Thursday, October 29, 2009

Art festivals in Paseo, Oklahoma

One of the great things about being a Tripbod is trying to uncover just what it is that makes me think Oklahoma City is so great. I know that I love it, but if asked to articulate why exactly I happen to enjoy spending my time in a moderately sized metropolis, stuck in the middle of the plains, where the first image that pops into most people’s heads is of cowboys and Indians, sometimes I have to stop and think for a second. Or at least, I used to have to. As I’ve gotten older, well, not THAT much older, I have realized that as an adolescent and early college student I suffered from the near universal, often unrecognized and untreated, disease of birthplace loathing. Fortunately for me, I’ve been exposed to enough foreign cultures (cultivated, but not necessarily in a laboratory) to build up an immunity to this horrific thief of Midwestern youth. No longer do I aspire to get out for no other reason than a belief that everyone else in the world is having a hell of a lot better time that I am. For, you see, I have realized this simply is not the case.

Permit me an introduction, not to myself, but to a hidden and often unjustly despised part of my town that helped dispel me of the aforementioned loathing. My first apartment out of college bordered on an area called The Paseo. It cost $300/month and the lease was signed in the back of a truck on a piece of notebook paper with a landlord who firmly believed that he would make his fortune as an independent wholesale merchant of goat meat. My grandmother, despite swimming on one of the rooftops as a youth in the 1940s, was relieved to find out when I had moved out of a place that had received, probably rightly earned, a reputation that was less than wholesome through decades of disrepair and debauchery. I hope you have an unfavorable picture of this area. Why? Why would I want a potential visitor to have this image? Because I want you to have the same experience that I, as a local, had, and realize its blatant falsehood.

Not until I lived in the Paseo did I realize the richness of Oklahoma City. This area has undergone an INCREDIBLE revitalization over the past five years. Roughly 10 square blocks, itcontains 17 galleries and 60 artists. Not to mention numerous restaurants, music venues, and my favorite bar, the Red Rooster. The Paseo Arts festival in May brings out the city and state’s best artists and musicians in an incredibly pleasant and unpretentious atmosphere. Because of its unique place in OKC, many 20-30 year olds like to call this place home, and as someone fitting this category, I appreciate it as an area in which you actually know your neighbors, see them out, and can walk from place to place instead of drive. This quality makes the festival even better, as it really is like a large gathering of friends (and, admittedly, some of those friends of friends that you weren’t quite sure where they came from, but better not ask to leave out of politeness…). Despite reveling in all of this, I’ve recently discovered something more! The first Friday of every month, most of the galleries are opened up for late night viewing, wine tastings, and music. The next Saturday, many artists open their studios for demonstrations. With winter coming up, I should probably take advantage of November’s.

I realize a week from Friday might be rushing things a bit for you to make it over here. But maybe in December? And we don’t have to go see some artists. I hope I’m not being too forward, but I would love to have the opportunity to let you see a side of Oklahoma City that makes you think “I actually DO despise my hometown!” and “The people in Oklahoma City ARE actually having a hell of a lot better time than I am!”

By Hugh Long, Tripbod in Oklahoma
Go to his profile

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tripbod gets busy on TV

We have decided at Tripbod that we love videos! With a global network the size of ours, there's only one way to feel a bit closer and that's through the most all encompassing medium there is so far - videos.

Here are some other great video websites:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

New Tripbod in Kenya

Richard Trillo, writer of Rough Guides to Kenya and East Africa joins Tripbod.

See his profile

New opportunities at Tripbod

Find out what it is to be a Tripbod and join our global network of trusted local experts.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Tripbod in Wicklow, knows all the best places to go

Una is our newest recruit in Ireland. She is well connected to the local area, having worked in the local library for many years from where she is soon to retire. In retirement Una plans to spend her days enjoying the land and sea around her. She is an avid outdoor swimmer and plans to carry on swimming every day throughout winter. Una is also proud of the literary heritage of her area and is keen to help visitors explore the nooks and crannies of Greystones.

Here are some website recommended by Una:
An Irish web-site that gives great route descriptions and links to other related sites. The sea swimmers site, Greystones South Beach. The classic walk through Wicklow. This is enough to bring a visitor to Greystones. It can be cycled too. Next year this festival is in July . A literary festival.

Una talks about her local area:

"Greystones Wins First Place and Gold Medal in 2008 International Awards for Liveable Communities in Dongguan, in South China. The project achieved first place in the “whole city” section, judged as the world’s most liveable communities, population up to 20,000. I never get over the variety of beauty that surrounds me, we are enlosed by “hills” behind us and look out at the wide expanse of ocean (or Irish Sea).

Wicklow County has a wide range of tourist attractions, all are well advertised on the sites above. Wicklow has beautiful beaches, mountains, proximity to the City of Dublin and many Arts, Culture, Music and Community Festivals. It is well served by public transport. If you get the “DART” from Greystones to Dublin you will have the coast on your right and it is compared to the “Bay of Naples”. I see it every day going to work and it never ceases to amaze me, the mountains come down to the seas. It is a journey not many take unless they are going into Dublin to see the “sights”. Likewise a train trip in the other direction to Wexford is a good day out. Hire a bike and you could be in Enniskerry, Powerscourt, Djouce Woods, Devil’s Glen within the day. There are some very good hostels available too. One BLOG already refers to Glenmalure Hostel. It is in an idylic location, and if you are interested in Irish History and Local Heroes there is some very interesting reading to be done. Heard of Glendalough?

Go outside Wicklow! Where to? Guidebooks invariably head you to Killarney, Galway, Mayo and the best of the rest. All of these are well served by public transport, leaving you free to walk or hire bikes or use local buses to get around.

The Northern coast is one of my favourite trips. You can cycle and there are guides to day routes. The Mournes, Carlingford Lough, the strands of Portstewart and Donegal... Art exhibitions, Galleries, Bookshops, Literature festivals..Dun Laoghaire have regular author readings in the local libraries, all information is widely publicised on the web-sites. Walk down Dun Laoghaire pier before you head home on the ferry which leaves from the nearby terminal once a day, or go to Dublin Port where there is more choice, that way you can bring your bike with you (or your car). Prices are high for food, drink and accommodation.

You can do Ireland on a budget, you may just need some local advice. "

Contact Una to find out more

Monday, October 5, 2009


On 1 October 2009, Urban Adventures ( opened a whole new world to travellers yearning to unlock the secrets of some of their favourite urban centres. Urban Adventures range from two-hour to one-day adventures and uncover back streets, hidden gems and fascinating sights. The Urban Adventures business is a unique and exciting new concept developed by Intrepid Travel ( and WHL Group (

Anchored at launch in 25, Urban Adventures will be available in 65 cities with over 200 trips within six months. Departures are daily and prices start from US$15. Whether you're after an evening of home cooking and hanging locally in Istanbul, a full-day exploration of the magnificent temples of the Angkor complex in Cambodia, visiting the history and people of Johannesburg by bicycle or sampling Los Angeles, from Hollywood glitz to the quirkiness of Venice Beach, Urban Adventures really connect with the destination.

To celebrate the launch of Urban Adventures, travellers (and locals) have the opportunity to tour for FREE. Just register at to become an Urban Adventures tester. In return for a free adventure, testers write trip reviews and take photos for the Urban Adventures website. In addition, travellers who submit feedback could win a monthly Urban Adventures prize pack.

Friday, October 2, 2009

This week's interview: Rocío from Costa Rica

In my weekly blogs interview, I continue my Latin American tour, this time in Costa Rica, where I will interview Rocío to talk about a serious topic, not related directly (though yes indirectly) with tourism but definitely with our responsibilities as human beings: Animal welfare.

Alfonso: Hi Rocío, amongst your several interests, you seem to be very interested in animal welfare. How did you develop this interest?

Hello Alfonso, well, ever since I was little I showed a special concern about how some animals get mistreated and put in a very unfortunate position due to people’s irresponsibility and lack of consciousness. As I grew older I held stronger to this beliefs as I realized that it’s not only peoples responsibility’s but also governments play a very important part, not implementing stronger laws and not focusing on educating society.
And this passion became much stronger as my family and I began to experience the enormous gratification that rescuing a stray animal gives you, especially after you see the changes they go through and how much they appreciate that last chance given by life and their will to survive.

Alfonso: You decided to join an organization called APASFA? Why did you do that? What is this organization responsible for?
APASFA is a non-profit organization located on one of the central valley provinces, focused in the welfare and support of homeless, injured and neglected domestic animals. I decided to support them after last year’s earthquake, when I found out that they were one of the few organizations who spent time and resources rescuing and relocating the dozens of animals, victims of the catastrophe.

Alfonso: How does this organization work? For instance, where do they get their funding from?

APASFA basically supports itself through donations and funds they collect from adoption and weekly castration campaigns at very low prices for the general population.

Alfonso: What are the most important projects that they are developing?

Right now their goal is to continue with these campaigns, in as many communities as possible, and expand an educational program for children, in all the different schools of the communities where the campaigns take place. They are also trying to collect funds to start an appropriate animal medical transportation and clinic/shelter, where they can keep all the rescued animals until they get recovered and relocated.
At this moment all of these animals are being kept in homes of good hearted people that support the cause, but this is not being enough compared to the amount of sufferers.

Alfonso: What kind of projects are now engaging in?

As a mentioned before, the main focus are both the adoption/relocation and castration campaigns for both homeless and domestic cats and dogs. There is also a project they began, called “Animal Rescue”, which consists of a group of volunteers, brave men and women who rescue neglected, abandoned animal. Mostly domestic, but in some cases wild animals are being helped as well.
Most of these animals used to belong to a house, but then got thrown out for several unjustified reasons or got an abusive treatment from their previous owners. Among these we find everything from puppies, elderly, sick pets, pregnant cats and dogs, some have been tied up their entire lives and manage to run away, and some have even been maliciously abused by street criminals or ran over as they wonder on the streets looking for food and shelter. They are also engaging in some educational campaigns; but require more funds and material to continue with this idea.

Alfonso: Are there any similar associations?

There are several associations in San Jose and other parts of the country, but still doesn’t seem to be enough to stop or even control the situation.
Unfortunately, as solutions may come in small dosages, there are also other problems that emerge, since some of the organizations get lost on the way to providing help and forget to continue their work as a NON PROFIT entity. So, as they miss their original focus and goals, the funds begin to be misused and the help, in many cases does not reach the ones in need.

Here I provide some examples of other organizations that support this cause and help homeless animals:
**All of these groups and shelters survive thanks to the help and donations of the general public, since the government provides no funds for this particular crisis.

Alfonso: Is animal welfare a serious problem in Costa Rica? If so, why?

There is a big problem in Costa Rica, right now there are more than 1.000.000 homeless dogs and cats wondering in our streets, living in less than humane conditions. The main reason for this is because the population does not create any awareness regarding the importance of responsible animal ownership, birth control, and respect of their lives and needs, as living beings. There is also an enormous lack of education towards both children and adults and specially because the laws are so weak and breakable, there is absolutely no control from the authorities as there is no consequences for the responsible of neglecting animal lives, but most importantly, there is no such thing as Government Consciousness towards this big concern.
Also, the problem is not only affecting domestic animals, wildlife also suffers the costs of illegal hunting, black markets and abuse. That is why I strongly believe that it’s time to spread the word, and maybe with a little support from others we can start taking actions and finding solutions for this very sad situation, that has become larger and larger, not only in Costa Rica but in many parts of the world.
I really want to thank you for your time; before I go I would like to show you some interesting videos that support both side of the topic: Good will and support; and lack of consciousness and ignorance.

Help for the Ones in Need:
The Guillermo Habacuc Case:

Alfonso: Thank you very much for having taken the time to tell us about your projects. All the best!
Thanks Again!

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