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Jonathan Vaas

Jonathan is an attorney and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

An avid traveler and outdoorsman, Jonathan has camped throughout North America and traveled extensively through eastern and southern Africa, Fiji, New Zealand, the Great Barrier Reef, Australia, Costa Rica, Europe and Scandinavia; at various times he has lived in Ecuador, Mexico and Argentina.

Contributions

Escape to Patagonia's Perito Moreno: An Endless Sea of Moving Ice

Created on January 22, 2009 by Jonathan Vaas, Writer

Owing to long-term climatic shifts, every glacier on the planet is in regression except for one: Argentina's Perito Moreno. The Perito Moreno glacier, located in southern Patagonia a stone's throw from the Chilean border, continues to surge forward even as the earth’s remaining ice caps melt away. Thousands of travelers flock to Argentina each year to soak in the panoramic view of Perito Moreno's jagged blue-ice surface, which spreads for miles and stretches toward the horizon like an ocean of motionless water. Rising 20 stories above the lake, Perito Moreno's total depth averages more than 550 feet. At its deepest point the glacier is nearly half a mile high. All of that ice advances at a speed of six and a half feet per day, ...

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Experience the Wonders of Thaipusam in Malaysia’s Batu Caves

Created on December 09, 2008 by Jonathan Vaas, Writer

Among Malaysia’s natural gems, the Batu Caves may be the most awe-inspiring, although they remain an unknown destination to many western tourists. In the eastern world this limestone network of temples and 400-million-year-old caverns, located just 10 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, is hardly a secret; the caves, adorned by a 100-foot golden statue of a Hindu god, are the focal point of the Hindu festival of Thaipusam, which attracts over 1.5 million religious pilgrims every year. Malaysia’s Thaipusam festival is one of the largest annual gatherings anywhere on Earth, famed for its eight-hour procession that begins in Kuala Lumpur and culminates in a flight of 272 steps to the top of the Temple Cave. This arduous journey outdoes any stairmaster, as the participants engage ...

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Experience Your Epiphany at Gondar's Timkat Festival

Created on November 03, 2008 by Jonathan Vaas, Writer

Gondar, one of Ethiopia's largest cities, springs to life every January for Timkat, the Ethopian Orthodox celebration of Epiphany. Timkat, which is celebrated on January 19, commemorates Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by reenacting the holy ceremony, and nowhere is the festival more stunning than in the 17th-century palaces of Gondar where the Ethiopian emperors once reigned. The main ceremony takes place in the Fasilides Castle, located just outside town in the Royal Enclosure. Travelers gather from all over the world to witness the Gondar's Epiphany ceremony, when a model of the Ark of the Covenant is reverently wrapped in cloth and the laity have a rare opportunity to observe its splendor. The Divine Liturgy is celebrated alongside the Fasilides bath in the morning. ...

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Try Your Luck at Okayama’s Naked Man Festival

Created on October 07, 2008 by Jonathan Vaas, Writer

For most of the year southern Japan’s Okayama City is a tranquil midsized town that offers a typical Japanese experience tourists will not find in Tokyo or Kyoto. But for one weekend every February the city transforms into a testosterone-charged den of mayhem and festivity. Brave men from near and far congregate at the Saidaiji Kan'nonin Temple for the internationally renowned Hadaka Matsuri—more commonly known as the Naked Man Festival. The Naked Man Festival, which dates back to the sixteenth century, features nearly 10,000 near-naked men vying for a pair of sacred sticks thrown by a priest into the Saki-charged mob. Male bonding takes on a new meaning as the loincloth-clad participants struggle to gain the sacred sticks, and the lucky winner is blessed with ...

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Cleanse Your Soul at Catemaco’s Noche de las Brujas

Created on October 02, 2008 by Jonathan Vaas, Writer

In southern Mexico, nestled between ranges of volcanic mountains, the town of Catemaco springs to life every March with a spectacle of witchcraft, sorcery and merriment. The Noche de Brujas—“Night of the witches”—dates back to the precolonial era, drawing traditional healers, shamans, prophets and fortune-tellers from all over Mexico to gather for a legendary all-night festival, during which participants invoke a mass cleansing to alleviate the previous year’s negative energies. Adventurous tourists join in on the fun of Noche de Brujas, some just to witness the spectacle, others daring to get involved. The adorable avenues and landscapes of pristine Catemaco are supercharged with mysticism on a regular day, but during Noche de Brujas the sense is nearly palpable. Streets are crowded year-round with vendors selling ...

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Get Spirited Away in Amritsar's Golden Temple

Created on September 30, 2008 by Jonathan Vaas, Writer

Amritsar, nestled into the northwest corner of ancient Punjab, is the indisputible capital of the Sikh religion and a popular destination for travelers of all walks and religions. The ancient city’s main attraction is the Harmandir Sahib, informally known as the Golden Temple, a towering holy building visited by millions of religious pilgrims each year. As Mecca is to the Muslims, The Golden Temple is to the Sikhs. The temple, whose construction began in the 16th century, was intended as a place where people of all walks of life can come and worship God equally. The temple is regarded as one of the world’s most poignant spiritual destinations, and you’ll know why as soon as you see its golden domes rising majestically above central Amritsar. ...

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jonathan-vaas is located in Cambridge, United States

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