You are browsing the archive for James Clarke, Author at YoTravellers.

São Paulo, Brazil

December 22, 2018 in Blog

Meet the Latin America’s monster: São Paulo. One of the biggest cities in the world, São Paulo is not only a financial hub, but also a must for gastro experience as well as cultural activities – parks, discos, museums, concert halls and, for soccer fans, many stadiums to visit.
Get used to long queues, as Brazilians seem to enjoy being lined up for trendy stores and restaurants. The variety and concentration of those, by the way, is enormous.
The old city center meets the high buildings of the famous Avenida Paulista. The Japanese neighbor, Liberdade, makes you feel as you have transported to the other side of the world, while young people, bars, and restaurants crowd the bohemian Vila Madalena.
At first glance no great beauty: it is a tough city, however, a second look will make the travel worth it. Enjoy the big avenues or just go for a nice walk at the beautiful Ibirapuera Park. Either way, you will find people willing to help or just take your photograph.
To see all its corners, get used to the metro and avoid peak times. If you are feeling bolder, buses will get you practically anywhere and you will be able to get a good glance at the city while, maybe, stuck in traffic.
It is also curious to see how restaurants are going to provide you with a menu divided accordingly to the day of the week, so please, do not miss Saturday’s Feijoada or Wednesday’s Virado à Paulista.

Mentawai Islands – Indonesia

August 17, 2018 in Blog

A paradise on earth and the ride of a lifetime: that is how surfers describe the Mentawai Islands, an Indonesian archipelago.

The Islands were separated from Sumatra 500,000 years ago resulting in unique and breathtaking flora and fauna, and although just 130 km away from the main island Sumatra, its people were kept isolated until the 19th century.

Changes came quickly into the island – mainly from tourism, logging, and government attempt to mainstream the local culture, which has separated the people from the jungle.
However, the Mentawai Islands still have one of the globe’s most incredible and best-preserved indigenous culture. Nowadays both indigenous and immigrants speak variants of the original indigenous language, with the majority speaking the Indonesian national language and the minority the Minangkabau language.

The Mentawai people, estimated to be 64,000, still live a somewhat nomadic life at the coastlands and rainforests. The people carry a deep spirituality and have a rich culture: they tend to sharpen their teeth, cover their bodies in elaborate tattoos and live in wooden houses called Uma.

Men are more likely to become hunters of bigger animals- primates, wild pigs and deer, while women and children gather wild foods and may hunt smaller animals. The Mentawai people also keep pigs, monkeys, dogs and sometimes even chickens as pets.

You can get to Mentawai Islands via air or boat from Padang – Sumatra in Indonesia. I would recommend via boat, since there are three ferries that offer you 10 to 12 hours of overnight journey. There is also a speed boat ‘Mentawai Fast’ where the ferry would cost you 250,000 IDR around US$17.00. It leaves Padang to Mentawai from Mondays to Saturdays at 7.00 am local time. If you love surfing or getting to know the indigenous cultures, then head to Mentawai Islands.

Kuala Lumpur

July 25, 2018 in Blog

Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur (KL), is a giant urban agglomeration- summing up 7.25 million people- and is the cultural, financial and economic hub of its country.
It is one of the fastest growing metropole in South-East Asia and its icon, the twin Petronas Tower, is a symbol of the development and of a futuristic Malaysia. The city skylines contrast with its ancient architecture and domes, combined with KL’s banyan trees and colorful streets.
The capital is a vibrant mix of cultures and religions, being a home of Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Hinduism, and Christianity. Just neighboring the city, in Selangor, is the majestic Batu Caves: a series of caves and caves temples, taking its name from the Sungai Batu (the Stone River), which flows by the hill. It is one of the most popular Hindu sights outside India, being also the meeting point for the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in Malaysia.
Tourism plays an important role in the city’s economy. Many hotel chains have facilities there and KL is the sixth most visited city in the world, counting annually 8.9 million visitants. That is probably why people are warm to foreigners, always willing to help with a very good and clever English.