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FORAGE 

FREE ISSUE JUNE–AUGUST 2013

SEEK . FIND . HARVEST

VIETNAM

SAPA REGION TREKKING

A SERIES OF RENDEZVOUS TO

CENTRAL AMERICA

AN ASHRAM EXPERIENCE IN FUTURE GENERATIONS OF

PUERTO VALLARTA

EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL IN

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

MICHAEL WHITNEY / ANNE AHMAD-BURNETT / NIRAN KUMAR WINNIE SHEK / CHUCK MEAKIN • A GATHERING OF EXPERIENCES

INDIA

VANCOUVER

GLASS MENAGERIE




FORAGE

a gathering of experiences.


LIKE PICKING WILD HUC HEDGEHOG MUSHROOM FORAGE MAGAZINE IS ON COLLECT FRESH, TASTY M WE TREAD LIGHTLY ON T OF THE EARTH TO GATHE HEARTY STORIES WORTH THE SMALL THINGS, LIKE A HEARTY SOUP, THE LIT NOTICED ALONG THE PA THAT MAKE UP A TALE W


CKLEBERRIES, MS, AND FIDDLEHEADS, N THE HUNT TO MORSELS OF TRAVEL. THE SACRED GROUND ER TOGETHER GOOD H SAVORING ★ IT’S E INGREDIENTS IN TTLE OCCURRENCES ATH OF A JOURNEY, WORTH TELLING ★ / ANNE AHMAD BURNETT


EDITORS-IN-CHIEF

MICHAEL WHITNEY

ANNE AHMAD-BURNETT

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF

Given the explosive rise in popularity of all things travel-related over the

If I were a skirt I’d be a pleated Burberry in navy plaid worn just above the

might resemble that of a million others. Not a man who is fond of clichés

experiencing a city on foot to stimulate the senses. Manhattan, San Francisco,

last two decades, most notably travel books, travel blogs, travel shows and specialty tour companies, it goes without saying that my tale of wanderlust

and generalities, let’s just say that I have seen a heck of a lot of the world

while sporting a backpack. The backpack lifestyle never cultivated in me much of a sense of organization; lists of things to see and do, if I make them

at all, are likely last-minute and soon go by the wayside. I am not a man

of style in the usual sense; indeed, you won’t find a single tie in my closet. What you will find are dozens and dozens of plaid shirts, in all checks and

colors. Wonderfully versatile, particularly while hiking at high elevations, plaid shirts have a heartiness to them that is difficult to define, but feels just right. They match perfectly with my style of travel.

I discovered my wanderlust in my late teens, during a four month trip through Europe. Soon after, I landed in London with a working holiday visa in hand. India was next with a few months of crisscrossing the country

by train. Following a brief return to London to earn more travel dollars, I embarked on a trip to East Africa for another few months. Travel was by now, as the cliché goes, in my blood.

The call of a design career became a diversion for a number of years, but

I continued to dream of a way to combine working and traveling. After making a shift into design education, I have found a near perfect fit:

working for eleven weeks, travelling for eighteen days, back to work for

eleven weeks, and then off to the next adventure. This cycle has allowed me to travel extensively throughout Central and South America, Europe,

Africa, Southeast Asia, China and Australia. I look forward to creating a collaborative online presence with Anne and other writers/photographers.

knee, complemented by a good pair of stylish walking shoes to take me on a

brisk stroll through the hustle and bustle of a big city. There is nothing like Prague, Paris and Seattle are my favorites for discovering intimate cafés, art galleries, and other little gems at street level.

I grew up in knee-high socks on double-decker buses to a Scottish mum

and Indian dad, who instilled in me a love of travel and fearless optimism. I have been a traveller, backpacker, road-tripper and child of the world since I

was two years old having left my Kuwaiti birthplace in a 1960 VW bug with

my expat parents, older sister and German Shepherd to make our way to

England from where we later emigrated by ship to Nova Scotia. I have been all over Europe from Greece to the Southern tip of Portugal, motorcycled through Germany, Austria, Italy and France, camper-vanned across the Baja

and Mexico, solo-travelled through India from Kanyakumari to Rishikesh, island-hopped the Caribbean and that’s just the beginning.

The navy plaid and knee-highs are never far behind but the shoes change often to suit the surroundings, and I’m happy to be wherever I am.


CONTRIBUTORS

NIRAN KUMAR

CHARLES MEAKIN

WINNIE SHEK

PHOTOGRAPHER / TRAVELER

PHOTOGRAPHER

PHOTOGRAPHER

Niran Kumar is a former employee of

Charles Meakin has an educational back-

Originally from Hong Kong, Winnie lives

Vancouver, Canada, Niran continues to

flight attendant, he often gets the chance to

Washington and Portland, Oregon in the

a shipping fleet that swept around the

various ports of the world. Now living in

scour the world when he can, often with

one small bag, and can often be found

sleeping in a hammock by choice in some far-flung region of the world, usually well

off the beaten path. His photo essay, entitled From Panama to Northern Argentina in the Backroads / Backwaters section can be read on page 52.

ground in photography, and has been snapping photos for the past few decades. As a

take photos in his preferred destinations of Sydney, Hong Kong and London. As a future expat in our favorite destination, Puerto

Vallarta, Charles has a myriad of opportunities for catching some great shots. This issue features a selection of favorite images

taken recently in the resort town and can

be found on page 32. We look forward to his collaboration in future issues.

just outside Dallas, Texas with her husband Andrew. Recently, the couple visited Seattle,

Pacific Northwest, where she shot a very cool series of images in both places.

The article Glass + Steel Menagerie, which explores the streets and museums of the

Pacific Northwest can be found on page 56 of the magazine.


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Central America

14

Virgin Islands

16

Dominican Republic

26

Vietnam

34

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

40

India

44

South America

58`

Pacific Northwest USA

Here’s to a Collaborative Future in Travel


EDITORS LETTER We are pleased to present Issue One of Forage Magazine, focusing on sunshine, a primary concern to those who reside in North America during the winter months. This issue covers an ashram experience in Rishikesh, India; a hike through northern Vietnam; gallery hopping in Puerto Vallarta; and a roundup of adventure experiences and beaches throughout Central America, based on a series of trips from the past five years. Newly launched in the summer of 2013, Forage is a collaborative online magazine that focuses on adventure-based experiences, design ephemera and cultural expression, all in a spirit of giving voice to other emerging authors. Forage publishes timely articles every season from its Vancouver headquarters by a team of two editors-in-chief, Anne Ahmad-Burnett and Michael Whitney. As active academics who don’t take themselves too seriously, the magazine is a mix of journalistic articles, both from their own points of view and others, and a series of photographic imagery. As practicing communication designers, the pair of tweed and plaid aficionados contribute their individual aesthetics to the project. As active travelers spanning the past twenty five years, they again bring their own unique perspectives on the global community-at-large.


A SERIES OF

RENDEZVOUS TO CENTRAL AMERICA Swimming in watering holes, snorkeling with sharks, and meeting animals akin to fairytale creatures: there’s much more than just sun to greet you in Central America. Returning time and again to this region, albeit to different countries each time, our editor-in-chief and seasoned traveler, Michael Whitney, shares stories about living on the sunnier side of life.

SAN BLAS ISLANDS

TEXT MICHAEL WHITNEY IMAGES MICHAEL WHITNEY EDITOR ANNE AHMAD-BURNETT

San Blas Islands, Panama Three short months after a solo journey through Guatemala’s Mayan ruins and ac-

tive lava-spewing volcanoes, I find myself on a speedboat to the San Blas Islands off the coast of Panama in search of similar types of adventures, except this time I am searching for adventure on the sea. Any previous fear

of the region’s turbulent pasts has dissipated upon meeting such friendly and hospitable locals. I had first heard of these islands while

in Guatemala, chatting with a group of backpackers in a local guesthouse who were in the

final planning stages of sailing from Panama

to Colombia via the San Blas Islands. They 10

sounded exotic and intriguing. Home to the Kuna Yala people, these tiny islands offer up the feeling of being a castaway on an island in the middle of the ocean. Backpackers staying

at the popular guesthouses in Panama City

can choose from several islands and book their trip from there.

After a five am start and a few short hours later, I am shown my home on Robinson Is-

land for the next three days, which is a straw hut with the sand from the beach as its floor. The dinner bell chimes, and the small group

that I am sharing this space with meets for

a seafood and rice dinner. The Kuna women

in the dinner hut show us their traditional

FORAGE | ISSUE ONE | SUMMER 2013


A view of Robinson Island, home to a few Kuna families. Room and board are included in the price of the tour, booked through most backpacker guesthouses in Panama City.

PANAMA CITY

breathes tropical adventure. After meeting a fellow backpacker at

Hostel Heike in the center of town, we rent a couple of bicycles for the day and ride up the east side of the island to some amazingly long beaches that are almost deserted. We spend the evening at a restaurant that offers up live music and a lively hippy vibe.

Placencia Beach, Belize

With a desire to be back in the sun-kissed tropic zone, and a building love for the Central American region in particular, I arrive in Belize

City, and immediately make my way to the busy port to catch the speedboat to the small five-mile strip of island called Caye Caulker. Instead of hearing Spanish, the official language here is English,

spoken with a patois accent. This is a one sandy street type of town, with the ubiquitous colorful clapboard houses on stilts that make

me feel I am somewhere completely different from the multitude

of high rises back home. What I love most are the wooden shutters that grace the windows of these small homes. From these open windows waft the scent of locals selling tasty cinnamon buns just

off the main street. While strolling along the main street, I make my molas (vividly colored panels made of cotton fabric and thread) that are for sale. The following day is spent snorkeling in the shallow waters off the main beach area of the island, one that you could walk around in ten minutes.

Bocas Del Toro, Panama After a few days exploring David and the Cloud For-

est of the Lost and Found Lodge, I arrive in Bocas

del Toro, Panama. Unlike the quieter beaches of the San Blas islands, Bocas del Toro (situated on an island called Isla Colon) offers a much more

vibrant backpacker scene. Bocas town, with its bright yellow and aquamarine clapboard walls,

open-air seafood-inspired dining rooms fronting

the harbor, and a slight air of seawater corrosion,

way up to a tour shop and book, you guessed it, a snorkeling trip for the following day. This was to Hol Chan Marine Park this time, and it far exceeded my expectation. Not only does the boat captain throw

fish food into the water beside the boat, we are then told to jump in with the hoards of fish, including large barracuda and nurse sharks

that have gravitated to the surface. My heart skips a beat when our guide swims down and swoops up a stingray and hoists it over to each of us in turn to pet.

DUG OUT CANOES: A great way to explore the waters during days of relaxation and peace. Snorkeling gear is provided, and you have the option to take a day trip to a neighboring island. Follow link for more images ✈ www.cargocollective.com/w4michael


COSTA RICA

BICYCLE FRIENDLY AREA

SNORKEL FRIENDLY AREA

F

The following day, it’s off to Ignacio in the

Here I meet Barb, a woman from my home

pass a few members of the local Mennonite

following day, I am back at my favorite activ-

interior for a few days. On the drive into the

property owned by an American family, we community walking along the rough dirt road. Upon arrival, we pitch a tent, and share a

wonderful meal cooked by the owner’s wife, along with a couple of Belikin beers. We learn

that one of their daughters has not joined us

for dinner due to a second bout with dengue fever. Being in the middle of a robust jungle brings many potential health dangers, and

this news brings on a tinge of fear, and we

all slather on some more mosquito repellent

prior to heading to our respective tents. From here, I travel to Placencia, a beautiful beach

south of Belize City, and immediately meet up with the same Americans I had met earlier in

Ignacio. There is a music festival happening on

the first evening here, and I feel immediately

clapboard cottages on this tiny island. The ity: snorkeling, only this time my expectations

are exceeded when we set out to find manta rays and sting rays on a very long snorkeling

journey that includes swimming high above

a giant manatee. Memories flood back from

my time spent in the waters of Costa Rica

and Panama, but somehow this particular trip holds a fascination that is hard to put a finger on. Perhaps it’s the same waters

that have brought me back time and again

to this region, another opportunity to have an underwater adventure.

Where the Rainforest Meets the Sea: Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica

welcomed into the community. More here…

On an early sun-splashed morning follow-

Following my social stint in Placencia, I make

to pick me up at Jumanji Bungalows above

Tobacco Caye, Belize

my way north to my final destination in Belize, Tobacco Caye, just off the coast from Dangriga. 12

city of Vancouver, who leases a series of

ing a night of torrential downpour, I hop on the back of the motorbike that has arrived

Drake Bay, located in the Osa Peninsula of southern Costa Rica. It’s a short distance FORAGE | ISSUE ONE | SUMMER 2013


over a few wild hills to the boat waiting down

at the beach, my ride to Corcovado National

There were many highlights in the Osa Pen-

insula in addition to the trip to the national

Park. Here, I am introduced to our friendly guide

park. One of the most memorable for me was

the rainforest and we are soon wandering along

sea life of this vast underwater ecological

Diego, and half a dozen backpackers. After an

hour, the boat lands on the beach at the edge of the easy walking trail that connects La Leona

and Sirena ranger stations. A host of different types of monkeys such as the loud howlers,

squirrel and spider monkeys are pointed out

by our energetic guide, along with one of the

strangest creatures I have even encountered: sitting in a pool of water just off the main hiking

trail, is the quirky and amazing Baird’s tapir, an animal that looks like a cross between an

anteater and a very large pig. Being on the

endangered species list doesn’t seem to faze this particular tapir who seems content just

hanging out and cooling off.The little peccaries, better known as skunk pigs, roaming the trails in groups complete the storybook picture.

a day spent snorkeling just off Cano Island.

FINEST BOOK MOMENTS ON THE ROAD

Our guide was keen to show off the unique

Panama

for perfect viewing of the nurse sharks and

Hummingbirds Don’t Fly in the Rain Kimberly Klein

reserve. The crystal clear visibility allowed

stingrays. On the last day, a hike around the area of Drake Bay proper ended with a swim

Emperors in the Jungle John Lindsay-Poland

The cooling waters were a saving grace from

Layers and Meaning Among the Kuna of Panama Mari Lynn Salvador

the national park, smugly happy wallowing

In The Heat Ian Vasquez

in the large watering holes near the town.

the intense heat of the day. I felt an immedi-

ate communion with the tarpin I had met in in my little pond.

Belize

Lonesome Point Ian Vasquez

The Making of Belize: Globalization in the Margins Ann Sutherland Costa Rica

The Laughing Falcon William Deverell Crazy From the Heat Matt Casseday

Costa Rica, A Traveler’s Literary Companion Barbara Ras, Ed.


FINEST BOOK MOMENTS ON THE ROAD From Columbus to Castro: The History of the Caribbean 1492–1969 Eric Williams Don’t Stop the Carnival Herman Woukis Easy in the Islands Bob Shacochis

Tales of St. John & the Caribbean Gerald Singer

VIRGIN GORDA, BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS

Film/TV Tidbit:

TV shows Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, and All My Children were shot on St. Thomos. St. Thomas provided some of the background scenery for the Brad Pitt film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.

Music Tidbits: Soca, reggae, calypso, and steel-pan beats, fungi, merengue

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FORAGE | ISSUE ONE | SUMMER 2013


VIRGIN GORDA DOCKSIDE SNORKEL TRIP EXPAT STYLE TEXT ANNE AHMAD-BURNETT / IMAGES MICHAEL WHITNEY / EDITOR MICHAEL WHITNEY

following a few days avoiding the hundreds of jewelry shops

four snorkel sessions, including the Indians, the Caves, a series of

of Tortola. Three days were just barely enough, but we managed to

boat The William Thornton, better known as ‘The Willi T’ where

lining the main streets of the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas, and a brief day trip to funky St. John, we arrived in the British Virgin Island

rent a car and drive around the island, soaking in art galleries, cafes and fine empty beaches along the way. Then it was off to the island of Virgin Gorda by local ferry. Upon arrival at the Guavaberry Lodge,

we book a full-day snorkel tour with Double ‘D’ Charters, a local company which has been operating here since 1993. We meet Captain

Dave, and are greeted with a welcoming extra-warm handshake and

wide grinning dockside smile at the Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbour. We already know we are in for a fun voyage before we ever lift anchor.

On board the power yacht, the Northern Sun, we are escorted to the

help-yourself fully stocked cooler, the flip flop pile (bare feet man-

datory) and the front-of-the ship’s hull which doubles as a romping hedonistic sundeck. Double ‘D’s feisty Scottish lassie First Mate Corin

– a petite woman with the strength of a Spanish Galleon – entertains us with seafaring tales of moonlighting with the local search and rescue crew on a nearby island as she hoists the hefty anchor to set

us off on our adventure. We feel safe under the guidance of our tiny crew who are more than well-acquainted with these waters, and this

particular route, as Dave explains that he leads trips almost every day, sometimes for months at a time.

Navigating past a string of small islands (Cooper Island, Salt Island

and Peter Island), our furthest destination is Norman Island, better

known, as we learn from our Captain, as the ‘Treasure Island’ from the beloved tales of Robert Louis Stevenson. The trip itself involves

reefs, and the famous wreck of the RMS Rhone. Mid-day, Captain Dave steers us portside to the authentic looking floating pirate he shares lighthearted conversation over an abundant pile of raw

tuna sushi, his daily ‘booty’, as we consume a hearty lunch eaten at long wooden tables.

An astute observer of the workings of world finances, Dave

understands first-hand what it means to loose everything to the bank and start from scratch. He is candid about his former

Toronto life, telling us about how he lost his money and his house

to cut-throat creditors and how he has now become savvy about strategies for staying afloat in a sea filled with big-money com-

mercial interests. A true sea-faring entrepreneur, Dave refuses

to buy anything on credit in favor of making use of what he has: a boat, a cool mind for business and a dream built with his own

two hands. We see the spirit in his eyes as he motions out across

the horizon to the flat end of the ‘pregnant virgin’ to his plot of land where he has layed the ground for his new house and the place he now calls home.

As we plough through the crystal Caribbean waters, the salt

spray soaking our faces, Captain Dave – expat Torontonian, Virgin

Islands import, sun-bleached blond, casual in Hawaiian-printed cargo shorts, worn t-shirt and leatherd tan – fits comfortably at the helm under the red canopied roof-top cabin. Twenty years

on, it seems like he has emerged from the sea itself, half fossil, more pirate, undoubtedly he is where he belongs. ■


PHOTO ESSAY // MICHAEL WHITNEY

BACKPACKING A RESORT ISLAND:

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC


ABOVE: Children playing at the entrance to the Palace Grounds in downtown Santo Domingo. ABOVE RIGHT: Downtown Santo Domingo Church BOTTOM RIGHT: Zoom in of church in downtown Santo Domingo.

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PEACE AND QUIET PHOTOGRAPHY

BY MICHAEL WHITNEY

Despite the incredibly high-volume music blaring through oversized speakers sitting on the roofs of parked cars along the Malecon in central Santo Domingo, it is still possible to find respite in old abandoned churches in the downtown core. Only a couple of days later, we found ourselves amidst tranquil and serene horse farms and waterfalls, a scant three hour bus ride from the capital. Who could ask for anything more?

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ABOVE LEFT: An old abandoned church in downtown Santo Domingo. ABOVE RIGHT: A horse grazes near Jarabacoa, in the center of the island.


ABOVE: A selection of kiteboards for rent on Cabarete Beach on the north shore of the island. ABOVE RIGHT: Kitesurfing lessons abound in Cabarete.

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“To soar higher than an eagle rang through my head as I watched the hundreds of new kitesurfers overhead, dreaming of being up there myself.” /

MICHAEL WHITNEY


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SAPA, VIETNAM

CROSSING THE TERRACES OF CULTURE AND COMMERCE TEXT ANNE AHMAD-BURNETT IMAGES MICHAEL WHITNEY EDITOR MICHAEL WHITNEY

The dead vertical drop is dizzying as we

Upon arrival in Sapa, we are greeted by a dizzying array

teetering atop a high rocky road in north-

arrangements when we bought our tickets back in Hanoi

survey the now-familiar striated rice terraces that band the distant hills.We are

west Vietnam on a bus back to the town of Sapa from a two-day, 24-kilometer trek

that took us through the villages of three different indigenous hill tribes: the Black

Hmong, the Zay, and the Red Dao. Our guide Zi has no problem communicating in the English she has picked up from the tourists

who have been making their way here for at least the past 20 years since Vietnam

opened its doors to what has now become 26

a full-blown tourist industry.

of travel agents, all selling the same set of packaged tours. We chose the ‘homestay’ option for our overnight sleeping

as the term conjured notions of quaint authenticity. We

abandoned our seasoned-traveler intuition for the hope of discovering some remaining vestige of a way of life yet

untouched by mass consumerism. We leave the main Sa

pa road behind and begin our descent down the narrow winding path into the verdant valley, the mountainside dotted with water buffalo stretching out before us.

It rains nearly all day as we trudge along the sticky wet

clay trails, our boots caked in mud as we balance precariously along the rims of the harvested rice terraces. Our hearts in our hands, one foot in front of the other FORAGE | ISSUE ONE | SUMMER 2013


SAPA, VIETNAM

RICE TERRACE FIELDS Slippery and wet, it was an adventure walking for two days with the aid of several women of the region.

against the vertiginous elevation, we keenly focus our

the shifting terrain. There are about 16 women to our small group of six who fol-

through the villages. A visit to a primary school in one

of this type of tourism.

wits on the narrow path ahead, one ear cocked for the rattle of the odd motorcycle that shares our route up

of these villages finds us all peering into classrooms filled with children studying, singing and painting. The

pink plastic ‘Little Princess’ backpacks that adorn each desk make an odd contrast to the detailed hand-made cloth bags carried by the tribeswomen who accompany

us. They sell their various colorful wares as barter for

the strong grip of their hands that instinctively seem to know when one of us needs help to maneuver across

low us from village to village to become our “afternoon friends”, as they call it, an expression that speaks to how accustomed they have become to the transitoriness

The sun has come out on day two of the trek, drying up the mud on the trails. Fresh socks, scraped off boots and a stack of banana pancakes contribute to our high spirits which carry us along a cheerful stroll through the scented morning air.

We stop here and there on a high patch of grass to sit and survey the clear open expanse. Keen to practice her English and learn another new language, our guide

Zi engages us in a game of translation as she rattles off an endless string of words to our newly-made Spanish friend Isabel who repeats each one in her perfect Galician accent: Butterfly, Mariposa; Caterpillar, Oruga; Hummingbird, Colibri …


The mood is breezier and the way easier than the

tricky descents of the day before. A new gathering of

tribeswomen have joined us. With embroidered fabrics and babies on their backs, they escort us from village

to village in traditional dresses, colourful knee-high flower-patterned Wellington boots along the narrow edges that wind down to the bamboo forest.

Despite the feeling that we are somehow participants

in a disappearing way of life and culture, we are humbled and miniaturized by the sensation of time

that stretches out before us. One can still experience a quietude and expansiveness that is unlike anything

else in the world, an experience that is hard to compress into words or a photograph. As the landscape

and inhabitants here indelibly transform to accommodate ever more curious visitors and muddy tracks, the insects in the trees continue humming their song 28

and the mountains and valleys, at least for the time being, seem oblivious to us newcomers.

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EASTSIDE CULTURE CRAWL A LITTLE SOHO IN VANCOUVER For two and a half days in the middle of every

An afternoon of wandering is filled with surprises:

and NoHo a run for their money and also for

furniture makers, to a poet’s studio that mimics

November for the past 16 years, a small area of East Vancouver, British Columbia, gives SoHo their historical eccentricity.

Bounded between Main Street and Victoria Drive, the 16th Annual Eastside Culture Crawl’s more than 400 artists, craftspeople and designers emerge out of the rafters to put on a show that rivals the best of ‘industrial wastelands turned artists meccas in the world.

No, it’s not New York, London or Berlin, but for the 19 hours during which visitors ‘crawl’ from studio to studio, this little geographical slice

of the city is transformed into one of the most

fascinating, trendy, and culturally alive spaces in the world.

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from puppet performers and world-renowned

installation artists, to multi-media and upcycled-

an outdoor tropical garden replete with built-in

cobblestone paths, bubbling streams, live iguanas and crickets. The creative creatures have quite literally come out of the woodwork.

With over one hundred studios on five floors all

under one rickety roof, 1000 Parker Street is a

great place to begin the crawl. The spaces them-

selves are often as interesting as the art on their walls. And if you enjoy people watching almost

as much as looking at art, there’s no shortage of quirkiness amoung the amblers here.

If you missed it this year, mark your calendars for a November 2013 crawl. And don’t mind the rain because even if you get drenched this event is sure to bring a little sunshine to your travel.

FORAGE | ISSUE ONE | SUMMER 2013


PHOTO ESSAY // CHARLES MEAKIN

FUTURE GENERATIONS OF PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO

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PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO


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AN ASHRAM EXPERIENCE IN INDIA (TRIVANDRUM, PUNA AND RISHIKESH) When I first heard from a friend about the morning satsang and

And he was right. “Mornings are for the birds” I heard myself com-

on huggy bus trips to summer camp or being submitted to group

temple that housed the satsangs, yoga classes, and daily meals.

chanting sessions at the Sivananda Yoga Ashram in Trivandrum India, it brought to mind visions of singing corny Kumbaya songs

sing-alongs during the music lessons that were part of my early childhood edification: definitely not for me, I thought.

A couple of months later I was eating my words as the “Om Shantis” and “Jaya Ganeshas” came bellowing out of my mouth. The mischievous smiley eyes of the round-bellied Swami chanting from the

stage at the front seemed to say: “he he, I bet you never imagined sitting here on this hard stone floor at 6am in the morning with mosquitos buzzing around your head.” 40

plain on more than one occasion as I stumbled caffeine-deprived

along the dirt path from my one-man tent to the large open-air I chanted my lungs out for a whole month on that hard temple floor. And sat next to Nina on it every afternoon and evening for the

vegetarian lunch and dinner that was eaten in silence on rolled out

bamboo mats with more than 200 people from all around the world.

Nina used to say “Yoga changed my life”, but she was also not a morning person. She was a German flight attendant who looked like a blond Amazon warrior.

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PUNA, INDIA


PHOTO ESSAY // NIRAN KUMAR

BACKROADS AND BACKWATERS //

FROM PANAMA TO NORTHERN ARGENTINA

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A year and a half after his return from South America we sit on the living room floor of our friend Niran Kumar’s apartment looking through his hundreds of photos from the trip. We have just come back from a short walk in the woods near his place and are wrapped in coats sipping home-made clove chai to warm up as he clicks from image to image on his computer. It is a June day in North Vancouver and by all

standards it should be warm. Our friend, however, likes to keep it cool inside.

Dressed in a similar old t-shirt as the one we see him wearing in the photos, the cold, damp day doesn’t seem to bother him. It’s as though the images themselves

offered a warmth that he wanted to stay in for a while. And so, we find ourselves

pressing him on from his reminiscences about Captain Nicoli, the police chief from Panama with the talking parrot and hinting for him to move more quickly through his elaborate story of the man from Bolivia whose entire house was built

of bottle caps. You see, we are on a mission here: to discover in his vast collection of photos a few stand-out shots that capture the breadth of his unique five-week

over-land journey through Panama, Columbia, Venezuela, Bolivia and Argentina. Now, our friend, by his own confession, is not a practiced photographer nor is he

a seasoned documentarian. He is, as he puts it, a common man. And this journey was simply a chance for him to see how common people live. That, and attend the wedding of Friko Stac, a man he met and kept in touch with from a previous

trip to Nepal in December of 1999, who was about to get married in the small village of Cachi in Northwestern Argentina. It seemed our friend’s camera was

there to fulfill the same function as his own perceptions: to pick up the bits and pieces of ephemera as he came across them along the paths of his travel. Many of the images are blurry, many of them, to our eyes, seem inconsequential; but to

our friend they all contain stories that could take an hour or more in the telling.

And so as we sift through his endless archives, our fourth hot tea in hand, we find ourselves questioning our own motivations for choosing what makes up a good photograph.


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THE AMAZON RIVER, NORTHERN BRAZIL

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CHILDREN IN NORTHERN BOLIVIA PLAY AMONGST THE AGE-OLD STONES

LIFE ALONG THE MIGHTY AMAZON RIVER IN NORTHERN BRAZIL.


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PHOTO ESSAY // WINNIE SHEK

GLASS + MENAGERIE IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWE

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EST


If Lewis Carol’s muse had grown up to be a photographer, she might have wished to tumble down the rabbit hole into the land of The Dale Chihuly Glass Museum. It’s hard not to imagine feeling like Alice or one of her companions on a stroll through this awe-inspiring, twinkly, mind-boggly, looking-glass landscape, the largest museum in the world devoted to a single glass

artist. It is filled with such fantastical lines, sinewy curves, sparkly colors and dreamy glass textures that it would be easy to picture oneself, like the

Red Queen, muttering things like ‘Mind the Volcano’ as the camera snaps

the perfect shot of a blazing red hot flower that looks like it’s still glowing from the glass-blowers oven.

As Dale Chihuly’s glass pieces glow to life on my screen in the photographs

taken by our featured photographer Winnie Shek, I can’t help but imagine her as a miniature Alice in a dream world dwarfed by these oversized surreal flowers. I picture her overhearing the noises of slithy toves and Jubjub birds singing as she looks upward to focus her lens on the most enormous

tangle of clear white crystalline sculptured glass that seems more like a creature with long tentacles than any sort of real flower.

I imagine her in a slip-sliding world of Tum Tum trees wandering through the groves of the tulgey wood as she joyously aims to capture the dripping blue glass flowers silhouetted against the black Seattle night sky.

These impressions come to mind as I gaze at her photographs, seeing her

in the imaginarium of Chihuly’s art, transported from Texas to the middle of Seattle. I see a story of her peering into her very own looking glass, as

her camera’s lens brings to life a wondrous glass garden that I only got a daylight glimpse of though the tall hedge that surrounds the museum.

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STREETSCAPE FLOWERS CEMENT FLOWERS TEXTURED CEMENT TEXTURED CEMENT CHIHULY GLASS SCULPTURE CHIHULY GLASS SCULPTURE CHIHULY GLASS CREATIONS

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ODE TO NATURE CHIHULY CHANDELIER CHIHULY EXPLOSIONS CHIHULY MADNESS


CHIHULY CHANDELIER ODE TO NATURE CHIHULY CHILLY BLUE GLASS

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www.foragecreative.com

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