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29
EDITOR’S LETTER
legendary actor, Errol. He had a Hollywood career laid out
before him, but became a war photographer instead and
disappeared in communist-held Cambodia while chasing a story. His friend
and room mate in Vietnam, Perry Deane Young, tells us his story. We also
feature two cities that are of the beaten track, for very diferent reasons,
but are beautiful in their own way. Sana’a is a city unlike any other, and Tim
Macintosh-Smith explains why the Yemeni capital is so magical. Another
place that defes categorisation is Pyongyang, the otherworldly North
Korean capital. Charlie Crane’s stunning photography captures a place
frozen in time. Enjoy the issue.
A
dventure means diferent things to diferent
people. To some, it means abseiling, bungee
jumping, snowboarding or white-water rafting.
I fnd that a rather dull defnition of what adventure is;
for me it means something that combines dislocation
(geographic, not physical), a small element of danger and
preferably some stunning scenery. This has resulted in
me hiking in Afghanistan and northern Iraq, trekking
through Ethiopia, diving of the coast of Djibouti and
meeting militants in Lebanon, the West Bank and the
Philippines. Adventure can also mean doing the
unexpected, such as when a fortysomething
fashion maven decides to tackle the Hindu Kush,
one of the wildest mountain ranges in the world.
The typographic cover, designed so brilliantly by
Mitch Blunt, is another attempt at doing the unexpected.
Someone else who marched to his own beat was Sean Flynn, son of the
CONOR@OPENSKIESMAGAZINE.COM
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Printed by Emirates Printing Press, Dubai, UAE
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Obaid Humaid Al Tayer GROUP EDITOR & MANAGING PARTNER Ian Fairservice GROUP SENIOR EDITOR Gina
)olrsor ş gira[ro:iVa:eae SENIOR EDITOR ^arl LVars ş rarle[ro:iVa:eae EDITOR Coror IDrcell ş coror[ro:iVa:e
ae ART DI RECTOR Tia Seiíer: ş :ia[ro:iVa:eae JUNIOR DESIGNER KoDi Irarcisco ş ror[ro:iVa:eae CHIEF SUB EDITOR
!air Sri:l ş iairs[ro:iVa:eae STAFF WRITER ^a::lev Iries: CONTRIBUTING WRITER Gare:l Kees EDITORIAL ASSISTANT
Londressa Flores SENIOR PRODUCTION MANAGER S Sunil Kumar PRODUCTION MANAGER C Sudhakar GENERAL
MANAGER, GROUP SALES Ar:lor, ^ilre ş ar:lor,[ro:iVa:eae BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER !icola HDdsor ş
ricola[ro:iVa:eae SENIOR ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER )a,a Lalalrislrar ¦a,a[ro:iVa:e ae DEPUTY ADVERTISEMENT
MANAGER Murali Narayanan ADVERTISEMENT MANAGER SlrD:i SriVas:aVa EDITORIAL CONSULTANTS FOR EMIRATES: Ldi:or
Siohlar Larde: Arahic Ldi:or Ha:er Orar De¡D:, Ldi:or S:e¡larie L,rre Vehsi:e ş erira:escor CONTRIBUTORS:
Iarooq Saliq. Vael Al Sa,egl. ^arl Iovell. HG1. Gerra Correll. Ilil Ol. Da,ra LVars. Zaclar, \aholis. ^iclelle Lee.
Lric !evh,. Tir ^acir:oslSri:l. Clris:iar ^or:eregro. Ierr, Deare YoDrg. Clarlie Crare. )olr Voo. Axis Maps,
COVER ILLUSTRATION h, ^i:cl LlDr: MASTHEAD DESIGN h, ÇDir: ş vvvqDir:dDhaicor
84,649
COPIES
31
CONTENTS
OCTOBER 2011
OUR MAN IN CHITTAGONG REPORTS ON THE CITY’S SHIP BREAKERS
(P37)... WE SHOWCASE SOUTH-EAST ASIA’S DIVERSE DIVING SITES
(P41)... WE GET THE SCOOP ON EVELYN WAUGH’S CLASSIC YARN (P43)...
COPENHAGEN GETS THE MAPPED TREATMENT AS WE DISCOVER ONE
OF THE COOLEST CITIES IN EUROPE (P44)... THE ADVENTURE MOVIE
GENRE HAS HAD A SOMEWHAT CHEQUERED PAST (P48)... WE GO
SEARCHING FOR STYLISTAS ON THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO
(P58)... DUBAI HAS A NEW CULTURAL HUB. WE INVESTIGATE THE
SHELTER, THE UAE’S NEWEST HOT SPOT (P62)... NURISTAN IS ONE
OF THE WILDEST PLACES ON THE PLANET. ERIC NEWBY’S HILARIOUS
ACCOUNT OF HIS TRIP THERE IS A TRAVEL WRITING CLASSIC (P70)...
A SNAKE, SOME DJINNS AND A CITY OF MAGIC. TIM MACINTOSH-SMITH
TELLS US A SANA’A TALE (P80)... WE LOOK AT THE LIFE AND
DISAPPEARANCE OF ERROL FLYNN’S SON, SEAN (P88)... A
PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY THROUGH NORTH KOREA’S SURREAL
CAPITAL REVEALS SOME OF THE PEOPLE WHO LIVE THERE (P96)...
LEBANON - Girard-Perregaux Boutique Down Town Beirut Souks
KUWAIT - Ghadah Jewellery | KSA - Mouawad Al-Tijariah | OMAN - Khimji Ramdas
QATAR - Al-Fardan Jewellery | UAE - Al-Fardan, Damas
www.girard-perregaux.com
GIRARD-PERREGAUX Full Calendar
White gold case, sapphire case back,
Girard-Perregaux automatic mechanical movement.
Full calendar with date, day of the week,
month and moon phase indicators.
33
CONTRIBUTORS
MITCH BLUNT: Mitch is an English illustrator who has worked with clients including The Atlantic Monthly, Breo Watches, Google and
Wired. Mitch is planning on moving to Seoul next year to mix things up and push the idea of working as a freelance illustrator to the limit.
DAYNA EVANS: Dayna lives in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and has written for a variety of websites, including the Sundance Channel.
She has a degree in creative writing from NYU and is currently on a 10-month Asian trip.
TIM MACINTOSH-SMITH: Tim has lived in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, for the best part of three decades. He is the author of the
prize-winning Yemen: Travels In Dictionary Land, and a trilogy of travel books following Moroccan globetrotter Ibn Battuta.
PERRY DEANE YOUNG: Perry was friends with Sean Flynn, who went missing during the Vietnam War. His account of Flynn’s
time in Vietnam, Two Of The Missing, perfectly captured the madness of the time. He is also a playwright and historian.
CHARLIE CRANE: Based in London, Charlie has won numerous awards for his photography and has also directed a number
of TV commercials. He has won a Bronze Award at the British Television And Advertising Awards.
35
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WE DISCOVER ONE OF
THE COUNTRY’S MOST
SPECTACULAR WALKWAYS
P
6
0
INTRO
I. 37 · BANGLADESH BPEAKEPS P. 4! · Asian diving P. ß2 · Dubai’s new hub P. 64 · Istanbul booty
37
OUR MAN IN
N
ine men, all wearing
dirty button-down
shirts, are pulling a
metal rope aggressively while
chanting a Bangla “heave-ho!”
The rope slackens and tightens
when the men throw their bodies
backward in an attempt to get
leverage on the metal ship part
they’re pulling toward the shore.
The part is 10 times their size.
It’s rusted, decrepit, and its
prior purpose is hard to identify,
but they pull it anyway. This
giant ship part is going to make
somebody a great deal of money.
The ship breaking yards of
Chittagong span the Bay of
Bengal’s shores and are home to
hundreds of ships, thousands of
men, and millions — sometimes
hundreds of millions — of dollars
in gain. The 8,000-tonne German
ship that is being dismantled
piece by piece was purchased by
the yard’s manager and investors
for $40 million. Its metal parts
will be broken down, thrown
into a furnace, and melted into
highly profitable steel rods, while
everything else – from the ship’s
toilets to its bedspreads – will be
sold in market stands on the road
out of the yards. The economy
of this bayside city thrives off
the ship breaking industry and
employment has steadily been on
the rise since many of the yards
opened, this one in 1986.
While it is understood that
all quick-money industries
inevitably have a dark side, the
ship breaking industry has many.
While I watched men scale 50-
foot hollowed-out ships barefoot
and shirtless, a yard manager
explained how his yard is run.
The workers – none of them are
younger than 18 – work eight-hour
shifts, and they get paid a dollar
a day. He says it with a straight
face, yet I find it all so hard to
believe. While I walk around
taking pictures, adolescent faces
smile back at me and their elder
companions look worn and tired.
The life of a ship breaker –
dismantling enormous ships
with only a blowtorch and
rudimentary tools – is not
glamorous or lucrative.
A man fell to his death from
the top of a 60-foot ocean liner
in mid-August and is only one
of at least 50 who will die from
the profession this year. But as
the yard manager says, “ship
breaking is creating jobs”.
What it is also creating,
however, is an influx of
environmental issues. When
the ships come into port to be
disassembled, they do so at full
speed, crashing toward shore and
leaving toxic waste behind them.
In order to be approved for
dismantling, the authorities have
to check for hazardous materials
first. However, corruption is
rampant; the yard manager said
no ship had ever been denied.
Hazardous chemicals are
left to poison the waters, while
managers and investors pull
in profit. All around, there are
men using blowtorches without
masks, operating machinery
without gloves, and trudging
through sand and muck that is
littered with rusted slabs of scrap
metal. I ask this yard’s manager
if purported new health and
safety regulations will help. “The
workers have little money, little
health. We are changing this so
they can have good futures.”
BANGLADESH’S SHIP GRAVEYARDS ARE PROFITABLE, BUT DANGEROUS, ENTERPRISES
Dayna Evans is an American writer based in Bangladesh.
CHITTAGONG
38
INFORMATION ELEGANCE
GRAPH
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Every legend has a beginning. At Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, it’ s your turn to step back in time.
When you visit the world’ s first Ferrari branded theme park, you’ ll finally have the chance to
discover the Ferrari story in ways you never imagined possible. The experience is yours like
never before, with over 20 rides and attractions in the world’ s largest indoor theme park.
IT’S YOUR TURN
TO STEP INTO THE STORY
ferrariworldabudhabi. com
Delivered by Aldar
41
TWITTER PITCH
Indonesia’s Komodo Islands are
home to some of the best diving in
the world. We should know – we dive
there every day! Komodoscuba.com!
www.twitter.com/komodoscuba
Scuba
Tech
Wicked
Diving
DiveAsia
Komodo
Scuba
A small, ecologically friendly
dive center – diving around
Thailand’s Similan Islands.
Wickeddiving.com.
www.twitter.com/divethailand
Scuba lessons from Andy Davis –
a wreck diving fanatic working in
Subic Bay, Philippines. PADI, TecRec,
SSI and BSAC qualified instructor.
www.twitter.com/divephilippines
Scuba Diving Center in Phuket,
Thailand. Offering day trips to
Phi Phi, Raja, Shark Point as well as
Padi Diving Courses and IDC.
www.twitter.com/diveasia
For a full range of affordable
dive trips in Phuket then drop
us a line. Check out our website
at www.phuketdiving.org.
www.twitter.com/phuket_diving
phuket
diving
Every month we profile a number of venues in a different city, country or
continent. The catch? The companies must be on Twitter and must tell us in
their own words what makes them so special. This month, we feature South
East Asia’s best diving spots. If you want to get involved, follow us at:
www.twitter.com/openskiesmag
SOUTH-EAST ASIAN
DIVING
43
BOOKED
EVELYN WAUGH – SCOOP
T
his is Evelyn Waugh
at his playful best; a
comic novel of exquisite
proportions set in the fctional
African state of Ishmaelia, where
the protagonist, William Boot, is
sent to cover a war. Boot, a timid
22-year-old nature columnist
with no journalism training, has
been mistaken for a novelist of
the same name. No matter, for he
gets the ‘scoop’ the book is named
after, despite arriving in Africa
with no ideas and “a quarter of a
ton of luggage”. The book is based
on Waugh’s own experience
covering Mussolini’s invasion of
Abyssinia for The Daily Mail. His
view of the newspaper business
is not hard to decipher: cowering
hacks placating press barons,
lying, inebriated reporters and
above all, the need for ‘news’, no
matter whether it be fctional or
real. The name of Boot’s paper
says it all: The Daily Beast.
These themes have been covered
countless times before and since,
but never with such deft handling.
Waugh throttles his subjects with
a velvet glove, which makes up for
the (at times) slow pacing of the
book. A master at work.
Secker & Warburg, 1958
FRANKFURTER HOF
FRANKFURT, GERMANY
356
There are very few hotels with
the history of the Frankfurter. Set in
the heart of a very modern German
city, its iconic entrance dominating
the Kaiserplatz Square, the property
combines old world (huge rooms
and corridors) with the new (Wi-Fi
and a business centre). Downstairs
the Restaurant Français (replete
with one Michelin Star) edges out
onto the street, its famous red
canopies a Frankfurt landmark. The
service is, as to be expected,
excellent; the rooms are what you
would expect from a turn of the
century hotel: lush carpets, antique
light fxtures and teak desks. The
property was a makeshift hospital
during the Second World War, and
the sense of history is everywhere. It
may not be the city’s hippest hotel,
but it’s certainly the grandest.
INTERNET SPEED: 2MB, $20 per day
PILLOWS: Four
IPOD DOCK: Yes
CLUB SANDWICH DELIVERY TIME:
22 minutes
COMPLIMENTARY SNACKS: Tea &
coffee, fruit, sparkling water
TOILETRY BRAND: Bulgari
DAILY NEWSPAPER: None
EXTRAS: CD/DVD player, TV in
bathroom, walk-in wardrobe
BUSINESS CENTRE: Yes
VIEW: 3/5
RATE: From $250
WWW.STEIGENBERGER.COM/ FRANKFURT
ROOM
44
COPENHAGEN
MAPPED
Denmark packs both substance and style into its
rather compact capital, Copenhagen. Made up
of centuries-old architecture juxtaposed against
sleek new builds, fashionable foreigners love it
as much as locals for its fne-dining restaurants,
design stores and everything in between. Nick
Clarke highlights this autumn’s must-see sights.
WWW.HG2.COM
HOTELS
1. Nimb 2. The Royal Hotel 3. D’angleterre 4. Avenue Hotel
RESTAURANTS
5. NOMA 6. Fiskebaren 7. Umami 8. MASH

45
BARS / CLUBS
9. Ruby 10. Simon’s Nightclub 11. Jolene 12. Vega Natklub
GALLERIES
13. The Danish Natl. Gallery 14. V1 Gallery 15. Frihedsmuseet 16. Galleri Bo Bjerggaard
46
COPENHAGEN
MAPPED
HOTELS
4 AVENUE HOTEL
Found in leafy
Frederiksberg, it’s housed
inside a 19th-century
townhouse with 68
rooms. There’s no
restaurant,but there’s a
breakfast room, a patio
and a buzzing bar.
2 THE ROYAL HOTEL
Danish designer Arne
‘Egg Chair’ Jacobsen put
the finishing touches
to this iconic building
back in 1960. 606 is the
only room in which
Jacobsen’s classic
original décor remains.
1 NIMB
Framing the famous
fringes of the Tivoli
Gardens, Nimb may only
have 14 suites but what
it lacks in lodgings it
makes up for downstairs
with four restaurants
and two sleek bars.
3 D’ANGLETERRE
As famous as the
clientele that stays
here – Hans Christian
Andersen included –
this is Copenhagen’s
undisputed super-stay:
steeped in more than
250 years of history.
RESTAURANTS
6 FISKEBAREN
Found in the trendy
Meatpacking District,
Fiskebaren is one of the
city’s hottest tables. And
it’s not hard to see why.
Danish seafood is the
order of the day: the fish
and chips is excellent.
7 UMAMI
The cuisine is high-end
Japanese served up with
a French twist: seared
foie gras with eel and
sake-steamed mussels
are must-tries. Go on a
weekend night when the
DJ spins funky tunes.
8 MASH
MASH is a carnivore’s
hunting ground: the
mouthwatering menu
is meat-centric, with
bloodthirsty diners
gorging on doorstep-sized
steaks accompanied by
sumptuous sides.
5 NOMA
Here, in a converted
18th-century warehouse,
Nordic nosh with an
emphasis on local
ingredients is served up.
Understated interiors
allow the food to take
centrestage.
GALLERIES
13 THE DANISH
NATIONAL GALLERY
700 years of cultural
history are packed in to
Copenhagen’s largest
museum, and visitors
line up to view everything
from installations to
abstract photography.
14 V1 GALLERY
A haven for younger
artists in Copenhagen,
V1 is the perfect platform
for new talent. White
walls and a concrete floor
allow the art to do the
talking, most of which is
quite inexpensive.
15 FRIHEDSMUSEET
Proving once and
for all that size isn’t
everything, this small
museum in Churchill
Park tells the touching
story of Denmark’s
courage during WWII:
a very poignant place.
16 GALLERI BO
BJERGGAARD
Just recently relocated to
the Meatpacking District.
Inside this hip gallery is
European art from the
late 20th-century with
a particular slant on
photography and video.
BARS/CLUBS
9 RUBY
Hidden behind the
façade of an 18th-century
apartment building,
Ruby is hard to get in.
But once you’ve got in,
you enter a space of high
ceilings, Chesterfields
and bookcases.
10 SIMON’S NIGHTCLUB
Relatively new kid on
the block, Simon’s is
housed in an old art
gallery. There are dwarves
behind the bar and ballet
dancers on the dance
floor. Extremely hard to
get in, but worth it.
11 JOLENE
Found inside a converted
slaughterhouse, Jolene
is open for free Wi-Fi
hawks during the day
and underground scene
queens by night. It’s small,
intimate and attracts a
crowd of hipsters.
12 VEGA NATKLUB
1990’s stalwart Vega is
as popular now as it was
back then: and for good
reason, comprising a
network of concert halls,
nightclubs and bar in
one circular, brick-built
venue. Bags of character.
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CELLULOID DISSECTED
FLICK
D
iscuss adventure movies
today, and it’s highly
likely that the frst titles to
spring into your conversation will be
the gigantic summer blockbusters
that inevitably surf in on a wave of
shark-eyed merchandise tie-ins.
Lunchboxes, action fgures and video
games are all now regular precursors
to the actual premieres of these
flms: Jurassic Park, Pirates Of The
Caribbean and Harry Potter.
These movies are CGI
extravaganzas, flmed on vacant sets
in front of giant green screens, with
90 per cent of their visual freworks
edited in after the actors have
performed their action sequences and
moved on to other projects. Adventure
flms of the modern era are pretty
much wholly reliant on a series of
staggeringly costly illusions. But was
this always the case?
Well, not exactly: back in the
genre’s initial 1930-40s era, even the
most swashbuckling epics still knew
a thing or two about keeping it real.
Errol Flynn, Clark Gable and Tyrone
Power were the stalwart adventure
heroes of the day, fending of waves
of cannonballs, poisoned arrows
and love rivals in titles such as The
Black Swan, The Mark Of Zorro and
Adventures Of Don Juan.
Stunts and effects have
always been part of large-scale
moviemaking, but those early forays
into macho fantasy were a far cry
from our modern obsession with
schoolboy wizards. So how did we
get here, and have we lost some of
that grittier early spirit of adventure
along the way?
Investigate the evolution of the
genre through the 1950-60s, and
you’ll still spot plenty of familiar-
sounding titles in the early years
— flms such as Treasure Island
and Ivanhoe all stuck to the motifs
of moustachioed swordsmen,
smouldering damsels and wild beasts.
But then things change; by the mid-
1950s, we see flms such as Forbidden
Planet, The Time Machine and
Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea.
As the rate of scientifc progress
exploded and humankind’s journey
into the oceans and space ploughed
onward, Hollywood tried to stay
ahead of the curve.
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From the mid-1960s until the
early 1980s, one name became
synonymous with the blurring of
the lines between adventure and
fantasy — that of animation genius
Ray Harryhausen.
His trademark stop-motion visual
effects now perfectly demonstrated
the increasing power of cinema to
act as a mirror for even our wildest
flights of fancy: during this period,
key Harryhausen movies like Jason
And The Argonauts, The Golden
Voyage Of Sinbad and Clash Of
The Titans gradually became the
standard at which all adventure
epics felt compelled to aim.
The infuence of this era on cinema
has never really faded. It’s obvious
across the Indiana Jones titles —
arguably the most iconic of the genre’s
latter-day franchises. As techniques
have evolved yet further, so too have
the environments and enemies our
modern heroes struggle against.
Couple that with a growing
industry realisation throughout the
1980s and 1990s that merchandising
to young cinemagoers was
more lucrative than the movies
themselves, and it’s only a short hop,
skip and jump to the position we fnd
ourselves in today.
While it may be easy to lament the
apparent shift in fashion away from
the real-world settings and historical
overtones of golden era Hollywood
adventuring, it’s important to note
that we’re now in an enviable position
of choice: for every Avatar, there’s
been a Ridley Scott/Russell Crowe
reboot of Robin Hood; alongside each
successive Harry Potter, we’ve had
new versions of Gulliver’s Travels,
Conan The Barbarian, and yes —
even Clash Of The Titans.
In fact, it seems the biggest threat
to the whole adventure genre at the
moment comes from mainstream
cinema’s increasingly maddening
obsession with remakes.
If CGI is the one force in Hollywood
currently encouraging us to push
out and beyond into previously
uncharted territory, then we
arguably owe it a debt of gratitude
in retrospect.
3D, on the other hand… well,
that’s a bile-fecked rant for another
issue altogether.
50
DUBAI-BASED SOUL AND JAZZ VOCALIST RACHAEL CARRADINE PICKS HER PLAYLIST
SKYPOD
HUMAN NATURE — MICHAEL JACKSON
This song has such a beautiful melody. I love
the way Michael sings it, what a talent he was.
THE PLANET SUITE — GUSTAV HOLSTE
This was my frst proper introduction to classical music.
My dad had it on vinyl when I was very young. If you listen
carefully you can hear how it infuenced all ‘space’ theme
tunes since, including Star Trek and Star Wars.
IT’S MY LIFE — TALK TALK
I listen to this when things start to get
me down. It’s a great uplifting tune and
the video, with all the animals running
around, is fabulous.
THE SUN RISING —
THE BELOVED
I remember in the late 1990s,
BBC Radio One played this
song during a solar eclipse
just as sun came back out —
it was magical!
TANTO TEMPO —
BABEL GILBERTO
This whole album is
just so chilled out but
Tanto Tempo is my
favourite track. It
reminds me of one of
my sisters back in the
UK. It brings back some
hilarious memories too.
51
I AM THE BLACK GOLD OF THE
SUN — ROTARY CONNECTION
The vocals on this track are
incredible. The Nuyorican Soul
version is great too, but the original
is still the best, Minnie Ripperton is
amazing. Les Fleurs is another great
tune of theirs too.
COULD YOU BE LOVED — BOB MARLEY
I picked this song, but I really could have picked anything by Bob
Marley. I used to play his Natural Mystic album on repeat. Think I’ll
dig it out and get to know it again.
I KEEP FORGETTIN’ — MICHAEL MCDONALD
The groove of this song is so cool; I also love the way it lifts
in the bridge. I’m a fan of anything he does, but this song is
one of my favourites.
NEGGHEAD —
POINTLESS PRESSURE
I love this track because it’s
from one of my favourite labels
(www.waxonrecords.com) and I
often have it playing on repeat.
Good vibes.
PORTUGUESE LOVE —
TEENA MARIE
Anyone who’s into soul, hip hop
or R&B should defnitely listen
to Teena Marie’s material. She
broke down many walls with her
incredible voice and was one of
the only white artists signed to the
Motown label back in the day. This
song is the obvious choice.
WWW.THEFRI DGEDUBAI.COM
53
LOCAL VOICES
HOW TO ACCESS
OUR INNER STRENGTH
FEELING
THE FEAR
WAEL AL SAYEGH WONDERS WHERE THE ADVENTUROUS
SPIRIT OF PAST GENERATIONS HAS GONE TO
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tomato juice tastes so
much better on a plane
and why some movies make far
better sense when viewed 30,000ft
in the air? Ever thought about why
five minutes feels like 10 when
you’re travelling?
When we travel, we are reunited
with our ‘adventurer selves’. With
destination set and path determined,
our senses are heightened, our
souls tuned to the frequency of the
expanding universe. We are aligned
with its fow, its energy, its force. We
feel at home.
One of the most respected
European adventurers ever to visit
Arabian sands was Sir Wilfred
Thesiger (1910-2003). What made
Thesiger diferent from other
travellers was his true adventurer’s
spirit. He didn’t come to teach us how
life should be, but instead embraced
our way of life and journeyed
alongside us. He was a student of
our land and our people; he came
to learn, not to preach, he came to
explore and discover, not to sow and
reap. In return he was given love,
respect and even an Arabic name,
Mubarak Bin London.
I was privileged to be amongst the
few students in my school who had
the chance to meet this legendary
man and hear him speak.
The brief encounter was
memorable. His tall stature and
distinctive nose gave him great
presence in a culture where these
features are much valued. His eyes
were almost hypnotic, past the
stage of having any distinct colour.
The wrinkles on his hands and face
resembled the ripples of the desert
sands of the Empty Quarter, which
he managed to cross twice.
The pictures of him on our school
walls showed him in full Bedu attire,
and with his beard, turban, a chain of
camels, and a khanjar (Arabic dagger)
proudly strapped to his waist, it was
almost impossible to think of him as
being non-Arab.
In fact, it wasn’t until we were
told who he was — an adventuring
Englishman from Oxford — did we
come to understand that he was
an outsider. His key message to the
gathered students has remained with
me ever since; ‘Don’t lose what your
grandfathers had’.
Thesiger was referring to our
ancestors’ way of life, one that had
adventure and exploration at the
very heart of it. Whether on land or at
sea, the element of the unknown was
present. Pearl divers would annually
take part in expeditions that meant
they had to live on a boat for almost
half the year.
Storms and piracy were an everyday
hazard. The Bedu, with their ‘desert
ships’, would cover long distances every
day with the threat of invading tribes
and robbers, all the while battling the
environmental challenges of some of
the world’s most hostile terrain.
Despite, or perhaps because
of, the many threats and risks of
that time, our grandfathers and
grandmothers lived every moment
in the present and thus fully tasted
and appreciated life in a way our
cursing, mall-hopping generation
finds hard to fathom.
Our grandparents were
financially poor compared to us
today, but they were far richer in
personality and charisma.
They were thin and lanky, but
they could handle all the pressure
1304
Ibn Battuta was the
original globetrotter, set-
ting off from Morocco
in 1325. He travelled
through North Africa,
the Middle East and
China, eventually
returning home 29
years later. The veracity
of his writings has been
questioned, but no one
doubts his wanderlust.
1454
Something of a
workaholic, Amerigo
Vespucci was a
navigator, financier,
cartographer and an
explorer. The Americas
are named after him,
which might explain
why Columbus had
some issues with him.
An Italian icon of
exploration.
1788
The interpreter and
guide for the Lewis and
Clark Expedition,
Sacagawea has long
been a symbol for
American women and
Native Americans. She
was kidnapped twice as
a child, but survived;
and took part in one of
the country’s great
historical moments.
1813
David Livingstone was
a Scottish mission-
ary who popularised
the ‘scramble for
Africa’ with his journeys
across the continent.
His religious zeal was
combined with a Prot-
estant work ethic. He
died in Africa, aged 60,
riven with malaria and
dysentery.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF EXPLORERS
54
55
life could throw at them with a smile
and a twinkle in their eye. Their souls
were tempered by the adventurer
way of life.
All of us, Arab or not, still have
access to this tempered inner
strength, even in our modern age.
The only thing standing between us
and our ‘adventurer selves’ is a four
letter word: Fear.
Today, most of us live in the
warmth of our own comfort zones,
so much so that when fear knocks
on the door we mistake it for an
enemy instead of recognising it for
what it is, a source of an emotional
energy that can help us live the life
of the adventurer.
If unutilised, this energy roots
us to the ground and we become
chained to a life of no surprises,
no excitement and ultimately no
happiness. This is, unfortunately, all
too common in the modern world.
When we adventure, we break
this cycle. Fear is the fuel that helps
us do that. Fear is the best friend an
adventurer has.
That is why travelling and
adventure are seen by many cultures
as a spiritual journey and not merely
physical transportation from point
A to point B.
The great mystic poet Rumi called
the holy voyage into adventure ‘Night
Travelling’, where the word night is
used to represent our fear.
Adventure is a purifying
experience because it propels us
outside what is comfortable to where
real living begins. This is something
we should all try and experience.
LOCAL VOICES
1934
Yuri Gagarin was the
first man to journey
into outer space, and
became a Soviet hero
after he landed in
1961. His mission sent
the Americans into a
panic and started a full
scale battle to explore
space. Gargarin died
seven years later when
his MiG jet crashed.
1923
The ultimate American
hero, Chuck Yeager
flew for more than
60 years and was the
first person to break
the sound barrier in
1947. He flew missions
in WWII and Vietnam
and his deep, sooth-
ing drawl has been
mimicked by pilots
worldwide. A legend.
1887
The first woman to fly
over the North Pole,
Louise Arner Boyd, was
also a polar bear hunter,
an avid Arctic explorer,
and one of the first
people to conquer the
icy swathes of Green-
land. She was honoured
by the American and
Norwegians and is
revered to this day.
1877
A true Renaissance
Man, William Beebe
was a biologist, explorer,
naturalist, author and
ornithologist who
helped popularise
scientific writing in the
early 1900s. His deep
sea diving and field
trips mark him out as
one of the world’s first
conservationists.
57
INTERVIEW
MY
TRAVELLED LIFE
BENEDI CT ALLEN, 51, EXPLORER
ON TROUBLE
The only trouble I ever seem to have from
humans are when encountering other people
like me, not adventurers, but outsiders.
Opportunists such as loggers, drug runners,
gold miners – have been a big problem.
ON EXPLORING
While I was at university, I kept trying to find
ways that would allow me to be an explorer.
I knew I wasn’t cut out for the army, and
I didn’t have any money – but I thought
that there must be a way. There are people
living in Borneo and in the Amazon who
don’t have any money either and I thought
I could live with people like these, and
that is how the expeditions came to pass.
I turned to local people in places we would
consider inhospitable.
ON THE LOCALS
When I put myself at the mercy of the local
people they were incredibly hospitable – even
people in the towns would warn me that
there were wild cannibals that would eat me.
But no matter where I have been, people
would welcome me. I was no threat, I didn’t
usually have a gun – I was just by myself.
ON KIT
I always have a survival kit around my waist,
with things such as waterproof matches,
a spare compass. I also have a special white
penknife, which is easier to find at night or in
tropical places, which is where I tend to go. I
have two young children now, so I take photos
of them with me to remind myself what I am
coming back to. If you are ever in a bad posi-
tion you need to have something to fight for.
ON ISOLATION
I have gone 30 days without seeing a person
before. In terms of ‘civilised’ people, crossing
the Amazon basin took me seven and a
half months and I only came across mainly
indigenous people. Being totally alone is
hard, but those are the survival situations
you find yourself in. The thing with survival
situations is that life is beautifully simple –
all you have to do is get out of them.
ON CLOSURE
Including my last book, Into The Abyss,
I have written 10 books. The writing is
the closure of each expedition; I have to
get everything out of my system. After
the physical bit, there is the mental bit –
writing about your findings. That’s what
exploration is about; building on people’s
knowledge of places.
58
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Club Monaco belt
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Optimo hat
John Lobb shoes
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CH^D
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Levi’s vest
American Apparel T-shirt
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Disney sweatshirt
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URBAN CARTOGRAPHY«SHELTER«DUBAI «CREATI VE SPACE
D
ubai is known for many
things — big buildings, big
brands and big money — but
not as a creative hub. At least not yet.
But there is a change afoot in the dusty
industrial area of Al Quoz, where the
well-hidden collection of innocuous
warehouses known as Al Serkal Avenue
has already become home to a number of
art galleries. Now, twin brothers Rashid
and Ahmed Bin Shabib – editor in chief
and publisher of local bi-monthly art
magazine Brownbook respectively
– have moved Shelter, which Rashid
describes as a gathering place for
creatives to share ideas, to the area.
Shelter originally opened in 2007
in another, more isolated, Al Quoz
location, but the brothers have been
looking for the opportunity to move to
the heart of the creative community for
the past four years.
“We always worked closely with
local galleries, and our remoteness in
the old space was counterproductive,”
says Rashid. “Clusters work better for
projects like this, and the community
is very happy with the move.”
The brothers enlisted the skills
of Japanese architect Takeshi
Murayama to create a functional yet
environmentally sensitive space within
an existing warehouse.
“We’ve used OSB boards made up
of wood debris,” says Rashid. “That
element of recyclability and avoiding
waste is very much in line with our
philosophy. A lot of people preach,
63
whereas we are really doing it.” The
result is an impressive two-floor,
modular wooden house construction
within what is a typical warehouse
space, built of recycled wooden sheets
with a number of glassless windows cut
into them. There is also a bookstore, a
café and a library.
“Takeshi Murayama’s work is very
distinctive,” explains Rashid. “His style
is rooted in Japanese architecture —
minimalism, usability of small spaces
and functional pockets, all of which you
see at the new Shelter.”
The upper floor features a small
meeting room and desks for creatives
to come in between 9am and 6pm to
work on their laptops, study for exams
or plan their next project, with the more
open downstairs space set aside for
film screenings and a programme of
educational seminars — a major focus
for the Bin Shabib brothers.
The topics of the monthly seminars
range from independent fashion
and retail across the Middle East to
publishing, food and farming.
“Education is a big part of what we do,”
says Rashid. “They will be held three
times a week and will be free to all.”
And with Shelter also looking to hold
30 events in collaboration with local
creatives, the space will provide a
welcome boost to the creative scene.
Shelter, Warehouse 30, Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz,
Dubai, (971) 4 3809040; www.shelter.ae
64
WE BAG HALF A DOZEN
QUIRKY KNICK KNACKS
IN THE CITY’S BAZAARS
Haci Bekir, Turkish
Delight, $12.
The locals call it
lokum, and Haci Bekir
makes the best in the
city. Delicious.
Hamidiye Caddesi 83,
Eminönü
Backgammon
Board, $12.
An entertaining
café pastime or an
attractive and quirky
cofee table trinket.
The Grand Bazaar,
Çemberlitas
Vintage Watch, $18.
You might need to
wind it every 10
minutes, but it’s
defnitely an original.
The Grand Bazaar,
Çemberlitas
1 2
1
3
2
I STANBUL
BOOTY
3
65
Turkish Cofee
Set, $26.
Enjoy Istanbul’s
best coffee in in
the comfort of
your own home.
Kurukahveci, Tahmis Sokak,
66 Eminönü
Retro Orient Express
Film Poster, $4.
A reminder of travel’s
glory days for your
study wall.
Medicye Mah Hazine SK,
2/A Ortaköy
Atatürk Fridge
Magnet, $1.
Say hello to the father
of the Turkish nation
every time you go to
grab the milk.
Ortaköy Sunday Market
4 5
6
4
5 6
67
CALENDAR
COMI C-CON
MIDDLE KINGDOM, MIDDLE EAST
SAHARA RACE
Adventurers take to Cairo as they race
across 250km of desert.
www.racingtheplanet.com
The frst Chinese art exhibition in
Dubai will feature 25 works of art.
www.galleryetemad.com
New York hosts one of the largest pop-
culture geekfests in America.
www.newyorkcomiccon.com
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1
IBA ANNUAL CONFERENCE
The International Bar Association’s
annual conference takes place in
Dubai. www.ibanet.org
ATP WORLD TENNIS FINALS
The top eight players in the world
play each other in London.
www.barclaysatpworldtourfinals.com
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THE MAGIC AND MYSTERY
OF YEMEN’S CAPITAL.
AND A SNAKE
P
8
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MAIN
I. 70 · A SHOPT WALK lN THE HlNDU KUSH P. 88 · the last action hero P. 9ß · NOPTH KOPEAN IOPTPAlTS
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w
ith all the
lights on and
the door shut
to protect
us from the
hellish draught that blew up the
backstairs, the ftting room was like
an oven with mirrors. There were four
of us jammed in it: Hyde-Clarke, the
designer; Milly, a very contemporary
model girl with none of the normal
protuberances; the sour-looking ftter
in whose workroom the dress was
being made; and Newby.
Things were not going well. It
was the week before the showing of
the 1956 Spring Collection; a time
of endless fttings, the girls in the
workroom working late. The corset-
makers, embroiderers, furriers,
milliners, tailors, skirt-makers and
matchers all involved in disasters
and overcoming them – but by now
slightly insane.
‘You MUST stand still dear;
undulation will get you nowhere,’
Hyde-Clarke said. He stood up
breathing heavily and lit a cigarette.
There was a silence broken only
by the fitter who was grinding her
teeth. ‘What do you think of it now,
Mr Newby?’ he said. “It’s you who
has to sell it.’
‘Much worse, Mr Hyde-Clarke.’
(We took a certain ironic pleasure in
calling one another Mister.) ‘Like one
of those fag poles they put up in the
Mall when the Queen comes home.’
Hyde-Clark was already putting on
his covert coat. ‘We’ll try again at two.
I am going to luncheon’. He turned to
me. ‘Are you coming?’ he said.
We went to ‘luncheon’. In speech
Hyde-Clarke was a stickler in the use
of certain Edwardianisms, so that
beer and sandwiches in a pub became
‘luncheon’ and a journey in his
dilapidated sports car ‘travel by motor’.
As we batted our way up Mount
Street through a blizzard, I screeched
in his ear that I was abandoning the
fashion industry. ‘I saw the directors
this morning and told them I had just
had a book accepted for publication.’
‘It isn’t true is it? I can hardly
visualise you writing anything.’
‘That’s what the publishers
said, originally. Now I want to go on
an expedition.’
‘Aren’t you rather old?’
‘I am just as old here as on an
expedition. You can’t imagine
anything more rigorous than this can
you? In another couple of years, I’ll be
dying my hair.’
‘In another couple of years you won’t
have any to dye,’ said Hyde-Clark.
On the way back from ‘luncheon’,
while Hyde-Clarke bought some
72
A SHORT WALK
Scotch ribs in a fashionable butcher’s
shop, I went into the Post Ofce in
Mount Street and sent a cable to Hugh
Carless, a friend of mine at the British
Embassy, Rio de Janeiro. CAN YOU
TRAVEL NURISTAN JUNE?
It had taken me 10 years to discover
what everyone connected with it had
been telling me all along, that the
fashion industry was not for me.
Hugh Carless. Who had replied
so opportunely to my cable, entered
the Foreign Service in 1950. The
son of a retired Civil Servant, he is,
like so many Englishmen, in love
with Asia. For a time he was posted
to the school of Oriental Studies,
from where he emerged with a
good knowledge of Persian; then to
the Foreign Ofce, from which he
frequently disappeared on visits to
industrial plants; once he went down
a coalmine.
His Persian being both fuent and
academic, he was lucky to be posted to
our Embassy in Kabul where he could
actually make use of his talents. Hugh
had subsequently been transferred
to Rio de Janeiro, but the seed [of
Afghanistan] had been planted.
Hugh’s telegram [agreeing to the
Nuristan trip] was followed by a great
spate of letters, which began to fow
into London from Rio. They were all at
least four pages long, neatly typed in
single spacing – sometimes two would
arrive in one day.
They showed that he was in a
far more advanced state of mental
readiness for the journey than I
was. It was as if, by some process of
mental telepathy, he had been able to
anticipate the whole thing. It was all
heady stuf, but then, quite suddenly
the tone of the letters changed.
I don’t think we should make known
our ambition to go to Nuristan. Rather
I suggest we ask permission to go on a
73
Climbing Expedition. There are some
good and unclimbed peaks of about
20,000 feet, all on the marches of
Nuristan. One of them, Mir Samir
(19,880) I attempted with Bob Dreesen
in 1952. We climbed up to some
glaciers and reached a point of 3,000
feet below the fnal pyramid. A minor
mishap forced us to return.
He was already deeply involved in
the clichés of mountaineering. I re-
read his 1952 letter and found that the
‘minor mishap’ was an amendment.
At the time he had written ‘one of
the party was hit on the head with a
boulder’; he didn’t say who.
I was flled with profound
misgiving. In cold print 20,000 feet
does not seem very much. But I had
never climbed anything. I had never
been anywhere that a rope had been
remotely necessary. It was useless to
dissemble any longer. I wrote a letter
protesting in the strongest possible
terms and received by return a list of
equipment that I was to purchase.
Many of the objects I had never
heard of: two Horeschowsky ice-axes;
three-dozen Simond rock and ice
pitons; six oval karabiners (2,000lb.
minimum breaking strain); fve 100ft
nylon ropes; six abseil slings; Everest
goggles, Grivel, ten point crampons; a
high altitude tent; an altimeter; Yukon
pack frames – the list was endless.
It was the second week in May. I
was leaving in a fortnight. To add
to my troubles I now received a
letter from Hugh. It was extremely
alarming. I read it to Hyde-Clarke.
‘These three climbs will
certainly be a good second-class
mountaineering achievement. But
we will almost certainly need with
us an experienced climber.’
‘I thought you said he was an
experienced climber.’
‘So did I.’
Eric Newby and Hugh Carless travelled to
Istanbul, before setting off by ferry and
then by car to Tehran, and eventually to
Meshed in the south of the country.
A little beyond Meshed we stopped
at a police post in a miserable
hamlet to ask the way to the Afghan
Frontier and Herat. I was aficted
with the gastric disorders that were
to hang like a cloud over our venture.
Hugh seemed impervious to bacilli
and, as I sat in the vehicle waiting
for him to emerge from the police
station, I munched sulphaguanadine
tablets gloomily and thought of the
infected ice cream he had insisted
on buying at Kazvin on the road
from Tabriz to Tehran. Five miles
beyond the police post the road
forked left for the Afghan Frontier.
It crossed a dry riverbed with banks
of gravel and went up past a large
fortifed building set on a low hill.
But whoever was driving seemed
possessed of a demon who made it
impossible ever to stop. Locked in the
cab we were prisoners. We could see
the country
we passed through but not feel it and
the only smells were from the fumes
of our exhaust and the foul pipes;
vistas we would have gladly lingered
over had we been alone were gone
in an instant and forever. If there is
any way of seeing less of a country
than from a motorcar I have yet to
experience it. The air was full of dust
and, as the sun set, everything was
bathed in a blinding safron light.
There was not a house or village
anywhere, only a whitewashed tomb
set on a hill, and far up the river bed,
picking their way across the grey
shingle, a fle of men and donkeys.
Here for me, rightly or wrongly, was
the beginning of Central Asia.
Now the country was wider still,
the road more twisting, with a range
of desolate mountains to the
west dimly seen in the
fying sand. The only
occasional people
we met were
I re-read his 1952 letter and found that the
‘minor mishap’ was an amendment. At the time
he had written ‘one of us hit on head with boulder’
74
A SHORT WALK
roadmenders, desiccated heroes in
rags, imploring us for water. To the
left was the Hari-Rud, a great river
burrowing through the sand, and
we pointed to it as we swept past,
smothering them in dust, but they
put out their tongues and waved their
empty water skins and cried ‘namak,
namak’ [water, water] until we knew
the river was salt and were shamed
into stopping. At times the river was
so insubstantial that it tapered into
nothingness, sometimes it became
a lake, shivering like a jelly between
earth and sky.
Sixty miles farther on we arrived
at Herat. On the outskirts of the city,
raised by Alexander and sieged and
sacked by almost everyone of any
consequence in Central Asia, the
great towers erected in the ffteenth
century by Gauhar Shah Begum,
remarkable wife of the son of Timur
Leng, King Shah Rukh, rose into the
sky. Only a few of the ceramic tiles
the colour of lapis-lazuli, that once
covered these structures from top to
bottom, still remain in position.
By the time, later that day, we left
Herat it was dark. All night we drove
over shattering roads, taking turns
at the wheel, pursued by a fearful
tail wind that swirled the dust ahead
of us like a London fog. If it had been
possible we should have lost the
way, but there was only one road. It
seemed impossible for the road to get
worse, but it did: vast pot-holes large
enough to contain nests of machine-
gunners; places where it was washed
away as far as the centre, leaving a
six-foot drop to ground level; things
Hugh called ‘Irish Bridges’, where
a torrent had swept right through
the road leaving a steep natural
step at the bottom; all provided a
succession of spine-shattering jolts.
Whereas the previous night we had
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THE JOHNNIE WALKER AND BLACK LABEL WORDS, THE STRIDING FIGURE DEVICE
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76
A SHORT WALK
only met two lorries in the hours
of darkness, there were now many
monster American vehicles loaded
with merchandise to the height of
a two-storied house, each with its
complement of piratical-looking men
hanging on the scramble nettings,
who jumped of to wedge the wheels
on the steep gradients, while the
passengers huddled together, making
the crossing on foot, groaning with
apprehension. Sticky with melon
we arrived at a town called Girishk
on the Helmand River. There,
under a mulberry tree, squatted
the proprietor of a chaikana, a
long-headed grey-bearded Pathan,
chanting a dirge on the passing of a
newly founded civilization, no new
thing in this part of the world.
He railed against the Americans
until the oil lanterns that were tied to
the trees began to ficker and go out
one by one.
“You will be in Kandahar in two
hours,’ he went on. ‘The Americans
built the road; they have not taken
that away.”
It was as he said. The road was
like a billiard table. The following
morning we arrived in Kabul and
drove down the great ceremonial
avenues, newly asphalted, past
Russian steamrollers still ironing
out the fnal bumps, to the principal
hotel. We were fve days late. It was
Friday, 5 July, 1956. In a month we
had driven nearly 5,000 miles. Our
journey was about to begin.
We left Kabul on 10 July. Our
destination was the Panjshir Valley
and The Mountain. The last hope of
recruiting an expert mountaineer
had now expired. During our short
stay in the capital we had been
extremely discreet about our
capabilities or rather our lack of
them, but still no one had come
forward. With us in the vehicle were
Ghulam Naabi [a local cook Carless
had used on a previous expedition]
and one of the private servants from
the Embassy, a fne-looking bearded
man with loyal eyes. This is nearly
always a bad sign in Asia where
fne-looking bearded men with loyal
eyes have a habit of leaving you in
the lurch in the most inconvenient
moments – but this particular
specimen really was faithful. The
road climbed a pass where gangs of
Hazaras, round-headed Mongols in
the uniform of the Afghan Labour
Corps were widening it, using
Russian steamrollers. Immediately
the lugubrious air that hangs over
the visitor to Kabul in an almost
visible cloud was dispelled, and
we entered the Koh-i-Daman, rich
upland country. Our spirits rose.
Now that we were near our
destination, Ghulam Naabi began
to identify the scenes of the various
mishaps that had overtaken him and
Hugh on the road when they were
last there in 1952. “Here I was overset
in a lorry with Carless Sahib.”
“You never told me that,” I said to
Hugh. “It was nothing, the driver
lost his head. Ghulam Naabi was
a bit shaken, that’s all.” Another
mile. We ground up a really steep
piece covered with loose stones.
“Here we had a puncture.” A little
farther and we reached a place
where the radiator had boiled over. It
seemed impossible that such a short
distance could encompass so many
misfortunes. I asked Hugh about the
passes into Nuristan.
“Don’t mention the word Nuristan
when we come to hire the drivers,
otherwise they won’t come. They’re
terrifed of the place.”
He was a fine-looking bearded man, nearly always
a bad sign in Asia, where fine looking bearded
men leave you in the lurch at the worst times
78
A SHORT WALK
We crossed the river by a bridge,
went up through the village of
Shahnaiz and downhill towards the
lower Panjshir. “Look,” said Hugh, “it
must be Thesiger.”
Coming towards us out of the great
gorge was a small caravan. We had
been on the march for a month. We
were all jaded; the horses were galled
because the drivers were careless of
them and their ribs stood out because
they had been in places only ft for
mules. The drivers had run out of
tobacco and were pining for their
wives; there was no sugar, no jam,
no cigarettes and I was reading The
Hound Of The Baskervilles for the
third time; all of us sufered from
dysentery. The ecstatic sensations we
had experienced at a higher altitude
were beginning to wear of. It was not
a gay party.
Thesiger’s party consisted of two
villainous-looking tribesmen dressed
like royal mourners in long overcoats
reaching to the ankles; a shivering
Tajik cook, with bright red hair,
unsuitably dressed for Central Asia
in crippling pointy brown shoes and
natty socks supported by suspenders,
but no trousers; the interpreter, a
gloomy-looking Afghan in a coma
of fatigue, wearing dark glasses, a
double-breasted lounge suit and an
American hat; and Thesiger himself,
a great, long-striding crag of a man,
with an outcrop for a nose and bushy
eyebrows, forty-fve years old and as
hard as nails, in an old tweed jacket
worn by Eton boys, a pair of thin grey
cotton trousers, rope-soled Persian
slippers and a cap comforter.
“That cook’s going to die,” said
Thesiger; hasn’t got a coat and look at
his feet. We’re nine thousand if we’re
an inch here. How high’s the Chamar
Pass?’ We told him 16,000 feet.
“Get a coat and boots, do you hear?”
he shouted in the direction of the fre.
After two hours the chickens
arrived; they were like elastic, only
the rice and gravy were delicious.
Famished, we wrestled with the
bones in the darkness. “England’s
going to pot,” said Thesiger, as Hugh
and I lay smoking the interpreter’s
King Size cigarettes, the frst for a
fortnight. “Look at this shirt, I’ve only
had it three years, now it’s splitting.
Same with tailors; Gull and Croke
made me a pair of whipcord trousers
to go to the Atlas Mountains. Sixteen
guineas – wore a hole in them in
a fortnight. Bought half a dozen
shotguns to give to my headmen,
well-known make, twenty guineas
apiece, absolute rubbish.”
He began to tell me about his
Arabs. “I take of fngers and there
is a lot of surgery to be done; they’re
frightened of their own doctors
because they are not clean.” “Do you
do it? Cutting of fngers?” “Hundreds
of them,” he said dreamily, for it was
very late. “Lord, yes. Why, the other
day I took out an eye. I enjoyed that.”
“Let’s turn in,” he said.
The ground was like iron with
sharp rocks sticking up out of it.
We started to blow up our air-beds.
“God, you must be a couple of
pansies,” said Thesiger.
Eric Newby left the fashion business and
became an award-winning travel writer.
England’s gone to
pot said Thesiger
as we lay smoking the
interpreter’s King
Size cigarettes
Newby, Carless and their guides
did eventually reach the Hindu Kush,
but their multiple attempts to climb
Mir Samir, an unclimbed glacial peak
of 20,000 feet, ended in failure. After
a series of near misses, brushes with
death, sickness, unfriendly natives, and
hostile conditions, the two inexperienced
climbers turned back towards the
Panjshir and Kabul. As they returned
they came across one of the world’s
great explorers: Wilfred Thesiger.
80 80
A Snake Came
to My Parapet
how a slithery visitor
helped explain YEmen's
magical capital.
by tim macintosh-smith
A Sana’ a Tale
81
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82
A SANA’A TALE
I
have good reason to be
grateful to the ancient South
Arabian kingdom of Saba,
the biblical Sheba; not least,
as will become clear, for the
snake up on the parapet of my house
here in Sana’a.
There is little solid fact about
Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, in
the time of Saba. The city lies at a
junction of two major trade routes —
from the desert to the sea, and along
the spine of the mountain range — so
it was probably important for a good
few centuries BC. By the third century
AD it was home to Ghumdan, the
skyscraper palace of the Sabaean
kings — 10 storeys or more and topped,
the old historians said, with a ceiling
of alabaster and with eagles and
lions of bronze that shrieked
and roared when the wind blew.
Beyond that, we don’t know much.
The reason for the gap in
historical knowledge is that
Sana’a is virtually unexcavated.
Occasional bits and pieces of
Sabaeic inscriptions are visible,
built into the walls of existing
houses. The Great Mosque,
founded by order of the Prophet
Muhammad (PBUH) in about AD
627, contains re-used columns and
other masonry that probably came
from the next-door site of Ghumdan,
and from a cathedral built in the
sixth century when the Ethiopians
ruled Yemen for a few decades. But
the site of the pre-Islamic city itself
is an archaeologist’s dream, a virgin
tell. And so it will remain, for the
ruins are inhabited — covered by the
dense urban hive of the later city,
itself an architectural masterpiece.
Tower-houses, some themselves
going back many hundreds of years,
crowd the southern end of the ruin-
mound where Ghumdan stood.
Going north you pass through the
blacksmiths’ suq, a maze of tiny
workshops and fying sparks (they
still make things here!). At the
north end of the hillock, where the
ninth-century palace of the Abbasid
83
governors stood, you reach the
donkey market — and, among others,
my house.
This is partly why I’m grateful
to the Sabaeans. My fve-storey
house is not especially tall by Sana’a
standards. Some of its grander
neighbours go up, in subconscious
imitation of the palace of Ghumdan,
eight or nine foors. But being on
the tail end of the ancient tell, my
house has that extra height — and a
view, a view that haunts my dreams
when I’m away, a view that always
brings me back. The manzar, the
top-foor ‘viewing-room’ that I added
when I moved in, is fne enough
inside, with its windows of alabaster
and coloured glass and its verse-
inscription in stately thuluth script
– ‘Paris is beneath you in beauty, O
Sana’a, and so too are London / And
the capitals of the Romans and the
Americans… ‘ But it’s when you open
the shutters — the sounds of braying
donkeys and clanging blacksmiths
foat up — that the verse makes sense:
immediately beyond the low parapet
of my miniscule roof-terrace lie the
buildings of the suq, punctuated,
further away, by sporadic tall houses;
there’s a splash of green, a palm and
a pepper-tree in a garden; and then
the eye is drawn by a wandering line
of minarets — exclamation marks in
the cityscape, marking the mosques
of al-Shahidayn, Aqil, Salah al-Din,
al-Bakiriyyah. Over to the right is the
dome of the Ottoman mosque in the
fort, standing out white against the
tawny background like a giant ostrich
egg; to the far left, another building
obtrudes — the Mövenpick Hotel.
The Mövenpick’s escarpment of
mirrored glass is a reminder that
we don’t live in a time-warp; that,
in fact, the only constant in the
Sana’a scene is its great backdrop,
the crouching lion-coloured mass of
Jabal Nuqum. The mountain looms
over the city from the east, watching
the comings and goings of its rulers:
Sabaeans, Himyarites, Ethiopians,
Persians, Umayyads, Abbasids, then
a bewilderment of local dynasties
interspersed with a couple of periods
of Ottoman rule and the ins and outs
of the Zaydi imamate; the declaration
of a republic in 1962; what next?
The weather can be as busy as the
history. As we’re so high up – 2,300m,
with the peak of Nuqum another
600m above — the lighting of the
scene is fckle. In certain seasons
the mountain disappears in a grey-
out of desert dust, blown from the
distant Empty Quarter. In spring and
summer, thunder-clouds rant and
roll around the surrounding plain,
crackling with electricity; by the
grace of God, rain falls — in deluges,
followed by an almost painful clarity
in which it seems that every rock
on the mountainside is visible. Most
days, rain or shine, the late-afternoon
sun bronzes the city’s buildings and
the bare crags of Nuqum. Then, best
of all, comes maghrib-time, when
the sun slips behind the jagged rim
of mountains to the west, and Sana’a
and Nuqum radiate an afterglow,
luminous against a fragile sky of
The mountain looms
over the city, watching
its rulers: Sabeans,
Persians, Abbasids,
Ummayads
84
A SANA’A TALE
eggshell blue; until, at last, shapes and
colours dissolve, and slowly the lights
come on behind other windows, like
mine, of coloured glass and alabaster.
One shape remains in the
immediate darkness outside my
window, an even darker, serpentine
line, visible against the plastered
parapet: a snake! As snakes go, this
one is pathetic, a handspan long,
perhaps a foot if it could be stretched
out; little more than a worm. Besides,
as snakes
go, this
one goes
nowhere.
It was
beaten out of an iron rod by one of the
clanging blacksmiths down below.
But it has a certain elegance, and it
makes up for its shortcomings with a
long pedigree.
Writing nearly 1,000 years ago
in his History of Sana’a, al-Razi
explained that ‘Sana’a is protected
by two talismans in the
form of vipers and other
snakes, and it is rare indeed
that these creatures harm
anyone. As for death from
snakebites, such a thing has
never been heard of… One of
these talismans is of iron,
and the other of bronze, and they
used to be on the main gate of the
city. The frst, which was in the place
known as al-Qasabah, was made in
pre-Islamic times. The iron talisman
is now on the gate of al-Misra, where
the blacksmiths work today; the other
is on the gate of al-Kashwari.’
It all sounds highly fanciful. But
the odd snake of pre-Islamic vintage
does indeed turn up — I have a
photograph of a bronze one with a
human head, of obscure signifcance.
Then again, we know that the Sabaeic
word S3HR (a suitably sibillant,
serpentine word, even if the vowels
aren’t known) meant ‘an amulet to
protect a building’; in Arabic, the
cognate sih r means ‘magic’. Today,
some houses in Sana’a have snakes
carved on the stones of their facades –
undulating, like my iron one, or coiled
spring-tight, as if to leap. Older people
who know about such things say that
they scare actual snakes away. As
did al-Razi’s talismans, they work
like Beware Of The Dog signs, but
inverted: Snakes Beware!
Apart from these pest-controlling
serpents of stone and metal, snakes
have played a long role in Arab
folklore as the guardians of treasure.
As far back as the sixth century
AD, a Meccan named Abdallah ibn
Jad’an claimed to have come across
Sana’a is apparently
protected by two
talismans in the form
of vipers and other
snakes
85
the burial cave of some Jurhumites,
members of an ancient local tribe.
The cavern also contained an Ali
Baba stash of gold and gems, and was
guarded by a golden snake with ruby
eyes. The belief in snake guardians
is still very much alive. When I was
about to move into my house on the
Sabaean ruin mound, I heard odds
and ends of rumours – of a recurring
dream experienced by the previous
occupant concerning treasure hidden
in the house, and of a mysterious
snake that had been glimpsed, coiled
on a shelf in a frst-foor room, ‘not a
real snake, you know, but a guardian,
from the jinn’. When I did move in I
found, in that same frst-foor room,
a very real small bottle of a type sold
in the apothecaries’ suq. It was empty,
but it had an Arabic label that said,
‘Oil Of Violets: For Expelling Jinn
And Afrits’. And, all over the house, I
found equally real holes in the plaster
of the walls, where my predecessor
had performed her treasure-hunting
excavations. (Did she fnd anything?)
Passing through the blacksmiths’
suq on the day of the move, I spotted
the elegant iron talisman and bought it
immediately. I was thinking partly of
fesh-and-blood snakes: in my old house
I’d surprised one in the kitchen one day
— after a lively chase, it was dispatched
with a heavy cofee-roasting spoon.
Now I judged that prevention, even
by ancient and dubious means, would
be better than cure. But, I asked the
blacksmith, thinking of jinn-snake-
guardians, would it see of supernatural
as well as everyday snakes?
He smiled. ‘God is the one who
86
A SANA’A TALE
knows… To be honest, there’s not
much call for them these days.’
I nailed the talisman above my
front door and for several years saw no
snakes, natural or supernatural. Mā
f ‘l-hanash illā ra’sih, says a Yemeni
proverb: ‘there’s nothing to a snake
but its head’ — meaning, Go for the
head and you get rid of the problem.
I seemed to have nailed, on the head,
the problem of unwelcome slithering
visitors. But the story of my talisman
of ancient lineage has a tail, a tail to
the tale, and the tail has a twist.
A couple of years ago, the iron
snake fell of the wall. I nailed it
frmly back. It fell of again… my
suspicions turned to the numerous
small children who live in my alley.
For some time they’d been coming
out with questions like, ‘Is it true that
you keep snakes in your house, all
wriggling around?’ Not wanting to
disappoint them, I’d never denied it.
(It has been known. Tennent’s Ceylon
mentions a gentleman of Negombo
who kept guard-cobras: ‘They glide
about the house, a terror to thieves,
but never attempting to harm the
inmates…‘) As for the iron snake, I
took it inside and put it on a shelf to
gather dust.
The very next morning, a visitor
came. The fact that he’s the Middle
East correspondent of a respectable
British daily newspaper is not
essential to the story; but the other
fact, that I had a witness of his
stature, is reassuring. What I was
about to see was no hallucination.
We were sitting in my manzar,
my top room with the view, when I
happened to mention the errant metal
snake. ‘Oh!’ my visitor suddenly said.
He was staring out of the window.
‘Look behind you.’
A prickle ran down my spine. I
turned — and there, catching the
sun as it looped, leisurely, along the
parapet, was an elegant, foot-long,
metallic-grey snake.
Its tail had hardly slid over the edge
when I went and retrieved the talisman
and hammered it on to the parapet.
It remains there, on guard,
overlooking that magical view. No
more snakes have come, so far.
Tim Macintosh-Smith is an award-winning
writer who has lived in Sana’a for decades.
88
THIS IS SEAN FLYNN. HIS FATHER
WAS ERROL FLYNN. SEAN WAS
DESTINED FOR MOVIE STARDOM, BUT
HE CHOSE A DIFFERENT PATH. HE
DROVE A MOTORCYCLE INTO COMMUNIST
HELD-TERRITORY IN CAMBODIA ON
APRIL 6, 1970 AND WAS NEVER SEEN
AGAIN. THIS IS A STORY ABOUT
YOUTH, WAR, AND DEATH. ABOUT
LOVE, FRIENDSHIP, AND GETTING THE
PHOTO. THIS IS HIS STORY. BY HIS
FRIEND, PERRY DEANE YOUNG.
#MISSING
THE MANY MYSTERIES OF SEAN FLYNN
89
90
SEAN FLYNN
B
eautiful. That was
how Michael Herr
described Sean Flynn
in his brilliant book,
Dispatches. Sean was
indeed beautiful, no question about
it, and outwardly calm no matter how
desperate the situation. He had the
perfect manners of an old-fashioned
gentleman, and yet there always
seemed to be inner voices calling
to him from some dark place deep
within, urging him on to mysterious
ventures. How else do you explain
his obsession with weapons. His
fascination with mortal combat in
Vietnam. And, of course, his fnal
journey down a road in Cambodia he
knew he might never return from.
Sean’s actor father, Errol, had the
grace to say, “he looks like me, but
better.” And Errol himself was no
slouch when it came to looks. For
nearly 30 years he was the ultimate
swashbuckling hero to moviegoers
the world over. Errol was Ivanhoe
and Don Juan and Jeb Stuart and
Captain Blood and General Custer
and Gentleman Jim Corbett. As flm
executive Jack Warner said of him: “He
was all the heroes in one magnifcent
sexy, animal package.” His escapades
of camera only added to that image.
Errol was a fantasy fgure to
millions of people, but he was the
very real father of my friend, Sean. It
didn’t help that his son grew up in the
precise physical image of his father.
Sean’s mother, the French-born
actress, Lili Damita, had been the real
star when she met the poor Australian
actor on a boat to America in 1935.
Lili had starred in several major silent
movies, but, like so many others, she
was unable to make the transition
to talkies. After marrying Errol, she
never made another movie.
After Sean was born in 1941, Errol
would write in his memoir, My
Wicked Wicked Ways, Lili’s real
career became suing him for all he
was worth. She took Sean to live in
Palm Beach, Florida, as far away from
Errol and Hollywood as she could get.
One of his grade school teachers
remembers Lili running so hard in the
parent-son races she fell on her face.
“I was mother, father, everything to
him,” she told me. “I did it all myself.”
She felt a young boy should know all
about guns so she took him to have
shooting lessons from a colourful
character with a range outside town.
It was the beginning of Sean’s lifelong
fascination with weapons.
Sean was a senior at the
Lawrenceville School in October of
1959 when Errol died in Canada, at
the age of 50 and in the company
of his teenage girlfriend, Beverly
Aadland. When young Sean
attended his father’s funeral at
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in
Glendale, CA, he caught the eye of
all the old pros in Hollywood.
Hy Seeger, George Hamilton’s
agent, said, “He was maybe the most
beautiful boy I had ever seen.” George
had also grown up in Palm Beach and
he and Sean had been friends since
they met before a judge on separate
speeding charges. When the 20-year-
old George was flming Where the
Boys Are in Fort Lauderdale in 1959,
he got a walk-on part for his friend
Sean, who was 18.
Sean’s mother was ferocious in her
opposition to a flm career for her only
child. It would take a year before she
relented and allowed him to sign with
Seeger as his agent.
As an actor, Sean was
as unconvincing as his
father had been a
true natural
SEAN FLYNN AND TIM PAGE WORKING AS PHOTOGRAPHERS IN VIETNAM
91
By that time, Sean was a freshman
at Duke University. He had been at
Duke only about three months when
he got the ofer from director Harry Joe
Brown to star in The Son Of Captain
Blood, a sequel to his father’s frst big
flm, which Brown had also directed.
As an actor, Sean was every bit as
stif as his father had been natural
and convincing in his cutthroat roles.
One reviewer said Sean, “seems like
a nice boy, which is going to be his
handicap for some time to come.”
When Sean set of to flm another
B movie in Spain in 1961, he left
Hollywood for good, returning only
for one or two brief visits. Only one
of his movies was ever seriously
reviewed. His mother gave him her
mother’s apartment in Paris that
became his base camp for various
hunting trips to Africa.
When he set of for Vietnam in
January of 1966, he was pursuing
“the sole great adventure,” and one his
father had never experienced. Errol was
ridiculed for playing heroes in the
movies but was ineligible for service
in the Second World War. The Hearst
papers sent him to cover the Spanish
Civil War, but he turned tail and ran
at the frst signs of danger.
Sean arrived in Saigon carrying
two suitcases, a suit, an attaché case,
a camera and a tennis racket. A
letter from Paris-Match got him his
accreditation. Having never worked
as a journalist or photographer, he set
of to cover the war.
He had no deadlines, so he was able
to stay out with the troops as long as
he wanted. The Green Berets adopted
him as one of their own. A Green
Beret ofcer told me: “The guys fell
in love with him; they thought he
was the greatest thing going. They
identifed with him because he
was willing to take his share of the
AMERICAN COMBAT HELICOPTERS ON A SEARCH AND DESTROY MISSION IN SOUTH VIETNAM IN 1967
Sean turned up in
Saigon with a suitcase,
a suit, a camera and a
tennis racquet
92
SEAN FLYNN
chances.” No other correspondent
had such access to missions. And
Sean came out with pictures such as
the ones of prisoners being tortured,
which nobody had gotten before.
The stories under Sean’s byline were
not the shallow observations of a movie
swashbuckler, they were sensitive
stories about the “real stupidity of war.”
In one, Sean described an
American captain crying as he
watched a Vietnamese child dying
of shrapnel wounds. After he moved
into moving flm, Sean began
stockpiling hours and hours of flm
with the ambition of producing the
ultimate documentary on war.
After the “Five O’clock Follies” — the
daily American press briefng — one
day in Saigon, Sean encountered Tim
Page. They became instant friends,
the war’s odd couple. On the surface,
the two seemed polar opposites and
yet they would become the kind of
bosom buddies that can only happen
in the midst of war. Tim was every bit
as gregarious as Sean was careful,
contained, polite. Invited to an
embassy party, the two showed up in
Viet Cong style black pajamas.
Timothy John Page was born May
25, 1944 in a suburb of London. He
was 21 years old when he managed
to get the only pictures of a coup in
Laos that led to a staf job with UPI. It
didn’t take long for Tim to move on up
to Life; that’s where the money was.
Tim was frst wounded by “three
pieces of shrapnel up the bum”
in September of 1965. During the
Buddhist riots in Danang in July of
1966, Tim was hit in the hand and
face, with blood spurting all over
him. Sean commandeered a Marine
jeep, strapped Tim on the front on an
old wooden door and sped of to the
military hospital. After this, Tim was
taking no-risk assignments like a
visit to the Coast Guard cutter, Point
Welcome. Incredibly, the ship was
bombed and strafed by American F-4
fghter jets on nine diferent passes.
Two Coast Guardsmen were killed.
Tim counted 800 pieces of shrapnel
in his body and carefully saved his
hospital bills and mailed them to the
Secretary of the Air Force.
If Sean had a charmed reputation
as one of the lucky ones everybody
wanted to be with, Tim was the
opposite. One colleague said he was
“a walking magnet for shrapnel.” A
collection was taken up to get him
out of the country. He left with Sean
to flm the worst, and last, of his bad
movies, this one called Cinq Gars
Pour Singapore or Five Guys For
Singapore. Tim went of to America
where he proudly got himself arrested
(for drugs) on stage with The Doors.
When the Singapore flm had its
premiere in Paris, Tim and Sean were
together again, arriving in Tim’s taxi
in jeans and T-shirts. One night at
the Ritz in London, George Hamilton
got a call from hotel security that
two suspicious guys in black pajamas
wanted to see him. “That’s no Viet
Cong,” said George. “That’s Errol
Flynn’s son.”
George had a reputation for going
out with President Johnson’s daughter
while dodging the draft. Sean said
he ought to see the war for himself,
“things are more clear-cut there.”
That made no sense to George and
he urged Sean to come back and
resume his acting career. Sean had
taken fencing lessons and done all the
superfcial things, but he had never
taken acting lessons “and he had the
depth to be a good actor.”
George never saw his friend again.
The next thing he heard, Sean was
in the Six Day War in Israel and then
he was back in Vietnam after the Tet
Ofensive began in January of 1968. I
had arrived in Saigon the night before
Tet and had made the rounds of all the
New Year’s Eve parties. At 3am, my
ofce called and said, “Come to work
if you can get across the street.”
I covered the fghting in Saigon,
then few to Danang where I was in
and out of the siege at Khe Sanh and
the battle for Hue. To me, it was all
so overwhelming it never seemed
quite real to me. I was watching a
movie and so never felt the very real
dangers. And, one afternoon at the
Danang Press Center, Sean Flynn
walked onto the set of my movie.
THE LAST PHOTO OF SEAN AND DANA
94
SEAN FLYNN
SEAN AND HIS FATHER ERROL ON A FISHING TRIP NEAR LAS VEGAS IN 1951
95
Understated does not begin to
describe him. Soft-spoken, almost
shy, he seemed an utter contradiction
to the legend that preceded him. He
quietly asked if I wanted to walk
down along the riverfront with him.
It is the quiet times like this that I
remember; hanging out at the little
cottage of our soul mates, Dana and
Louise Stone, lazy afternoons at the
Pink House on China Beach.
Of course, Tim was not far
behind. He showed up one night at the
Saigon airport – with all his camera
equipment, but with no visa, no money
and no accreditation. A group of us went
out to help him through customs.
Tim had arrived just before “mini-Tet”
and with money from a Life magazine
cover, he was staging lavish banquets
for his friends in no time. He soon
recruited me to join him in renting
the other half of a huge apartment
on Tu Do Street where Sean and UPI
photographer Nik Wheeler lived.
It was an open clubhouse. John
Steinbeck IV, son of the author, was
soon a regular. John explained that
he and Sean were instant friends
“because we both had a name that
was only partly our own.”
For my own goodbye to Vietnam,
the whole group took of for a weekend
jaunt in December 1968. I then set of
on my own tour of the Orient, from
Hong Kong to Singapore to Bali and
then back up the Malay peninsula to
the Thai capital, Bangkok.
Sean and I were in Vientiane,
Laos, when he received a telegram
from Saigon: “VOTRE AMI EST
GRAVEMENT BLESSE ET PEUT-ETRE
MOURIR.” [Your friend is gravely
wounded and perhaps to die.] After a
wild night out, we few back to Saigon
to see Tim.
I could not imagine a more hideous
end to our war adventure as we slowly
made our way down the long rows of
mutilated young soldiers now laid out
like sides of beef, their lives ruined at
such a young age. Tim was not expected
to live and if he did, he might never walk
again. Tim, of course, is a survivor. He
would go on to a distinguished career as
a photographer and author of books.
Sean, meanwhile, wrote out his own
will and then took of to Indonesia,
where he fell in love with a high
school girl named Lacsmi. The next
we heard, Sean was in jail. A taxi
driver had assumed his girlfriend was
a prostitute and arranged a paid date
for her. Sean went after the driver,
his john and his Mercedes, with a
baseball bat. We never heard how
Sean got out of that one, but he was
soon back in Saigon with tales of his
idyllic life in Bali. He was going to live
out his life on that peaceful isle.
Dana and Louise were now living in
the old apartment. They had left the
war for good but, like Sean, Dana was
always drawn back to it. He became
a CBS cameraman and was sent
into Cambodia just days before the
American incursion.
Sean couldn’t stand the idea of
missing out on this new phase of the
war and he soon joined Dana at the
Hotel Royale in Phnom Penh.
Dana and Sean rented two bright red
brand new Suzuki motorcycles. The
next morning the two set for the town
of Chi Pou near the Vietnamese border.
A government-led tour for other
correspondents caught up with Sean
and Dana, some would remember
overhearing them. The two sat
arguing at a teashop. Dana talked
about the danger of what Sean wanted
to do; Sean said of course it was
dangerous “but that’s what makes it a
good story.”
Sean tossed Dana’s keys into
a puddle and set of alone. Dana
quipped, “Sean’s trying to scoop
me” and rushed after him. The
other correspondents watched in
amazement as the two drove around
a Communist roadblock and headed
into enemy territory.
By that time, I had a newspaper
job in New York. Although Herr had
described Vietnam as “the happy
childhood none of us ever had,” he had
also written of the aftermath when “it
seems the dead have only been spared
a lot of pain.”
When a friend at UPI called up to
tell me they’d been captured, I blurted
out: “I wish to hell I were with them.”
You could not grieve for them as you
would for others lost in the war. They
were there because they wanted to be
there; and they were fully aware of
the dangers that took their lives.
Their images will live on in that
last photograph of them alive and
young and setting of on yet another
adventure. There’s Sean on his
motorcycle, dressed in the latest
shades from Paris, a foppy jungle hat,
T-shirt, cut-of shorts and fip fops as
he set of to die.
Perry Deane Young is the author of Two of the
Missing, Remembering Sean Flynn and Dana Stone
Sean and Dana drove
around a Communist
roadblock and into
enemy territory
96 96
97
the
North korea's capital, pyongyang,
is one of the most secretive
places on earth. Charlie crane
photographs a city trapped in time
98
THE SURREAL WORLD
C ; 7 H ? I > E E J ? D = H 7 D = ;
This is the shooting range where Kim
Jong Su – who won a silver medal in the
2004 Olympics in Athens – perfected
her ability. You can use pistols here – low
calibre sports weapons, not the guns used
by the army. Ho Sung Ae is pictured. She
has been working at the shooting range
for six years. She served in the Korean
People’s Army for three years and was
selected for her good shooting skills. She
often gets 30 marks with three shots,
the maximum possible. She is working
towards becoming a shooting teacher but
is now 28 and so will soon be married.

99
C E H 7 D 8 E D = C ? : : B ; I 9 > E E B D E $ '
This is the playground of Moranbang
Middle School. The main building has
six floors and all subjects are taught
here, including English, which everyone
must study. School starts at 8am and
ends at 1pm. After-school activities take
place in the afternoon. Children go to
school from age six to sixteen, and then
usually to university or to the army. On
top of the block of flats is the slogan
‘Independence, Peace and Friendship’,
which is lit up at night.

100
THE SURREAL WORLD
= H 7 D : F ; E F B ; É I I J K : O > E K I ;
This is one of the reading rooms in
the Grand People’s Study House and
the guide is Mrs He. The Great Leader
Kim Il Sung designed the desks for the
people so that they are tilted, to aid the
reader. The Study House has more than
600 rooms for study. There are lecture
rooms, recording rooms and consulta-
tion rooms where people can speak with
experts on certain subjects. The building
can contain more than 12,000 people.

101
C ? D O ; I E K L ; D ? H I > E F
This is An Gyeung Ae, 25, who is a sales
girl at the shop, which is an outlet for
musical instruments, sculptures, fine art
and ginseng. She has worked there for three
years. The ginseng tea is very popular with
tourists from South Korea, while Western
tourists prefer brass chopsticks and bowls
and small cloth Korean dolls.

THE SURREAL WORLD
102
C ? : : B ; I 9 > E E B I J K : ; D J
This is Kim Chun Hyo, who is on a break
from classes. He is wearing the standard
school uniform with the school badge. Each
badge has the name of the school written
on it under the Juche flame. When he is
older he would like to play basketball or be a
footballer. He is trying to get good grades to
get into the Sports College.

103
104
THE SURREAL WORLD
105
F K > K D = C ; J H E I J 7 J ? E D
Our metro station is the deepest in
the world at more than 100 metres
below ground. We have two lines that
run all across the city and you just
pay for one ticket to go anywhere. As
you can see, we don’t have any litter
or damage in the metro. The citizens
are very proud of the metro and take
good care of it. The mural at the end
is of our Great Leader Comrade Kim Il
Sung among the workers.


Charlie Crane teamed up with
Nick Bonner of Koryo Tours in 2007
to produce the book, Welcome to
Pyongyang, published by Chris Boot.
The captions are from the guide who
showed Charlie around the city.
www.charliecrane.com
www.koryogroup.com
106
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107
STYLE • MAPPED
BOBBA FETT AND
CHEWIE SHOW US HOW
TO SPACE TRAVEL IN
THE FINEST THREADS
109
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EM
IRATES PUBLISHES
ITS ENVIRONMENTAL
REPORT
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110
EMI RATES NEWS FEATURE
SET AT THE FOOT OF A CANYON IN
Australia’s Blue Mountains World
Heritage area, the Wolgan Valley
Resort & Spa is showing the world
that the concept of ‘luxury with a
conscience’ does exist.
The Emirates-run resort is situated
on the 4,000 acre Wolgan Valley
Conservation Reserve, but despite
its 40 free-standing luxury suites it
covers a mere two per cent of the land,
allowing 98 per cent to be explored.
“Being situated in the spectacular
Wolgan Valley, we set out to take the
idea of luxury holidays in Australia to
a new level,” says Joost Heymeijer, the
resort’s General Manager. “We wanted
to ofer people a luxurious getaway
based on the idea of ‘luxury with a
conscience’ – a place that ofers frst-
class service but not at the cost of its
conservation credentials.”
And credentials it has aplenty — the
resort was the frst in the world to gain
a carboNZero accreditation within just
three months of opening — ensuring
not only that it is carbon-neutral
but also that it actively protects
its surrounding habitat. For the
second year in a row, the resort has
maintained its carbon neutral status
following a carboNZero recertifcation.
Based on principles of its sister hotel,
the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, in
Dubai, the Wolgan Valley resort uses
its natural location to maximise its
luxury appeal to guests.
“You can get your own luxury
country suite with a private pool,
hundreds of acres of wilderness
and some of the best views in the
country,” says Heymeijer.
“People like to come here to get
away from the city.” says Heymeijer.
“Wolgan is about the things you
don’t have to do, but there is plenty
on offer should guests want to get
about and enjoy the reserve — from
horse riding to wildlife safaris,
to learning about Australia’s
colonial history by exploring their
1832 heritage homestead and
kitchen gardens.
Heymeijer says that Emirates run
the resort very much as ‘custodians’
of the land. “We are serious about
our commitment to the land and its
aboriginal heritage, We are not the
original owners of the land, which is
why we take care of it.”
THE VALLEY OF KINGS
We take care of the
land the resort is on
EM
IRATES
LAUNCHES DAILY
FLIGHTS TO
DUBLIN FROM

J
A
N
U
A
R
Y

2
0
1
2

Emirates Grand Hotel is an elegant four-star
property located on Sheikh Zayed Road in the
heart of Dubai, with a panoramic view of
Dubai and Burj Khalifa, the tallest tower in the
world. Just 100 metres from Dubai International
Finance Centre (DIFC) and the metro station,
it’s within easy walking distance from the
Dubai International Convention Centre and the
World Trade Center. Being 15 minutes away
from Dubai International Airport, the property
is at the centre of Dubai’s business district.

$150 starting rate. Terms and conditions apply.

Please contact our reservation of ce -
Tel: 04-3230000 or email us at:
reservations@emiratesgrandhotel.com
100
15

150

043230000
reservations@emiratesgrandhotel .com
P.O. Box 116957, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Tel: +971 4 323 0000 | Fax: +971 4 323 0003 | reservations@emiratesgrandhotel.com | www.emiratesgrandhotel.com
Grand hospitality
Grand SPA
Panorama Restaurant
Executive Room
Outdoor Pool
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114
EMI RATES NEWS ENVI RONMENT
YEARS IT TOOK FOR THE POPULATION TO
GROW FROM SIX TO SEVEN BILLION
12
11
THE NUMBER OF AEROSPACE COMPANIES
FORMING THE NEW INTERNATIONAL
AEROSPACE ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP (IAEG)
GREENWEB
ENVIRONMENTAL
REPORT
AS THE EMIRATES GROUP PUBLISHES
its environmental report, it is clear that
being green is a key priorty.
Covering areas such as fuel
efciency to the world’s frst
paperless cargo fight, the
results from the Emirates Group
Environmental Report 2010-2011
demonstrates just how widespread its
environmental commitment is.
The audited
report covered
environmental
performance
across a range
of activities,
including airline
operations,
dnata’s cargo and
ground handling
business and
commercial activities
such as engineering and catering.
One of the most impressive results
was the airline’s carbon dioxide
emissions efciency rate – 26 per
cent better than the global average.
However, environmental issues
are not limited purely to fuel
efficiency. In March 2011, Emirates’
SkyCargo division successfully
oversaw the world’s first 100
per cent paperless cargo
flight. The e-flight
saw a shipment of
103,884 tonnes
of cut flowers
flown from
Nairobi to
Amsterdam,
with the
shipment
details being sent
electronically.
MUST FOLLOW:
@ECOPOLITOLOGIST Tim Hurst is a
writer and editor at Green Options and
Ecopolitology. His tweets cover a broad
spectrum of green subjects.
@NATURE_ORG The official site of a
leading conservation organisation: Nature
Conservancy.
@GRIST Andrew Winston is an
environmental strategist and author of
Green Recovery and co-author of Green
to Gold.
GREEN LIFESTYLE TIPS:
@GREENSTERTRIBE Louis Fruchier and
the tribe, keeping you afloat with the
inside track on modern eco-culture.
Here is a list of some of the most
influential and active tweeters
who are going green online.
DUNG BEETLE
‘Bio-Bug’, a car that
runs on human waste,
has been developed
by a team of British
engineers. The VW
Beetle is powered by
a biofuel derived from
methane gas and is
the first of its kind.
GREEN GENIE
This helpful little
smartphone app
suggests more than
100 green projects to
tackle, such as bringing
your own shopping
bags to ways to get
paid for reducing
your emissions.
BONN CHANCE
A new global effort
to restore 150 million
hectares of deforested
and degraded land by
2020 has been launched.
The Bonn Challenge
builds on a global
assessment that over two
billion hectares
of the world’s deforested
lands are available
for restoration. The
programme, headed by
the former Prime Minister
of Sweden, Goran Persson,
claims that in addition to
helping the environment,
it will also help create jobs.
1
5
%

THE AVERAGE
DECREASE IN NOISE
FOOTPRINT IN EACH
NEW
GENERATION
OF AIRCRAFT
SOURCE: WWW.ENVIRO.AERO
SOURCE: WWW.ENVIRO.AERO
SOURCE: WWW.ENVIRO.AERO
SMART TRAVELLER
REHYDRATE WITH WATER OR JUICES FREQUENTLY.
DRINK TEA AND COFFEE IN MODERATION.
LOOSEN CLOTHING, REMOVE JACKET AND
AVOID ANYTHING PRESSING AGAINST YOUR BODY.
CARRY ONLY THE ESSENTI AL I TEMS THAT
YOU WILL NEED DURING YOUR FLIGHT.
EXERCISE YOUR LOWER LEGS AND CALF
MUSCLES. THIS ENCOURAGES BLOOD FLOW.
APPLY A GOOD QUALI TY MOISTURISER TO
ENSURE YOUR SKIN DOESN’T DRY OUT.
CABIN AIR IS DRIER THAN NORMAL THEREFORE
SWAP YOUR CONTACT LENSES FOR GLASSES.
TO HELP YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR
destination feeling relaxed and
refreshed, Emirates has developed
this collection of helpful travel tips.
Regardless of whether you need to
rejuvenate for your holiday or be
efective at achieving your goals on
a business trip, these simple tips will
help you to enjoy your journey and
time on board with Emirates today.
IN THE AIR
BEFORE YOUR JOURNEY
CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE
TRAVELLING IF YOU HAVE ANY
MEDICAL CONCERNS ABOUT
MAKING A LONG JOURNEY, OR IF YOU
SUFFER FROM A RESPIRATORY OR
CARDIOVASCULAR CONDITION.
PLAN FOR THE DESTINATION – WILL
YOU NEED ANY VACCINATIONS OR
SPECIAL MEDICATIONS?
GET A GOOD NIGHT’S REST BEFORE
THE FLIGHT.
EAT LIGHTLY AND SENSIBLY.
AT THE AI RPORT
ALLOW YOURSELF PLENTY OF TIME
FOR CHECK-IN.
AVOID CARRYING HEAVY BAGS
THROUGH THE AIRPORT AND ONTO
THE FLIGHT AS THIS CAN PLACE THE
BODY UNDER CONSIDERABLE STRESS.
ONCE THROUGH TO DEPARTURES TRY
AND RELAX AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE.
DURING THE FLIGHT
CHEWING AND SWALLOWING WILL
HELP EQUALISE YOUR EAR PRESSURE
DURING ASCENT AND DESCENT.
BABIES AND YOUNG PASSENGERS
MAY SUFFER MORE ACUTELY
WITH POPPING EARS, THEREFORE
CONSIDER PROVIDING A DUMMY.
GET AS COMFORTABLE AS
POSSIBLE WHEN RESTING AND
TURN FREQUENTLY.
AVOID SLEEPING FOR LONG PERIODS
IN THE SAME POSITION.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
TRY SOME LIGHT EXERCISE OR READ
IF YOU CAN’T SLEEP AFTER ARRIVAL.
DRINK
PLENTY
OF WATER
MAKE
YOURSELF
COMFORTABLE
WEAR
GLASSES
TRAVEL
LIGHTLY
KEEP
MOVING
USE SKIN
MOISTURISER
116
EMI RATES NEWS COMFORT
118
EMI RATES NEWS CUSTOMS & VISAS
All passengers arriving into the
US need to complete a CUSTOMS
DECLARATION FORM. If you are travelling
as a family this should be completed
by one member only. The form must be
completed in English, in capital letters,
and must be signed where indicated.
The IMMIGRATION FORM I-94 (Arrival
/ Departure Record) should be
completed if you are a non-US citizen
in possession of a valid US visa and
your fnal destination is the US or
if you are in transit to a country
outside the US. A separate form
must be completed for each person,
including children travelling on their
parents’ passport. The form includes a
Departure Record which must be kept
safe and given to your airline when you
leave the US.
If you hold a US or Canadian
passport, US Alien Resident Visa
(Green Card), US Immigrant Visa or a
valid ESTA (right), you are not required
to complete an immigration form.
TO US CUSTOMS & IMMIGRATION FORMS
CA
BIN
C
R
EW
W
ILL BE
H
A
PPY
TO
H
ELP
IF Y
O
U
N
EED

A
S
S
IS
T
A
N
C
E
C
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M
P
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T
IN
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WHETHER YOU’RE TRAVELLING TO, OR THROUGH, THE UNITED
States today, this simple guide to completing the US customs
and immigration forms will help to ensure that your journey
is as hassle free as possible. The Cabin Crew will ofer you two
forms when you are nearing your destination. We provide
guidelines below, so you can correctly complete the forms.
CUSTOMS DECLARATION FORM IMMIGRATION FORM
119
23
50
THE NUMBER OF SPECIAL MEALS THAT CAN BE ORDERED TO MEET
RELIGIOUS AND MEDICAL DIETARY NEEDS:
THE NUMBER OF LANGUAGES SPOKEN BY EMIRATES CABIN CREW:
AD
80 mm wide x
224 mm high
ELECTRONIC SYSTEM FOR
TRAVEL AUTHORISATION (ESTA)
IF YOU ARE AN INTERNATIONAL
TRAVELLER WISHING TO ENTER
THE UNITED STATES UNDER THE
VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME,
YOU MUST APPLY FOR
ELECTRONIC AUTHORISATION
(ESTA) UP TO 72 HOURS PRIOR
TO YOUR DEPARTURE.
ESTA FACTS:
CHILDREN AND
INFANTS REQUIRE AN
INDIVIDUAL ESTA.
THE ONLINE ESTA SYSTEM
WILL INFORM YOU WHETHER
YOUR APPLICATION HAS BEEN
AUTHORISED, NOT AUTHORISED
OR IF AUTHORISATION
IS PENDING.
A SUCCESSFUL ESTA
APPLICATION IS VALID
FOR TWO YEARS, HOWEVER
THIS MAY BE REVOKED OR
WILL EXPIRE ALONG WITH
YOUR PASSPORT.
APPLY ONLINE AT WWW.CBP.GOV/ESTA
NATIONALITIES ELIGIBLE
FOR THE VISA WAIVER
*
:
ANDORRA, AUSTRALIA,
AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, BRUNEI,
CZECH REPUBLIC, DENMARK,
ESTONIA, FINLAND, FRANCE,
GERMANY, HUNGARY, ICELAND,
IRELAND, ITALY, JAPAN, LATVIA,
LIECHTENSTEIN, LITHUANIA,
LUXEMBURG, MALTA, MONACO,
THE NETHERLANDS, NEW
ZEALAND, NORWAY, PORTUGAL,
SAN MARINO, SINGAPORE,
SLOVAKIA, SLOVENIA, SOUTH
KOREA, SPAIN, SWEDEN,
SWITZERLAND AND THE
UNITED KINGDOM**.
* SUBJECT TO CHANGE
** ONLY BRITISH CITIZENS QUALIFY
UNDER THE VISA WAIVER PROGRAMME.
EMI RATES NEWS ROUTE MAP
120
ROUTE MAP EMIRATES NEWS
121
EMI RATES NEWS ROUTE MAP
122
AD
123
ROUTE MAP EMIRATES NEWS
T
H
E
F
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E
T

O
U
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N
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S
162 PLAN
ES. M
ADE
U
P O
F 153 PASSEN
GER
PLAN
ES AN
D 9
CARGO
PLA
N
ES
For more information: www.emirates.com/ourf leet
125
EMIRATES NEWS FLEET GUI DE EMI RATES NEWS FLEET GUI DE
126
Boeing 777-300 Number of Aircraft: 12 Capacity: 364 Range: 11,029km Length: 73.9m Wingspan: 60.9m
Boeing 777-200LR Number of Aircraft: 10 Capacity: 266 Range: 17,446km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 64.8m
Boeing 777-300ER Number of Aircraft: 60 Capacity: 354-442 Range: 14,594km Length: 73.9m Wingspan: 64.8m
Boeing 777-200 Number of Aircraft: 9 Capacity: 274-346 Range: 9,649km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 60.9m
Boeing 777F Number of Aircraft: 3 Range 9,260km Length: 63.7m Wingspan: 64.8m
FLEET GUI DE EMIRATES NEWS
127
Airbus A340-300 Number of Aircraft: 8 Capacity: 267 Range: 13,350km Length: 63.6m Wingspan: 60.3m
Airbus A380-800 Number of Aircraft: 17 Capacity: 489-517 Range: 15,000km Length: 72.7m Wingspan: 79.8m
Airbus A340-500 Number of Aircraft: 10 Capacity: 258 Range: 16,050km Length: 67.9m Wingspan: 63.4m
Airbus A330-200 Number of Aircraft: 27 Capacity: 237-278 Range: 12,200km Length: 58.8m Wingspan: 60.3m
Boeing 747-400F/747-ERF Number of Aircraft: 4/2 Range 8,232km/9,204km Length: 70.6m Wingspan: 64.4m
AI RCRAFT NUMBERS AS OF 31/10 /2011
NEXT MONTH...
facebook.com/openskiesmagazine twitter.com/openskiesmag www.openskiesmagazine.com
W
e head to Tokyo for our Japan issue. We will be bringing you the
best of the country’s creative talents in a magazine produced from
our very own Open Skies ‘suite’ in the heart of Tokyo. We will also
be wandering the streets armed with cameras, smartphones and laptops; if you
see us, say hi. We will delve into Tokyo’s underworld, courtesy of Jake Adelstein,
whose book, Tokyo Vice, is a searing portrayal of a crime reporter’s beat.
We will also showcase some amazing photos of the country, from the snow
monkeys of Nagano to the temples of Kansai. Japan has produced countless
great writers and we will showcase one wonderful short story from a master of
the trade. An issue with a diference, and a celebration of all things Japanese.
128
With the HTC EVO 3D smartphone, you
can create 3D video and watch it back
without glasses. You can even switch
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htc.com
Because you want to
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The boundary
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