社会科学类纪录片,Discovery Channel 频道 ???? 年出品,是 DC Globe Trekker 系列其中之一。


  • 中文片名 :
  • 中文系列名:勇闖天涯
  • 英文片名 :Globe Trekker Season 9
  • 英文系列名:DC Globe Trekker
  • 电视台 :Discovery Channel
  • 地区 :美国
  • 语言 :英语
  • 时长 :约 52 分钟/EP
  • 版本 :VHS / DVD
  • 发行时间 :????

Globe Trekker transports viewers to unforgettable destinations through its stunning photography and spirit of adventure. In each episode, we send our charismatic hosts Ian Wright, Justine Shapiro, Zay Harding, Megan McCormick, Brianna Barnes, Holly Morris, Judith Jones and more off the beaten path to soak up the local culture, sample the cuisine and revel in breathtaking vistas. Globe Trekker’s motto? “living as the locals do!”

Explore your favourite Globe Trekker episodes by using the drop down menu below to find out more about your favourite series or show.

Famous for its cuisine, art and architecture, France is the world’s most popular tourist destination. Visitors are lured by the romance of Paris and the sophistication of the south – but isimage: Justine goes sightseeing in Paris there life beyond the Eiffel Tower, can-can girls and haughty waiters? Justine Shapiro travels to the western and northern regions of this surprisingly diverse nation to find out.

First Justine touches down on the Normandy beaches, site of the tragic World War Two D-Day landings. Touring the surrounding sites in an army jeep, she discovers the history of St Mere Eglise, the town at the centre of the behind- the-lines parachute drop the night before D-day and achieved notoriety in the film The Longest Day.

Nearby is the world famous thousand-year old pilgrimage site Mont Saint Michel, an abbey perched on a small rocky island in the middle of a shallow bay. Justine tackles the abbey on foot – a trip that’s claimed a fair few pilgrims through the centuries because of its sudden tidal turns and deep pits of quick sand.

Justine jumps on a high-speed train and travels back in time to prehistoric Brittany. All along its southern region there are mysterious megaliths; especially striking are the formations found in Carnac - older, larger and more numerous than the more famous Stonehenge in England.

Brittany stands out of the French cultural landscape with its individual history and language. The Fete de Broduese celebrates Brittany’s uniqueness. At this festival women sport coifs – largeimage: I’m the one in the hat: Justine at the Fete de Broduese in Brittanyembroidered hats typical of the region. Justine meets the queen of the festival and even gets a coiff of her own.Passing through the coastal resorts of Le Touquet, Boulogne-sur-merand Calais, Justine continues inland to discover French Flanders, probably the least known part of France. The people in Flanders have much in common with the Flemish of neighbouring Belgium. Justine chances upon the Festival of Giants, taking place just outside Flanders in Douai. She eats lunch with a family of medieval giants and takes part in the town’s festivities.

Battlefield Tourism is big business in the north and the hardships and heroism of World War One soldiers is of enduring interest to thousands of visitors every year. Justine joins World War fanatics for a night in a farmhouse that served as a front line hospital for the British – a good place to mentally prepare for a morning trip through the haunting trenches of the Somme Valley. Finally, Justine moves northeast for a scenic bike ride -and ends up in the Champagne region where she toasts her discovery of this often overlooked yet equally fascinating region of France.

image: April in Paris - the early morning view of the Tour D’Eiffel Justine Shapiro, Ian Wright and Christina Chang travel to the four corners of France to taste the food the wine and the culture.

Ian climbs the mountains of Corsica, only to be rescuedby helicopter. Christina dons medieval costume to enter the spirit of the wine festival of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Justine attempt to impress with her cordon bleu cooking.From Roman amphitheatres to science fiction towers, France remains the most charming, perplexing, varied and fascinating of countries. Christina helps make Roquefort and perfume, the two extremes of olfactory pleasure. Ian debates Corsican claims for independence and Justine reaches dizzy heights on the Eiffel Tower.

Traveller Ian Wright makes the cultural pilgrimage to the extraordinary Italian region of Tuscany – a finely made combination of cultural wealth, beautiful landscapes, quality food, fashion and passion. image: The leaning tourist of Pisa: Ian experiences a new travel angle in Tuscany Ian starts his journey in Florence, a massive, beautiful monument to the Renaissance. It’s a cultural treasure trove as Ian discovers touring the Piazza della Signoria, theAccademia and the Uffizi Museum, coming face-to-face with priceless works like Michelangelo’s David statue and Caravaggio’s Medusa shield. Inspired, he tries his hand at painting himself, at the Palazzo de Catalonithat’s been teaching art since 1975 – amazingly he’s not too bad!

No visit to Florence would be complete without a tour of its dominating cathedral the Duomo which is so big there’s nowhere in the city where you can see in all its entirety. A climb into its dome takes his breath away. As does the Palio, a crazy version of football combined with wrestling, boxing and rugby, dating back to the fifteenth century. He’s had his fill of Florence, but not before he tucks into two city favourites, ice-cream and a Florentina steak.

In Carrara, Ian meets an American artist who gives him the lowdown on the area. Its marble has been quarried since Roman times and 40 per cent of US marble comes from here. Michelangelo even spent five years up in the mountains here, such is the quality of its stone. Then it’s off south to the home of another Renaissance master, Leonardo da Vinci, where he visits a museum showcasing the designs of his great scientific mind – he not only invented the bicycle but even an underwater diving suit!

Chianti is synonymous with its fine wines – Ian meets the owner of Castello de Brolio whereChianti Classico was invented in the 19th century. Next he visits Castello di Cafaggio to visit a beautiful old farmhouse near the village of Impruneta. The farm house is owned by Enrico Benci and is part of the Italian agriturismo home-stay movement. But… Ian soon finds out he has to sing for his supper by helping Enrico pick olives for his award-winning extra virgin olive oil. From outdoor beauty it’s onto the medieval history of San Gimignano, the ultimate Tuscan hilltop town, with its 14 graceful towers.

Moving southwards, Siena is another fabulous Tuscan city full of Medieval palaces and towers.The Campo is a stunning square, crowned by the 14th century Duomo, filled to the brim with artistic treasures including four Michelangelo statues. Once a year, the Campo goes wild at the arrival of the Palio, a hair- raising horserace that attracts the entire city.

For a dip in the great outdoors, Ian takes off to the Maremma, home to Italy’s cowboys. At theimage: Michelangelo’s David statue in Florence Boratto ranch he watches a wild horse being tamed and hitches a ride across the valley. And for a little beach action he takes a ferry from the Italian mainland to Elba, place of Napoleon’s exile in 1814 and now one of Europe’s most popular destinations, attracting 2 million sun-seekers every year.

Rounding off his trip, he visits Pisa, home to perhaps Italy’s best-known building, the Leaning Tower on the Field of Miracles. Pisa was a maritime superpower in the twelfth century and two of its biggest festivals celebrate its historic eminence with great shows of costume, pageantry and pride. The Gioco del Ponte is the biggest with a massive military march culminating in a heart-stopping competition of strength between two teams trying to push a mighty chariot into the opposition’s side of the bridge. This seems like a perfect way to end Ian’s trip which has been full of history, culture and lifestyle but perhaps, most of all, passion. And the Tuscans have it by the bucket-load!

The cradle of European art and science, romance, intrigue as well as the style and fashion mecca of the world – it can only be Italy. Unified in 1861, Italy has still maintained a unique identity owing to a very proud and illustrious history and an immensely diverse cultural heritage.image: KT Comer surveys her empire on a Florence rooftopAnd the Pilot Guides team are off to find out what makes it tick.

We begin with KT Comer hitching a ride in a Ferrari, which proceeds to scream along a racetrack followed by an equally intense trip in a taxi.

Meanwhile, Ian Wright gets into a spot of bother not realising he has to get his ticket validated before being allowed on the bus.

Estelle Bingham is in Rome, the country’s capital set amid seven hills and home to the Vatican City and the Colloseum. Beginning at the Forum, Estelle investigates the administrative heart of the Roman Empire, which over a period of 700 years grew to encompass most of Europe as well as part of Asia and North Africa.

Justine Shapiro discovers the influence of Roman sophistication which extended south of Naples to the famous city of Pompeii. The city, which perished under a layer of burning fragments of pumice stone in 79AD, is home to some impressive sights including frescoes in the Villa dei Misteri, a stunning array of country houses and villas and a Basilica that dates back to the second century BC.

Megan McCormick visits the majestic city of Venice, built on drained marshlands by the fleeing Romans. Described by Napoleon as the ‘most elegant drawing book in Europe,’ Venice is host to 20 million tourists each year. Megan visits the Basilica, the centrepiece of St Marks Square, built to house the body of St Mark. She also gets acquainted with the square’s other inhabitants – thousands of low-flying pigeons. image: The canals of Venice We also see the town of San Gimignano, a hill top city characterised by huge towers, said to have been watchtowers for marauders and thieves. Described as a ‘medieval Manhattan’, some towers are as high as 40 metres. Ian visits the most famous tower in Tuscany – the leaning one in Pisa.

We follow Ian Wright to Florence and Piazza della Signoria, home to the Uffizi Gallery(housing paintings of Botticelli, Giotto and Leonardo Da Vinci), Palazzo Vecchio and Michelangelo’s statue of David – one of the world’s most famous works of art. Funded by Florence’s richest patrons, the Medici family, Florence became Italy’s most important city both culturally and intellectually during the renaissance.

KT takes us on to the jewel in Florence’s crown, Brunelleschi’s Duomo. A lavish exterior gives way to a more sombre and modest interior, although the dome itself is simply breathtaking and remains an example of engineering and architectural genius.

Ian strikes up a friendship with a local baron and stays in an idyllic farmhouse from 90 euros per night. He also gets to indulge in some wine tasting at a local cellar and does some olive picking in the groves. Meanwhile Estelle stays in a hostel for the night for 15 dollars while in the southern Italian town of Albero Bello, Megan stays in a hotel overlooking the town’s conical shaped houses. image: Down on the farm: Ian works for his supper in a Tuscan farmhouse Mindful of the romance associated with Italy, Megan tries to get to grips with the amorous intentions of the Italian male while Ian tries his luck with the fairer sex on the coast of Elba.

Megan gives us a quick peek at the designer boutiques in Milan’s Quadrillatero d’Oro or Golden Square. Estelle tries her hand at making a pizza and Ian indulges in some ice cream and a rather dubious tripe salad.

Finally we end our action packed programme with a visit to Sienna‘s annual ‘Palio’, a hectic horserace held between rival towns in the main square. Ian watches a match of ‘Calcio Storico’ Florence’s traditional yet violent ‘sport where teams combine rugby, football wrestling and boxing and Megan partakes in a game of orange throwing in the town of Ivrea - a three day celebration that commemorates the town’s revolt against the tyrannical Count Ranieri.

Traveller Megan McCormick ventures into perhaps the most misunderstood region in the world – the Arab Gulf States. image: Deserted: Megan in the blazing heat of the Arab Gulf Megan’s journey begins in the oil fields of Kuwait, which were set alight and destroyed by the invading Iraqi army of 1990. The nation then celebrates Liberation Day and Megan joins in the festivities on the streets of Kuwait city. She is then invited to stay with a Kuwaiti family who were camping in the desert, a tradition that many Kuwaitis hold dear, and samples some local dishes.

She then makes her way south, across the Arabian Gulf to the United Arab Emirates, where she explores the exciting cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Megan stays at the world famous Burj Al Arab hotel, a landmark of modern Dubai, before going abayya shopping in one of the city’s many shopping malls.

image: Megan McCormickIn Abu Dhabi, she tees off at a unique desert golf course and meets one of the most flamboyant sheiks in Arabia, who car collection includes a giant custom made Dodge pickup truck! She travels across the border into Oman and discovers one of the hidden jewels of the Gulf. Immersing herself in the natural beauty, Megan finds herself irresistibly charmed by the country, as she goes swim-trekking in the Wadi Bani Khalid and cattle shopping in Nizwa

Megan’s adventure ends in the south of Oman, in the city of Salalah. She visits the mystical tomb of Job and finds the source of one of the treasures of the ancient world -frankincense. Led by a Bedouin guide, she treks into the Empty Quarter, which is one million square miles of nothing but sand.

From Mardi Gras to the Oktoberfest, Great Festivals 2 takes you on an exhilarating trip around the world to experience the most amazing celebrations that the planet has to offer. Roll out the barrel: Justine gets out her big jug and giant sausage for Munich’s Oktoberfest The journey begins in the Philippines where thousands converge at the island of Kalibo for the Ati- Atihan Festival, the best of the Filipino Mardi Gras. What better way to kick start the New Year than with a riotous street party?

The partying continues in February with the Trinidad Carnival, where loud music and colourful costumes fill the streets till the early hours of dawn.

In Spain, we witness the Las Fallas, a weeklong festival of city fires, explosions, fireworks and parades. The city of Valencia is adorned with 15-foot paper mache figures that are ceremoniously torched at the last day of the festival! Traveller Christina Chang witnesses two more of the country’s biggest festivals, the Semana Santa in Seville and the Battle of Moors and Christians in Alcoy.

We take you round the world, seeking out the best food festivals on the planet – Spain’s La Tomatina, Italy’s Battle of the Oranges, and the Gilroy Garlic Festival.

Estelle Bingham attends the Oiled Wrestling Festival in Turkey where over 1000 beefy men come to participate in a weeklong wrestling festival. Covered in slick olive oil and only a pair of leather trousers, wrestlers struggle to pin the other to the ground and the festival is only ended when only one wrestler is left standing.

Megan McCormick explores Scotland and takes part in the Clanloddoch Games andHighland Fling: Megan gets friendly with a real Scotsman at the Highland Games Gathering in Strathdon. The Highland Games were originally used as a test of skill and strength when recruiting clan warriors and men dressed in traditional kilts, tartans and sporran take part in events such as putting the stones, throwing the hammers and tossing the caber.

In October, Justine Shapiro takes on the Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany as a barmaid at the festival, helping hand out the six million litres of beer are poured down the throats of revellers at world’s most famous beer festival – along with 600,000 chickens, 90,000 pork legs and 80 oxen.

In November, the English celebrate Ottery St Mary, a unique tradition where men, women and children roll flaming barrels of tar safely through the streets, cheered on by a huge crowd of thrill seekers. No one really knows when the tradition of tar barrel rolling started although many believe it originated from pagan rituals to ward off evil spirits.

Also in November is the Day of the Dead in Mexico is one of the most unique festivals in the world, as Ian Wright finds out. The Mexicans regard it as a joyous celebration where street festivals and parades mark the time for the living to remember their ancestors.

Great Festivals 2 round off with a Christmas celebration, with a twist. In the village of Kuessnacht, Switzerland thousands of people come to see an old tradition known as Klausjagen. On the night of 5 December, the lights of the village are turned off and villagers armed with whips, cowbells, lanterns and cow horns fill the streets in a noisy parade, designed to drive evil spirits away. Santa of course, also takes part in the parade, accompanied by four dark elves.

They say that nobody’s really from Washington, DC and everyone’s there for a reason. It’s been called the murder capital and the capital of espionage. It’s one of the most famous cities Justine Shapiroin the world, but its local culture is relatively unknown. Justine Shapiro goes beyond the myths and mystic to get at the real DC and the real Washingtonians, from the corridors of power, to the bluegrass bars, to the hot international restaurants, to the indigenous music and good-time vibe of the new U Street.

As a special guest of Orrin Hatch, Republican senator from Utah, she walks right into the USCapitol building and meets the Senate Majority Leader in his office.

Justine soon discovers that the rest of this city of 600,000 is bursting with colour: she visits the Smithsonian’s American History Museum, where famous objects from popular culture such as the ruby slippers from the Wizard of Oz take up permanent residence. Further adventures take her to U Street, where she joins in a ‘step’ dance rehearsal – a true test of whether she’s got rhythm.

Adventures outside DC take her to civil war country in Virginia, to a realistic civil war re-enactment at Cedar Creek. She also learns about the first settlers and the founding of the nation at Williamsburg, Yorktown andJamestown. She even visits Mount Vernon, home to the founder of Washington DC, George Washington himself.

Ian Wright and Megan McCormick take a journey through mysterious Morocco, the meeting of Europe and Africa and a land of richly cultured cities, high mountain ranges and inhospitable desert landscapes. image: camel Ian takes a trip through the interior, to the walled city of Fes and the calm mountain village of Tamtachoute. He rides a motorbike through the desert before downgrading his mode of transport to camel for an overnight trek through the dunes. He makes a whistle stop visit to Marrakech before racing off to the coast for some much-needed relaxation by the sea at Essouira.

Meanwhile Megan stops off in Tangier, a long-time magnet of creative-minds, dodgy characters and thrill-seekers. Then she takes to the ocean road, stopping off in the capital Rabat, the heavily French Casablanca and finally winding up in the amazingly vibrant southern market centre Marrakech.

While Ian embarks on a journey inland, Megan takes time to explore Tangier, a city of outside influences that have combined with local culture to create a city that’s quite unlike anywhere else in the country. She shops for textiles at the Berber Sunday morning market, samples the view painted by Matisse from the El Minza Hotel and visits a fabulous seventeenth century palace that used to be the royal Harem. Megan McCormick, Marrakech Meanwhile, Ian makes a pit stop in the small mountain town of Chaouen where he relaxes over a proper cup of Moroccan tea. Then it’s a hitchhike to Fes, the most medieval city in the Arab world, where he explores the fascinating twists and turns of the 30 miles of Medina before a dose of questionable relaxation in a Haman, the Moroccan equivalent of a sauna.

Megan starts her coastal trip along Morocco with a stop in Rabat, Morocco’s sleepy administrative capital. There she visits the ambitious but never completed Hassan Mosque and theMausoleum of King Mohammed V, the father of modern Morocco and ouster of the French colonists. It’s a fabulous building, richly adorned with materials from every corner of the globe.

Ian journeys further into the inhospitable but awesome interior of Morocco, climbing high into the dramatic scenery of the High Atlas Mountains. His route takes him through the Todra Gorge, a stunning 900ft chasm through red rock, and onto to the village of Tamtachoute. There he joins locals for the Id El Kabir, one of Islam’s oldest and most important festivals, in which everyone who can afford it buys a sheep and slaughters it in celebration.

Back on the coast, Megan has arrived in Casablanca - a modern, bustling city that could be in Europe. She takes a wander round the typically Islamic Habous quarter where she samples a local delicacy, camel burger, and then steps into the French Quarter, with its unique architectural mix of art deco and Moroccan motifs. The pinnacle of the city has to be the awe-inspiring Hassan II Mosque, the third largest in the world, constructed on reclaimed land – true to the words of the Koran which says that the throne of God was built on water.

Continuing his journey, Ian heads down the Dades Valley to Zagora with a couple of bikers and walks the last six miles to the tiny hamlet of Tinfou from where he can camel trek into the desert. He stays overnight among the dunes and enjoys a campfire meal.

Nearing the end of their trips, Megan and Ian turn their sights toward Marrkech the vibrant, market centre of the south. Ian joins the crowds at the Jemaa el Fna, the city square that fills with food stalls, artists and performers every afternoon. Megan goes deep into the Medina souk, the centre of life here since the twelfth century and a real assault on the senses; every conceivable craft is practised here including the amazing zellij mosaic craftsmen. She meets a master-craftsmen and learns about the intricate work involved in making these beautiful designs. For her evening’s entertainment she makes her way to the Jemaa el Fna; every July it plays host to the Marrakech Folklore Festival with performers from far and wide.

Ian’s last leg of his journey takes him to the coastal town of Essaouira, a sleepy fishing town that’s a perfect place to unwind after the gruelling but inspiring experience that is Morocco. In a land of such stark contrasts there’s certainly something for everyone.

Ian hires a motorbike and heads down the Dades Valley to Zagora, following the route of a thousand Kasbahs, an ancient caravan trail that runs out to the desert. He embarks on a two day camel trek form the village of Tinfou, but unfortunately a sandstorm is brewing and Ian spends the most of the trip with his head wrapped in a shash to screen out the blasting sand.

The Middle East is known as the ‘cradle of civilisation’ for good reason. The area has been home to some of the most formidable empires the world has ever known and is the birthplace of theArab Gulf mosqueworld’s three biggest monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Pilot team go in search of the major empires, religions and conflicts that have, and continue, to shape the region.

The Ancient Egyptian Empire flourished for over 3000 years and bequeathed us some of the most amazing structures in the world. Estelle Bingham visits the Giza plateau, home to the Pyramid of Khufu, the only remaining wonder of the world where renowned Egyptologist Dr Selima Ikram explains the significance of the Sphinx and the Pyramids.

Then Megan McCormick travels south down the Nile to the Valley of the Kings and cycles round this working archaeological site. Dr Badir takes her into Tomb No. 34 where he deciphers the scenes and texts depicting the trip through the afterlife. Rameses II built his sun temple at Abu Simbel on the southern border of Egypt to awe travellers from Africa. Megan discovers that the effect hasn’t waned even after thousands of years.

Meanwhile, the Persian civilisation was flourishing to the northeast on the site of modern-day Iran. Ian Wright visits the ruined city of Persephelis built by Darius the Great over 2,500 years ago. Then it’s north to the Tombs of Naghsh-É-Rostam where the four greatest shahs of the empire are buried.

The Nabatinian empire’s capital was Petra, a city carved out of sheer rock in the sixth century BC and now in modern-day Jordan. Ian checks out this premier tourist attraction and puffs his way up the to the 2500-year-old monastery above.

In 100 BC the next great empire appeared on the scene. Justine Shapiro goes in search of the Roman’s premier archaeological sites in the Middle East. Ephesus in Turkey was a powerful and influential city in its time; nowadays it’s a stunning site with some wonderfully preserved mansions full of frescos and mosaics. Omira was one of many towns left to its own devices by the Romans in return for respect from its leader. Ian discovers that the town was sacked after a rebellion by its 3rd Century ruler, Queen Xenobia. For something a little more light-hearted he turns east to Lebanon where he visits the Temple of Bacchus in Baalbek, dedicated to the god of wine. The Romans used to practise orgies here as a type of worship.

After the ebb and flow of religious doctrines, monotheism took over with the birth of Judaism. Justine visits Mesada, a palace built by Herod the Great and scene of the legendary siege in which its 967 Jewish inhabitants committed suicide rather than suffer defeat at the hands of the Romans. She then journeys to Jerusalem and watches a bar mitzvah, a celebration of a Jewish boy’s coming-of-age at 13, at the Wailing Wall.

Christianity gained its ascendancy in the region after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Justine watches the haunting Easter procession through Jerusalem retracing his last steps along the Via Dolorosa to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Megan visits the world’s first monastery in Egypt where she meets a monk who relates its history to her.

Islam arose in the seventh century among followers of the Prophet Mohammed. Jerusalem is also a sacred city for this religion, third only to Mecca and Medina. Cairo is known as the ‘city of a thousand minarets’. Megan visits Ibn Tulun Mosque, one of the biggest in the world. As Islam took hold as a religion it drove the Christians back to Rome; the Ottoman Empire established itself out of Constantinople, modern day Istanbul. This city has more mosques than anywhere else in the world. Estelle visits the ‘Blue Mosque‘, commissioned by Sultan Ahmed to atone for his sins, and the Aya Sofia, originally the greatest church in Christendom. Now it’s a museum and the original Christian mosaics are being uncovered. The Persian Empire also fell under the influence of the Ottomans. Ian visits Esfahan in Iran, site of a beautiful mosque built over 300 years ago.

Topkapi in Istanbul was the Ottoman Sultans’ palace for over four centuries. Estelle finds a huge complex of gardens, houses and a whopping 400-room harem. It also houses hairs from the beard of Mohammed, an immensely popular devotional relic.

Middle Eastern history has been shaped by war and upheaval. The Pilot team takes a tour of key sites of conflict, taking in the fairytale Citadel of Arkbar in Turkey, the Oman Desert, theGallipoli peninsula, El Alamein in Egypt, Beirut and Israel and the Occupied Territories. Justine visits the West bank town of Hebron with a local Palestinian who tells her about what it’s like to live in a Palestinian city during the Initfada.

Not all wars are between religions. In 1980 the Shi’ite Iranian government led by Ayatollah Khomenei went to war with its Sunni neighbour Iraq, ruled by Saddam Hussein. Ian attends an Iranian funeral procession for soldiers whose bodies have recently been retrieved from the Iraqi border. Eventually Saddam went a step to far for his Western sponsors in his quest to rebuild the Babylonian Empire and invaded Kuwait in 1990. Megan visits the country’s oil fields that were torched by Iraqi troops as they withdrew under fire from the Allies’ Desert Stormbombardment.

So what’s the modern day Middle East like? It’s still war torn, as evidenced by the recent Iraq war, but now oil and ‘terrorism’ have joined religion as causes of strife. It remains the spiritual centre of the world for many; over two million Muslims gather in Mecca for Haj and process around the rock temple reputedly built by the Prophet Abraham. It is also a region of diversity in religious worship – the Suffis practise an amazingly physical type of devotion while the Shi’ites of Iran flagellate themselves to feel the pain of Maharam, an ancient Muslim leader.

In search of a woman’s perspective on the area, Megan travels to the United Arab Emirates.In Dubai she tries on the abayya and in Abu Dhabi she visits a women’s-only shopping centre. Meanwhile Justine finds that Tel Aviv is a city split between the expectations of Orthodox Judaism and the desires of young people who party hard on Shabbat.

Megan ends our tour in the graceful surrounds of the Sultan Kabuz Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman. It’s a perfect place to reflect on what we’ve seen during this adventure across the Middle East. Not only is it a richly historical area; it’s also a vibrant, richly diverse region, often far removed from the foreboding images of death and destruction that flash across Western TV screens every night.

They are countries inextricably linked to their massive neighbour, full of eastern traditions yet inspiring in their modernity; Megan McCormick goes in search of two places forging forward into the twenty-first century, China’s ‘little dragons’ Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Mindful of her budget in one of the world’s most expensive cities, Megan checks in at Hong Kong’s infamous Chungking Mansions and finds that it’s actually pretty good value for image: Hong Kong skylinemoney. Taking a trip from mainland Kowloon to Central on the Star Ferry which carries 100,000 people per day, Megan gets to grips with the combination of traditional and modern with an exploration of the theories of feng shui which governed the construction of some of the skyscrapers in its impressive skyline. After a ride along the world’s longest escalator she takes the Peak Tram to the top of Victoria Peak for some fantastic views of the city.

Megan goes to Wong Kai Fin Temple, devoted to the art of fortune telling and one of Hong Kong’s most popular temples. Here she follows the traditional visits a fortune-teller who tells her that, as a child of the year of the Rat, she shouldn’t gamble. Still, at Happy Valley Racecourse in the centre of the city she has a flutter on the horses, a pastime that the Hong Kongese are particularly partial to. As foretold, she loses and to commiserate she hits the town in style at the city’s trendiest club, Dragon Eyes.

For a break from the city, Megan travels into the New Territories, to the island of Tap Mum Chau, stopping off in Lin Village to make a wish at the Wishing Tree. The island is a real breath of rural Hong Kong, giving you an idea of what the city used to be like – just a string of fishing villages. For a complete contrast, she crosses the border to the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone where cheap imports of Chinese goods and a flagrant disregard for piracy laws make for a truly indulgent shopping spree.

The next morning she’s back on Kowloon‘s waterfront for an early morning group tai chi lesson from a plugged in master of the martial art. Inspired, she meets Bruce Law, one of Hong Kong’s legendary movie stunt men and gets to star in her very own action movie. Then it’s off to another mainstay of Hong Kong, Sam’s Tailor, established in 1957. Since then it’s clothed some of the world’s most famous people including Bill Clinton and Luciano Pavarotti.

After all that she needs to take a break and heads for City Hall, the place for Hong Kong’s lunch of choice, dim sum. Revitalised, she heads for Shek O for a spot of paragliding; then it’s over to the picturesque Lantau Island to marvel at the world’s biggest, sitting, bronze, outdoor Buddha at the Po Lin Monastery.

Bidding Hong Kong a fond farewell, Megan flies over to the ‘beautiful island’ of Taiwan and touches down in the capital Taipei where she stays in the aptly named Grand Hotel. She visits the Martyrs’ Temple, a shrine to all those who have died in China’s wars and a reminder of the relationship between the countries. After a brief history lesson, Megan catches sight of Taipei’s newest landmark, the mirrored 101 Tower, which is winning the race for image: The Yami people of Orchid Island, Taiwantallest building in the world at 1671 feet high. She dons a hard hat and takes a trip up it with tower’s architect.

Then it’s off to explore a cornerstone of Tapei life – the night market – where she visits ‘Snake Alley‘ where you can pick up all sorts of snake products that have medicinal or aphrodisiac properties.

Out of the city Megan rents a car and drives through the stunning Taroko Gorge and goes hiking to a hot springs. Then it’s off to the modern temple at Puli where she attends the 4.30am morning prayers alongside 1200 nuns and 300 monks and takes a tour of the rest of the building. She climbs Jade Mountain, near Puli, the highest in the region where she watches a glorious sunrise.

She ends her trip on Orchid Island, Taiwan’s most remote island and home to its smallest indigenous tribe, the Yami people. She explores the island on scooter and ends the day on the beach where she witnesses a traditional Yami ritual.

New York has always been a city of superlatives: biggest, brashest, best – at least that’s the opinion of its proud inhabitants – and with over 30 million visitors a year it seems that there areCity Slick: Megan checks out Manhattanplenty of others who agree! Ian Wright and Megan McCormick return to New York to seek out a city that is now known as much for its resilience in the face of tragedy as its economic power, cultural dominance and ethnic diversity.

Their tour of the metropolis’s five boroughs (Staten Island, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan) begins with Manhattan Island, the 20 square mile, two million strong powerhouse of the city. Starting downtown, Ian takes theStaten Island ferry to the Statue of Liberty, a symbol of freedom that became a beacon of hope for European immigrants arriving in America in the early twentieth century. Megan seeks out the motor of American economic development, Wall Street’s New York Stock Exchange. It’s an energising experience – this place trades a billion shares per day and its constant oscillations make it seem alive. Around the corner at its younger brother, the American Stock Exchange, she talks to a man who’s really been around the block a few times. Michael Peskuma, who at 94 is the world’s oldest trader, recalls the day of the 1929 market crash.

Manhattan is also home to two of the city’s most colourful communities. Ian tries some top-notch pickles at Guss’s in Lower East Side, home to the Eastern European Jewish community. Meanwhile Megan visits the largest Chinatown in the Western Hemisphere and meets Jamie Gong, owner of its oldest store, which dates back to 1891.

There’s no doubt that trying to get around New York is overwhelming – even if you come from a big city yourself. Megan tries to take a bus but finds that walking is a much better option. Ian manages to get through the subway but takes a taxi for his next journey. Even that’s not plain sailing however – as he soon finds out from a gruff driver who gives him a crash course in taxi etiquette.

If you’re looking for a bit of pop culture kudos from your accommodation, look no further than the Chelsea Ian plays basketball with the giants of Sixth Avenue Hotel where the literati and glitterati have rubbed shoulders for decades. Megan meets the owner and some current residents and discovers that its influence runs so deep that even the Clintons’ daughter takes her name from the place!

In a land of burgeoning fat, New Yorkers remain the leaders of leanness. Ian finds himself in a land of giants at a local basketball game on Sixth Avenue while Megan swings into action at the Trapeze school in the Hudson River Park.

After all that activity, our team sample a dash of the Big Apple’s ubercool, ultra varied nightlife. Megan drops in at a gallery opening, a popular past time for trendy New Yorkers and then heads off to the Lower East Side’s dive bars for cheap drinks and a brush with some seamy characters at Rudy’s.

With the dawn of another day Ian and Megan go off in search of the city’s African American neighbourhoods. The Bronx was integral to the Black struggle for equality; Malcolm X spent his youth here and his ministry still practises on Lennox Avenue. It’s also synonymous with hip hop culture so Ian takes a dazzling detour to Home Boy 2000 where he tries on the chunky gold jewellery beloved of rappers and wannabes everywhere. Meanwhile Megan finds that Harlem is shedding its bad reputation as she’s guided round the area. She makes a quick stop at the AfroCentric Shopping Mall where you can buy anything from Caribbean kitsch to Islamic tomes.

Perhaps the best thing about New York is that the unexpected is always just around the corner. North of the Bronx, Megan is catapulted into a world far removed from the vigour of city life with a fishing trip from City Island. Then she dabbles in a spot of sea kayaking around the west side of Manhattan following in the wake of the Native Americans who used to call the harbour “great waters constantly in motion”.

The Brooklyn Bridge straddles this magnificent stretch of water and connects Manhattan with Brooklyn, a borough of colourful ethnic groups. Ian visits Williamsberg, home to roughly the same amount of Puerto Ricans as live on their native Caribbean island. Megan mingles with the Cuban community on their national day and parties at the colourful parade. As befits a city of such multi-culturalism, the United Nations, set up in 1945 to avert a repetition of the tragedies of World War II, has its headquarters here in Midtown. Megan takes a quick look around.

The Big Apple’s enduring image is its high-rise architecture. Ian and Megan take a tour of its most attractive buildings. They take in the triangular Flat Iron Building, the Woolworth Building (a cathedral-like gothic skyscraper), 40 Wall Street which became New York’s tallest building for the blink of an eye and was superseded by the Chrysler Building just a week later. Then it’s off to the Empire State Building, standing at 1250 feet high. It remained the tallest building here until the completion of the World Trade Center in 1972.

Following the destruction of the Twin Towers and the tragic loss of life on 11 September 2001,Ground Zero - where the buildings stood – has become something of a tourist attraction for people trying to make sense of that fateful day. Megan visits the Fire Museum on Spring Avenue with its moving monument to the 328 men who lost their lives during the disaster. Many people ran for cover in nearby Trinity Church; here she speaks to a survivor who relates the horror of the moment his office was hit by one of the airliners. Despite this terrible trauma, New Yorkers have refused to be phased. Daniel Libeskind, the architect charged with redesigning the site, says his plans are all about bringing “optimism” to this scene of great sadness.

Central Park is the city’s oasis – although calm it isn’t! Ian joins a professional roller blader for a shuffle around while Megan joins up with “wildman” Steve Brill who demonstrates how to find sustenance from the plants growing here, in case she finds herself short of cash!

No trip to New York would be complete without a serious shopping spree. By all means window shop on Fifth Avenue (the haunt of the rich Upper Eastsiders) but it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to afford more than a Chanel pencil! Thrift shops are great places for picking up bargains and Out of the Closest is an absolute gem. Megan meets the owner of this shop that’s supported by donations of cast-off antiques and clothes from rich locals looking for tax write-offs. This means it’s a treasure trove of wonderful finds – and a donation is made to charity with each purchase – so everyone wins!

With nine world-class museums, you could be in danger of spending your whole trip in Museum Mile. Megan visits the Metropolitan Museum of Art and discovers breathtaking pieces from every era from ancient Mesopotamia to the European Renaissance.

Feeling more than a little worn out by all the attractions New York has to offer, the team turn their sights to day trips out of the manic Metropolis. Ian revels in the tackiness of Coney Island south of Brooklyn and dances a jig in the neighbouring Russian Jewish enclave of Brighton Beach, also known as Little Odessa. Megan finds her journey end on the idyll of Fire Island, ringed by golden beaches, where she visits the gay retreat of Cherry Grove.

The GherkinIt takes two to capture the huge and exhilarating city of London, so Jonathan Atherton and Megan McCormick share the billing as they try to encompass all that Britain’s capital has to offer.

Megan kicks off at the biggest Ferris wheel in the world, The London Eye, while just five minutes walk away, Jonathan has the first of two encounters with the Queen at the royal pageantry of the Trooping of the Colour. But they soon head off in different directions. Jonathan explores the colourful east end markets and the drama of the British Museum. Megan finds new architecture amongst the medieval streets of The City.

Meanwhile, Jonathan discovers a stunning marble Hindu temple in the suburbia of Neasdon and Megan even tries out her Shakespeare at the Globe Theatre. There’s even some good food at the ancient Borough Market, though Megan’s English fried breakfast and Jonathan’s jellied eels leave a lot to be desired but they both enjoy the nightlife of Soho. And while Jonathan hobnobs with the great and the good at Harrods and Royal Ascot, where he encounters Her Majesty once again, Megan has a flutter on the greyhounds at Walthamstow racetrack.

From the markets of Camden to Speakers Corner in Hyde Park; from the glory of Hampton Court, Kew Gardens and the Royal Naval College at Greenwich to the peace of Highgate Cemetery and the backwaters of the canals or even a personal tour of the Houses of Parliament, the London City Guide 2 offers endless surprises that express the diversity of one of the world’s most exciting cities.


Located at the north tip of Africa, Morocco is a country of stark desert, high mountain ranges and richly cultured cities. Known as the ‘great’ desert city of Morocco, Marrakech lies 60 miles from the coast, next to Morocco’s towering Atlas Mountain Range. The city itself is a fusion ofimage: Baths of luxury: Megan stays in an oppulent city hotel Africa, Europe and the Islamic world, divided between the Ville Nouvelle, built by the French in the 20th Century and Medina, home to the souk markets and the famous central square, Jemaa el Fna. The Berbers founded the city in the late eleventh century. Later, the sultan Ali Ben Youssef set about surrounding the city with 16km of high mud walls to protect the inhabitants of the Medina (the old city).

KT Comer takes a horse drawn carriage to Koutoubia Mosque, which marks the western edge of the old walled city and stays in the Hotel Central Palace. An old riad (townhouse) located in Medina, the hotel offers budget luxury and wonderful views over the city for only $20 a night. The next day she descends on the markets of the souk to sample the thousands of stalls and myriad of handmade goods found there. Spread over a mile, the souk has remained the centre of life in Marrakech since its inception in the twelfth century. A maze of streets and alleyways stretching north from the main square, the souk offers a glittering display of all the traditional arts and regional crafts of Morocco – just remember to haggle!

Crammed with performers and food stalls, the Jemma el Fna is where all the action happens. The centre is filled by a random and changing assortment of snake charmers, storytellers acrobats, clowns, dancers and so on. Add to this the variety of food on offer and you realise just how special the square is – so much so that UNESCO has made it a World Heritage Site. KT then makes it over to the Jewish cemetery in the Mellah, the Jewish quarter, which lies at the south-eastern edge of the Medina. Waves of Jewish settlers arrived in Morocco in the first millennium BC. The Jews and Muslims lived side by side up until 1948 when the establishment of Israel saw the Jewish community shrink from 20,000 to just over a thousand. To find what makes Moroccan leather so special, Megan McCormick visits a skin auction where farmers bring the skins to sell to tanners who pass them on to the leather workers.

KT moves onto a ‘hammam’, a communal bath and a meeting point for women in the day and men at night. Here she is also treated to some traditional Berber healing music. As if all this wasn’t relaxing enough, an oasis awaits KT’s arrival; the Majorelle Gardens are the perfect antidote to the madness of the souks. Created in the 1920s by Jaques Majorelle, the gardens fell into decline until their current owner, Yves Saint-Laurent, their current owner, restored them to their resplendent former glory. Back in the Medina, KT heads for the daily carpet auction that takes place each day after the third call to prayer at about 5pm. Feeding off the creativity and energy of the souk, many artists and architects bought up some of the old town houses in the Medina, which had fallen into disrepair. KT visits one riad (townhouse) completely hidden from the world complete with its own tranquil garden and fountain.

KT’s last night is spent at Marrakech’s Folklore Festival. Among the evening’s festivities is the performance of traditional Moroccan musicians and artists who carry on through the night with their African neighbours. Marrakech, it seems, is one of the few cities where the modern world sits alongside authentic living traditions.


Bordered by Saudi Arabia and Oman, Dubai is the one of the worlds youngest and cosmopolitan of cities in the world. The city is built on either side of the Dubai Creek with its commercial centre, Deira, on one side and Bur Dubai, the residential and beachfront area on the other.

image: Carpets galore in the souks of DubaiOur traveller, Megan McCormick, goes downtown to the docks on the Creek, where the majority of trade is done between Iran and Dubai. Because Dubai is a trade free zone, a lot of money is made by re-exporting goods. Dubai is also known for its tax free gold. Megan takes a riverboat to the gold souk of Deira where she tries on some exquisite jewellery. If gold doesn’t your fancy, you can venture into the spice souk for some alternative retail therapy.

Dubai combines both the old and the new in the most extraordinary way. Megan travels to the Bastakia Quarter which used to be a small settlement nestled along a sandy creek. Some of the most striking architecture can be found along Jumeira beach. The most iconic building in the area has to be the Burj Al Arab. At 320 metres high, this self styled 7 star palace is the tallest hotel in the world. Sitting on its own island, the hotel has 1000 sq metres of gold leaf and is a temple to high-class kitsch. Each one of the 202 suites has its own butler too!

Megan pauses for a moment to catch her breath before lunching at the hotels exclusive restaurant and going for a splash at the local water park. A representative for the area also explains to Megan a new development underway for the more affluent clients; the Palm Project is probably even more ambitious than the Burj Al Arab. It will be a luxury community built on reclaimed land in the shape of a palm tree, with hotels, shops and villas. Dubai has over 34 shopping malls, so Megan tries on an ‘abaya’, the traditional dress for Arabic women at one of the area’s most popular shopping malls. Although it’s part of one of the more liberal Islamic countries, Dubai still takes its religion seriously. Ramadan is a good opportunity to experience religious tradition and experience the breaking of the fast. Megan talks to Taha who explains what Ramadan means to him.

Day four and Megan takes a trip out of the city to Abu Dhabi. Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi was once a remote and rather uninteresting place. Now however, the city is the business centre of the oil rich Gulf. The city also has some of the best golf courses in the world. If golf’s not you’re thing you can go dune bashing in off-road vehicles over huge sand dunes or experience the traditional sport of falconry, practised by the Bedouins over many generations.

Megan delves a little deeper into the culture of UAE and discovers the ‘Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding‘ which gives regular tours of the Jumeira Mosque. Megan notes that the faith and tradition of Islam lives hand in hand with the pressures of modern commercialism and that the people are not afraid to enjoy themselves. Once a year, during the Dubai shopping festival, the Global Village comes to town. Megan buys a lottery ticket in the hope of winning $300,000 and takes a ride on a crazy fairground ride and rounds off her trip by watching a spectacular fireworks display.



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