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Articles Archive 2009

JANUARY 2009:

VICTORIA’S CHINATOWN – A ONCE FORBIDDEN CITY
Story and Photos by Margaret Deefholts

Victoria’s Chinatown this May morning is hazy: the flamboyant gold tiles and red pillars of the Gate of Harmonious Interest on Government Street are muted and Fisgard Street beyond the Gate is veiled in chiffon-like mist... read more »


CATCHIN UP WITH CAJUN CULTURE
By Chris McBeath

This was pretzel dancing – a hybrid of square dancing, blue grass jive and the haphazard movements that Elaine’s character creates on Seinfeld... read more »


YUCATAN, LAND OF THE MAYAN RAIN GOD
By Robert Scheer

Bats flapped overhead as I made my way deeper into the cave. A rope handrail helped me navigate steep steps. The air got hotter and steamier as I descended. No wonder the Maya believed caves were the gateway to the Underworld... read more »


WALKING THE BARRIOS OF SANTIAGO, CHILE
By W. Ruth Kozak

Located in one of the most spectacular settings of any city in the world, wedged between the snow-capped Andes and the coastal cordillera, Santiago, Chile is unique... read more »

 

FEBRUARY 2009:


OLYMPIC ODYSSEY
by Caroline M. Jackson

With the advent of our 2010 Winter Olympics, it seemed fitting to weave an Olympic thread into my tapestry of European travel. My adventure began in Lausanne, Switzerland, home to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the state-of-the-art Olympic Museum... read more »


A VERY UNUSUAL TEMPLE
New Delhi’s Akshardham Complex

By Margaret Deefholts

“You must see the Swaminarayan Akshardham temple when you’re in Delhi,” a friend says to me. “It’s fab! And different. Not like a traditional Hindu temple.”... read more »


PERUVIAN PILGRIMMAGE:
PAYING HOMAGE TO THE INCAN MOUNTAIN GODS

Story and Photos by John Geary

I picked up the coca leaf, and whispering my most heartfelt wishes into it, I blew through it, toward the base of Humantay Mountain. That small act of devotion completed a ceremony to honour the gods of the mountains, and help ensure a safe journey as we prepared to ride further into the Land of the Incas... read more »


SWEETHEART SITES OF SEATTLE
By Jane Cassie

Although Seattle’s downtown core is a mish mash of past and present it all works together like a good relationship... read more »

 

MARCH 2009:


DISCOVERING QUADRA ISLAND
Story and Photos by Margaret Deefholts

“There...look there! A bear! Can you see him?” Our Zodiac operator, Jeff, cuts back the outboard motor, and steers us across the choppy ink-blue waters of Discovery Passage... read more »


OFF THE GRINGO TRAIL IN PERU
by Irene Butler

At midnight police summoned Archaeologist Walter Alva to the village of Sipán in northern Peru... read more »


MEDIEVAL MEANDERINGS IN SOUTHWEST FRANCE
Montségur, Mirepoix and Carcassonne
Story by Karoline Cullen, Photography by Cullen Photos

The rocky trail angles steeply upwards and demands all my attention. Looking at the ruin above, I find the cool, gray weather an appropriate match for this forbidding place... read more »


MAKING TRACKS TO WHISTLER
By Jane Cassie

Whistler is definitely the place for making tracks and though we don’t plan on cruising from heavenly peaks during this spring visit, we do manage this task in another way—by getting there and back on The Whistler Mountaineer... read more »


IN THE QUEBEC HEARTLAND
By Lauren Kramer

If there are modern-day Quebecois explorers, or coureurs du bois as they are known in Canadian folklore, Raymond des Rosiers is one of them. For the 44-year-old guide at Auberge St. Alexis des Monts in Quebec, his favourite time of year is October when, for two weeks, he douses himself in animal urine, lays salt blocks on the ground and wakes at 4am to race to his tree hideout. The reason? Moose... read more »

 

APRIL 2009:


BLUES, BOOZE AND BARAK
Story and Photos by Colleen Friesen

For some reason I keep thinking of two rather disparate things: the band playing on as the Titanic went down and Nero fiddling while Rome burns. These are not necessarily good thoughts while standing on the back deck of a large cruise ship listening to a band bashing out the blues... read more »


JUDEA IS CLOSER THAN YOU THINK
By Margaret Deefholts

It isn’t every day that I get to meet Jesus, but this afternoon I stand in a coulee surrounded by craggy ochre-coloured hills, listening to him and a couple of his disciples chatting to [Blind] Bartimaeus. Dust devils dance in the breeze, and in the shade of the Jerusalem Wall, a donkey stands patiently awaiting his owner... read more »


POWELL RIVER: NO LONGER JUST A MILL TOWN
By Jane Cassie

In 1911, Powell River, British Columbia was thriving. It was home to BC’s largest pulp and paper mill and during its peak, employed 3,500 workers... read more »


BONNIE LOCH LOMOND
by Caroline M. Jackson

The summer sun had just kissed the peak of Ben Lomond and now the still, slate-grey waters of Loch Lomond became as dark as coal. With my back to the castellated Hotel Tarbet, I sauntered down the grassy slope towards the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond... read more »

 

MAY 2009:


BRIDGING THE GAP AT WHISTLER
By Jane Cassie

When I was seven years old, I had high hopes of joining the circus. My dad even installed a trapeze in our basement to pacify this childhood whim. That was a few decades and a hundred or so pounds ago. Today, as I teeter on the edge of Whistler’s Zip Trek platform, I’m not as certain that I’ll soar through the air with the greatest of ease... read more »


HOPEWELL ROCKS
By Susan Deefholts

I am walking through a mermaid’s living room. We are at the Hopewell Rocks, in New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy. It is low tide, and the rush of the water’s ebb and flow is muted by distance. In a few short hours, this whole area will be submerged by the highest tide in the world... read more »


MAGICAL MAUI MOMENTS WITH MY MOTHER
(A Mother’s Day Tribute)
Story & Photos by Donna Yuen

The years have slipped by so quickly. Turning towards her now I notice her gray hairs, and the wrinkles growing almost imperceptibly from the corners of her eyes... It has been eight years since we last traveled together, so we are long overdue for this impromptu mother-daughter trip to Maui... read more »


BEYOND THE BEACHES
Outback Safaris reveal Domican Republic Disparities

by Chris McBeath

Hispaniola is an island divided. The larger portion comprises the Dominican Republic, best known for its lushly appointed beachside resorts set against hills of tropical rainforest. Beyond those hills, however... read more »

 

JUNE 2009:


GOAT-GIRLS AND HEART-HEALTHY CHOCOLATES
By Colleen Friesen

It’s somewhere between the fifth and sixth muttered expletive that I’m able to finally heave myself on to the top of the cliff. Looking down, I realize that calling it a cliff might be overstating the geographic truth. In fact, once I’m standing solidly on the top, it’s kind of embarrassing at just how little distance I’ve come...read more »


VENICE: MISTRESS OF THE SEAS
By W. Ruth Kozak

As I step outside my small hotel, it is the light in the piazza that impresses me first; the way it filters through the narrow passageway, a bright shaft of daylight flooding across the cobbled path. I stand transfixed for a moment, breathing in the scent of old stones and pungent sea...read more »


ECO TOURING ALONG THE SUNSHINE COAST
By Jane Cassie

Where in BC are you treated to 180 kilometers of scenic shoreline bordered by mossy rainforests and recreation abundance? What destination has been dubbed, the Scuba Coast, Wildlife Coast and Wellness Coast? And where on this province’s water-logged mainland are you warmed by 2,400 sunny hours each year? If you guessed the Sunshine Coast, you’re spot on!...read more »


GRENADA – JEWEL OF THE CARIBBEAN
By Lauren Kramer

It’s choppy in Grenada’s Moliniere Bay, and as I splash over the edge of the boat and glance through misty goggles, I find myself looking straight down at a female figure standing on the ocean floor 30 feet below me...read more »


YORKSHIRE YARNS
Story and photos by Margaret Deefholts

Once upon a time, a good-natured giant named Wade lived with his wife Belle on the wild fells of the Yorkshire Dales...read more »


July 2009
OF FERRIES, FORESTS AND A MYSTICAL THUNDERBIRD
Day One of a B.C. Ferries CirclePac Tour

By Margaret Deefholts

No matter how many times I've done it, I always feel a tingle of anticipation as I line up at the B.C. Ferries terminal in Tsawwassen. Today is no different, and yet in a sense it is. This time I'm joined by my sister, Phyllis - and we are about to launch on a six-day exploration of the east coast of Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast using a B.C. Ferries' CirclePac ticket. ...read more »


SCENIC SANTA FE ANY TIME OF THE YEAR
By Jane Cassie

Like a metronome, the wipers slap in time to Michael Buble's rendition of Come Fly With Me as they clear snow from our windshield. "What's with this?" I say to my husband who's sitting next to me in our rented Chevy. "I thought we'd be leaving this white stuff behind." Although not crooning like Buble, I had ironically suggested escaping BC's wet west coast a few weeks earlier. I'd heard that Santa Fe at 2,134 meters (7,000 feet) boasted 300 days of annual sunshine and only 356 millimeters (14 inches) of precipitation. What were the odds we'd be rained on, let alone see snow? ...read more »


CELEBRATING WHISTLER, BC
AN OLYMPIAD OF SUMMER ADVENTURE

By Chris Millikan

Already widely touted as prime snow sports territory and renowned home to 2010's Winter Olympics, Whistler inspires us to investigate warmer weather prospects. And riding on Whistler's Mountaineer, Howe Sound's vistas, mighty Stawamish Chief, spectacular Brandy Wine Falls and heart-stopping Cheakamus Canyon sharpen our appetites for summertime activities. ...read more »


August 2009
WOKING AROUND CHINA
Story & Photos by Margaret Deefholts

Behind a glass-screened counter a beaming vendor tosses skeins of noodles for the benefit of my camera. Further down the aisle the aroma of warm buns pervades the bakery section, and around another corner a customer haggles vociferously over a clutch of squirming black turtles...read more »


WINERIES IN OUR FRASER VALLEY BACKYARD
Story and Photos by Lauren Kramer

If you're looking for good wine, you don't have to look much further than the Lower Mainland and the Fraser Valley. The bountiful fields and vineyards not far from our homes produce a delectable taste of local viticulture, one that's ripe for the sampling. So grab a good map of the Lower Mainland, a trendy jacket and a designated driver...read more »


LLAMA LOVE A WILDE AND WOOLY ROMANCE
By Jane Cassie

He checks me out with wide curious eyes; one is steely blue, the other one cocoa brown. It's a quirky mix that gives him character, just like his Rastafarian hairdo. When I glance his way, he blinks bashfully -or is it flirtatiously? I take the hint by rubbing his neck, just the way he likes. ...read more »


CRUISING FROM SUNNY SORRENTO TO THE SALTPANS OF SLOVENIA
By Caroline M. Jackson

It was a clear October morning as our cruise ship anchored in the shadow of the cliff below Sorrento on Italy's Amalfi coast. First to disembark by tender were the early birds bound for daytrips to the romantic Island of Capri or historic Pompeii...read more »


September 2009
NEW FIRST NATIONS ATTRACTIONS ENTERTAIN AND INSPIRE
By Robert Scheer

I watched in fascination as the two men carved away slivers of wood from the pole. Stylized figures of animals and humans were beginning to emerge from the yellow cedar log, and their style was clearly Haida. The distinctive aboriginal art imagery from Haida Gwaii...read more »


DAWDLING IN THE DORDOGNE
Story by Karoline Cullen, Photography by Cullen Photos

In the absolute darkness, my eyes blink as they search in vain for a sliver of light. The blackness is like a thick blanket engulfing us all. The only sound is shallow breathing, which quickly morphs into gasps of appreciation when the guide spotlights the frieze of beasts above our heads...read more »


RAIMENTS FIT FOR A KING
Story and Photos by Irene Butler

My hand grazed the elaborate design of miniscule leaves, winding vines, swirling spirals in ruby red and glittering gold, as soft as an angel's wing, as strong as tinsel steel, as regal as an ancient Khmer ruler. I behold a fabric so fine, it is rightfully destined to be fashioned into ceremonial garments for the present-day King Rama IX and the royal family. ...read more »


October 2009
A DAY WITH THE 'GATORS AND BIRDS ALONG THE ECON
By John Geary

As I came to another turn in the river, a slight movement caught my eye. There, on a bank less than 10 yards, away lay an alligator - but not for long. Before I could even think about dropping my paddle to grab my camera, the 12-foot long primeval-looking reptile slid off the bank and disappeared under the water, leaving a trail of air bubbles - and leaving me to wonder how I might have fared if he'd been trying to attack me instead of trying to escape...read more »


EERIE EDMONTON: HAUNTED HABITATIONS
Story and Photos by Margaret Deefholts

I'm in the historic La Boheme hotel in Edmonton's Highland District, and I step back startled, as an ancient furnace in the basement roars into life. It's a long rusty looking tube, and the cavernous interior is lit by leaping flames along each side. A perfect place to dispose of a corpse. Which is exactly what happened when a woman's body was dragged down to the basement and heaved into the (then) coal fired incinerator by her murderous spouse...read more »


TWO SCENIC SONG-WORTHY DRIVES IN NEW MEXICO
By Jane Cassie

The best way to check out New Mexico's treasures is by getting off the beaten path, onto roads less traveled. Here are two tune-worthy trips...read more »


FLYING HIGH IN THE SWISS ALPS
Story and Photos by Jamie Ross

Let me be totally honest, I am not very fond of heights. That is why stepping off a mountain at 4,000 metres with nothing but nylon webbing separating one from certain death would seem a strange thing for me to be doing. Still, here I am, paragliding over the Aletsch Glacier, the longest alpine glacier in the world and a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. The flight also affords a bird's eye view of the Swiss Alps, and of the neat, orderly nature of the landscape...read more »


November 2009
MERRY TIME ADVENTURES GRAND CAYMAN STYLE
By Rick Millikan

Carnival Valor® loops through the Caribbean Sea to ports offering fun and adventure. Grand Cayman proves especially intriguing. While other passengers choose to snorkel off Seven Mile Beach or dive at several reef sites, my spouse Chris and I opt for an overview excursion that includes the extraordinary Stingray City! Even after discussing Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin's tragic stingray incident, we look forward to the thrill of communing with these fascinating creatures...read more »


THE SANDS OF MEMORY
By Chris McBeath

The last of the 'old guard' is passing on, and a 'new guard' both in and out of uniform must carry their torch. For many, there's a dis-connect to the meaning of Remembrance Day. It's a national holiday. A day off school. A long weekend. A time when broadcasters re-run old war movies that are about as far removed from the real thing as Hollywood can imagine. But take the time to visit a memorial grave site, and the significance of Remembrance Day is laid in acres at your feet...read more »


GOING HOLOHOLO ON THE BIG ISLAND OF HAWAII
by Caroline M. Jackson

Our destination was the protected waters of Kealakekua Bay near a monument erected in memory of Captain Cook. Once the crew equipped me with snorkel gear and frog feet, a wave of trepidation came over me as I descended the catamaran's stairway. On the previous day, a rogue wave had tossed me onto a resort beach, swamped my swimsuit with sand and left my favorite frog flippers ripped in tatters. This aquatic experience was going to be less traumatic, and within minutes I had flippered my way to join the pod of fellow snorkelers. Beneath me a liquid world was spangled with curtains of iridescent fish that constantly changed direction under the instructions of an unseen conductor...read more »


Shaking it up in Tel Aviv
Story and photos by Donna Yuen

Thursday night is the night to party in Tel Aviv, and my nightlife guide, Doron, plans to see to it that we do just that! We start our bar hopping evening in Nanuchka, a Georgian restaurant bar with a unique décor, which is popular with the locals. Its terra-cotta walls are adorned with large mirrors and oil paintings. Garish chandeliers dangle from the ceiling providing a warm welcoming glow. The restaurant area hosts a calmer and relaxed crowd, while in the bar the patrons appear ready to jump up and dance all night long. I am told the place really gets hopping after midnight. Like most places in Tel Aviv, the bar scene does not get started until around 11pm and often runs until the last patron leaves. Nanuchka is located in the Rothschild quarter on Lillienblum Street, also known as the area to go clubbing in Tel Aviv. After a few drinks, we are ready to move on another bar in the party district ...read more »


SOUND AND FURY - Vancouver Island's Pacific Coast
Text and photos by Margaret Deefholts

The sea is an animal. Beyond the rain-swept windows of my room it snarls and roars as it claws at the rocky shore. I draw the curtains closed as a shiver of awe and unease curls up my spine. The scene outside is part of the notorious shipwreck-strewn Graveyard of the Pacific edging the west coast of Vancouver Island and, drawn by fascination with Nature's savagery, visitors like myself flock here through the winter and spring, on storm watching pilgrimages. ...read more »


December 2009
DISCOVER THE SOUL OF CASSADAGA
By Chris McBeath

For some, the drive to Cassadaga Camp might be a bit off the wall, but any community that has a shopping mall for Spiritualists, a Medium Mart and an actively used Meditation Garden as its 'town square' is a voyage of discovery in more ways than one...read more »


MEXICO - QUALITY ON THE CHEAP!
By Andrew Renton

"Economy heading south!" screams the headline of my local newspaper. "Conserve your cash," preaches a guru on the early morning show. I rip open the envelope from my broker. Too late. My paltry savings have shrunk to the size of a freeze-dried prune. November rain is pounding the skylight...read more »


WHAT'S UP WITH SANTA?
By Irene Butler

Santa has been sneaking away from the mall on certain days during December. The paparazzi found him gleefully swinging from the side-ladder of the powerful engine of the Verde Canyon Railroad Train in Clarkdale Arizona. Much laughter and singing resounded from within the coaches on these days, and there were sightings of Mrs. Clause and Elfie through the train's panoramic windows...read more »


 

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