© Andy Lachance, all rights reserved
If you think this is good, you should really see it in four dimensions.
From November 21 – December 13, 2009, Travel Dynamics International will follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton, cruising to South Georgia Island, the South Orkneys, Elephant Island (where Shackleton climbed a mountain range following a 700-mile open-boat trip) and the Antarctic Peninsula. For a voyage of this magnitude, celebrating the impossible achievements of one of the world’s greatest explorers, it’s only fitting that a great explorer should accompany us. We have two.
Peter Hillary made history in 1990 when he and his father, Sir Edmund Hillary, became the first father-and-son team to climb to the summit of Mount Everest. On another expedition, Peter blazed a new overland route to the South Pole. For more than 25 years Peter has challenged some of the most demanding, most dangerous environments on Earth: he is the first man to traverse the 3000-mile length of the Himalayas; he made the first ski descent of Mount Aspiring, known as “the Matterhorn of the Southern Hemisphere;” and he has participated in more than 38 mountaineering expeditions, including ascents of Mount Everest, K2, Makali West Pillar, and Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s highest peak. Peter holds a commercial pilot’s license, is a much-sought-after speaker, and is the author of eight books, most recently In the Ghost Country: A Lifetime Spent on the Edge.
Dave Hahn holds the record for reaching the summit of Mount Everest—ten times (out of 14 tries), more than any other non-Sherpa climber. He has guided climbers to the summit of Mount Rainier 245 times, and led 25 attempts on Denali, reaching the summit 18 times. Dave also holds the world record for the Vinson Massif in Antarctica—he has reached the summit 25 times. In 2006 Dave led a team of professional athletes on an expedition to ski Mount Everest. In 1999 Dave participated in the expedition that recovered and identified the remains of explorer George Mallory, who died trying to scale Everest in 1924. A renowned expert on Ernest Shackleton, Dave has led seven expeditions to South Georgia Island and led trekkers overland on the “Shackleton Traverse,” which in 2004 won Outside magazine’s Trip of the Year Award. Dave shot high-altitude video for the PBS NOVA program Lost on Everest, and led the film crew into the mountains of Antarctica on a journey of discovery that resulted in the Emmy-Award-winning film, Mountains of Ice.
If you book this trip before JULY 9, you’ll receive FREE AIR TRANSPORTATION from Miami to Ushuaia, Argentina, economy class, on LAN Airlines. If you’d like to upgrade to business class, we can arrange that for you for just $2,500 more (availability limited). All guests on this trip will enjoy free limousine transportation from your home to the airport (if you live within 50 miles of your departure airport). Opportunities like this, with such illustrious travel companions, don’t come often, so we encourage you to download the brochure from our main site and give us a call at (800) 257-5767.
“Chahlstun,” you’d say if you were speaking like a native. We’re heading down to this languorous antique of South Carolina on our cruise of America’s Historic Atlantic Shores, in late September of this year, and in May and October of 2010, and just in the nick of time Forbes.com has a delightful piece on the changes and continuity seen in the city where the Civil War began.
“Come Hell or High Water” – that’s the title of a great book on Charleston my dad (born in Georgetown, halfway up the coast between Charleston and Pawley’s Island) had on his bookshelf; and that’s the way it goes when you live in Hurricane Alley. 1989’s Hurricane Hugo blasted through the town, leaving in its wake “a degree of devastation unprecedented in anybody’s living memory,” according to Charleston’s once and present mayor, Joseph P. Riley, Jr. But, as Forbes reports,
“…what came in Hugo’s aftermath was a surge of investment and prosperity that has washed over Charleston and left it sparkling in the Low Country sun.
The city that once liked to say it was “too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash” has reclaimed its magnificent downtown; inaugurated a nearly year-round slate of tours, exhibitions, and festivals (including the 17-day culture party, the Spoleto Festival); spawned a culinary awakening; and erected a new signature structure, the sail-like Arthur Ravenel, Jr., Bridge. Oh, and ponied up for the paint–lots and lots of paint. Charleston is more fun now than it has been since the predawn fireworks show of April 12, 1861, when P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Fort Sumter. You might even say the city has been transformed. Sort of.
“That’s true!” she answered. “But, well…not true. For instance, I can look at the bird’s-eye map of Charleston from 1850 on my office wall and still recognize every street. I could use it today to get around town.”
That’s Charleston for you: The place, to put it mildly, is not afflicted with the amnesia effects of American Progress. Around here, the new must always accommodate itself to the stubborn tenacity of what came before. It was Charleston where Oscar Wilde claimed he had complimented the moonrise over the harbor only to be told, “You should have seen it before the war!”
This is a city famously marinating in self-regard. The old wheeze about Charleston being located “where the Ashley and Cooper rivers join up to form the Atlantic Ocean”–you will not leave town without hearing it–is meant to be taken as self-deprecating: See, we can joke about thinking we are the center of the universe. The subtext: Actually, that is exactly what we think.
Here are a few of the American “firsts” claimed by Charlestonians during my visit: first historic district, municipal college, country club, golf course, water buffalo, fireproof building. Charlestonians have convinced themselves that they invented the cocktail party, too. Perhaps it’s just that parties elsewhere didn’t count.
Read more of this really entertaining article that definitely captures the spirit of Charleston, SC.
Now this is an amazing story, reported by Johann Hari in The Independent:
Hari writes, “Earlier this year, Peru’s right-wing President, Alan Garcia, sold the rights to explore, log and drill 70 per cent of his country’s swathe of the Amazon to a slew of international oil companies. Garcia seems to see rainforest as a waste of good resources, saying of the Amazon’s trees: ‘There are millions of hectares of timber there lying idle.'”
Now, this is a pretty shocking decision, because the Peruvian Amazon, upriver of Iquitos, is an especially pristine region.
But here’s what happened next:
“The indigenous peoples acted in their own self-defence, and ours. Using their own bodies and weapons made from wood, they blockaded the rivers and roads to stop the oil companies getting anything in or out. They captured two valves of Peru’s sole pipeline between the country’s gas field and the coast, which could have led to fuel-rationing. Their leaders issued a statement explaining: ‘We will fight together with our parents and children to take care of the forest, to save the life of the equator and the entire world.’
Garcia responded by sending in the military. He declared a ‘state of emergency’ in the Amazon, suspending almost all constitutional rights. Army helicopters opened fire on the protesters with live ammunition and stun-grenades. More than a dozen were killed. But the indigenous peoples did not run away. Even though they were risking their lives, they stood their ground. One of their leaders, Davi Yanomami, said simply: ‘The earth has no price. It cannot be bought, or sold or exchanged. It is very important that white people, black people and indigenous peoples fight together to save the life of the forest and the earth. If we don’t fight together, what will our future be?’
And then something extraordinary happened. The indigenous peoples won. The Peruvian Congress repealed the laws that allowed oil company drilling, by a margin of 82 votes to 12. Garcia was forced to apologise for his ‘serious errors and exaggerations’. The protesters have celebrated and returned to their homes deep in the Amazon.”
Read the entire story here. Travel Dynamics International is scheduling three cruises of the Amazon in 2010, and for every guest on these trips, we will be donating funds to The Rainforest Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the pop singer Sting and his wife Trudy Styler for the precise purpose of educating and assisting indigenous tribes of the Amazon to protect the rainforest – just like the peoples of Peru did, above.
It sounds like a prehistoric epic, made into a Hollywood movie. Nearly 10,000 years ago, the bottom of Lake Huron was dry land. Stone-Age hunters stalked herds of caribou here.
How do we know this? NewScientist.com tells us:
Scientists sonar-imaged the floor of Lake Huron and found snaking human-built structures. John O’Shea and Guy Meadows of the University of Michigan say that when the huge Laurentide ice sheet melted and flooded the basin, it potentially preserved intact Native American sites – which are rare in the Great Lakes region.
The sonar images reveal a rocky topography with cliffs and dead-ends that would have been ideal for posting lookouts and ambushing migrating caribou.
The scans also show some structures which the two scientists believe are human-made. A line of large rocks, sometimes arranged one upon the other, form a long parapet. At the end of the parapet are boulders, seemingly pushed together into several piles.
Now, these rock arrangements – they look remarkably similar to the hunting drives and blinds that Inuits currently use – and have used – in the Canadian Arctic for hundreds of years. The parapet, or “drive”, helps guide the animals towards archers hiding behind the groups of boulders, or “hunting blinds”. It’s an amazing find of native North American cultural continuity. There’s more here.
This is the sort of discovery we at Travel Dynamics International really like. That’s why we’ve invited Scott Demel, a Great Lakes archaeologist with Chicago’s Field Museum, to join us on our Great Lakes cruise from July 18-25. He’s extensively researched the Archaic prehistory of the Great Lakes region (9,000-2,500 years ago), a really fascinating epoch: the Laurentide ice sheet melted about 8,000 years ago, creating the Great Lakes.
Posted in Aegean, Fascinating, Greece, Religion/Mythology, tagged Crete, cruise, Daedalus, educational cruise, Icarus, James Joyce, Knossos, luxury cruise, Mediterranean, minotaur, myth, Ulysses on June 24, 2009| 1 Comment »
The Times Literary Supplement has an utterly fascinating essay on Minoan civilization, James Joyce’s Ulysses, Arthur Evans’ reconstruction of Knossos, and the role of ancient Crete in European modernism.
“Arthur Evans, the eccentric Englishman who led the excavations, was, if anything, even more creative in his reconstruction of the Bronze Age than Schliemann had earlier been. The fabulously ancient palace of Knossos enjoys, as Gere points out in her arresting first sentence, “the dubious distinction of being one of the first reinforced concrete buildings ever erected on the island”. The complex of buildings gawped at by thousands upon thousands of tourists every year owes less to the masons of the Minoan age than it does to the example of modernist architecture. On Crete, the archaic and the contemporary, both of them recreated in the image of the other, would end up generating a cultural Möbius Strip. “Not only did the Minoan past provide inspiration to the modern movement, it was itself a modernist structure, enfolding past and present into a closed loop of aesthetic self-referentiality.”
From William Powers in The Washington Post:
“One look at Mila was enough to surface deep wells of ambivalence. I have, it seems, a love-hate relationship with Gaudí. Despite how touristy the place was, I couldn’t help admiring how he ingeniously weaves nature’s curves and angles into his designs. Nobody but Gaudí would have thought to give a building’s rigid verticals a subtle lilt by mimicking the way people stand upright. I stood there adoring the Mila’s cacophonous balconies and the way the entire building waved and rolled around the corner, as if a Mediterranean tsunami were flooding the city.”
Read more on Gaudí’s radical Barcelonan architecture here. Join Travel Dynamics International in Barcelona on our gorgeous, wide-ranging “Historic Cities of the Sea” cruise, aboard the “gold standard of expedition cruising,” the 114-guest Corinthian II, from April 22-May 6, 2010. BOOK NOW FOR SAVINGS OF $3000 PER PERSON!