Author: Sarit Reizin

Photos in Iceland, a Volcano Erupts

About twelve years ago I stood on top of a volcano while visiting Vestmannaeyjar (the Westman Islands) in Iceland and admired the view. The volcano last erupted in 1973 and eventually became the justification for one of the wildest festivals in Europe, which consists of Vodka, music, and general debauchery, but nothing to do with volcanoes anymore. It was a good time for me with an inactive volcano — and the debauchery of the festival. Today, one of ITKT’s writers, Sarit Reizin, has been in Iceland admiring the view. This time with an active volcano. Here are some of her photos of the experience and may answer why so many planes have been grounded....

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The Maasai of Kenya

I was setting up my tent behind the park office in Amboseli NP and didn’t notice a local teenager approaching. His earlobes hung down to his shoulders weighed down by special little copper-colored weights, the rest of the earlobe wrapped in beaded tubes. On his right hip was a sheathed knife, and on his left was a cellphone. “Do you maybe want to visit a Maasai village?” he asked. Many Maasai are still living within the national parks, and their cows graze the same fields as zebras, white rhinos, and antelope. Maasai shepherds walk for miles where tourists are not even allowed to step out of the car because there are lions around. Some years ago, a friend of mine, while on a zoological expedition to Kenya, asked an old Maasai moran (warrior) why is it believed that lions are afraid of the Maasai and thus don’t harm their herds. The old man laughed and replied “the lions are afraid of Maasai because Maasai are not afraid of them.” Location: Kenya For US Travel take a look at our new In The Know travel site Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, and acquiring her higher education in the US, Sarit Reizin is proud to call herself a citizen of the world. However, to stay worthy of the title, she felt a nomadic lifestyle was in order, and in November...

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Finding the Mandrills in Gabon, Africa

I ground my teeth but kept on going. Gently securing the camera on my back, and making sure more dirt doesn’t get in, I plowed through the swamp and cursed under my breath when sharp serrated grass blades cut me deep enough to draw blood. By now, I looked like I’ve been whipped. “Think about it as of an exfoliating treatment,” said my husband walking behind me. I could hear him smile. I turned around, a cynical grimace on my face, and he was quick to sweep me off my feet and steal a kiss. I’ve been tracking mandrills in the dense undergrowth of Lekedi Reserve for two days now, and still couldn’t find the animals. Sloshing through the marshes and mud around the river, climbing the steep slippery valley walls, grabbing for balance onto meaty stems and tree trunks overrun with ants, I found countless insects, bush pigs, even noticed a few young chimps playing in the brush, but not the monkeys I was looking for. I was about to give up and was taking my final stroll through the jungle when the mandrills simply showed up on their own. Whoever thought these guys up probably had a lot of fun with silly putty (and some pot) the day before. It was as if they knew I had spent hours tearing through the bush, marking it with my...

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People Watching in Axum, Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s people walk the dusty streets of Axum like characters from sun-bleached pages of a biblical picture book. I catch them in mid-stride, fetching water, going to church and carrying wood. The town is big, but almost everybody is traditionally dressed. Dignified elders sit on street benches and swat flies with horse-hair brushes, their respectable heads wrapped in white turbans. Most women have exactly the same hairstyle, regardless of age, and that is what mostly makes them look like old illustrations. I try to look inconspicuous and shoot in short bursts from under the shade of a grand tree right in the middle of the main square. Children always are the ones to notice things the most, and it’s them who give me away, eventually, by gathering around and all but climbing into my lens. I leave, my memory card full of green skirts, white shawls, and smiling faces. Location: Axum, Ethiopia For US Travel take a look at our new In The Know travel site Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, and acquiring her higher education in the US, Sarit Reizin is proud to call herself a citizen of the world. However, to stay worthy of the title, she felt a nomadic lifestyle was in order, and in November 2005 left the comforts of the first world with no desire of coming back any time soon....

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Visiting the Simien Mountains with the King of Africa

His eyes are in the shade of massive brows. A ridged muzzle, small angular nostrils, and a round jaw with the top lip curling back suddenly to expose sharp fangs set in wide pink gums. If I didn’t know better I’d be convinced his get-up is skillfully sewn of lion skins, so splendid is his costume, from mane to tuft. A cocked fur hat, and on his chest — a bleeding heart, set right in the middle, like a triangular amulet or a medal of honor, to complete the ensemble. I sat among them (and some cattle) on the hills of the Simien Mountains, and watched these gelada baboons graze as they fingered the earth for roots and seeds. More often than I cared for, they made monkey love. I was most embarrassed photographing this (how could I not?!) in front of local children who stopped to watch the strange faranga excitedly crawl among the animals. Location: Simien Mountains, Ethiopia For US Travel take a look at our new In The Know travel site Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, and acquiring her higher education in the US, Sarit Reizin is proud to call herself a citizen of the world. However, to stay worthy of the title, she felt a nomadic lifestyle was in order, and in November 2005 left the comforts of the first world with no desire...

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Gondor’s Tresure in Ethiopia

It there was one church that won my heart in Ethiopia, it was the Debre Birhan Sellassie of Gondor. Stepping into it was like stepping into a children’s biblical storybook. Angels adorn the roof and pillars of this truly divine dwelling, while every single other holy character is depicted on the walls in fading, though still very vivid colors. Its keeper is a frail but tough old monk with an exquisite ability to catch rare sunlight rays in a tiny dimmed room full of saints. He took pride in keeping the key to this treasure, asked for nothing, and appreciatively welcomed my gift – a Russian coin bearing St. George, patron saint of both Moscow and Ethiopia, – gently turning it every way possible to better make out the relief in the metal. Location: Gondor, Ethiopia For US Travel take a look at our new In The Know travel site Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, and acquiring her higher education in the US, Sarit Reizin is proud to call herself a citizen of the world. However, to stay worthy of the title, she felt a nomadic lifestyle was in order, and in November 2005 left the comforts of the first world with no desire of coming back any time soon....

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Birds, Poachers, and Twitchers in Ethiopia

Sometimes, it seems like Ethiopia is all lakes, birds, and monasteries. Dirty swimming water and organized religion I can do without, but after seeing a silvery-cheeked hornbill I doubt that I could keep living my life and not become a serious twitcher – a bird-watcher who tries to spot as many rare varieties as possible. My new found obsession with birds reached its peak when I spotted a man selling lovebirds in a wire cage on the side of the road. These green parakeets are extremely sensitive wild fowl that does not belong in a cage, but the country does little to protect them, so I took the matters into my own hands: I snatched the birds, and leaving the poacher to bite the dust, told my driver to hit the gas. I released the birds a few kilometers later. Location: South Rift Valley, Ethiopia For US Travel take a look at our new In The Know travel site! Born in Ukraine, raised in Israel, and acquiring her higher education in the US, Sarit Reizin is proud to call herself a citizen of the world. However, to stay worthy of the title, she felt a nomadic lifestyle was in order, and in November 2005 left the comforts of the first world with no desire of coming back any time soon....

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The “You” Calls of Ehtiopia

“You! YouyouYOUyouuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!” There is a reason every travel report from Ethiopia comes back with the same general complaint. The call of the youcalls (a nickname coined by Russian hitchhikers late in the last century) will ring in your ears the entire stay in the country. Farangas are rare in most of Ethiopia and they seldom stop to socialize (which I am always happy to do), especially if they are in their own vehicle. When one does stop, children, and more rarely teenagers, will flock to you, screaming for your attention, just because they simply have nothing better to do and also, yes, because there is always a chance they will get something. As fit for the African pattern, they don’t know what they want so will ask for what they know the English word for, like “pencil” or things they expect you to know, like Highland – the local brand of bottled water. The faranga is a known money bag, so screaming “Money!” is almost mandatory as well. If they bring out the issue of cold hard cash, I simply stretch out my empty hand and say “OK. Give me.” It’s all a game. An annoying game, like holding a finger a millimeter in front of a person’s nose and repeating “I’m not touching you”, but nevertheless a game. Amazing how even a two year-old, who barely knows his...

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Welcome to ITKT

I am Devin Galaudet the Editor in Chief of ITKT. I am asked all the time how I did it? Was it worth? Changing my life around to make travel a priority. The short answer is yes. It was really a lifestyle choice. It hasn’t always been easy but I have never regretted it. If you are like me, you might want to explore what I did to get started.

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