Murphy’s law. Sometimes – no matter how much goodwill may have been invested into planning – things just don’t work out the way they should. Take a wildlife safari, for instance and imagine this scenario: At the ungodly hour of four-thirty in the morning, when it is still pitch dark outside, one’s proper physical system has not gained momentum yet, the game reserve is 90 minutes away from the hotel, vision is limited, the vehicle’s irritated GPS fabricates unfathomable directions once the smoothly paved stretch ends and we turn off-road. Rain is pouring (pouring!). Aboard a forlorn minibus a bunch of drowsy journalists are resting their exhausted frames against foggy window panes and limply jump out of their seats involuntarily each time the bus rattles into a pothole with a thud. Or conquers another especially mean hump. And another.
Reading time: about 7 minutes
Most of the time, satisfying one’s cultural hunger can easily be accomplished by simply walking into a museum. Theoretically. Yet, the Museo Subacuático de Arte, located in different sites on the map of Mexico, demands a little more effort than that – but surely does offer an additional thrill: its life-size exhibits are mounted to the seabed and thus best inspected in the sporty scuba-diving or snorkeling mode. Accelerated heartbeat assured. Those who would rather keep their noses above sea-level, are invited to explore the arcane population of underwater sculptures conveniently aboard a glass-bottomed boat, with or without a preceding jungle tour.
Reading time: about 2 minutes
A Treasure Trove for Science
Surely you have seen dragonflies hover. But did you know that they were also capable of flying backwards? Or even up-side down like a vintage double-decker during a daring air show? And that they could activate each one of their four wings separately – working at varying speed and propelling in different directions, all at the same time? Today it is possible to shoot images that are thousands of times faster than our own vision. Or slower. We can see how nature’s devices work – and imitate them. Helicopters or mechanical drones pretty much simulate the congenial dragonfly’s techniques. We live in a world of invisible beauty, too subtle to be perceptible to the human eye. Louie Schwartzberg shows breathtaking images during his fascinating TED talk. Read article
Reading time: about 1 minute
Imagine you were the fortunate citizen of a lush tropical island, say Bali, and financially privileged enough to afford an extraordinary home built according to your most daring desires. Ideally, renewable materials would be used almost exclusively so that your new residence became a sustainable and thus environmentally friendly affair. Bamboo is one of these resources – abundantly available locally, easily cultivated and growing back rapidly. It is light yet sturdy, albeit a little stubborn when it comes to delivering reliably straight rods: No two poles are alike and creative thinking is required on a permanent basis in order to come up with a feasible design. In Elora’s case, her enigmatically shaped edifices are the surprising result of these given twists and curves. Bamboo structures can now last a lifetime. Whereas formerly they used to get eaten away by insatiable termites and bugs, this building material receives treatment with a boron solution, a natural salt despised by hungry insects.
Reading time: about 1 minute
Before setting off on a journey to foreign latitudes, a general plan of action seems a reasonable idea. When time and funds are limited, the most has to be made of both. The aim is an agreeable cocktail of experiences upon whose long-lasting effect individual memories and emotions can foster. Sometimes even carefully charted programmes are missing a vital link. One that takes travellers back into a country’s historical and political past, grim as it may have been. Then it will be understood why the past is inseparable from the present and the future and why landmarks such as Joburg’s Constitution Hill epitomise the lifeblood of an entire nation.
Reading time: about 5 minutes