If Walls Could Talk

If Walls Could Talk

Nestled just thirteen feet from the Israeli separation wall stands anonymous British artist Banksy’s largest and most controversial political testament yet, The Walled Off Hotel. The hotel opened earlier this month on the West Bank in Jerusalem and is a temporary and self-financed project of the famous artist.

Its creation marks the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, a letter sent from Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, a leader of the British Jewish community, stating that Palestine has become “a national home for the Jewish people”. This document was the cause of considerable controversy and backlash whose eventual outcome lead to the wall that currently divides the nation of Palestine with the state of Israel.
With the wall blocking much of the sunlight, it’s “the worst view of any hotel in the world,” said Banksy, which very much seems to be his point. Whilst the hotel view and its location forces guests to face the harsh reality that the Palestinians have to had to endure, the interior confronts the various political facets of the situation whilst incorporating many of the first world elements of a hotel that we seemingly take for granted.

Piano Bar - The Walled Off Hotel

Piano Bar – The Walled Off Hotel

The three-story hotel offers hostel-like accommodations as well as 9 private rooms and suites ranging anywhere from $30 to $965 a night. The more budget friendly rooms resemble military barracks with iron bunk beds and cold concrete walls. The suites are lavishly adorned and decorated, of course, with Banksy’s signature political art pieces. The rest of the hotel resembles an gentleman’s club from era of colonial Britain, complete with a tea room serving high tea in fine china, a museum dedicated to telling the story of the declaration and the wall, and even a piano bar which served as the focal point for the The Walled Off Hotel’s grand opening celebration which included the special guest Sir Elton John, alongside an art gallery filled with local artists’ work. After Banksy commissioned the project, it became an entirely independent local business, with none of its profits going back to its creator.

Banksy Art for Private Room - Uncrate.com

Banksy Art for Private Room – Uncrate.com

The Walled Off Hotel isn’t meant to offer guests the typical “vacation” experience, but rather to expose them to the realities of middle-eastern conflict. Although it’s not the most economically thriving part of town, several restaurants, shops, and bars surround the hotel, which Banksy assures is safe for tourists as well as locals.
Banksy hopes for the Palestinian-staffed hotel to keep its doors open until the end of the centennial year so plan your visit soon for this unquestionably inspiring and thought provoking experience.

To learn more about the West Bank, join Zay Harding as he explores Holy Lands in our Globe Trekker Series Holy Lands Jerusalem: The West Bank

www.pilotguides.com/tv-shows/globe-trekker/series-14/globe-trekker-holy-lands-jerusalem-the-west-bank/

The Walled off Hotel
182 Caritas Street
Bethlehem, Palestine
www.banksy.co.uk/index.html

Written by Savannah Chinelli, intern for Pilot Productions HQ in London

Memories of Morocco

Memories of Morocco

Way back when Globe Trekker was a fledgling production company, series 1 was created.

In one of his very first shows as a Globe Trekker presenter, Ian Wright traveled to Morocco on the north-western tip of Africa. The episode went on to win a number of awards, including US Cable Ace award for Best Show and Best Host and was Ian Wright’s international and US breakthrough.

It’s a country of stark desert, high mountain ranges, and some of the most richly cultured cities in the world.
image: Lost in the mountains: Ian Wright
Ian began his journey in the port of Tangier, where most travellers enter the country. Sharing a ride with an American businesswoman as far as the small market town of Chaouen, Ian picked up some valuable tips about travelling in Morocco after which he hitched a ride to the walled city of Fez, through the Rif mountains, the country’s main Hashish growing region.

You can buy all of series 1 for our special anniversary price of just $19.95

Our 25th Anniversary Special – Globe Trekker Season One!

Our 25th Anniversary Special - Globe Trekker Season One!

To celebrate Globe Trekker turning 25, we have a very special special offer – own the HISTORIC FIRST SEASON and watch it instantly for only $19.95!!!! 

Our classic adventures include trips to:

Indonesia – The Eastern Islands
La Ruta Maya
Morocco
Jamaica
Alaska
Pacific Islands
Southeast Australia
Vietnam
North East Brazil
Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands
Japan – Tokyo to Taiwan
North India – Varanasi to the Himalayas
Africa – Zimbabwe, Botswana & Namibia

A Revolution Centenary

A Revolution Centenary

November 2017 marks one hundred years since the start of the revolution that embarked to destroy the entire pre-Soviet world and create a new one from its ruins. The Russian Revolution made a profound impact on the thinking and behaviour of later generations, and how the outside world perceived these societies.

On 7 November 1917, Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin led his leftist revolutionaries in a revolt against the ineffective Provisional Government; workers, soldiers and peasants, indeed the vast majority of ordinary people colluded in shaking off a centuries-old monarchy, a few months later seizing power.

All this year, museums and media outlets around the world are exploring this monumentous period in modern world history, you can read our study guide about the period here.

Regarding our main image: a Soviet poster dedicated to the 5th anniversary of the October Revolution and IV Congress of the Communist International.

Posters played an integral role during the Russian Revolution and subsequent Civil War. At the time, very few newspapers were published, often a poster replaced the tabloid. Poster art was widely accessible to the masses, the images depicted were easily understood, accompanied by a short and energetic slogan stuck in the viewers mind, as a constant call for action. In time of Civil War, propaganda posters were sent to the front lines in the same capacity as bullets and artillery shells. They were posted on walls, in cities which were under assault by the White Guard armies and foreign interventionists. The bottom of the vivid, bright-colored poster usually contained a warning: “Anyone who tears down or covers up this poster – is committing a counter-revolutionary act”. The poster was a powerful weapon, and just like any weapon, it had to be guarded with utmost care. (source: www.sovietposters.com)

 

At the Borderlines

At the Borderlines

Following the UK’s referendum vote to leave the European Union, also known as Brexit, and Donald Trump’s victory in the USA and his insistence on building another wall between the United States and Mexico, erecting barriers and borders to curtail free movement is certainly headline news.

But the world has a long history of erecting barriers and walls, rulers and governments have often tried to control
people’s freedom of movement. From the Berlin Wall to the Khyber Pass, join our hosts as they visit some of worlds most historic borders and walls. 

Click here to listen our Borderlines audio guide at Globe Trekker Radio

Be proud, be loud, it’s the Year of the Fire Rooster

Be proud, be loud, it's the Year of the Fire Rooster

New Year, or the “Spring Festival” as it is known in China, is the longest and most important holiday in China. The Chinese New Year 2017 begins on January 28, 2017. The Chinese New Year’s festivities end two weeks later on the 15th day of the next month on what is known as the Lantern Festival, you can watch the festivities here

The Chinese New Year 2017 of the Fire Rooster begins on the second New Moon after the Solstice. The Year of the Rooster is set to be a powerful one, with no middle ground when it comes to moving forward.

In a Rooster Year all of the Chinese animals can reap great rewards by tapping into Rooster traits: loyalty, commitment, hard work, family values, and top-notch appearances are just some of the characteristics that will be rewarded this year.

For our ancestors who had no alarm clocks, the crowing of the rooster was significant, its announcement awakening people to begin their day. And so we better understand why those born under the sign of the rooster Rooster are almost always the epitome of fidelity and punctuality.

In Greek mythology, it is said the rooster has a special intuitive connection to predicting the future and therefore regarded as one of the god’s ambassadors. The people born in the year of the rooster are also attuned to foresight taking pleasure from good planning when dealing with circumstances bringing a certain unexpected ingenuity to problem solving.

Lucky Numbers: 5, 7, 8
Lucky Colors: gold, brown, brownish yellow, yellow
Lucky Flowers: gladiola, impatiens, cockscomb
Lucky Directions: west, southwest, northeast

Famous Roosters:
Mo-tse, Liu Che (Emperor Wu of China’s Western Han Dynasty 202 BC – 9 AD), Li Longji (Emperor Xuanzong of China’s Tang Dynasty 618 – 907), Zhuge Liang (Premier of Shu in China’s Three Kingdoms Period 220 – 280), Anna Kournikova, Anne Heche, Alexis Bledel, Bette Midler, Beyonce, Cate Blanchett, Diane Sawyer, Elijah Wood, James Marsters, Jessica Alba, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Taylor Momsen, Catherine the Great, Amelia Earhart, Rudyard Kipling, Groucho Marx, Peter Ustinov, Tagore, Roger Federer, Serena Williams, Mencius, Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Elton John, Jennifer Aniston

paper cut rooster

paper cut rooster

image: Chinese paper cutting of the Rooster 
by The original uploader 
was 用心阁 at Chinese Wikipedia - 
Transferred from zh.wikipedia to 
Commons by Shizhao using CommonsHelper
CC BY-SA 3.0 

Happy 25th Anniversary Globe Trekker!

Happy 25th Anniversary Globe Trekker!

It’s been a quarter of a century of travel, adventures, thrills and spills!

To celebrate we will be looking back at some of the highs and lows from the earliest Season 1 episodes: when Ian Cross and the crew visited Indonesia or Ian Wright hitched through Morocco, there are so many adventures and tales we can’t wait to share with you.

And of course, you can always share your favourite Globe Trekker moments here on Facebook.

Here’s to the next 25!

Ian Wright with almost everything but his head in the sand in Japan

Ian Wright with almost everything but his head in the sand in Japan

Martin Luther King Day, a lasting legacy

Martin Luther King Day, a lasting legacy

“I Have a Dream” was the infamous line given during American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr’s public speech delivered during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963, in which he called for an end to racism in the United States and for civil and economic rights. The speech was delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., a defining moment of the American Civil Rights Movement.

Martin Luther King was a vital part of the civil rights activist. As one of the leaders of the movement to end racial segregation in the United States, he was an advocate of non-violent protest and became the youngest man to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and was assassinated in 1968.

In 1968, shortly after Martin Luther King died, a campaign was instigated for his birthday to become a holiday to honor him. After the first bill was introduced, trade unions led the campaign for the federal holiday which was endorsed in 1976. Following support from the musician Stevie Wonder with his single “Happy Birthday” and a petition with six million signatures, the bill became law in 1983. Martin Luther King Day was first observed in 1986, although not observed in all states until the year 2000. In 1990, the Wyoming legislature designated Martin Luther King Jr/Wyoming Equality Day as a legal holiday.

We visited the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial  located in West Potomac Park in Washington, D.C. , covering four acres and including a granite statue of King by sculptor Lei Yixin:

 

main image: c/o By ProhibitOnions – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16146667

High hopes for Saint Helena’s airport up in the air

High hopes for Saint Helena's airport up in the air

please note, we were sent this update from the Saint Helena government authorities:

St Helena Airport has been certified by Air Safety Support International, is open and operational.  In fact, there are currently two private charter aircraft parked on the Apron at St Helena Airport.

It has not yet been possible to commence scheduled commercial air services to the Island.  However, operations at St Helena Airport are underway and consist primarily of one-off charter flights.  21 flights have successfully landed so far at St Helena Airport including three vital medevac flights.

On 7 December 2016, St Helena Government released a tender for air services for a three year period to provide the best possible air service for the Island.  This tender process will determine the timeline of the commencement of regularly scheduled commercial flights to the Island.  The Royal Mail Ship service has been extended to guarantee access to the Island in the interim.

***

On Saint Helena, the tiny island  in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean where Napoleon died and was buried, the four  thousand residents celebrated when the British government gave the final go ahead to the construction  of an airport on the island.

After lobbying for the airport for decades, residents were jubilant when the airport finally opened in 2016, the Government having spent more than 400 million dollars on the project.

The frequent high winds prevent aircraft’s from landing, which was the main cause of the extensive delay. However, the project persevered because of the islands isolation, with nowhere else for planes to land; the nearest airport to Saint Helena being Ascension Island, nearly two thousand miles away

Unfortunately, all fears  have now been realised and the airport has been closed much to the frustration of the residents and the embarassment of the authorities and Government now accused of lavishing hundreds of millions on a ”white elephant”.

For the time being, residents and visitors to Saint Helena must continue to travel to the island  the way they have for hundreds of years – by the Royal Mail ship, Saint Helena, which leaves Capetown, in South Africa, every three weeks, the whole trip taking five days.

Now authorities and aircraft companies are trying to agree to plans allowing smaller aircraft, less affected by the winds to use the airport. However it is not  clear whether this will be an economically viable option.

Zay with St Helena's giant tortoise

Zay with St Helena’s giant tortoise

Check out Globe Trekker’s episode on St Helena in which Zay Harding embarks on a five day voyage from Cape Town on the last authentic British Royal Mail Ship to St Helena and checks out the sites  including Longwood House, where  Napoleon lived and died, the tomb where he was buried, the capital, Jamestown….. and the  controversial airport site.

Wonderous winter worlds at Stonehenge

Wonderous winter worlds at Stonehenge

Yesterday, thousands of people gathered at Stonehenge in Wiltshire to watch the sun rise on the shortest day of the year when daylight on 21st December lasted for just seven hours, 49 minutes and 41 seconds.

Beneath a misty sky, blanketed with clouds, crowds of pagans and druids were among those to flocked to visit the ancient Neolithic monument late on Tuesday night.

The welcoming in of the Winter Solstice is the most important day of the year at Stonehenge and a truly magical time filled with ad hoc celebration bringing together England’s New Age Tribes including druids, pagans and Wiccans with ordinary families, tourists, travelers and party people – in droves! Anyone who has been witness to the breath taking energy that washes over the crowd drawing to an awestruck silent hush as the sky begins to brighten.

Stonehenge is carefully aligned following a sight-line that points to the winter solstice sunset as opposed to other sites such as New Grange in Ireland, which points to the winter solstice sunrise, and the Goseck circle in Germany, aligned to both the sunset and sunrise.

Newgrange by Shira

Newgrange by Shira

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC and it is thought that winter solstice was of greater significance than the summer solstice to the people who constructed Stonehenge as the pagan calendar marks the “re-birth” of the sun for the new year.

The winter solstice was a time when cattle was slaughtered (so the animals would not have to be fed during the winter) and the majority of wine and beer was finally fermented.

The solstice can happen on December 20, 21, 22 or 23, though December 20 or 23 solstices are rare.

Join our host Justine Shapiro as she explores the mystical site of Stonehenge

Main image: Stonehenge winter solstice in the 80’s