While it is hard to imagine how a simple roll of gray tape could be so mighty, duct tape is famous for its uncanny ability to fix just about anything. If you’re planning some quality time outside – where you may be far from the conveniences of modern life – having the necessary supplies for self-reliance is a must. Throw some duct tape in your pack and you’ll be prepared for everything from clothing repairs to first aid solutions and fire starters, with a catchall survival tool for whatever sticky situations may arise.
A History of AdherenceWhat we now call duct tape was first developed during WWII as a handy way to seal cases of ammunition (soldiers wanted a waterproof material that was strong, easy to slap on, and quick to tear off). It didn’t take long for soldiers to experiment with uses of the new invention, which they nicknamed “duck” tape (both because it is waterproof, like a duck, and because it’s made from duck cloth). Soldiers reportedly used it for vehicle and aircraft repair, as a temporary means to close wounds, and as a general all-around quick fix-it. After the war, the soldiers brought their love of duck tape from the battlefields to the home front.
For Jungles in Paris
In Colombia's Cocora Valley, clusters of slender palm trees stretch through the mist to touch the clouds. The elongated trunks, striped with intermittent leaf scars, rise to nearly 200 feet. The tree is the Quindio wax palm, or Ceroxylon quinduiense. It is, you might say, a very rooted tree, for the Cocora Valley is the only place on earth where it grows.
It's an acutely narrow range for a plant species, this sliver of verdant Andean foothills. And while it makes the Quindio wax palm special, the tree's limited domain also renders it particularly vulnerable to the dangers of diminishing habitat.
Cocora Valley is named after a princess of the pre-Colombian Quimbaya civilization whose name meant “Star of Water." The name makes sense: the valley gets 70 inches of rain a year on average, as well as additional moisture from an often-present mantle of mist and fog. The trees are situated at an intersection of tropical jungle and sparse alpine biomes, within the “cloud forests" of the Andes, where they grow out of the Cocora Valley's acidic, sandy soil.
For centuries, people have made ample use of this native palm, turning its wax into candles, its wood into buildings, and its fruit into livestock feed, and distributing its waving fronds for Catholic celebrations of Palm Sunday. The tree was on the verge of extinction when, in 1985, the Colombian government—with the backing of the Catholic Church—stepped in and created a wildlife sanctuary in Cocora Valley. The rampant felling of the Quindio wax palm ended, and it was declared Colombia's national tree.
For Jungles in Paris
Hindus throughout the world observe Holi, an annual celebration of the victory of good over evil; of colors, spring, and love—including the special love between Krishna and Radha, the deities said to embody absolute truth. The festival has acquired a special significance in Vrindavan, a city in Uttar Pradesh built upon the ancient pastures where the god Krishna spent his boyhood days.
Chronicles of Krishna's youth are full of lila—a Sanskrit word that approximately means “divine play." During Holi, which takes place around the vernal equinox, celebrants engage in mischievous fun themselves. Inspired by a tale of Krishna painting Radha's face, they drench each other with colored water and throw fistfuls of gulal – brightly tinted powders, traditionally made by dyeing arrowroot starch with spices, leaves, and flowers. (These days, it is more often chemically pigmented cornstarch.) At Vrindavan's Banke Bihari temple, which is among the most sacred places to worship Krishna, eruptions of red, yellow, and magenta waft down from the roof, landing on the sea of ecstatic faces in the courtyard. While much of India observes Holi for one or two days, the festivities in Vrindavan go on for 16 days. They are a time to come together, to repair broken relationships, and to forgive for oneself for past errors. In a caste-bound society, Holi is also a time when inhibitions are lost, and everyone stands on more equal footing.
For Jungles in Paris
For the Moken people of Southeast Asia, the sea provides nearly everything a person might need. It offers food to eat, a comfortable place to live (assuming one owns the appropriate vessel), and, sometimes, love.
Members of this ocean-faring ethnic group – often called “Sea Gypsies" – roam the Andaman Sea off the coasts of Thailand and Myanmar. The Moken travel on small, handcrafted wooden boats called kabangs, from which they skillfully procure fresh meals of fish, scallops, and clams, using nothing more complicated than a simple spear and a remarkable ability to hold their breath.
Moken people often wed when they are still teenagers—a woman is considered to be of marriageable age upon her first menstruation—and stay together for life. Before he marries, a Moken man must first prove himself to his intended wife and her parents, in a ritual that requires him to build his own kabang. Traditionally, he might have met his wife-to-be on the water. But things are changing. Tightened immigration and fishing laws, as well as the growing the tourism industry, have all but forced the Moken community to trade their houseboats for more permanent coastal settlements. (Even so, their marriage rituals have largely stayed the same.)
Around Myanmar’s Mergui Archipelago and Thailand’s neighboring islands, a tiny minority of Moken still lead the nomadic lifestyle for much of the year. (In the traditional manner, they make brief shore visits when necessary and dwell on land during the rainy monsoon season.) Gone, though, are the extended-family flotillas of previous times. And with so few of Moken now actually living at sea, a young man or woman's chances of finding true love on the water are not what they used to be.