What’s in a name? Well as it turns out, more than you might think. Boris ‘Bob’ Golodets is an Intrepid group leader in Russia, Mongolia and Central Asia and he’s certainly a great linguist, so he shares his thoughts on what we choose to be called…
“All of us at Intrepid believe that we can learn, or at least try, to call locals by their proper names. But in the tourism industry it’s common for guides to change their names in order to please the clients or make it easier for their travellers. And it’s understandable – in some countries the names are very long and hard to pronounce.
When you come away from a lovely dinner with our Russian hosts it won’t only be your full belly and the vodka nips that give you a warm glow. Intrepid’s Boris ‘Bob’ Golodets explains why a home-cooked meal and meeting the lady of the house are always a highlight…
“She is one of our superstars. I know tonight our Russia Highlights group will go to Lena’s house for dinner and they will love her and have a wonderful evening. She lives in old town Suzdal on so called ‘Grape Street’ – one of the oldest and most famous in the city. Lena can show you the book with photos of her grandfather standing in front of their house with fanciful decorations on its facade.
Many Intrepid travellers to Cambodia visit the Land Mine Museum near Siem Reap and learn of the sad legacy of war – the deaths, the amputees and the estimated five million unexploded ordinance (UXO) and landmines still left in the country. They also may meet the larger-than-life character, Aki Ra, who has just been short-listed in the Top 10 CNN Heroes for 2010 – out of 10,000 nominations!
At the age of 10, after being separated from his family through the war, Aki Ra became a child soldier and was given his first rifle that measured his height. He fought firstly with the Khmer Rouge (whose genocidal crusade was responsible for the deaths of an estimated 1.5 million Cambodians during the 1970s); he was captured by the Vietnamese and fought for them, then when the Vietnamese left he fought for the Royal Cambodia Armed Forces.
Tracking with the San Bushmen in Namibia is on Intrepid’s Top 10 Real Life Experiences list. Which is no surprise when you read great travel tales like this one from Intrepid’s Jo Edgely…
“Have you ever seen the movie The Gods Must Be Crazy or read Wilbur Smith’s Blue Horizons? If so you will be a little familiar with the amazing San Bushman. The once nomadic tribe now mainly live in and around the Kalahari Desert, but originally the San used the whole of southern Africa as their hunting ground.
The San stole my heart with their friendly welcoming nature and amazing sense of humour. The sound of them talking in ‘clicks’ was something I really did think was fictional before I heard it with my own ears.
Founded in 1949, Tatra National Park (TANAP) is the oldest national park in Slovakia and the former Czechoslovakia. It was created to protect the large coniferous forests, alpine meadows, glaciers and many endemic species of plants and animals. It is home to the chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica), plus marmots, bears, wolves, lynx, deer and several birds of prey. Intrepid group leader Tomas Palenik shares with us his concerns about the future of this spectacular region and suggests a way we can help…
“In my role with Intrepid, I visit the Tatry mountains regularly with groups of people from around the world. These people travel here because of the uniqueness of an environment that never disappoints. I am proud that I can guide visitors through my country, its mountains and wilderness. For these reasons I find it unbelievable that there is a plan for so-called ‘development’ that does not respect the protection of nature and is not based on the real values of the region.
While travelling the globe Intrepid staff are fortunate to meet many extraordinary women who are making a difference. One very special lady whom we have enjoyed getting to know through The Intrepid Foundation is Sabriye Tenberken. Originally from Germany, 39 year old Sabriye founded Braille Without Borders and late last year she was one of 13 expatriates honoured with a You Bring Charm to China award. With thanks to the China Daily newspaper, we share with you the following story…
“Sabriye Tenberken not only developed the Tibetan Braille script, but also travelled to the Tibet autonomous region alone and founded the first school for the blind there.
Never leave home without safety pins in your hat! That is just one of the tips that Emily Mitterhuemer has picked up from local women on her Intrepid Peru adventure…
“The people of the Andes still, for the most part, live in their traditional way. You don’t have to go far out of the city to find yourself among women in colourful skirts and hats herding sheep, pigs and cows. They still speak Quechua, the traditional language that can be traced as far back as the pre-Inca periods and has no relation to Spanish.
In Romania Women’s Day on 8 March is celebrated much like Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day in other parts fo the world. But in the town of Viscri they have special reason to celebrate their female folk, thanks to their sock-knitting skills, as Intrepid’s Linda Ulonska explains…
“This UNESCO World Heritage-listed town, lying in the heartland of Romania, has been home to the Saxon people for hundreds of years. The Saxons originated from Luxemburg and were originally invited to Viscri by Roman rulers, in order to enhance agriculture and to protect the town against invasion. They built a church, which was fortified against attack, and surrounded it with three walls for protection against the Tartars and the Turks. The village itself was destroyed a number of times, however the church was never conquered.
Few of us probably set off on an adventure expecting to meet our soul mate. But when Intrepid’s Nic Everett travelled to Peru, it became obvious that his best buddy was suddenly on a journey of the heart…
“Before the fun of having kids took over my life and put a temporary halt to my travel addiction, I jumped at the chance head off to South America with my good friend Luke ‘Pedro’ Bakey. What better opportunity to use up some frequent flyer points than explore Peru for a couple of weeks I thought. A quick word to the lovely wife and my leave (pass) was approved. Woo hoo, Peru in Depth here I come – Lima, Lake Titicaca, Cuzco, the amazing Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and the Amazon Jungle.
A few drinks on night one in Lima and it quickly became apparent our little group of 8 had just the two singles, my good mate Pedro and the lovely Louise from the UK.