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Photo of the Day (6/9/07)

Rodeo
Finding this photo in the Gadling Flickr pool took me on a trip down memory lane when I once went to a rodeo. It was the one and only rodeo I have been to and I don't think I'll be making it to many more. As a child it tore my heart to pieces to see the animals treated in such a manner and so I rooted every time the bucking broncos and bulls got extra excited and out of control. Anyhow, I noticed the photographer; vyxle tagged this shot with the words "body language." From the back I can't tell much, but I'm guessing it wasn't such a hot day for the cowboy.

Any additional notes for us vyxle?

GADLING'S TAKE FIVE: Week of June 3

Take5Another adventure awaits me and so I must pack, but before running off to do so let me point you to some of this week's fun-filled and informative posts touching on food, islands, business travel and one of the best Talking Travel interviews yet!

5. Haiti Part 6: A Few Last Words:
My quick weekend trip to the Caribbean land of Haiti in summary can be found by visiting the link above along with other links packed with pictures of Port-au-Prince and Jacmel, Haiti. Check out the lesser explored Carib nation.

4. Hey Americans! Take a Vacation:
It is so true - Americans vacation the least compared to the rest of the world. What gives? Read Gadling's cry out for more Americans to start taking time off and start planning your own escape.

3. Combining Business and Pleasure and how to Write it Off:
As someone who does a lot of travel for work related purposes it can be both enjoyable and a pain. The painful part if the expense reporting and keeping track of every single receipt. For those that experience the same kind of write-off and tax issues check out this how-to Neil does a fine job pointing us all to. Hopefully, this will help decrease some of the headache.

2. Top Ten Restaurants You Can Take a Boat To:

Ready for a hot, but cool dinner date? Taking a boat to a restaurant might just be the spice or icing (whichever you prefer) your dinner date is in need of and with that we present you with some of the top ten restaurants to make it happen.

1. Talking Travel with Conor Grennan:
If you haven't been acquainted with Conor Grennan yet - NOW is the time! In this amazing and touching Talking Travel piece we learn that Conor is doing more than just hanging out in Nepal. He has been trekking through the Himalayas, reuniting trafficked children with their parents... WOW. How is that for meaningful travel? Read the full scoop for yourself!

Haiti Part 6: A Few Last Words

Airport
Writing about my weekend fun and time spent in Haiti has been one of the most difficult dispatches to date. I spent a good number of hours in the country trying to come to terms that this magical western portion of Hispaniola was not living up to all the negative hype too often attached to the greater Haiti. On my plane back to the states I thought deeply about what I might want to tell everyone back home of the experience, of the people encountered and of the picklese I tasted on my last day. Part of me felt as though I should withhold the details of the paradise that is Jacmel as a reward to self for being "brave" enough to fly into one of the so-called "Most Dangerous" countries with one of the most unpredictable political climates. Even before I boarded my flight back I surprised many in the line waiting by telling them I had gone down to Jacmel. They were curious to know how I had found out about the area and I suppose they'll be curious to know how you discovered the sometimes out-of-hand / many times peaceful and real Haiti when you arrive one day.

I do not believe travel to Haiti is built for all tourists and vacationing folks, just as I believe Bangkok, Paris, London and Rome travel is not meant for all and everyone. This could very well be my lame attempt in keeping the quiet beaches of Jacmel, Ti Mouillage, Kabik and Marigot quiet long enough for me to squeeze in another visit or two before they become the Caribbean's next hot destination. However, I do believe the country is ready to welcome and receive visitors and is in need of tourism to help rebuild economy and to hopefully provide more jobs for the people of Haiti. If you are ready to ride the tap-taps in Port-au-Prince, try the food in Carrefour, dance like you've never danced before to the sounds of new and old Kompa or spend a day splashing in some of the coolest clearest Caribbean waters then you may already be ready to book a flight.

Photo of the Day (6/6/07)

Matava
Check out the blues in this shot! It almost makes you want to sing the blues for not being on board the tottering sailboat. This photo was submitted by Matava - The Astrolabe Hideaway Kadavu, Fiji and it looks as though they're trying to win over some island deprived soul with their series of photos left in the Gadling Flickr pool.

Their caption states: Matava is an eco adventure getaway offering you a fun and unique blend of cultural experiences and adventure activities in the environmentally pristine and remote island of Kadavu in Fiji.

Sign me up!

Haiti Part 5: Festival Mizik Jakmel Update

Congo Plage
Although Festival Mizik Jakmel, with headliners Stephen and Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley did not make it into Gadling's Massively Huge 2007 Summer Music Fest Roundup, I mentioned the first-time event not long before I took a trip over to check it out on my own. Actually, at the time I booked my ticket to Haiti I hadn't planned on attending the three-day music festival because I hadn't heard of it. I was simply planning on going to explore culture, arts, food and beaches. When I found out the festival and my travel dates linked up, it made my trip plans all the better.

As noted before the festival would not only involve a slew of musicians from across the globe singing around the clock, there would also be art events, workshops, a tourism conference, and most importantly an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the largest drumming ensemble in the world. (India got the claim to fame last year.) If you ask me - that is one mega feat to beat. And by now you are probably wondering if their mission was accomplished?

Haiti Part 4: Art & Souvenirs

FOSAJ
Art is everywhere in Haiti. Evidence of such can easily be seen long before arriving in the so-called arts epicenter of Jacmel. Within moments of hitting the bustling Port-au-Prince streets I found myself googly-eyed, head turning left and right just trying to zone in on all the details found on a passing tap-tap. Tap-Taps are small pick-up trucks that are transformed into magnificent, colorful vehicles of public transportation. The painted pick-ups often times tell a story, some have scriptures from the Bible and many have the faces of popular music artists going from front to back. Discussing the artwork found on tap-taps could make up their own individual post and photo gallery, so allow me to proceed to other areas of art found in the country.

I'll begin by suggesting a visit to the Foundation Sant D'A Jakmel (FOSAJ) in Jacmel. FOSAJ is a non-profit institution with a mission to empower the Haitian people through art and cultural initiatives. By visiting their art gallery I could see their mission in action.

Haiti Part 3: Hotel Cyvadier & Other Jacmel Hotels

Cyvadier
Before I took off to Haiti I was told of a number of beach towns in south worth hanging around on a weekend getaway, but Jacmel was always the top recommendation. One reason being the wealth of beach-side accommodation and eclectic hideaways found in the magical arts-epicenter of this country. For my first visit it was suggested I stay at the Hotel-Restaurant Cyvadier Plage. I followed instructions accordingly, had a room booked and found myself at a loss for words upon my arrival. Fleur
From check-in to check-out, I felt as though I were in dream. I'll compare the feeling I was experiencing to the one scene in the film Contact where Jodie Foster expected to be shot into space, but instead found herself on some beautiful tropical paradise witnessing the unimaginable. It was as though the three hour drive from Port-au-Prince to Jacmel's Cyvadier hotel had taken me to other worlds. This peaceful, idyllic, Caribbean dreamscape couldn't possibly be the reason so many people stay away from Haiti.

Haiti Part 2: Kreyól Cuisine

Belle
One might imagine that food and its preparation between each Caribbean island couldn't possibly vary drastically in taste, but then one would be wrong. I've learned now through an odd handful of islands visited; St. Lucia, Bahamas, Trinidad & Tobago and now Haiti, that the art and science of cooking and eating a good meal on each is an experience of its own. No where else have I been able to feast upon conch salad the way I had in the Bahamas or the doubles and roti found in T&T and in Haiti, Creole cabrit, picklise, and lambi. The islands are without a doubt full of flavors. I'm sure I did not come close to taste-testing every Haitian delight on the menu or even the grilled corn on the cob which I longed for from one of the street vendors, but what I have here is only a glance of what savory, mouth-watering dishes await the visitor hoping to dig into Kreyól Cuisine during a weekend, week or months stay in the country.
Angosta
Pasta Nostra was not the first sit down restaurant I dined at, but it easily became my favorite. It possibly was the story behind the place alone that won my affection. As the story goes the breath-taking, beautiful mademoiselle pictured above had once been involved with an Italian man who taught her the art of cooking pasta and other Italian dishes. While the man in the story is somewhat of a ghost now, the beautiful chef can still be found preparing fresh seafood and pasta dishes across from the quiet beach of Ti Mouillage.

Photo of the Day (6/2/07)

Lima Gas Station
I like yellow, but this gas station found in Lima, Peru was painted in too much yellow. The opening lyrics to Sesame Street popped into my head thinking it might be Big Bird's house and those poor guys in black and yellow... I'm usually one for the company and team colors, but again my eyes are screaming Peru! Way to be on the lookout caffeineguy.

GADLING'S TAKE FIVE: Week of May 27

GadlingThe Take Five feature is one I have had a love hate relationship since the day we kicked it off here on Gadling. To go through each week and select ONLY five that should once more win your affection is a real tough duty. This week after reading through every post here I sort of covered my eyes and threw a dart at each one. Enjoy!

5. Avoiding the Side Effects of Bad Street Food:
If only we could place anything and everything on our palates without dealing with what Neil calls the "nasties" later on... Sigh. Well according to Budget Travel you can have your cake and eat it too! Find out now or go later. Know what I mean?

4. BioToi: For Conveniently Pooping in the Woods:
Don't like squatting in the woods with your rear in the wind? Here's a handy piece of gear to place a little comfort for those bodily deeds done out in Mother Nature.

3. NYC Shoe Store Gets Its Own Zip Code:
For those who really love shoes place this one on your travel wish list. And I mean it is for those that REALLY love shoes.

2. Carrying Children:
I've never traveled with kids and the thought makes groan on the inside a bit, but this gallery on carrying children as you go makes it look like it can done and fun at the same time. Beautiful!

1. Talking Travel with Seal Press Founder Barbara Sjoholm:
Kelly sits down with the author of Incognito Street to talk about travel, of course, but an abundance of other great information is shared. Don't miss your chance to win a copy of the book for your summer reading by the poolside.

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