Have you read this New York Times article about New York City's water system? It's fascinating. Every day, water travels more than 90 miles along the Catskill Aqueduct to a 900 million gallon reservoir just north of the city. And then the water navigates through NYC's water main system, which is a 6,800-mile-long network of pipes! What I find most interesting is that there are 1,000 testing stations throughout the city. Each day, field scientists visit 50 of them to test for temperature, chlorine and pH levels, and presence of other chemicals and bacteria. Last year alone, these scientists collected 31,700 samples. No wonder people call NYC's tap water the "champagne of drinking water!"
We're so excited to share our honeymoon photos with you! Mike and I were incredibly fortunate to travel to Tanzania for our honeymoon. We originally created an intense and emotional music video, but Dax and Kristen beat us to it, so you'll just have to settle for our amateur photography skills.
After landing in Kilimanjaro, an 8-seater plane took us on a short flight from the city of Arusha to the Serengeti. We landed on a dirt runway, hopped of the flight, and met our guide, Seleu. The minute we touched the ground, we frantically took photos of the beautiful landscape and animals. We were surrounded by zebra, antelope, and wildebeest. It was so cool. But as Seleu predicted, within an hour, we were like, "Get out of the frame, Zebra! There's a baby elephant and you're blocking the view!!!!"
The landscape reminded me of Northern California - dry with patches of beautiful greenery. We stayed at andBeyond's Klein's Camp, which is an incredible ten room lodge perched on the Kuka Hills, bordering the Serengeti. You can see the lodges in the background of a few of these photos. Since Klein's Camp is on a private concession, we had full access to the grounds. We could go on game drives at any time during the day and drive off road. It was an amazing opportunity to see many animals close up.
andBeyond leases the land from the local tribe, the Maasai. Not only is andBeyond committed to protecting the lands their lodges inhabit, but they also work to employ native residents and invest in the surrounding community. They've built schools, hospitals, and even sponsor visits from European dentists since dental care in rural Tanzania is virtually non-existent.
Seleu was a Maasai tribesman who saw his first lion at age 11 when andBeyond sponsored a safari drive for the local Maasai children. He told us that children are told to stay away from the wildlife so many tribesmen and women never see a lion until they are an adult. I guess that's the African "look both ways before you cross the street" mantra!
The safari experience was incredible. I can't wait to share more photos of our accommodations and visits to the Ngorongoro Crater and Arusha!
Starbucks in Istanbul. Walmart in China. Coca Cola sold in all but two countries worldwide. At a time when cultural assimilation is forging ahead at breakneck speeds, photographer Jimmy Nelson slams the breaks and returns us to simpler times. Before They Pass Away is Nelson's ethnographic record of 31 secluded tribes and cultures from the most distant corners of the world. With each tribe visited, Nelson witnessed their traditions, joined their rituals, and photographed them in their natural habitats. The intent was simple - to capture these shrinking indigenous cultures before they assimilate, vanish, and are forgotten forever.
Just take a look at the photos below. While many are carefully directed, they still capture the essence of what life is really like in these cultures. Before They Pass Away is also packed with information on lifestyles, beliefs, diets, and fashion of each culture, proving why this 13 lb. book is a whole lot more than the world's sexiest paper weight. It's been on our coffee table for almost a year now and we're still addicted!
HULI, ASARO & KALAM
Originating in the eastern half of New Guinea, the highlanders' diet is comprised primarily of sweet potatoes, and occasionally meat from locally raised pigs, wild birds, or other forest game.
Gauchos have wandered the prairies of South America since as early as the 1700s. Duels amongst gauchos are not intended to kill. They want to mark one another, preferably on the face. That mark makes it obvious to all that the bearer of the scar has lost a duel.
The Maasai are a semi-nomadic people of East Africa, primarily concentrated in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. "To be Maasai is to be born into one of the world's last great warrior cultures. From boyhood to adulthood, young Maasai begin to learn the responsibilities being a man and a warrior."
The Kazakhs of Mongolia are a Turkic people originating from the northern parts of Central Asia. "Among many Kazakh traditions is the ancient art of eagle hunting. For more than two millennia, Kazakh men have hunted on horseback with trained golden eagles...the skill of training a golden eagle is passed on through generations."
All images in this post are courtesy of Jimmy Nelson. Click here for
more information on "Before They Pass Away."
Over the past two years it seems like Costa Rica has become the new 'it' place to vacation. It's like the Cinque Terre of Central America. The Austin of the other hemisphere. The recently opened Uno's of the South. Everyone's talking about it and everyone wants in. Friends have gone there on their honeymoon, a colleague traveled to the Costa Rican beach for a bootcamp vacation, and my sister spent a weekend there with her business school friends. And there's no question why. Costa Rica has the beach, the mountains, the rainforest. Relaxation. Adventure. Something for everyone. The added bonus is that the country is a short flight from the States and very visitor friendly.
The other day I was doing a little research about the country and came across the Cayuga Collection, one of the country's many eco lodges that I immediately fell in love with.
The Cayuga Collection is a group of eight luxury small hotels and resorts that are operated with a focus on ecology, conservation, and/or sustainability. Seven of the properties are located in Costa Rica and one is in Nicaragua. The resorts are beautiful and range from a 16-bungalow ecolodge in the preserved rainforest to the 40 room Hotel Grano de Oro, a sanctuary in the heart of San José.
In addition to managing water and energy usage to exceed the standards set by Certification in Sustainable Tourism in Costa Rica, the resorts support local socio-cultural activities. The properties offer cultural events and classes, such as salsa dancing, cooking classes, and performances by local music groups. Cayuga Collection hotels are committed to hiring members of the community as teachers and their gift shops only sell art and trinkets made by local artisans. Nothing says "Made in China" here!
As we look more into potential honeymoon locations, we will continue to post our favorite sustainable resorts and destinations. Stay tuned!
All photos in this post are courtesy of the Cayuga Collection. To learn more about their lodges and position on sustainable tourism, visit their website
There is nothing better than Greek hospitality.