THE INQUISITIVE TRAVELER’S
HREE KINDS of winter destinations break down into a myriad of peak experiences, detailed herein. For example, volcanologist Jon Erickson, who spoke with 11s from Hawaii, shares his ringside view of the world’s most active volcano. Ski filmmaker Greg Stump and “extreme” skier Glen Plake describe their world-favorite snowy places—“just amazing!” they both say. Actress and author Madhur Jaftfey s India encompasses both feudal desert and lush tropical beaches. Writer J. M. Coetzee recommends a bicycle tour through his native South Africa.
On the following pages, accomplished people like these invite you into their worlds. Have a look.
Greeting a grouper near Providenciales Island, Turks and Caicos Islands
TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS
OSIAN MARVEL, who ill 1989 was appointed Her Majesty’s ; Quincentenary Historian for the ; Turks and Caicos Islands, is a leading | proponent of the theory that Grand ] Turk, not the Bahamas, was the site | of Coluinluis’s first landfall.
[ “The islands appear to be develop; ing a sort of cachet as a place where ‘ venturesome people like to go. If you ; come down here, you can go up into ; the cays and walk on a beach that | hasn’t seen footprints for days, it’s ; absolutely superb.
“One of the nicest things to do I here is snorkeling or diving; that ; introduces you to a world of rare ani; mation and beauty. Right in front of ; the north shore there is a profusion of ; coral heads, behind the reef, which | just abound in a blaze of color and [ movement. (Columbus even speaks ' of seeing the colored fish being muy \ descatiso, very reposing.) Then you | | can put on tanks and go over the | ; walls. These islands are on two banks 5 ' which have almost vertical walls. You | ; can go down a couple of hundred - ; feet; because of the limited rainfall
there’s very little runoff from the land, which provides a most unusual clarity to the water. You may get lucky and see something like a giant manta ray with a 12-foot wingspan and a mouth about as big as a large television set. If you’re good you can clamp your hands on its shoulders and get a ride.”
ILLIAM L. RATHJE is an archaeologist and anthropologist, and the director of the Garbage Project, at the University of Arizona. He is a coauthor of Rubbish! The Archaeology of Garbage, to be published in the spring by HarperCollins. Rathje has lived in Tucson for more than 20 years.
“Number one on anybody’s list would have to be to visit the ArizonaSonora 1 )esert Museum—world-class in every way. It’s an amazing place to see all the desert flora and fauna. It really is a gem in the desert—of the
desert, for the desert, in the middle of the desert.
“You also have to see the Mission San Xavier del Bac. There is a spectacular Easter fiesta at the local Native American village where they do the famous Pasqua Yaqui deer dance, duplicated in ail its wonderment in Mexico City at the Ballet Folklorico. The mission is on a Tohono O’odham reservation, just a few minutes from the city.
“Tucson is in a valley ringed by five beautiful mountain ranges. Hiking is really quite a joy. Sabino Canyon is a breathtaking canyon going up into the Catalina Mountains. It’s been the location for a variety of films. In the winter, it’s just ideal hiking weather. You want to get there after it’s rained, when the river is running through the canyon. You will not need any kind of winter apparel, maybe a long-sleeved shirt, maybe a light sweater.
“If people like ghost towns, Arizona is a great place to drive into the country and explore. And obviously, if you’re into garbage like I am, you can find dumps and bins in these towns. There are thousands of little ceramic cups. But, believe it or not, taking anything from one of those ghost towns would, by an archaeologist’s definition, be looting. So whatever I see there, I leave there.
“There are just tons of great restaurants in Tucson, especially Mexican food. Every restaurant along the border has its own special dishes and flavors. I would recommend a combination chimichanga, enchiladastyle. That is an Arizona-Mex food. You’re never going to find a better chimichanga. Everybody shares cuisines, Lmt you can’t get the Real Chimichanga That Will Drive You Mad anywhere but Tucson. Obviously, I’m biased. 1 wouldn’t be living here if I weren’t. And I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world.”
HOW HOT IS HOT? TURKS AND CAICOS ISLANDS: Minimum and maximum average daily temperature in winter, 70-90°F. TUCSON: 38-64°F. HAWAII: 65-80°F. BARBADOS: 75-85°F. BThe hottest recorded temperature in the U.S. is 1 34°F, at Death Valley, California. B Lava appears in colors from dark red to yellow; yellow lava is the hottest, reaching above 2100°F. B Astronaut John Glenn was debriefed on Grand Turk after his 1962 mission. B Arizona has more Indian reservations than any other state. B Temperatures worldwide in 1 990 were the highest ever recorded.
ON ERICKSON, a supervisory park ranger at the 1 lawaii Volcanoes National Park, runs the park’s Jaggar Museum, which opened in 1987 and is devoted to the sciences of volcanology and seismology.
“The park makes up aliout one tenth of the big island of Hawaii. Almost two million people visit each year. There is an 11-mile crater-rim
Pu’u O’o Vent’s fountain and lava flow
drive that encircles the summit of Kilauea, right now the most active volcano in the world. Branching off this is the Chain of Craters Road. The visitor can drive down a distance of 24 miles and then walk a mile and a quarter over relatively fresh lava and watch molten rock pouring into the Pacific. We look at this current eruptive phase on Kilauea as the longest flank eruption and most voluminous flow in recorded history. The flow field has been up to seven miles wide. We have the philosophy that this is a lifetime-experience opportunity, and if you miss it you’re going to regret it. By going out, people are seeing
probably the greatest event of their lifetime, and that is creation, birth— the formation of new land. There’s nothing grander; once lava gets in your blood you’ve had it. What hooked me more than anything besides the sight was the smell, the fragrance of new earth. If you really want to come for a treat, come late in the day, walk out to the flow area, and just plant yourself and wait until dark —that’s when magic happens, it’s unbelievable, fantastic. In the day you might be hooked in the lip, but at night you’ll swallow that hook.”
R. HENRY FRASER is an author and the president of the Barbados National Trust, which preserves the island’s historic buildings.
“Every winter, between January and April, the Barbados National Trust has a series of open houses, where some of the finest examples of good local architecture are open to the public. We open houses ranging from the grand St. Nicholas Abbey, built around 1660—one of three Jacobean houses in the Western Hemisphere—to the fantastic Palladian mansion of the founder of the trust, built in 1947.
“Certainly the building that I most enjoy showing to people now is a very exciting building built in 1854 which was the residence of the only Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation, Sir Grant Lee Adams. 1 le moved into that house on his marriage, in 1929, and it was the Adams family home until his widow, Lady Adams, died, in March, 1990. It has remained virtually unchanged over that period. It is a unique architectural gem. it’s a kind of Palladianinspired house, but built very much with the tropics in mind. Instead of being very grand and very high, it is fairly horizontal, with magnificent features such as decorative cast iron and lovely jalousie windows and so on that only someone building for the Caribbean would introduce. It’s a magical house—it’s certainly my favorite place.”
DONNA WEINDRECHT, the 1991 World Cup Mogul Champion and one of the U.S. Ski Team’s best hopes for an Olympic gold medal in Albertville, spends winters in Killington, Vermont. When skiing out west, some of her favorite spots are in Colorado.
“Steamboat has always been such a family-oriented place, and I feel they have a really nice set-up. There are nice homes, people live there year-round. I like the warmness about Steamboat—it’s a nice place if you want to get away. I also really like Vail. The ski area is fantastic—go for the skiing. You have diversity: the big bowls in the back, open fields, powder. For my ability there’s lots of expert areas, and then all the lower part of the mountain is intermediate and beginner. I can stay at the top of the mountain and still get a lot of vertical and the runs are long. Telluride is kind of a romantic getaway—it’s definitely unique. It’s a cowboy town: the buildings have those swinging doors and false fronts. There’s good skiing there—a lot of out-of-bounds skiing. It’s less crowded and has a lot of diversity.”
GLEN FLAKE, who lives in South Lake Tahoe, has been skiing since age two and is an expert “extreme” skier featured in films including Gonzo to Extremes and Dr. Strangeglove.
“My favorite place is probably Mammoth Mountain, in California. Mammoth is the premier spot—it’s just amazing. It’s a very, very big mountain, open and steep, and it has great views. The snow is typical West Coast snow—it comes in very heavy; we can even get a 14-foot storm. During the storm it’s great powder. We have really strong easterly winds,
so Mammoth probably has the best windpack I’ve ever skied in. It’s like skiing on chalk—it’s buffed smooth and hard by the wind so it’s very firm, but it just shaves off. Mammoth also has the longest season in America. It opens as soon as they have snow and you can ski on July 4th!”
1LEG SLUMP writes, produces, directs, and shoots numerous ski films, including this year’s Groove Requiem.. .in the key of ski. His films are renowned for their “extreme skiing” and worldwide locales. Stump lives in Hawaii and British Columbia.
“If 1 had to pick a favorite place it would be Chamonix, in the French Alps. I’ve spent a whole winter there, when we made Blizzard of Aahhh’s, m 1988. There’s incredible steep skiing—it’s just amazing. Chamonix is as crowded as any big ski area, but the steep areas aren’t skied by many people—they’re pretty empty. There are a lot of secret runs that you can get to from the lifts easily. Plus, when you get down to the bottom—when you ski down these little chutes through the woods—you end up in some little pub. Chamonix is pretty filled with foreigners but it’s still very French. Culturally it’s so great to be out of North America, because skiing in North America is pretty sanitized.
“Chamonix is open all night;
HOW COLD IS COLD?
COLORADO: Minimum and maximum average daily temperature in winter, 10-39°F; average snowfall, 270 inches; official skiing season, late Oct. to June. CALIFORNIA SKI COUNTRY: 14-39F°; 400-500 inches; Nov. to June. CHAMONIX: 20°F; 350 inches; mid-Dec. to mid-May. VERMONT: 9-29°F, 225 inches; mid-Nov. to early April. UTAH: 20-37°F; 300-600 inches; midNov. to late May. ■ The coldest recorded temperature in the U.S. is -80°F, at Prospect Creek, Alaska. ■ The ski tow was invented in Vermont, in 1934, by skiers experimenting with a Model T engine and a cable.
there’s tons of young people there. In Le Brevent, a bar and restaurant nicknamed the ‘Avalanche Fkanch,’ there are skis nailed to the ceiling that all have some unique story to them: one guy survived an avalanche; there are record speed skis and dowmhill skis, Olympic medal winners’ skis.”
ERRY GKEEN FIELD, one half of the Ben Sc Jerry’s ice Cream team, made all the ice cream when their first parlor opened, in 1978, m Burlington, Vermont. He now lives in Williston.
Skier Marjie Noble demonstrating “extreme" skiing at Chamonix, in the French Alps
“I tend not to do anything flashy. My favorite thing to do is sledding. I usually go down my driveway, but 1 also go to local places: the goll course, friends’ houses, and just find a hill. It’s very hilly—Vermont ain’t flat. I really like my sled that’s like an inner tube—it gives a very smooth ride, it absorbs all the shock. You don’t have much control, but then you don’t have much control on any sled. Ben and I were on a toboggan once in Saratoga County, New York, when we ran into this giant, tree-like, maneating bush. We’ve never been the same since. 1 also Like cross-country skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge, in Stowe—you know, ‘The hills are alive.”It has really beautiful trails and when you’re done you can go inside and have something good to eat—it’s a real nice, different sort of feeling.”
RAIG KHLLY, four-time World Champion Snowboarder and 1991 U.S. Pro Team Overall Champion, has been snowboarding since 1981. Kelly lives in Mt. Vernon, Washington.
“My favorite place would have to be Powder Mountain, in Utah. I went to Utah for a snowboarding competition in Park City about five years ago and the local snowboarders told me I had to go visit Powder Mountain. They said it was such a good place to snowboard and had so much powder—which it really did. The place is small, out of the way, not too crowded—and they get as much snow and powder as the other ski areas in Utah, which is saying a lot. Anyone who’s been a snowboarder for any length of time definitely looks for powder; that’s the best type of snow to ride in. Powder Mountain has a lot of tree runs that hold the powder really well—they tend not to get tracked up as fast as open glades would. 1 hey’ve also got a lot of rolling hills and knolls to jump oft of and a manmade snowboarding half-pipe. It’s a locals kind of area—I prefer that type of environment tor good snowboarding.”
A haveli, one of many sandstone mansions in the desert town of Jaisalmer, Rajasthan
ADHUR JAFFREY is an actress, travel writer, and cookbook author. Her latest book is Madhur Jqffrcy’s Cookbook (Harper & Row, 1989). This winter she will be hosting the PBS Travel Series episode Listening to I olcauocs. Born arid raised in India, Jatfrey returns and travels there frequently.
“1 would suggest that before you leave for India, you talk to some Indians in this country and see if they have friends or relatives living in India that you might stay with. Visiting a home is very important. To have contacts will allow you to see India from the inside. 1 also suggest that you go to Rajasthan, which is a wonderful place, especially in the winter months. It is a desert area in the northwest—an old feudal part of India which seems a little like the Old West m this country. It’s very colorful. with many beautiful old palaces. There is a wonderful train, an old royal palace train, which you can take. Rajasthan is an absolute must destination, especially before it spoils. Another destination which 1 might
suggest is the state of Kerala, on the southwest coast. Kerala is very lush and tropical, with inland waterways and palms that swing over the canals. There are many lovely beaches. These two very different places would make a wonderful holiday.”
JORGE CO U LON is a member of the Chilean musical group IntiIllimani. He plays Colombian treble guitar, Colombian harp, and several other instruments. After a 15-year exile, in Italy, the group returned to Chile three years ago.
“You would have to visit, above all, San Pedro de Atacama. It’s in the highland region, near Bolivia, which also happens to be desert. I here is much to learn there from the vestiges of Indian and pre-Incan cultures, like the Avamara. It is where we go first to inspire ourselves for making music. But the most important vestige tit ancient cultures that Chile has is Easter
Island. The story of the tnoni is fascinating: the statues were carved in stone from the craters of volcanoes, carried for kilometers, and erected facing Polynesia. The human effort necessary for that is difficult to imagine.
“We lived in Rome during the period of dictatorship and returned to Chile in 1988. When we were living abroad, each of us had a different place that we dreamed of seeing again. I grew up in the lake district in the south, in a city called Temuco, so I had a great desire to return there. But I also longed to live on the ocean, the beautiful, violent Pacific.”
\.M. GOETZ EE was born in South
Africa and is the author of numerous works of fiction about his native country. His latest book is Age of Iron (Random House, 1990). Coetzee is currently a visiting professor of English at Harvard University.
“Within easy distance of Cape Town lies spectacular and rewarding biking country. The circuit of the Cape Peninsula includes cliff side coastal roads that rival the Corniche Esterel. above Cannes, in grandeur. It you are visiting in March, join in the Argus Cycle Tour, one of the largest amateur bicycle tours in the world (14,000 entrants last year, including an eight-year-old who completed the 80-mile circuit in under five hours).
“Or drive inland an hour and do a tour of the win elands, passing through picturesque Stellenbosch and Paarl, stopping for lunch and a siesta in Franschhoek, and tackling the third side of the triangle, Hell’s Heights—not as daunting as they sound—as afternoon shadows lengthen.
CLIMATES OF EXOTICISM RAJASTHAN: Minimum and maximum average daily temperature in U.S. winter, 45-90°F. EASTER ISLAND: 60-83°F. CAPETOWN: 60-68°F. YUCATAN: 62-83°F, SYDNEY: 65-78°F. ■ Kruger National Park, in South Africa, approximately the size of Massachusetts, has the largest variety of wildlife of any game park in Africa. ■ Between 5,000 and 6,000 known fiestas are celebrated annually in Mexico. ■ There is no inhabited land within 1,200 miles of Easter Island. It is the world’s most isolated island. ■ Every day 1 1 million people take trains in India.
“For a more ambitious trip, drive 150 miles to Montagu and cycle through the spacious desert landscape and ostrich farms of the Little Karoo. If your bicycle has the gearing, climb the majestic Swartherg Pass and swoop down into the isolated valleys of Die Hel.”
AVID STUART, a Mayan epigrapher and scholar, has since childhood worked and traveled extensively in Central America. Following his most recent stint ot hieroglyphic decipherment, in Guatemala, he vacationed in Mexico.
“Veracruz and southern Mexico
At the Museum of Anthropology, Xalapa
are my favorite. There’s a town in Veracruz, it’s the capital of the state, called Xalapa. There is a wonderful new museum there, with sculptures and pottery. It’s one of the best archaeological museums in Mexico. In the state of Chiapas there are lots of really fabulous ruins. There is especially one route where the setting ot the mountains is just gorgeous. It’s a drive between the towns of Palenque, where there is a very important ruin, and San Cristobal de las Casas. You go from sea level up to a few thousand feet in a few hours, from jungle up to pine forests. The other spectacular ruin is less wellknown. It’s called Tonina; it’s right next to Ocosingo, in a really nice val-
ley. That’s one of my favorite drives in Mexico. It takes four or five hours.
“Yucatan is really its own little territory—culturally, economically, and climatically. The tood reflects that, too. It’s not what you would expect Mexican food to be like. It’s not hot and spicy; it’s interesting combinations of things. I like something called sopa de ‘lima.’ It’s got tortillas, chicken, and a lime-like fruit. It’s a typical Yucatecan dish. There are all sorts of native Mayan dishes, like chicken pibil. Pibil means it’s cooked underground, wrapped in banana pieces.
“The people are always so friendly, so wonderful. If you take roads away from the main highway, you come across some charming towns with colonial churches, towns that haven’t changed too much in the last couple hundred years! It’s a very open place. You will be well received.”
ABRIELLA ROY is an art dealer at the Aboriginal Artists Gallery, in Sydney. A native Australian, Roy is well-versed in her country’s culture.
“The best galleries to see Aboriginal art or to buy it are in Sydney. There is the Aboriginal Artists Gallery, on Kent Street; the Hogarth Gallery, in Paddington; and the Cooee Gallery, also in Paddington. For the more adventuresome, there are caves and sites in Arnhem Land and the Northern Territory. By seeing the art there, you see it in its natural setting. This is more appealing and more of a learning experience. The best places for art are in the Kakadu National Park or the Alligator River. In Kakadu, the best sites are Cannon Hill and Nourlangie Rock, d here are also hundreds of sites near Ayers Rock. In Western Australia and in Arnhem Land, sometimes a guide or a permit may be required—it is best to inquire of the local tourist board.
Interviews conducted by Dun O Kane, Liam O’Malley, Reuben Steiger, Lowell Weiss, and Karen IVesolowski. W e extend special thank’s, for their help in research, to Amy Grossman, Ann Leopold, Karin Meckeler, and Christine Ledesco.
MEXICAN GOVERNMENT TOURISM