Some of the magazine world’s travel writing round-ups:
Islands (May): Constance Hale introduces us to Hawaiian paniolos, or cowboys, during Honokaa’s Rodeo Week. (The idea sure got my attention — reading about bucking broncos on the Big Island was surreal for me, akin to exploring surfing culture in my native Montana.) Christine Richard explores the rocky coast of Milos, one of the Greece’s “less trodden” islands.
Joe Yogerst sets out to “discern whether Ibiza really was the hippest scene in all of Eurodom and how it got to be that way.” His struggle with social stage fright — is he cool enough for this? — is very entertaining. And Megan Padilla touches centuries of history in the covered tombs and standing stones of Scotland’s Orkney Islands.
Travelgirl (April/May): Dana Rosenblatt wonders whether Fort Lauderdale has fully grown up and can “shake its notorious past.” (Answer: a surprisingly sophisticated yes) Denise Dube provides excerpts from a travel diary to Vietnam, seeking to get beyond the well-known wars and conflicts that have defined a mere 200 years in its 2200-year history. Carol Jacobs treks 3 of her favorite hiking areas in Switzerland; and Hadani Ditmars returns to Innsbruck and clothes it in the history of the Hapsburg regime.
Saveur (April): In Brittany, Nancy Coons evokes the landscape and people in her flavorful essay on the resurgence of crepe cuisine, from the history of the region’s buckwheat agriculture since the Crusades to dancing at Fest Noz, a night festival that occurs year-round in various towns in Brittany.
“Singapore, my home, is not a country for the gastronomically fainthearted,” says Christopher Tan as he takes us on a walking food tour of Singapore, with its influences of Arab, French, South Indian, and other bedazzling cultures. And we learn where to find the surprisingly popular street food currywurst (fried pork sausage with a sauce of ketchup and curry) in Berlin.
Gourmet (April): Kiran Desai takes us through the heady, sensory delights of the Mughal cuisine of Delhi’s streets, where “some cooks claim to make 300 kebabs.” Fuchsia Dunlop “traces ancient pants of trade and migrations” in the food of China’s notoriously remote Xinjiang province. And in Dublin’s streets, Pete Hamill clocks economic boom and a solid literary history, and the modern problems that result in the space between the two.
Life has (on sale until June) a stupendous “photographic pilgrimage” of scenes, stories, and history from the Bible — riveting images (with text) of places sodden with human history.
Conde Nast Traveler (US edition): Pico Iyer takes his talents (in mind and pen) to “the holiest place in Japan,” Koyosan, the birthplace of Shingon Buddhism, which he calls a sanctuary of darkness. Francine du Plessix Gray chases the legends of Aeneas on a Mediterranean cruise — that uses the classic book as a guide.
Ted West skirts some of the highest passes and knucklebiting scenery (read — narrow, precipitous mountain roads) in the Alps while driving a Cadillac XLR sports car through Germany, Austria, and Italy. Sarah Kerr writes about a region of Mexico just south of Cancun, where diverse ecosystems are soon to be open to luxury hotels and golf courses — abutting some of the best preserved Mayan ruins and tranquil national parks in Mexico. And the magazine excerpts a memoir by Ryszard Kapuscinski (d. 2007). In Tehran at the overthrow of the Shah, the author talks not about the future fundamentalist state, but his journey to the ancient city of Persepolis (330 b.c.). He reminds us what our civilizations were founded on: “Was not the monumentality of past epochs created by that which is negative and evil in man?”
Vanity Fair (US Edition — May): In the magazine’s second annual “green” issue, Alex Shoumatoff treks the Amazon to see what devastation rampant agriculture and global warming are having on “the world’s lungs.” Depressing but evocative.