventure, Jamaica Sky Explorer and Optional Zip line Tour, Jamaica Bobsledding Tour, not to mention a highly recommended visit to the Croydon Plantation. Aside from these adventurous excursions, Montego Bay is the island’s tourism capital and arguably one of the premier Caribbean resort destinations. Ocho Rios, known to the natives as “Ochi” offers the white sands and clear water expected of a Caribbean island, complete with


waterfalls, rainforests, springs and cultural accents that tourists can take back to their homeland as a token of special memories. With great attractions including Dunn’s River Falls, White River, the mystical Fern Gully, and the Coyaba Gardens, Ocho Rios is one of Jamaica’s most beautiful locations for travelers. Portland is also a hidden gem in Jamaica’s treasure chest, I dare even mention much due to its secrecy, filled with greenery and rural scenes, Portland often disguises its very attractive coastline, numerous fresh water rivers and waterfalls, and delectable selection of mouth watering restaurants; home of the Annual Portland Jerk Festival. Portland offers an enchanting vacation experience. Port Antonio was renowned as the world’s

banana capital. Some claim that Jamaica’s tourism was born here when banana boats returning from Boston, U.S.A. brought the first tourists to our shores. Glistening waterfalls, many of which are small secret gems, such as Scatter Waterfalls and Nanny Waterfalls; romantic coves with beautiful beaches not to mention the Blue Lagoon; the magical Rio Grande River weaving its way through the deep valley and rolling hillsides covered with lush tropical forests. In conclusion if you are stuck in your travel plans and looking for an island getaway… Jamaica is your destination. From its illustrious beaches, unique yet bewildering dishes, and friendly familial like atmosphere; Jamaica provides the many amenities often described as “a little piece of heaven.”


poLitics

M M

I

I T

A R

G I

N O

Edgar Rincon

S

ince the early years of this country’s history, immigration has played a pivotal role in its identity. Whether talking about the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the opening of Ellis Island in 1892, or as recent as the LIFE Act Amnesty of 2000, the U.S. government has had to deal with several waves of immigrants from all over the globe. As the 2012 Presidential election edges closer, the front-runners of the Republican Party, as well as the current incumbent president, have all made headlines with their own opinions and distinct positions regarding the immigration issue. Since more than 80% percent of undocumented immigrants are from Latin America and the majority of these are from Mexico, the immigration issue will play a crucial role for all candi-

dates. This holds to be especially true given the fact that Latinos are not only the fastest growing demographic of voters, but are also in line to become the majority within the next fifty years, according the U.S. census bureau. During one of the last Republican debates of 2011, the front-runners made it clear that they felt the key to bringing immigration under control is to secure the border in the American southwest. Mitt Romney, who after winning the Iowa and New Hampshire caucuses, has stated that his remedy to the immigration problem is to “give the illegal immigrants time to get their papers in order, return to their countries, and go to the back of the line like everyone else.” Ron Paul’s position consisted of worries that building a wall on the border with


Mexico would threaten American’s civil liberties since it would lead to National ID cards and possibly serve as a fence that would keep Americans in as well as undocumented migrants out. President Obama has been a supporter of the DREAM Act that would grant residency to those who are undocumented but have spent at least 2 years at an American university or served in the military with an honorable discharge. Neither the right-wing candidates nor the Commander In Chief are addressing the true causes of immigration from the southern border and as a result will continue to pay lip service to the American people with little to no results. Among the prominent reasons why Mexicans (who account for over 80% of illegal immigration) illegally migrate to the United States is due to the need for economic opportunities. The passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is responsible for much of Mexico’s lack of employment. Supporters state that this has led to economic growth since regulations were curbed and allowed business to soar between the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Nothing could be further from the truth. NAFTA privatized the profits of trade while socializing the costs and losses. It resulted in the bankruptcy of millions of Mexican farmers since it allowed for Mexico to important American meat, which is heavily subsidized by the U.S. government. This has greatly increased the number of unemployed in rural Mexico and therefore illegal immigration as well. NAFTA also led to a near complete deindustrialization of the American manufacturing base, once the cornerstone of the American middle class. According to Global Economic Inter-

section, since NAFTA’s implementation in 1994, roughly 29 million Americans lost their jobs due to outsourcing. Cheap markets in Mexico made it attractive for U.S. investors to dramatically increase profits by severely cutting wages/costs. It should also be noted that “free-trade” is among the few things that has bi-partisan support in Washington since George H. Bush was the first to advocate it while his successor Bill Clinton signed it into law. In addition to economic treaties, illegal immigration is fueled by the United States’ 50- year old War On Drugs. It has helped make Mexico one of the most dangerous nations today with over 40 thousand civilians dead in 2011. Not only do U.S. laws strictly forbid any kind of reform of it’s drug laws, the fact that Americans consume most of Mexico’s drug exports makes illegal immigration a near certainty for the future. Perhaps Pat Paulsen was right to blame the Native Americans for today’s immigration “problem.” For it was they who failed to convey to the European settlers some very important ideas that once made their civilization great. Basic human principles such as community, compassion, and justice once guided their decisions and seems to be absent when debating the issue of immigration. Globalization, the rise of the Eastern markets, and information technology are rapidly connecting Americans to the outside world. So in order to prosper in these changing times, U.S. policy must work with newly arrived migrants rather than against them.


poLitics

m o c l e e W To

ARIZONA SHOW US YOUR PAPERS Danny Turkel a place in the middle of the desert T There’s where everything stops. All movement ceas-

es. The rocks, beaten into submission by centuries of harsh desert winds, look on wearily as though part of a silent jury. The temperature climaxes around 110 degrees Fahrenheit, distorting the surrounding air and giving the whole scene an otherworldly feels. The place is a stretch of road in Arizona lying between Tucson and Phoenix. Cars inch along endlessly; the line trailing for miles. For most of the time, the reason for the slowdown remains a mystery. Only until the cars climb the last ridge do their passengers see what has been holding them back. Jutting out of the desert scrub is an indescribably hideous structure. Half-tunnel, half-loading dock, the construct is used to funnel travelers into the maw of the Arizona border patrol. We encountered this artificial Bermuda triangle during the summer of 2011 on the tail end of a cross-country trip from Statesboro, Georgia to Pomona, California, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. We had already logged 34 hours driving

across the southern United States, 12 of those in Texas alone. As we left Tucson and headed back into the scant landscape that seemed to be taken right out of a motel’s art collection, the cars in front slowed to an almost unbearable crawl. For two hours we crept along, not sure what was causing the holdup. As our vehicle crested the hill, the desert gave way to a sprawling black complex busy with border patrol agents and drug dogs, all under the gaze of no less than 30 cameras. A bulky sign proclaiming, “Traffic Checkpoint” sat atop the framework. Upon reaching the front of the line, a brusque police officer came to the window and began to interrogate us as if his time on Earth was being cut short. It should be noted that the ethnic composition of the car was not the most convenient at the time. Between the three passengers there was exactly one Mexican (albeit with a heavy Southern accent), one Puerto Rican and half a Cuban. The officer asked about our destination, our reason for the trip (one of my good friends


was moving to LA for his new job), the contents of the stack of suitcases in the backseat and whether or not he should be concerned about anything we had in the car. There was a particular moment in the line of questioning when I realized that this was not an ordinary traffic stop. When the policeman looked into the backseat to inspect our suitcases, he also caught a glimpse of our Mexican friend. Faster than I’ve ever seen anyone react, he immediately asked if we were American citizens and demanded our identification. Because of the newly enacted Arizona immigration law, SB 1070, the officer was well within his rights to question our nationalities simply because we may have looked foreign. Satisfied, he waved us through, but just then I realized that we had been officially welcomed into a new America. This newly minted country, placed atop its predecessor, is one in which we are not citizens. We are suspects. It’s a strange thing to have your identity as an American questioned by your own government. I admit that it’s extremely unsettling. It’s true that the glint and glamor of America has worn off some and there are those in the public sphere who decry this so-called decline. Ironically, it is those very people who are most to blame for the phenomenon. A large part of that waning can be attributed to a growing distrust within the American government in regards to its own citizens. Not since the McCarthy trials of the 1950s has our government treated its people as potential enemies. The evidence is growing by the day. The Patriot Act, SB 1070, SOPA and the NDAA are all pieces of legislation that aim to restrict the liberty of Americans. The Bill of Rights is quickly becoming a thing of the past. SOPA threatens to destroy freedom of expression on the Internet. Many of our

elected officials would like to entrench religion into our laws. Because of the NDAA, Americans can be imprisoned indefinitely without trial. The right to assembly in the modern day is a joke, illustrated by the immense levels of brutality at the hands of police across the country in reaction to the Occupy movement. As the government becomes more and more polarized, we as citizens, through no fault of our own, have become a threat to those who seek to consolidate power. Yes, the rising influence of corporate power is partly at fault. Yes, the rapidly increasing militarization of the police is a contributing factor. But at the heart of the problem is a deep-seated fear within the government of a change to the status quo. It isn’t enough to camp out in a park and hold signs condemning the elites. For real progress to be made, coherent actions must be taken by the majority of Americans. This country can return to the level of esteem that it once boasted; it’s possible. But it will only happen if our generation realizes that in a very short amount of time, we will be our own leaders. S tarting this decade, we will begin to take control of our country. We can either continue to toe the line of those in power today and allow our democracy to continue to erode away from under us, or we can make a conscious decision to find a new path. If we wait to begin improving our situation, it will be too late. Change needs to begin now. Occupy brought the issues to the foreground. Now it is time to use that momentum to remake America into the shining beacon it once was. E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one.


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