Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize, Caves and Superstition
Dec02

Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize, Caves and Superstition

My guide, Jose, looked around at me and put his finger to his lips, “Shh, can you feel the spirits?” I held my breath. Human skeletons and cracked pottery lay scattered on the ground. Obsidian blades that were once used to pierce the tongue and genitals sat near a slate altar at the far wall. We were more than a kilometer underground. I was in Actun Tunichil Muknal, Belize’s “Cave of the Stone Sepulchre.”...

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ItalyVacations.com Offers Exclusive Ferrari & Ducati Experience
Jun29

ItalyVacations.com Offers Exclusive Ferrari & Ducati Experience

Woodcliff Lake, NJ, June 28, 2011 – ItalyVacations.com is celebrating the Superstars International Series and the World Superbike Championship with exclusive packages for the ultimate motorsports experience! ItalyVacations.com is offering three-night and five-night packages for three race weekends in Italy: Maserati-Ferrari Superstars Mugello Race Weekend (Sept. 23-26), Ducati Superbike Imola Race Weekend (Sept. 23-26) and Ferrari...

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Meandering Morocco, part two

For part one “J’Alla, J’Alla. Madam, give me bag. Very heavy. Not for lady to carry.” I watch in embarrassment as he is loaded with tonne after tonne. He just stands there obediently, no sign of resistance, not a complaint, just the odd blink and the occasional neigh. Finally, my mule is fully laden and ready to go!! I follow Ibrahim, my guide, up the winding mountain path, riddled with guilt, as I carry...

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Malta, the Cart Ruts Mystery

At different sites over the two main islands of Malta and in the surrounding waters are found some man-made features which have been given the name ‘cart ruts’, largely because the first visitors to discover them believed they had been worn by a cart. Their most famous site is at Clapham Junction, named after Britain’s busiest railway intersection, an area in the southwestern part of Malta, where the wind sweeps in from the sea and...

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Yazd, Iran and Bahrain

The City and province of Yazd in Iran holds many wonders of architectural significance. A Zoroastrian Fire Temple in Yazd holds a traditional fire, which has been kept alight by Zoroastrian priests, continuously for over 1100 years. Caravansaries, Islamic architecture including the Friday mosque and wind-towers or badgirs, which act as incredibly effective cooling systems for homes and public structures. Bahrain is an archipelago of...

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Krak des Chevaliers, Syria

The hill on which Krak des Chevaliers was constructed, was originally the site of a smaller fort called the “Castle on the slope”. The Emir of Homs, who garrisoned his Kurdish soldiers there to protect the Syrian interior, took it over in 1011. In 1110, the Crusaders under Tancred, Prince of Antioch, occupied the small fortress. It housed a garrison of four thousand soldiers and fortifications were built throughout their...

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In an Elephant’s Eye

I had been in Sri Lanka for a week, and now a couple of friends and I are passing through the interior of the island-nation the size of West Virginia. The road’s edge is lined with a four-pronged spacey wire fence standing roughly ten feet high, this marks the Minneriya National Park. Then we spot it – a monstrosity of a mammal standing on the other side of the electric fence. “Tissa [the driver], please stop!” I get out and inch over...

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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...

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Sof Omar, Ethiopia

Never go caving with a whiner – he’ll scare off all the bats. I entered Sof Omar cave with a mandatory guide in tow – a teenager in a leather jacket. As soon as I turned the corner my respectable guide began whining. Was I going to give him a tip? How much? “A tip,” I said, “is determined by how well a job is done,” and he, my guide, is already not doing a very good job. At that he turned away. “You...

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My Peak, Climbing Mount Kenya

It finally happened. I got there first. I’m never first. Not when it comes to mountain peaks. No, I’ll make it, to this day I only have one “white whale” and it stands above six thousand meters high in Bolivia. On the bright side, I now know the limits of my body when facing elevation sickness. I’ve decided to climb Mount Kenya as independently as possible. Just with a guide, no porters, and carrying food...

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