University of Washington Travel Magazine
V O Y A G E
ISSUE 1 â€¢ SPRING 2016
photo by ashley lim Cover photo by Ian Bellows
Letter from the Editor “Share Your Adventure” Photo Competition
8 12 14 22 24
Sponsored by BlackRapid
Summer Festivals Around the World by Lynsey Liu On Shaky Ground by Julia Sanders A New Hope? by Chetanya Robinson As the Seasons Change by Kaia D’Albora Beyond the Wall by Omar AlSughayer Rio City Guide by Hanna Dudsic
Rialto by Daniel Green
Postholing in Paradise by Lucas Boland Turning Back to Island Time by Jack Russillo Thank You
visit our website
Ian Bellows, Kaia D’Albora, Omar AlSughayer, Jack Russillo
Voyageuw.weebly.com to see our online version, or email us at email@example.com
Sponsored by Back 40 Outfitters
find us at
https://www.facebook.com/VoyageUW/ #Voyage_UW @Voyage_UW
Letter from the editor: I suppose I should be completely honest with you. I’m scrambling to write this note in the final hour before our print deadline. While I sincerely agree that this is perhaps the worst stage of procrastination I’ve ever yet reached, I realize that I subconsciously, yet purposely, left this piece last. That’s because before this last hour, I couldn’t quite believe that what began as a far-fetched and ambitious daydream, would actually take form to become what you now hold in your hands. Who would have known that a flurry of spontaneous Facebook posts, meeting of strangers and half eaten box of brownies later, would be the start of our journey as the Voyage team? Composed of mostly freshmen, our team has merged our love and passion for adventure, photography and storytelling to create Voyage UW - UW’s only printed travel magazine that highlights student exploration from abroad and in the PNW. Created by and for those of us who can’t sit still, it was made for the star trails-chasing photo enthusiasts, post-study abroad-blues returnees, wander lusters who’ve never stepped off the continent, seniors with a growing travel penny jar, third culture kids who miss home, and hopefully in some small way - for you. Our first issue takes you from the tranquility of Orcas Islands, to the heights of the Himalayas, and down the winding corridors of Rio de Janeiro. We want to transport you from your comfort zone in the U-district bubble, and hope to inspire you to cure your itchy feet by immersing yourself in foreign places and tongues. I’ve always been a photographer, but never an Editor-in-Chief. With absolutely no prior experience in starting a magazine, nonetheless even running one, it goes without saying that I jumped straight off the diving board and into the deep end with Voyage. And while it’s undoubtedly been an intense climb up this incredibly steep learning curve, I’m humbled that the strangers, who now make up the Voyage team, were crazy enough to join me on this insane journey of creating Issue 1. From late night layout edits, to parkouring on Rialto beach and negative-something swims in the Pacific, I can only imagine what future shenanigans we’ll all get into. I can’t forget to also thank all of our sponsors who graciously loaned us gear and supported us, and to everyone who pitched in to make printing possible. Bon voyage,
Editor in Chief
Lead Copy Editor
liliana rasmussen Artist
Lead Layout Editor
our team lucas boland Photo Editor
jason fontana Photo Editor
hanna dudsic Writer
voyag e uw
"Share your adventure" Photo Competition
sponsored by BlackRapid
By Julien Lamour
By Brandon Thepvongsa
By Andrew Tat
“Iceland is every photographer’s dream. However, while it offers long sunrises and sunsets, you can’t forget the cold and strong winds. This shot was taken a year ago on a road trip through Iceland with two friends. This was my second shot and I was very lucky to have a small timeslot where the weather finally opened up and a bit of blue sky and nice clouds emerged.”
“A little while ago, I took a weekend trip up to the Vancouver region with some good friends who are also into photography. I had been to the city before, but truly fell in love with it over that weekend. There’s so much life right outside the city like at the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver where this photo was taken.”
“After an overnight tramp through forests of the Waitakere Ranges lies Piha Beach, one of New Zealand’s most gorgeous surf beaches. Piha Beach features black sand due to its volcanic origin, and has hosted a number of surfing competitions.”
2 3 This quarterâ€™s photo competition was generously sponsored by BlackRapid, a Seattle-based premier camera accessory brand. Their gear is designed to improve the speed, comfort, and efficiency of consumer and professional photographers. Be sure to check them out at www.BlackRapid.com.
voyag e uw
By Lynsey Liu
Summer Festivals Around the World 6
PERU FESTIVAL OF THE SUN JUNE 24
Known as Inti Raymi in a native Peruvian language, this Incan religious ceremony honors the sun god Inti and celebrates the winter solstice. Throughout the Andes, celebrations with music, food, and colorful costumes attract both locals and international tourists.
SWEDEN MIDSUMMER FESTIVAL JUNE 24
This vibrant event celebrates the first day of summer in Scandanavia. In Sweden, people often begin the day by picking flowers and making wreaths to place on the maypole, followed by traditional ring dances and lively evening entertainment.
KENYA MARALAL CAMEL DERBY AUGUST
Every year, the small hillside town of Maralal hosts its renowned camel derby. While national champions head to Maralal to compete, amateurs are welcome to compete in lowerstakes races, as well as activities like donkey rides and sand cycling.
WHITE NIGHTS FESTIVAL MAY to JULY
From June to July, the northern city of St. Petersburg is bathed in almost 24-hour sunlight. Under this eternal sun, the White Nights Festival hosts performances from the Mariinsky Theatre along with other famous guests. Most popular is the Scarlet Sails show, featuring fireworks and festivities to celebrate the end of the school year.
JAPAN FIREWORKS FESTIVAL JULY 23
Held annually over the Sumida River in Tokyo, this fireworks festival is unlike any other. Contributions from rival pyrotechnic groups create spectacular displays of many different colors, patterns, and shapes. Each group competes to create the most impressive show.
voyag e uw
ON SHAKY GROUND By Julia Sanders Photography by Ian Bellows
International travel essay
Three months into an eight-month expedition in Nepal, Ian Bellows experienced what most travelers and climbers would consider a nightmare-an earthquake. Killing over 8,000 people and injuring more than 21,000, the 7.8 magnitude Gorkha earthquake destroyed centuries-old UNESCO World Heritage Sites, flattened entire villages and also triggered an avalanche on Mount Everest that killed 21, making April 25, 2015 the deadliest day in the mountain’s history. However, instead of panicking or attempting to return to the United States, Bellows stayed put to study the country’s response to the natural disaster. For the next two months, Bellows offered his services as a photographer and another set of hands to teams from various organizations. As a junior at the UW currently studying Geography and International Studies, Bellows said that there’s no better way to understand what is and what isn’t working in a developing country than to observe how a crisis is dealt with. While the earthquake has left adverse consequences that will affect Nepal for years to come, Bellows told us that he was grateful to have been able to help out on the ground while he had the chance.
From Seattle to Everest Last year, Bellows was selected as the first Explorer in Residence for the Cascade Leadership Challenge (CLC). With this opportunity, he traveled to Nepal to attempt an ascent of Mount Everest and also had an opportunity to gather field notes for his International Studies thesis, “The Politics of Expedition Mountaineering”. Within three months into his eight-month stay, he was joined by the rest of the CLC team in Nepal. The team was composed of 31 individuals hailing from a diverse range of backgrounds, experiences and countries around the world. Their goal? Five members, including Bellows, planned to reach Everest Advanced Base Camp (ABC) at 21,300 feet. While the trip would span for only 21 days, the summit attempt would last more than 45. After several days of shopping, packing, briefings and orientation, the team set out on the sole existing road that crosses the Nepal/China border. After a week of travel, the team finally arrived at base camp. Over the next few days, the team spent time acclimating to the altitude as well
as meeting the other 17 teams, 600 guides, climbers, and staff at base camp (including many of the world’s top climbers), exploring the surrounding hills, visiting a puja at Rongbuck Monastery, the highest in the world, and also paying respects at the climber’s memorial. From base camp, they moved onward and upward to ABC, surrounded by towering mountains the entire ascent, where at 21,500 feet, Bellows reached his personal summit. “From ABC the summit seems so close, but everyone continuing higher knew they would need all of their skill and judgment as well as some luck to have any chance of making it to the top,” Bellows said. But before they even got the chance to test their luck, the earthquake struck and ended any hope at summiting. The team had to figure out how to get back to Kathmandu–quickly. With the China/Nepal border closed, the team had to make their way overland to Lhasa, where Bellows eventually paid someone cash for a plane ticket in a hotel lobby. All Himalayan climbing in Tibet was cancelled by voyag e uw
the authorities, so Bellows watched as the climbing season imploded and dejected mountaineers streamed down from Everest.
the government of Nepal was paralyzed, and the international response was disorganized at best and misinformed at worst.
When Bellows finally reached Kathmandu, he Despite this, Bellows witnessed some success. Many immediately reached out to the many organizations impactful aid interventions were organized not by with which he had previously agencies and organizations that worked. Over the next two specialize in disaster relief but by "The accomplishments of months, he would spend most private citizens with deep local days travelling for hours outside these people showed not knowledge. These efforts were Kathmandu without the security often organized over social media only great resiliency in of guaranteed assistance or independent NGOs reaching and weathering hundreds of the face of trauma and out to their pre-existing grassroots aftershocks. networks of donors, organizers, tragedy, but the and beneficiaries. While doing all he could to help, possibility of a new he noted that “as a development “Amidst unfathomable development paradigm" destruction, I was constantly scholar, [he’s] generally critical of the ability of the international amazed what good ‘ordinary’ development system of people managed to accomplish international multilateral agencies, I/NGOs, and with shoestring budgets, a few connections, and an other global actors to improve the lives of people abundance of creativity, collaborative spirit, and in developing countries in meaningful and durable confidence they could make a difference,” Bellows ways.” said. “The accomplishments of these people showed not only great resiliency in the face of trauma and And perhaps for good reason. In the aftermath of tragedy, but the possibility of a new development the earthquake, his fears were largely confirmed; paradigm.”
Since returning, Bellows has maintained contact with the people he met and worked with during his time in Nepal, continually inspiring him to continue his studies with purpose. The Cascade Leadership Community Bellows’ partner organization, CLC, aims to make more experiences such as the Everest expedition a reality for Seattle youth. Through training programs, such as the Explorer in Residence program, in which Bellows was the first participant, CLC empowers youth to pursue outdoor adventure. Bellows told us that “the idea is to train youth expedition leaders to run the trips. When they first get there, they’re being trained, but by the time they’re exiting high school and heading to college, they’re the ones leading. It’s a comprehensive training continuum.” He emphasizes that there’s a place for everyone and that they’re looking for people who are willing to put in the time. “But, we’re also totally down for people just to come out and play with us and hang out. We allow people to really pick and choose what they want to be involved in.” For UW students hoping to get involved with CLC, check them out at http://cascadechallenge.org/
WHEN I VISITED Luke Skywalker's house in the summer of 2014, I was hit with a couple surprises. The surrounding town, called Matmata, didn’t much resemble the desert planet of Tatooine. Also, it seemed barely better off economically than that science fiction homestead it portrayed. If anything gave that away, it was the kids, who took one look at me wandering around the streets of their town and promptly held out their hands asking for money. No Hollywood set designer needed to dream up Luke’s house in A New Hope. Instead, they found a traditional Berber house in the desert and built their set around it. It’s still there for those who care to travel to Tunisia, the slim North African nation with a coastline that reaches out to touch Italy and just barely misses. It’s the producer of hundreds of thousands of tons of olive oil, Hannibal and his elephants, Saint Augustine, the Arab Spring revolutions, and, well, Star Wars sets. I approached Matmata in a nondescript black car serving as a shared taxi, along with some young Tunisian men. The engine struggled at times, and at the slightest bump the driver crawled almost to a halt. When my companions passed around a water bottle and offered me some, I realized it was the first time in more than a month that I’d seen anyone drink anything during the day. Eid al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan, had arrived. For the past month, I’d been watching with awe as my Arabic teachers, along with most other Tunisians, gave up on food and water for all the daylight hours of the month’s long, hot summer days. Now it was coming to a close, and everyone was celebrating the final breaking of the fast with their families. Soon after leaving the small, dusty oasis town that served
12 International travel essay
A New hope? by Chetanya Robinson
as our starting point, the landscape had given way to desert. On either side of the road stretched light brown hills and a sparse sprinkling of scrubby plants, with the occasional tree. It was rocky and dusty, with layers of earth and soil exposed in collapsed slopes. It may not have been far from the Sahara desert, but it reminded me more of parts of Eastern Washington than the dunes of North Africa. The town of Matmata announced itself in large Roman and Arabic letters perched on the top of a hill, Hollywoodstyle. Tonight, I would see Matmata’s underground pit houses–and sleep in one. It was these houses that summoned the Star Wars crew here. At some point–it’s unknown exactly when–the Berber people built houses out of deep pits dug in the ground. The pits are connected by passageways, with rooms carved into their sides. Being underground, they shelter from the heat of summer and the cold of winter. Some of the pit houses were converted into hostels. Mine was lit by a single light bulb, and the bed was made of solid rock. Before I settled down, I set out to explore a bit. Outside I met Hassan, a large man with a van and an eagerness to drive me anywhere for a fee. I wanted to see El Haddej, an abandoned village of similar pit houses. On the way, Hassan mentioned that while he often took tourists to the Star Wars sets, he’d never seen the films and had no idea what they were about. Because the houses were built underground, El Haddej was invisible at first. As I stepped out of the van, following where Hassan had directed me toward on the rocky hills, it was almost dusk. There was no one in sight.
I approached the abandoned pit houses. They looked like wide, deep lunar craters. The wind whistled eerily as it travelled through the hollows in the ground. There was no sign of previous habitation in the houses. Many of the interiors were partially covered in collapsing plaster. In some places, the ground, once mud, bore characteristic cracks. Before 1967, when flooding in the village forced the Berber inhabitants to seek help miles away, the remarkable pit houses in Matmata and El Haddej were unknown to the world. El Haddej also starred in a movie. Against the town’s hilly backdrop, the cast of Monty Python’s Life of Brian were crucified, and a character played by Eric Idle broke out in song, imploring his companions in death to “always look on the bright side of life.” This message was hard to square with the abandoned town, which felt more creepy than cheery. I suddenly couldn’t stop thinking about what had happened here. Had anyone drowned in the floods? It was sad to think of the townspeople packing up their things and leaving. If the dried mud on the ground was any indication, many of them never came back. On the drive back to Matmata, Hassan was doing his best to sell me on deals for excursions the next day. The hard economic reality of the town began to sink in. Hassan himself was an example, of course–just one of many Tunisians I met scrambling for work, whether as drivers, guides, merchants, or professors. That evening, I wandered around the town and looked down on the pit houses. It was the reason I was here, but it was kind of absurd. I was in the middle of an underdeveloped town in an economically depressed country, peering down into abandoned houses, a total outsider exploring people’s town for no reason other than my own curiosity.
Luke Skywalker’s family home– the place he desperately wanted to leave–was the last place in Matmata that I visited. It’s hardly different from any of the other troglodyte houses, and was apparently chosen for filming just because it was larger than the others. Today, it’s a budget hostel called the Hotel Sidi Driss. Inside the hostel doors lay the central courtyard and the room where Luke ate with his family, now painted white, with orange plastic sets from the later filming of Attack of the Clones. As I stepped in to take a peek around, one of the owners showed me the Star Wars paraphernalia on the walls. A poster of Darth Vader, postcards, Star Wars trading cards. As I snapped some shots, he said, in a sardonic tone of voice, “Take your pictures.” The next day, I wanted to leave, but there was no public transportation, and the shared taxis weren’t running. Eventually, Hassan kindly called a driver he knew, who drove me out of town for a fee, and after getting lost in the next town for a spell, I was finally on a shared taxi hurtling toward a Saharan oasis town called Douz. On the way, the taxi crossed over a dried salt lake, so blindingly white that the passengers drew curtains over the windows. This was yet another Star Wars set; somewhere here, Luke Skywalker was filmed contemplating two suns setting, while a swelling, wistful score voiced his longing to leave the backwater town he grew up in, and finally pursue his dreams. Did people in Matmata feel the same way? It was only later that I wish I’d asked. It seemed like an insensitive question at the time–but I still wonder.
Of course, this wasn’t lost on the locals. As I walked around the next day, several kids held out their hands and matter-of-factly asked for money. “Un dinar”–one dinar, they said. Unlike other kids I met in Tunisia, they didn’t seem the least bit curious to see a Westerner like me. Despite the fact that Tunisia has a high unemployment rate, I never encountered begging like this anywhere else in the country.
voyag e uw
Tourists stand atop the massive Cliffs of Moher in County Clare, Ireland. The cliffs reach an impressive 700 feet tall and sit on the west coast of the island near the coastal city of Galway.
14 International photo essay
AS THE SEASONS CHANGE By Kaia D’Albora
hree months living across the pond, and what can I say I’ve learned? First: Take your camera with you because there’s always the slim, unfortunate chance that it may get stolen out of your locked Airbnb on New Year’s Eve in Barcelona. Secondly, and more importantly: Look. Really, truly look. Because that’s how the most wonderful details in each moment become realized. It may be on a Sunday morning stroll through the bustling streets of Copenhagen when you lock eyes with a little Frenchie as you munch on the best cinnamon roll you’ve had in years. Or maybe the quick glance up at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Budapest when you notice the ornate details of the teal and gold bell towers. Whatever or wherever it is, keep your eyes and heart open or you’ll miss it. When you’re traveling, everything is fresh. The people, the experiences, the language (potentially); being surrounded by all this newness is overwhelming. It forces you to step out of your comfort zone, to reach into the depths of yourself and pull out something unfamiliar. For me, traveling brought out a sense of contentment. The days when I had no plans and just wandered the streets of Prague, or Galway, or Berlin, are the days I remember best. Often, I would be overcome by the overwhelming beauty and couldn’t help but smile as I explored. That’s when these photos were snapped. Some were taken while I was calm and knew exactly the shot I was going to get. But others were taken in frantic haste as I internally screamed, “Okay get your camera out. Is it on the right settings? Yes? Okay, shoot! You’re going to miss it!” and then looked back in the viewfinder to see that, yes, I was lucky this time. In the past three months I’ve visited fourteen cities and ten countries. Impressive? Perhaps. But condensing my experiences into a laundry list rattled off to impress friends and family doesn’t quite do justice to the appreciation and gratefulness I feel. These photos capture only a few of the highlights of my trip. Others are only saved in memory. I hope you enjoy my story.
voyag e uw
Visitors relax at one of the many fountains at the Tuileries Garden. The garden sits in front of Le Louvre in the heart of Paris, alongside the Seine–the main river that runs through the city. I remember that this day was absolutely freezing, to the point where I almost couldn’t take this photo because my fingers were so unbelievably cold. A woman transports two stools on her bike through the streets of Copenhagen, Denmark. I saw her walking past and almost didn’t pull out my camera as I was too busy appreciating how clever her mode of transportation was. It wasn’t until she was almost out of sight that I realized how beautiful the scene was and snagged a shot right before she crossed the street.
16 International photo essay
The Hungarian Parliament Building stands tall against the night. As soon as the sun sets, the Parliament Building lights up in spectacular fashion. Starting with the tallest parts, the building takes a few minutes to fully light up. A couple takes a break on a bench in the middle of the Impressionist exhibit in the Musée d’Orsay. The museum is housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a large railway station that was a bustling hub at the end of the 19th century. Fun fact: My second favorite piece of art that I saw while abroad sits in the middle of the photo: Chrysanthemums, by Claude Monet.
voyag e uw
Taken on the flight back from a weekend trip to Berlin. I spotted a handful of colorful apartment buildings located just outside the city center of Budapest, Hungary that stood out from the older, bleaker buildings. Birds fly over one of the many colorful apartment buildings in Prague, Czech Republic. This was taken our first morning in the city. Snow covered roofs and roads all around the city. The Charles Bridge drenched in snow was one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen.
Home of The Kiss, painted by Austrian symbolist Gustav Klimt and my favorite piece of art I saw while abroad, the Belvedere Palace in Vienna, Austria is now used as a national museum.
voyag e uw
Admirers gather around one of the large clocks in the Musée d’Orsay. The clock faces the city of Paris where the Basilica, Sacre Coeur is visible. We arrived in Rome at the end of the Christmas festivities where heart shaped balloons formed an arch in Piazza Navona. Even though it was cold and overcast, the piazza was very lively; tourists were taking pictures with the famous obelisk and riding the old carousel in the middle of the square. The Duomo in Milan, Italy– which differs completely from the Duomo in Florence–reflects gothic architecture and looks as though it should be seen in Paris. After climbing over one hundred steps up a narrow, rickety staircase, we found ourselves on the rooftop of the cathedral with a sweeping view of the famous shopping district and the rest of the city.
August 23rd, 2015 Nanjing, China
But I could be exaggerating Nanjing’s peacefulness a bit, because of where I visited before: Shanghai, the capital of “I’m busy, move faster or get out of my way” in the world of the countries that I’ve visited. Its river and air are polluted, everyone walks quickly, and even crossing the road is a mess. But when you escape the busy main streets, you find refuge in the narrow streets of old neighborhoods. Where old men are constantly playing Mahjong and dogs wiggle their tails around freely in the city where no one seems to have accepted leashes. Nothing in Shanghai, though, was lovelier than its hawkers. Food vendors, augurs, and junksellers all write a story about the city that no pamphlet could ever tell. My love for hawkers comes for one reason: they are the true face of a culture behind the unified uniforms and internationally-translated slogans of McDonalds.
I write to you from the commons of The Time Youth Hostel of Nanjing, a name that to me makes little sense. A framed poem on the wall, that keeps falling as if to draw people’s attention, explains the story behind the hostel’s name:
However, Shanghai Shanghai had its dark had side. its dark At People’s side. AtSquare, People’sone Square, of theone most of tourist the most heavy tourist areas heavy in Shanghai, areas in Shanghai, I was approached I was approached by a groupbyofa touristsofwho group tourists claimed whothey claimed werethey fromwere Beijing fromand Beijing and wanted to hang out and practice their speaking English English withwith me. me. But But they they were were not travelers, not travelers, did not didcome not come from from Beijing, Beijing, and had and ahad goala Time’s Past / We always perceive there is not a place goal other other than than speaking speaking English English in mind. in mind. Here,Here, the age the-old ageadvice -old where time isn’t, But right now we have time, / We have advice not to follow not to strangers follow strangers saved my saved life.my This life.was This a pretty was a standard pretty Time’s past. standard scam, onescam, whereone youwhere are led you toare a “tea led ceremony” to a “tea ceremony” or an “artor an “art gallery” gallery” then then beaten beaten for allforofallyour of your money. money. LaterLater that day, that Iday, saw Get it? Neither do I. Though you still feel that it has an I saw the same the group same group of “tourists” of “tourists” tryingtrying to convince to convince another another traveler unmistakable vibe; a deeper meaning Wmeaning you you would would behold behold in in awe to traveler followtothem, followonly them, thisonly timethis thattime traveler that traveler did follow didthem. followI awe if you if could you could read read Chinese. Chinese. Maybe Maybe situational situational beauty beauty is what is what ran them. behind I ran them, behindshouting them, shouting at her toatrun heraway, to runjust away, to bejust jumped to makes it so. The fan in front of me rotated slowly, causing the be by at jumped four thugs at by with four knives thugs with and one knives girl, and who one were girl,hiding who were in pages of an open book to flutter ever-so-slightly when it faced hiding the crowd. in the I was crowd. in aITruman was in aShow Truman situation Show where situation everyone where the wooden shelves upon which the book rested. everyone was conspiring was conspiring against me. against Whatme. followed Whatwas followed a fist was fight,a afist foot fight, athen chase, foot achase, hide-and then-go- a hide seek-and game -go- inseek Shanghai’s game inmetros. Shanghai’s The city of Nanjing has the same feeling to it; there is some metros. calming, hidden component. A feeling you get from its people, So I fled to Nanjing, and now you see why it felt like a haven to lakes, trees, walls, sky, and moon, a feeling you love but cannot So I To me. fleddecide to Nanjing, my next and destination, now you see I consulted why it feltMao like aTse haven -Tung, to explain. Something that is only feasible after sundown when me. To decide founding fathermy of next the People’s destination, Republic I consulted of China Maoand Tse author -Tung, you are lying on your back by the lake and the only thing that founding of the (in)famous father ofRed the Book, People’s who Republic once said, of China “One isand notauthor truly matters at this moment is the shiny kites flown by old men and aofman the (in)famous until one has Red climbed Book, who the Great once said, Wall.”“One Nowisthat not sounds truly the question of how high up they fly. Nanjing’s beauty touches a man like a challenge until one to hasme, climbed so to Beijing the Great it is.Wall.” Now that sounds everything within it, even my 27-bed-and-no-AC cluster room like a challenge to me, so to Beijing it is. on the roof of the hostel, despite how loud my neighbor on the Yours, bottom bunk snores. Yours,
22 International travel essay 12 essay
Omar AlSughayer Omar AlSughayer
October 15th, 2015 Home Sweet Home, Seattle As most hostels do, my hostel in Beijing offered a suspiciously cheap day trip to the Great Wall. The catch was that the trip led to the commercialized areas, the most tourist h eavy, scammer-infested, and merchant-populated parts of the Wall. Going there was merely a game of “can you spot the Wall behind people?” Not an experience I long for. I wanted to climb the Wall, not bus to it. Luckily, I met Chen and Su, two ladies in their early thirties who shared the same disinterest in touristy areas. We agreed to visit one of the abandoned parts of the Wall, the “wild areas” as they are called.
brought us closer to each other, and to other climbers who provided us with food and water, expecting nothing in return.
Back at the top of the Great Wall, we started to descend a little before sunset. Su and I arrived at the bottom having lost half of our weight due to sweating and mosquito bites, and regaining this weight as dirt in our shoes and hair. Luckily, Chen was waiting with a local she had befriended and who offered us a shower in his house, saving Chen’s car from eternal smelliness. I wish to one day visit the We met the following day and departed to Jiankou, a fish Wall again but with a tent this time, and spend the night farmers’ village two hours away from Beijing. Every house on top. Light pollution in Jiankou is nonexistent, so I in the village had a battery on its roof attached to solar am sure the star view would be marvelous. Of course, panels, which were just starting to heat up with the first sun no matter how far into the future that will be, you are rays of the day. The entire village was mapped around a invited. system of fish-pools that also happened to be the starting point of our hike. Although it lasted for months, my trip to China seems surreal now, a weird mixture of inconvenience and We had only one problem. There was no actual path discomfort that I cannot believe happened nor would leading to the wall, save for a sign that warned us from ever tolerate again. Now that I am snuggled under my advancing ahead or doing drugs. Our only leads were an blanket away from the early October night breeze, it overly abstracted map, an array of uneducated guesses, all feels like a distant dream. I am too exhausted, and and some red ribbons tied on branches by past hikers comfortable, to ever change this position. It is sad, one to mark the road. After nine hours of vertical climbing, thinks, that something that once was all that you think of, reaching the wrong summits, and Chen giving up and your entire world, could fade among the piles of old and going back, Su and I finally reached the Wall. I was sweaty, recycled memories. But maybe it is not that bad, because covered in bugs and bug bites, with enough leaves in my just as memories become unreal with time, sadness washes curly hair to build a fort. I looked miserable enough that a away–whatever is upsetting you now, whatever fills your guy gave me water, another a cake, and a little girl offered days and nights with fear. All will one day be nothing me a cane. The girl told me that they climbed from the more than an afterimage of a blurry memory. other side, which took them only 20 minutes of walking. Apparently, we had climbed the Wall from the Huns’ side. Yours, For the remaining day, Su talked about her regrets and fears, and her exfiancé; and I talked too. Sweating and gasping for two hours allowed us to transcend early friendship formalities that usually last for months. It
voyag e uw
RIO By Hanna Dudsic
From the heights of Sugarloaf Mountain and the surrounding favelas to the never-ending beaches of Copacabana, there’s a pulsing energy that thrives and moves through the streets of Rio. Dynamic, yet laid-back; promising, yet rife with corruption, this seaside metropolis will assault your senses upon arrival and captivate your heart prior to departure.
FOOD - Comida Whether starting off with bolinho de bacalhua (little cod cake) or empadas de carne (beef empanadas), and polishing it off with a refreshing mate tea, one couldn’t do Brazilian street food wrong. Known for their love for snacking, Brazilians have lanchonetes, or snack bars, spread throughout the city for locals to grab quick bites after gym workouts, while relaxing at the beach, or before going to work. Henrique Barbosa, who attended UW for the business program and was also a TA for Portuguese classes, enthusiastically told us that mate tea has always been one of his favorite drinks. Prepared by steeping dried leaves of yerba mate in hot water, it’s typically served in a calabash gourd with a metal straw called a bomba. Today, mate teabags, or Matte Leao, are widely produced and sold in Brazil for those still looking for their caffeine fix. Henrique also suggested that when in Rio, one must visit a Hortifruti (grocery store that only sells fruits and vegetables) to get a true taste of what locals are buying. He said that the species of bananas and atemoia (a cross between the sugar apple and cherimoya) are different in sizes and tastes from anything you could find in the US. Henrique also chuckled at other odd discrepancies between US and Brazil snacks, such as cashews. While in the US,
International city guide
cashews are simply nuts, they’re considered as fruits by Brazilians, who snack on the entire outer shell and seed. Last but not least—dessert. Gary urged, “One can’t miss the national treat brigadeiro that’s found at almost any grocery store or deli.” Made of condensed milk, powdered chocolate, butter, and chocolate sprinkles, brigadeiros are usually served at birthday parties or reunions and large get-togethers. Often more anticipated than birthday cakes, the brigadeiro symbolize happy times among Brazilians, who share a sentimental connection with the little treat.
MUSIC - Música Known as the samba capital of the world, Rio’s vibrant music and dance scene would impress even the most experienced samba dancer. As a vital component of Brazilian culture, samba transcends all ages, genders and socioeconomic classes. Beyond the annual Carnival, which attracts millions of tourists every year, samba can be found anywhere in the city from houses to nightclubs to backyards. While there’s a huge range of venues for musical Cariocas (Rio locals) to explore, UW student Gary Smith, who lived in Rio for six months this past summer, suggested to visit ‘The Maze’. Located
in Catate, South Rio, this myth-like inn that’s part hostel, part jazz venue has attracted a wide range of travelers and locals to immerse themselves in the vibrant music scene set against sweeping views of Sugarloaf mountain. Just as important as its amazing view are the two owners of the inn, Bob and Malu, who envisioned a place for people who’d been marginalized in the favela—the Brazilian slum—to seek new opportunities. Recalling his visit to the inn, Gary remembered how others would praise their hard work and attribute the favela’s decrease in violence to the inn’s own success and its positive effects on the local community.
OLYMPICS - Olímpicos After multiple unsuccessful bids in which Brazil wished to host the Olympics, Rio was evaluated and finally selected as the grounds for the Summer Olympics of 2016. However, with only a couple of months until the opening ceremonies, many are wondering exactly how the committee will be able to successfully pull it off. Among other significant issues that must be tackled, such as the environmental sewage pollution concerns, the Brazilian government and people must now deal with a recent Zika outbreak. Unfortunately, the disease has struck in the midst of the country’s worst economic crisis since the 1930s. What’s more, the Brazilian president is currently embroiled in a massive corruption scandal involving the state-run oil company, Petrobras. Sophia Winkler, one of the original founding members of the UW Brazil Club, told us about the
Brazilian government’s decisions made during the 2014 World Cup and for this Olympics. She argues that they’ve “invested billions, while kicking thousands out of their homes to build stadiums, when they have been truly focusing on other issues that concern Brazil’s high rates of poverty, illiteracy, and water and environmental degradation.” One thing’s certain— everyone will be holding their breaths in anticipation on the Olympics’ opening night.
BEACHES - Praias The spirit of Ipanema beach—made famous by the widely popular 1964 bossa nova tune that paints the beach as light, youthful, and beautiful—is fueled by the young and carefree. Stretching for more than 25 miles, Rio’s shores are its natural fashion runways where locals and tourists alike strut their stuff and soak up the sun. Ironically, Ipanema actually translates into “stinky lake” from the ancient Tupi language. So, if Ipanema beach isn’t what you’re looking for, where do locals go to escape the swarms of tourists? Gary recommended Praia Vermelha, a cozy beach tucked away from larger crowds where snorkeling remains popular. Though harder to find, it’s “well worth the trek if visitors aren’t looking for an ‘Ipanema experience.’” Clear turquoise water and open beaches give visitors the high quality rest and relaxation time they seek away from the crowds. --To get in touch with a UW Brazil officer, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: “UW Brazil Club”
Website: ttps://sites.google.com/site uwbrazilclub/home
Gary Smith voyag e uw
RIALTO By Daniel Green Photography by Jayna Milan & Ashley Lim Sponsored by Back 40 Outfitters
ook: there are a lot of ways I could fit this into a cliché travel story. I could talk about the underappreciated beauty of our state, or the liberating feeling of getting off the grid, or even the new friendships I formed as part of a camping group. And all these would be true.
However, there was something magical about traveling to the Washington coast that transcended the patterns of a local camping trip.
prolonged confinement to a setting as refreshing as the coast. It was like waiting five hours for a good meal.
Standing upon a wind-worn snag that jutted off a gravelly beach, my eyes met the horizon. I felt a sense of bewilderment. Beneath me, waves crashed to shore, and above, clouds swirled across the sky, their usual paleness painted yellow and pink by the setting sun. But the most breathtaking, the most beautifully immense parcel of this gorgeous landscape was the ocean.
Beach hikes are rarely stressful; you almost never have to worry about hazardous trails or steep elevation gains. Walking along the shore, parallel to a giant bank of driftwood, we took our time to admire the lonely crags that burst from the ocean some 100 meters out to sea. Trees clutched the peaks of the rocks with their roots as the wind blew them to and fro. They resembled mere bonsais in contrast to the ocean, hanging for their lives above the swirling tides.
I believe there is no construct of nature as numbingly visceral as the ocean, and that there exists no greater catharsis than to stand in the presence of such an impossibly vast body of water. The inspiration of these grandiose observations was a one-night trip out to Rialto Beach, on the west coast of Washington. Getting up at an alltoo-ambitious hour one Saturday morning, a few Voyage photographers and I made the five-hour drive out to the coast and arrived at the beach around midday. After hours of hot asphalt and surprisingly fierce tailgaters, it’s the last 20 minutes of the drive that make you restless. As the road begins to wind along the coast, you squint through the dense treeline to the west, attempting to catch a glimpse of the sea. But you’re not quite there yet. You drive faster, feeling the ocean’s pull. That’s when you smell the ocean. The salty sea air washes over you, relieving the taut muscles of a strung-out city face. My mother had always said that saltwater could heal anything, and while modern medicine may frown upon this claim, the scent of the ocean alone was enough to ease the stress throughout my body. When we finally arrived at the beach, I was sort of glad that the drive had lasted five hours–rarely does one find the opportunity to so suddenly jump from
After about a mile of trudging through the sand, we had found ourselves immersed in a thriving ecosystem of creatures. Tidepools dotted the rocky path, within them vibrant sea stars and urchins, timid hermit crabs and shrimp, and even the occasional fish who, upon noticing our towering figures, would dart into the nearest crack. When we set up camp, the tide had drawn out quite far, allowing us to venture out to one of those steep crags we had noticed earlier. Climbing up the rock formation was a scramble, avoiding loose stones and scraping our legs on thorny shrubs. Jayna, upon scaling a particularly questionable peak, shouted down to me with a wide smile on her face, “This is exactly the kind of stuff my mom wouldn’t want me to do.” Sunset on the ocean is the most beautiful thing I will ever witness. Despite the absolute calm, the scene connected so profoundly with each of my senses. The cool breeze buffeted my skin, its salty flavor flowing into my mouth. A wiff of some of the purest air I’ve ever smelled eased my strained mind. I began to think that I could admire the stormy beauty of the living, breathing waves and varicolored sky for the rest of my life. voyag e uw
As I stood on that snag, I looked down from the sky and up from the sea. My eyes found the horizon, the perfect marriage of two pretty f–ing beautiful bodies. Night brought more clouds, but I felt content as I nestled into my sleeping bag atop the sand, gazing up at the hazy glints of stars. We had driven from the center of a metropolis to the infinite expanse of the Pacific Ocean in less than a day. And to use a saying of which I am not particularly fond–the ends had justified the means. Rialto Beach is a sensory overload, yet one of the most relaxing places I’ve had the chance to visit. When I’m camping this is always something I seek out: a solace, a place of consolation, and at the same time, of revelation. Standing with the ocean is probably the most spiritual experience I’ve had. And if it’s possible to fall in love with something inanimate…. On second thought, I may not have ever met something more alive than the ocean.
This trip was made possible by Back 40 Outfitters’ generous donation of camping gear and supplies! Back 40 is a Seattle-based outdoor gear rental company that provides quality gear for those who don’t want to buy, maintain, or store their own. Depending on whether you’re car or concert camping, or backpacking, all equipment comes in full kits including everything you need from tents and sleeping bags to water purifiers and headlamps. For more info or to order your kit, check out back40outfitters.co.
voyag e uw
POSTHOLING IN PARADISE By Lucas Boland
‘m panting. Out of breath. We’ve only hiked 200 meters and I’m already post-holing. I don’t know about this Soren. “It’s only a mile-and-a-half hike. Even if you’re post-holing it should be fine,” says the guy prepared with snowshoes. I was quickly learning that $20 to rent snowshoes is much less steep of a price waistdeep in snow at the base of Mt. Rainier than it is at R.E.I. So why were Soren and I trudging through snow, ice, and pain in the first place? Simply put, we wanted to feel the sun on our faces. We embarked on our weekend warrior journey not to climb a big mountain or do something you’d see in a GoPro promo video, but to get away from the constant sprint of college life and explore Paradise, an area on Mount Rainier’s southern slope. There’s really no better way to reconnect with nature than to spend a night next to Seattle’s 14,410 foot neighbor. I learned, or reconfirmed anyways, that frozen toes are easily forgotten in the starry alpine landscape. One can always find room for an extra freeze-dried meal, and sacrificing sleep to do something this awesome is damn near always worth it. Enjoy,
Never has a man looked as fierce wielding a snow shovel as Soren did preparing to dig a site for our tent. Since we met in Oceanography 101 my freshman year, Soren (right) has become my goto guy for anything outdoors. Camping, hiking, climbing, kayaking–a true adventure buddy.
32 pnw photo essay
Soren takes in the view as the early morning light warms up the valley. The feeling of the sun hitting your face after a cold night outside is priceless. You can see we dug out a separate little kitchen/dining area to keep camp more organized.
voyag e uw
Sorenâ€™s headlight illuminates his path as he climbs the slope to watch the clouds dance around the massive peak.
The view of the Tatoosh Range certainly isn’t half bad as we make the trek back down from Glacier Vista. Trekking poles and gaiters will save you a couple pairs of wet socks. Mine froze during the night and stood up completely unsupported! As we wait for Mt. Rainier to reveal itself, Soren tosses some PNW snow so we can set up camp for the night. We’re not quite experts, but we’re both learning the safety protocols and processes for camping in the winter months. We–particularly Soren–have picked up knowledge over the years through various media, family, the Internet, other adventurers, and previous experiences. We try to get out a couple times each quarter, even if it’s snowy.
36 pnw photo essay
It was well worth putting on frozen boots and crawling out of my warm sleeping bag to see Rainier blooming with the different shades of morning. This shot is a panorama of nine images capturing her slopes. The world goes ‘round but Mt. Rainier stays the same. This onehourandten minute exposure shows the movement of the night sky around Polaris.
voyag e uw
Turning Back to
Island Time by Jack Russillo
Photography by case tanaka
â€œMountain Lake is located at the base of Mount Constitution in Moran State Park, one of the most popular attractions on Orcas.â€?
s we gaze up at the frosted rock outcropping before us, contemplating how to surpass it, the sun dips lower into the horizon, slowly taking our visibility with it.
“Jack, let’s go, man!” My friend, Rylan, urges us to climb over the massive boulder, but I have other, more cautious plans to go around and walk up another route. None of us have been this far up Mount Entrance before.
to return home on the hour-long ferry ride. During the crossing, islands—both large and small—covered in luscious forests and rocky beaches are visible to give a glimpse of what island life is all about. After arriving on Orcas, a half-hour drive through thick tree cover and by sprawling pastures leads to the quaint town where just about everybody knows each other. Another half-hour excursion would wind up the archipelago’s tallest mountain and pass through Washington’s first state park, Moran State Park, which is riddled with small lakes and waterfalls. Compared to the stress of enduring college life in a big city, this place was a sanctuary for me to truly relax and surround myself with nature throughout my childhood.
"EVEN AFTER EIGHTEEN YEARS ON THE ISLAND, THERE ARE STILL NEW THINGS TO SEE"
It’s late December on Orcas Island in northern Washington. The fierce winds direct the rain at us at nearly a 45-degree angle and there are stalactites hanging from the rock wall in front of us. My hands are throbbing. This isn’t the time to take risks. But, despite the frigid conditions and my argument to go around, Rylan and Matt decide to push onward and up the steep face. Alone, I navigate under low-hanging branches and around large stones before discovering a relatively flat deer trail that leads to higher altitude. Within minutes, I finally reach the rocky peak that we had hiked miles to reach—and the view doesn’t disappoint. To the east, the snowcovered peak of Mount Baker rises above the clouds. To the south and the west, a storm is mauling the rest of the San Juan Islands. If not for the heavy cloud cover, Canada’s mountain range would span the view to the north. I can almost see the Anacortes Ferry Terminal, where I left the mainland behind
40 pnw travel essay
After a couple of minutes, still no sign of Matt and Rylan. I walk over to the edge of the cliff and peer down. Nothing.
“Hey, are you guys alright?” I yell down to my companions. “Uhhhh, yeah! It’s just a bit slippery. We’ll be up in a minute,” Rylan shouts back to me. As I turn to head back to the highpoint, I notice a small structure poking out from behind a Douglas fir.. Stacked to about waist-height, a rock tower leans to one side, but the large rocks at its base hold strong in the wind. Classic Orcas. Symbols of natural wonder, these are left all over the trails on the island. I quickly dig out my camera and snap a picture.
located on the west side of the island, is one of many unique hikes on Orcas and is home to many diverse species of trees, plants, and animals that thrive in the area.â€?
"Taken at the northeast
corner of Orcas Island. This beach was a quiet and relaxing spot to watch the water roll over the rocky shores.â€?
voyag e uw
As I flop myself down on a bed of mosscovered rocks and wait for my friends to join me, something catches my eye from my cliffside perch. On the water’s horizon over 1,200 feet below, a spiraling pillar of water slowly makes its way toward the island, the wind whipping up wisps sea around the sides. A waterspout. I can’t help but grin to myself and think that even after 18 years on the island, there are still new things to see. This would never happen back in Seattle. This is the kind of thing I’ve been missing. Shortly after, my comrades clamber over the edge of the rock. They’re hunched over and leaning on their knees and breathing hard. I can tell they’re exhausted. Smiling widely at them, my expression smugly boasts ‘I told you so.’ Instead I ask, “Did you guys see the waterspout down there?” “No, we were too busy trying not to fall,” Matt retorts.
It’s my first hike since being back on the island — Matt’s too — and during our descent, we reflect on what we’ve been missing out on since the previous summer.
raised and where I currently call my home. While living in the city, I hadn’t hiked in months; most of the food I could afford was fried or processed in some manner; I couldn’t even ask for a moment of silence because there was always Once back at our cars, near sea level, we something making a racket. Sometimes, drive the rural roads to Rylan’s house, I actually missed when it got pitch-black where his parents had invited us to share out at five o’clock. But back on Orcas, a homemade meal and catch up. I hadn’t I hiked a few days a week; many of the seen them since I left for school and they ingredients in my food were grown on wanted to hear how I was doing. Typical island; the wildlife, namely deer, freely island family. Aside from the sparse roamed the land, and I seldom made lighting from houses and the headlights it out of the only grocery store without of our car, the drive is completely dark. someone from the community striking up The occasional set of deer eyes reflect a friendly conversation. back at us from the inside of the forests on the side of the road. While they’re only a couple of hours away, Seattle and Orcas Island are very different places.
"traveling to orcas island means setting your internal clock to island time and truly slowing down"
They collapse on the rocks next to me and we all sit quietly, admiring our view of the surrounding islands and Mother Nature at work. We watch the fog spill over the hills off the west side of the island and into the sound below. After it flows over the water, it begins to creep up the fauna-filled slope and over the layers of conifers beyond the mossy ledge in front of us. To the southwest, a break in the clouds provides our final glimpse of sunlight, a glimmer of hope compared to the rest of the stormy sky. After reaching our destination, with a fire roaring near the dinner table, we After spending a few minutes gathering dive into a garden-fresh array of pizza ourselves, we set off back down the platters. mountain. It’s noticeably darker now and that makes the trip down the slick slope What a damn good day back on “The even more difficult. Shifting from tree to Rock,” I realize. I hadn’t been on such rock and rock to tree, we make our way a strenuous hike since moving off the back to the bottom of the giant boulder island, and the hearty meal was the and onto solid ground. Returning to the perfect reward for our efforts. Handtree cover helps reduce the effects of the picked kale, onions, mushrooms, and downpour. We’re soon back in familiar rosemary — all from Rylan’s parents’ territory, just in time, too, as we need our garden — allow the pizza to awaken flashlights to take any safe steps. tastebuds that have been dormant for months. City food truly isn’t the same. Aside from the wind swirling around us, it’s silent on the mountain. TuckeredOnce a common meal for me, these out and concerned with getting down organic delicacies remind me of another safely, we march on without speaking. stark difference between where I was
42 pnw travel essay
But for now, it was nice to be back at home and spending time with old friends like Rylan. We grew up together on Orcas and he became my main hiking partner before we graduated high school. From the old, mossed-over logging roads of Turtleback Mountain to the mystical, winding trails on Mount Constitution — and the many hills, valleys, lakesides, and coastlines in between — Rylan and I had explored a vast majority of the island. During the summers, we would kayak to other areas of the archipelago to see what other islands had in store for us. We had met Matt two summers before our hike that day and our showing him around the island helped further my appreciation for the Pacific Northwest wonderland I grew up in. Constantly explaining which islands were which, exploring old trails, and rattling off fun facts about my home allowed me to comprehend how lucky I was to have a connection with such a beautiful place. However, not everyone feels the same way I do. Looking back, I remember many of my high school friends always commenting on how slow island life was, and that there was nothing to do. For millennial teens living in a small, isolated location where the “NO SERVICE” signal usually dominated the top corner of our phone screens, it could be understandably difficult at times.
But Matt was different. Having grown up in a suburb near Portland with a graduating class in the hundreds—mine was 23—he relishes every moment he’s here. After visiting Orcas during the summer with his family, he developed a special relationship; it can be tough to separate oneself from the island’s allure.
"looking out to the
water from the northeast corner of Orcas Island, you have a clear view of the other San Juan Islands as well as Bellingham off in the distance.”
I left because it was necessary for me to start my life in the real world and acquire a college education. In the city, I had access to an incredible amount of resources and opportunities that the lone public library on Orcas could not provide. In Seattle, I could live in a more modern and fast-paced environment. No longer would I have to stack cords of firewood to warm my house and prevent the pipes from freezing. I could finally go to a store that was open past eight at night. And while I would leave behind starry nights, scenic roads, and acres of peaceful forest, I knew I had to make the change. Unsurprisingly, it was a tough transition at first. But slowly and surely, like anyone who has ever made a major adjustment has experienced, I realized that I’d made the right decision. Traveling to Orcas Island means setting your internal clock to island time and truly slowing down. It’s important to take advantage of the time that you have there, however, as you’ll certainly be wishing for more when it comes time to head back to the mainland. Riding the ferry back, I can’t quite believe I’m leaving the island until the last inch of the landing dips out of sight. After that, I tend to recount what I accomplished while on island, how efficiently I used my time, and what I should make sure to do during my next trip home. Even today, despite how busy and stressful life in Seattle can often get, it’s comforting to know that a familiar and calmer place is only a couple hours away. That’s one of the perks about the Orcas, a place with such little human impact: its natural beauty hardly ever changes.
voyag e uw
Special thanks PRINT DONORS
(BY MAY 21):
DAVE & TESA JOHNSON
TIM & SUSETTE HART
UW FACULTY & ADVISORS:
PROFESSOR JESSICA PARTNOW
PROFESSOR RANDAL BEAM
PROFESSOR ALEX STONEHILL
VOYAGE is a new student-led interdisciplinary magazine at the University of Washington - Seattle that highlights student exploration in the...
Published on Jun 27, 2016
VOYAGE is a new student-led interdisciplinary magazine at the University of Washington - Seattle that highlights student exploration in the...