Posts tagged ‘curacao’

February 1, 2012

Thanks to voters for my 3 travel journalism awards

safari ranger brett du bois sabi sabi private game reserve

Safari ranger Brett DuBois inspired an award-winning story. (Julia Pelish photo)

When I met Brett DuBois, I knew I had a good story, and a potentially great one. DuBois is a safari ranger in South Africa who lives with passion for his work and the animals surrounding him. He’s intense, tough and fearless, and showed me that the wild animals aren’t the only fascinating beings you encounter on a safari. DuBois, who I met during a visit to the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in Greater Kruger Park, became the focus of a story that appeared on the cover of the Toronto Star’s January 8, 2011 issue. On Tuesday, that story won the top award for Best International Article in a Newspaper with a Circulation of 250,000 or More from the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA).

You can find a link to it here on this website and here on the Star’s website.

I also won third prize in the same category for an article on Curacao, a Dutch island in the Caribbean that attained its own government on October 10, 2010, shortly before my article was published in the Star. Curacao is a fun place, full of passionate people who care about their island and its uniqueness. I’m glad I was able to spotlight it.

Lastly, NATJA voters awarded me and my good friend Jim Byers, the Star’s Travel Editor, with the Gold award for “Best Travel Series in a Newspaper” for our “Grand Tour” series that sent him and I to destinations around the globe in an insanely short amount of time. We covered 10 of the world’s most iconic cities, with Jim writing on 6 of them and me on 4. Here are the links to my articles in the series: Buenos Aires, Jerusalem, St. Petersburg and Cape Town.

Also, I’m proud to say that Julia Pelish, my wife and perpetual photographer/videographer, won a Bronze award in the “Best Cover Photo, Illustration” category for her stunning picture of a thunderstorm in Aruba. You can see that photo on her website.

Thanks to the voters for singling out my stories for the second year in a row. Much appreciated and greatly honoured.

November 3, 2010

Curacao Cuts Loose

[Visited this Dutch Caribbean island that recently seceded from the Netherlands Antilles. Found it to be a cool spot with fascinating history and very kind people. Here’s a bit from “Freedom Found in Curacao” in the Toronto Star.]

WILLEMSTAD, CURACAO — Not many countries in the world exist where you can listen to the former leader of the land play jazz in a bar or dance next to a minister of government.

Curacao, though, is one of those places where status doesn’t seem to matter so much. People here have an easiness about them, even though the island has endured some hard history, including being the focal point of the Dutch slave trade. On a Friday night, the nightclub Asia de Cuba is jammed with people in their 30s, 40s and up who salsa through the night listening to jazzy Latin beats and favourites in Papiamento, the native language of Curacao. The dancers come in all colours and from all walks of life, including leadership, and some dress in elegant outfits perfectly suited for the sinewy movements of the sexy Spanish dance, others wear denim and short sleeves. Some were born on the island, several are immigrants from the Netherlands who’ve left the cold for the warmth of the Caribbean. They change partners from song to song, no coyness involved.

Around midnight, the Viagara set gives way to the young crowd that keeps the dance going until four in the morning or later.

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