The state of contrasts where beaches look like gardens of heaven while cities and villages resemble dumps; where over 80% of population are faithful Catholics who practice bloody cult of vodou at the same time; where absolute poverty on one hand and unthinkable luxury on the other feather in.
“This country is so good that there isn’t enough words to describe it”, – an omnipresent and omni-discovering Christopher Columbus who discovered the isle of Haiti in 1492 used to elucidate in a letter to Spanish king. He must have meant coastline beauties since should a navigator have gotten to the countryside of the state, especially nowadays, his views would have hardly remained the same.
Walking around settlements with absent infrastructure, unpaved roads by the houses that lack window frames and are surrounded by dumps many meters high, you get surprised how people can live here at all. But barefooted tots running around and adults busy with household cares illustrate that it is possible. Impression of travelers changes entirely once they head to the shore. High coconut palms, warm white sand and azure water make bring one to understanding of what Columbus was writing about and feel yourself a holiday-maker on the world’s best resort…
It is surprising how that state with natural resources this rich can be one of the poorest in Western hemisphere. Nevertheless, there is no encountering beggars and tripled prices for “the whites”, which is customary for markets of countries alike. This is how locals were influenced by recent rough political regime. Dictatorship left a strong impression in consciousness of citizens concerning the fact that all the resources have to be honestly earned. So one shouldn’t be surprised on seeing seven-year-old boys transferring goods or cleaning counters. This is no exploitation of children – it is a very special mentality of Haitians. Agriculture is considered to be the main source of the country’s income. Poor people work the land growing rice, coffee and corn. They sell harvest on local markets. Families that do not have land plots of their own hire themselves out to more prosperous farmers.
A completely different atmosphere is in the capital’s suburb, small town of Petionville apparelled with luxurious villas of the island’s nobles. This spot is no different from any other resort of the Caribbean. Shopping malls, brand boutiques, galleries and restaurants – all of these are settled here, in a small civilized nook in Haiti. Numerous hotel complexes and cottages that belong to local crème de la crème and bring them substantial financial resources are situated here. Official currency of the state is considered Haitian Gourde but US dollars are in free circulation as well.
Yet, there is something in the country that unites the both tiers of Haitians – it is religion, or more precisely as much as two of them. Almost entire population practices Catholicism. But many buildings nearby cathedral churches are a riot of vodouist flags colors. It is the main sign that masters of the cult carry out their bloody rituals there.
Sure enough, tourists are not invited to ceremonies in daily life, yet it is very much possible to get to a special Vodou holiday that is celebrated annually almost at the same time with Halloween. However, if you are extremely sensitive beware because spine-chilling sacrificial offerings of animals are still conducted here. The most popular since ancient times till today have been such rituals as fresh blood of a freshly slaughtered cow drinking and biting off of a living cock’s head. Guests of the country are heartily welcome to take part in celebrations. But don’t forget to bring some sal-ammoniac with you in case you happen to be such a guest.
We continue publishing author’s column of Sabina Safarova on traditions of Azerbaijan.We have already learned about the matchmaking and the engagement, and now OUTLOOK proposes to plunge into the traditions of rituals and xinayaxdi – henna nights ceremonies which precedes the wedding itself.
Experienced tourists believe that one of the best sure-fire ways to quickly tune into the beat of another culture is to try local food. In order not to be at a loss when choosing dishes and save precious time for spiritual food, Outlook gives you selective advice on street gastronomy from seven spots of the globe.
OUTLOOK journalist Elena Rasenko came back from Japan and launches a special series of articles devoted to this country. Warning for very sensitive readers: Beware! After reading, you will get a keen desire to break away, buy a ticket and fly to such a marvelous and fascinating Land of the Rising Sun!
OUTLOOK was lucky to visit hospitable Uzbekistan and get better acquainted with crafts of this amazing country. Today we'll tell you about art of golden-stitched embroidery that has long been considered the art of the nobility. We will tell you about mediums artisans use, secrets and unique distinctives of this craft. Feel the world with us!
All over the world, winter brings bright celebrations to people's homes, the traditions of how to celebrate them are born. The customs of one state differes from the other but people from different corners of the planet are equally waiting for miracles, pleasant surprises and a good fairy tale. On the eve of the New Year holidays, we decided to ask the diplomats about the peculiarities of New Year and Christmas celebrations in their countries.
Few of us, while our favourite tea is steeping, are scrutinizing about the way this drink went through to get into our mug. Of course, stereotypically, we know that most likely it came from India or China, but in fact origin can vary. In the world there are about 30 countries which are very seriously engaged in tea business, and within this community a very clear hierarchy emerges, headed by the so-called Big Tea Seven.
Composers of antiutopias predict hundreds of sorrows to the people of the future who are from times to times forbidden to celebrate weddings, however, it seems, everything is not so terrible. In Chinese province Yun Nan near the foot of Himalayas the matriarch tribe moco resides that is not familiar with the concept of marriage at all. In their language there are no words like 'husband' and 'wife', in the same time they do not know what it is to be 'jealous', stay in state of 'war' or experience 'betrayal', and they do not complain of their destiny.
When Hawaii folk costume is mentioned, imagination immediately pictures a hula skirt with lei flower necklace and coconuts; the same immediate association is gorgeous sari embracing India; while Japan is tightly folded into silk kimono.
A Ukrainian woman with Azerbaijani blood Sabina Safarova respects her family roots and, being a member of the Union of Azerbaijani Youth in Ukraine, popularizes the culture of her country. Today, the story of a girl about one of the most interesting traditions of Azerbaijan - matchmaking, we are launching her author's blog, which will be filled with cognitive facts and subtleties of manners.
"A poor peasant lived in a remote Gagauzian village, and wealth of his was his three sons ..." so begins one of the folk tales composed by the Gagauz people. This Turkic people really lived a not wealthy life, roamed the villages, feed sheep... When a family gathered together to have some rest, old and young composed legends in their own way explaining the phenomena of nature noted by a curious and observant eye: why crows are afraid of people, why geese gabble, why an ant has thin waist, and what happens when you put fox and wolf in one harness.
Outlook often tells about the kitchens of the peoples around the world, but when it comes to Italy, writing about the country should be a crime. Each of its twenty regions has its own culinary world with the subtleties and specialties. Let the title of gastronomic capital of Italy be Bologna, its official capital - Rome, too, has something to boast about. We are telling you what is remarkable about Roman cuisine and what dishes are worth trying in the Eternal City.
OUTLOOK was lucky to visit hospitable Uzbekistan and get better acquainted with crafts of this amazing country. Today we tell you about art of straw work, about materials that craftsmen use and what secrets and unique features of this craft are. Feel the world with us!
In this day and age, it is difficult to surprise anyone, especially an urban resident, with some large department store or market, since nowadays one can buy everything from a humble convenience store next door. However, the iconic bazaars and flea markets are still operating across the globe, they are famous in legends and described with delight. Well-known is that they turn shopping into a cultural exchange and are much more than just a commercial place for the sale of goods.
‘Love evolves when one looks in the eyes of the person beloved seeing there God’, in such a way the lines of some Arabian song called Qawali is translated. The authorship of this chant is ascribed to Eastern strangers Sufi who tending to find the sense of existence strolled around the half an Earth bare-footed. In the travels they composed songs where they told narration describing what they had to endure.
The free fight has not feminine face. The good girl could smile in a pretty way and care colorful dress but not strike out wildly. But in the fierce Ands such gentle flowers do not grow. The true Bolivian cholit will be quick on the uptake, and it is able to fill in if necessary. But on Sunday, having gathered the starched skirts, she will desperately go to fight
Ice cream with a taste of horse meat, pickled insects, fish with deadly venom, etc – Japanese cuisine has things to surprise, amaze and shock you with. And truth be told, enumeration of these dishes doesn’t help my appetite at all. But we are not after exotic stuff. True culinary tourism is an attempt to comprehend mindset and feel national distinctive color through traditional cuisine – not try most exotic dishes. Parts of people’s souls, its history and culture are actually concentrated in national dainties.
Yesterday I created a Universe. I took some peas, rice, buckwheat, millet, black and white pepper seeds and cardamom. Grabbed a handful of coffee and aniseeds. Then it all acquired a centre. It kept growing and calming my thoughts. When the last seed landed in the circle, I felt forgotten harmony again, heard birds singing through the noise of cars on the avenue, sensed fragrance of violets that a neighbor of mine was growing on her balcony and a recollection of Funtik from floor 5 and his tail evoked a flush of tenderness towards the shaggy monster.
The Embassy of Uzbekistan in Ukraine and Ambassador's Spouses Club Kiev welcomed the Ukrainian public and foreign guests with the national art of the Uzbek people, traditions and principles of creating pieces of art made by the folk artists and artists from Uzbekistan.