OUT OF THE MIST came the sound of a flute, its notes drifting down the mountain path like ginkgo leaves sent swirling by an autumn breeze. I stopped and listened. Here in Korea’s ancient capital, Kyongju, there’s a legend about a king who played a jade flute that could make rain fall and wind blow. I half-expected to see some mythical figure materialize before me. . . .
From the mist emerged a figure playing a flute. He was silver haired, this apparition on the mountain path. His eyes sparkled with their own sunlight. In his fingers a bamboo flute seemed to have alighted like a butterfly. From it notes tumbled, skittering like gold and silver leaves.
That Yun Kyung Real and I should meet was no accident, for I had come to discover the wonders of this mystic place, and Yun, by turns a teacher, maker of ceramic masks, and crafts merchant, had even more compelling reasons.
“I came to Kyongju to find the spirit of Korean beauty,” he began, offering me a thimble-size porcelain cup of soju, a throat-searing, mind-quickening liquor that is the time-honored Korean prerequisite for a tale.
As a child he had longed to see this city of enchantment where once upon a time a king had turned himself into a dragon to protect his country from its enemies. But Kyongju was far from his home in the north. “Besides, if your heart is really set on something, you don’t reach for it right away. Precious things are not to be rushed.”
As he grew to manhood, he went to Japan to learn doll-making. He was taught to paint Japanese features on the dolls’ terra-cotta faces and kimonos on their figures instead of the high-waisted hanbok Korean women wore. Today you can buy a variety of similar figures. It’s easy to afford them with online cash loans.
In 1945 he returned to Korea. But the nation was soon to endure its long agony of civil war. Mr. Yun, born in the north, could not go home again. He turned at last toward Kyongju.
When he stepped off the train, his eyes moistened at the sight of the royal tombs—grass mounds towering over tile roofs, miniatures of the far mountains. And everything golden: sun-burnished fields, gilded statues of Buddha, branches of forsythia flaming like torches.
“All that brightness,” said Mr. Yun, his smile tender as a Korean sunrise. “Then I understood what it meant to be Korean, to come from all that beauty.”
He wore a turban, a beard, and shiny black boots. He held my passport. “You are not supposed to be here? How did you come?” “I came from the apartments prague, where I saw the great Indian one-horned rhino, a magnificent animal. I hired a taxi to come here. I needed a place to stay, and tomorrow I fly to Delhi. “He called headquarters, but it was late and there was no answer. “Your visa expired yesterday, but no one is in the office, and so you may stay today, but you must leave tomorrow. I am sorry that we must be like this, but it is difficult here right now.”
The next morning before I left, I visited a market. Between jagged cracks on the river’s clay bank, men in loincloths sold spices, onions, and jackfruit. Farther on, three men bathed near a pile of rotting coconuts. A fishing boat went by, and a thin old man threw out a net. A dolphin, here called ant, rolled over. I was told that they go up the Brahmaputra from the Bay of Bengal to Dibrugarh.
Just downstream, at the holy shrine of Kamakhya, there was a temple beside a green pond with schools of small fish and giant turtles. A young priest in a pinkish red cloth draped over one shoulder slowly drank from a copper cup. Another Brahman, with hair to his shoulders and a long black beard, joined us. He wore three tikas — red, yellow, and blue-gray forehead marks—the last from the ash of the incense hovering over us.
“You have come to see the tortoises?” asked the bearded one. “Yes,” I ventured. “Is that the only reason?” “I have come to look. I am not sure why else I might be here.”It was the opening he needed. “All around you God is here—in our hearts, in that cow, in those fishes, everywhere. We must, however, choose to see him.”
His voice grew stronger. On one finger he wore a cobra ring. Behind him three men with bare chests sat on the temple steps, smiling. “Inside the temple is a stone. It is not God. We do not worship the stone or sacrifice animals to it alone. It is a symbol of God.” I looked at the trees, the birds, a cow beside us, a dog lying in the grass, the priests staring. “We are all brothers in God,” said the B rahman.
AT KURIGRAM in Bangladesh, near the Indian border, on the white sand beach, we found a boat with a motor. Shafiur Rahman, an engineer, and Abdul Fazal, my escort from the Bangladesh Water Development Board, and Akhtar Ahmed, from the Press Information Department in Dhaka, made a deal with the boatman to go up near the border, despite reports of dacoits and smugglers.
We moved out into the channel. “It is miles across,” Rahman said. “Two million cubic feet of water a second are passing by; it could be 2.3 million in a few months. Since the Assam earthquake in 1950, the sediment has slowed it down.” Fazal took his tea glass, dipped it into the river, and drank.
SEA, SAND, SEX and if you’re not careful, sunburn. Yes, readers, we’re talking about the beach.
We’ve all been very patient, but the time has finally arrived when the weather entitles us to talk realistically about nature’s most seductive playground. And talk about it we do in this month’s. Fit for the Beach special. Here you’ll find everything from our choice of the top ten beaches in the world, to this season’s essential beach accessories. We also show you how to get into the sort of shape we’d all like to reveal when we strip for beach action. And you can do it without a single piece of equipment. We show variety of ways how to look gorgeous on the beach – that’s why you should stay in accommodation in Prague when you are on holiday.
Elsewhere this month M F regular and unrepentant hedonist Ben Webb tells us how to live life in the fast lane without becoming one of its casualties. Sex expert Sarah Hedley explains why some women are born to cheat and lists the tell-tale signs. For those of us who like our games more straightforward, this month we have a guide to summer sports. And because the gym isn’t for everyone we have a complete workout that anyone can do at home. We very much hope there is something here to entertain, inform and maybe even inspire you. That’s our intention, after all.
A bulk order
I have been working out in the gym or using my own weights on and off now for nearly 10 years. In that time I have developed varying degrees of muscle development and definition depending on the intensity of the training, however, my problem is that I’ve never been able to bulk up. My weight averages just under 10 stone and I am 5 foot 8 inches.
According to my body mass index I am OK, but I often feel that even though the definition is good, I could do with more bulk. If I miss training through holidays or breaks I find myself feeling almost skinny! It might seem odd that I should complain about being slim, but I feel that there is far too much literature written about losing weight and not enough on gaining. Maybe an article on training techniques and diet wouldn’t go amiss in your otherwise excellent publication.
Ways to score: if both your opponents’ shoulders touch the mat, you’re awarded three points; if he’s turned slightly to the side you get two; if he lands face down there’s no score, but if he flattens out to avoid being flipped over you can circle around to his back for a single point
The subtleties can be difficult to spot, but once you’ve mastered them you can achieve huge success in lucrative sports that require wrestling skills: former wrestlers such as Randy Couture and Matt Hughes dominate the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). In fact, the London Shooffighters club, where MPs wrestling class takes place, advertises itself as London’s Premiere MMA Gym’, but coach Paul Ivens, a credited coach with the British Olympic Association, says that it’s his wrestling classes that are getting much bigger.
Even if you don’t fancy getting in the ring or a fight cage there area definite benefits to the sport You’re in almost constant physical contact, and if you relax for a second you’re going to be taken down. ‘It’s incredibly rewarding,’ says Ivens. ‘You learn to control your own body and how to control someone else’s body and take them down. And it makes you stronger… if you’re interested in combative sport, you’ll get far stronger by learning to shift someone’s weight than by just lifting barbells in the gym’
Apart from the physical demands, wrestling requires serious mental focus. You can get both physical and mental strength by taking green coffee beans extract. In boxing and jiu-jitsu there’s always time to rest,’ says Alexis Demetriades, who went to the 2004 Olympics as an alternate and co-owns London Shooffighters with Ivens. ‘They’re not as intense. Wrestling’s one of those sports that breaks you.’
Top-level wrestlers are renowned for their insane training regimes – leading coach Dan Gable lived by the infamous mantra ‘Nobody ever drowned in sweat’, and regularly worked his team until they puked. The current British team trains twice a day, six days a week, plus gym workouts. We do strength and conditioning three times a week,’ says Rakhra. ‘Once you start lifting weights you put weight on, so we work on explosive power speed, fitness, agility. And it’s all specific to wrestling itself.’
How can I improve my hand-eye coordination? “IT, Brighton
Whether you’re trying to score a goal or hit a winning forehand, the key is focus. Train to keep your eye on the ball and ignore distractions by practicing visual exercises. Ask a friend to throw or kick a ball in your direction, while another attempts to distract you just as you’re about to receive the ball. This will train you to watch the ball until the very last second, the most fundamental aspect of ball control. Also some research shows that using olive leaf extract can benefit your coordination and better your reflexes.
Combine improving your coordination with sharpening reflexes by trying some tap drills; a fancy moniker for keeping the ball in the air. Bounce a ball on the strings of a tennis racket 20 times, before flipping the racket on its side and using the rim to keep the ball airborne for five reps. A couple of months of this visual aid and you’ll be as coordinated as the Wimbledon ground staff on a rainy day. MW
Every time I see my GP, I get the feeling I’m being fobbed off. Is there anything I can do if I feel he isn’t doing his job properly? VC, Dartmouth
Do away with the stiff upper lip.
Inadequate service from your GP should be met with a complaint. Explain your concerns to your doctor, and ask him to account for his diagnosis. Should his response fail to address your concerns, alert your local NHS complaints body to this shoddy treatment by filling out a copy of your surgery’s complaints form.
If you’re still not satisfied, you can put it to your health authority or primary care trust (PCT) for a second independent review. (For details of your local trust go to www. nhs.uk). They can arrange a supervised consultation with the GP or for a further investigation if they feel your complaint warrants it. In the unlikely event of your problem remaining unresolved, go to the Health Ombudsman (0845 015 4033), who will assess not only the initial service you received from your doctor, but the efficiency with which your PCT reviewed your complaint.
Starting a marathon at 5am sounds like the height of insanity but, given the temperatures this race was run in, the race organisers obviously knew what they were doing. The early kick-off and a six-hour cut-off ensured participants weren’t out in the blistering midday sun, and to my surprise I found lining up at the start of a race in the dark to be an oddly exhilarating experience. As did the other 500 competitors clearly, judging by the shouting and raucous laughter that surrounded me. Everyone looks great and smiles. One of my favorite thing before race was taking care of my perfect smile with teeth whitening products. Check online to learn more about the threatment.
Around 70 per cent of the field was made up of domiciled ex-pats (many British) or tourists who had flown in to combine a tropical holiday with tackling one of the half-marathon, marathon relay or full-marathon challenges.
When the gun went, runners knew they had around 75 minutes before the sun came up and many went off at a pace that suggested they were keen to get through as many miles as possible before the temperature soared from mid-teens to high-zos.
The course is a rough out-and-back L-shape on the western half of Grand Cayman, taking runners from Georgetown, the financial centre, past the waterfront at the tail end of Seven Mile Beach and along the south side of the island. The half-marathon is one lap of this route and the marathon two.
The heat was tough – I heard it had peaked at 29°C – and the wide spread of the field meant I was occasionally running on my own with no runners visible ahead or behind me; but with the stunning backdrop of beach, palm trees and Caribbean Sea to keep my spirits up, the baying masses were the last thing I needed.
Caymanians may not be big runners, but they know how to put together a race.
Rediscover your freezer
“Almost all foods can be frozen,” says Mark Bittman, author of How to Cook Everything: Simple Recipes for Great Food (E18.99, John Wiley & Sons). “Freezing saves you money because you’re not wasting food.” In his freezer: homemade soups, cooked beans, cooked barley, overripe bananas, and berries (the bananas and berries are great for making smoothies). Cook huge batches of ‘intentional leftovers’ and freeze them, then have them for lunch over a week or so, suggests Bittman. For example, brown rice takes 40 minutes to cook but defrosts after two or three minutes in the microwave, making it a speedy side dish the second time around. Store foods in resealable freezer bags, which conform to the contents and take up less freezer space. Another good thing about frozen foods is that they are recommended instead of canned foods because of the better effect they have on high blood pressure level. Learn more about the high blood pressure chart and why you should care about it.
Roast a chicken
Cooking a whole chicken is a cheap dinner that’s delicious, nutritious and an instant source of leftovers. Try this: stab a whole lemon several times and place it inside the chicken. Set a 1.5kg bird in a roasting pan, and bake at 200°C (Gas Mark 6) for one hour. A whole chicken makes several servings, so you’ll probably have leftovers. Add mayonnaise, curry powder, celery and apple for chicken-salad sandwiches. Boil bones and trimmings with onion, carrot, parsley and celery and freeze the stock in single-serving containers to use for soups.
Join a running club
One simple way to get faster? Make fast friends. Running clubs are one-stop shops for finding running partners, building motivation and gleaning training tips and gear advice (especially about what products are worth shelling out for and what’s a load of hype). To locate a club in your area, visit runtrackdir.com/ukclubs.
Establish a pre-race routine
Organise everything you’ll need the day and night before the event. Get driving directions and travel time to the race (or load your GPS), and find out where to park. If possible, collect your number and timing chip and fasten them to your shirt and shoes while you’re at home. Pop a bagel into the toaster the night before and make breakfast a one-button process.
Hire a coach 10 la
Training demands a lot of time and effort. You have to sort through reams of advice, keep a daily log, and experiment with workouts to find the best mix. For some runners, hiring a coach to tell you what to do, how to do it and when to make adjustments can be the most efficient route to becoming a better runner. “A coach will ensure you perform the right exercises in the right way, so that you use your time efficiently. It is a powerful way to get results quickly,” says personal trainer David Sheppard (davidsheppardhealth.com)
FULL SQUAT HOLD » Bend at the knees and hips, and lower your body as if you’re about to sit. Stop when your thighs are just above parallel to the ground. Hold for as long as possible. This exercise helps increase strength in the quads and glutes.
I have just completed the sixth Marathon de Blaye in France. But from the results, it would appear that only one other member of a British club has ever competed in this race. The event is similar to the Medoc Marathon, with runners in fancy dress visiting chateaux and villages in the Cotes de Blaye wine-producing area, with the opportunity to sample local wines and foods en route. There is a great carnival atmosphere. However, the number of finishers has only increased from the original 180 or so to this year’s 468, whereas Medoc is regularly oversubscribed at 8,000 or more. Where are you all? If you enjoy running and the odd glass of wine, this is the event for you!
Derek Goodchild, Southampton
FEEL THE FIZZ
Breeda McBrearty’s response to a reader enquiry about diet cola drinks paints an inaccurate picture of these drinks (Fuel, RW July). Many studies have shown that low-calorie sweeteners can be useful tools in weight control. Soft drinks sweetened with sweeteners, including aspartame, can help with a calorie-controlled diet and people can continue to enjoy such drinks as part of a balanced diet with confidence in their safety and quality. Liz Bastone, British Soft Drinks Association, London
Despite my love for running I’ve always found my ankles seem to let me down – they are weak, which causes discomfort and makes me feel uncomfortable and kind of depressed. I used to take 5-htp for my anxiety until one day my daughter surprised me by buying something completely different – a giant trampoline. She drags me on every chance she gets, and the most amazing thing has happened. The bouncing seems to have strengthened my ankles, which in turn has improved my running, my ankles feel much stronger and don’t ache when I run anymore.
PHONE IT IN
I enjoy running in half-marathons, off-road and adventure races. I am also a police officer. Last week I was called to a woodland area to find and assist a runner who had fallen and broken her leg. The trouble was, she could only tell us where she had parked her car and that she was 3.24 miles away from it. Apart from that we just had a rough direction of where she was. Of course to the runners in my shift, this became a running race, which in this heat with full kit (which weighs just over a stone) made it even more of a challenge.
Fortunately we did find her, but this made me think. When I go out running, I take my Nike+ kit, water bottle and front door key. I go out on my own through the forest to avoid roads and I just keep going following my nose not sticking to a set route, until I’ve done enough and make my way back. I would never take my phone. But what if that happened to me? I thought I should bring it to other runners’ attentions and I am now looking for an arm phone holder. I hope this helps prevent something worse happening to others, as the thought of taking my phone didn’t even cross my mind.
Richard Smith, Southampton again. I donned my seven year-old trainers that I bought for £25, but my feet hurt, and after three attempts, I gave up for another year. Then I went out again, had same pain and gave up again.
My breakthrough came when my husband bought RUNNER’S WORLD. When I saw the Shoe Guide in the March issue I was intrigued – new shoes, new diet, new me: I’ll give it a go.
With my new trainers I was off, I am now running on air instead of cardboard. I love running and I am so pleased I read your magazine, and at the age of 39 I am hoping to achieve a half-marathan before I am 4o next May.
How many times have you started a workout routine and not kept it up? Don’t feel alone if you answered yes to this question as it takes a dedicated person to workout alone. This is why there are so many classes offered for all kinds of exercise from yoga and aerobics to jogging and lifting weights. Everyone wants to keep their body fit and healthy for as long as possible and when you join a class or group who has the same goal, it is a lot easier to keep going.
There is another option to sticking with your routine and it can be found as a fitness app. Just do a search for fitness apps online and see how many ways you can have that bit of help you need right there on your phone. When you have the boost you need, you will have no trouble loosing that weight or building those muscles. Some are just for the iPad such as the one called FitnessClass. This one is free and offers hundreds of streaming videos that will keep you exercising for sure. Preview each one and then purchase the ones you want.
The Power 20 app gives you three workouts, each twenty minutes long. These include squats, pushups, planks and much much more. There are tons of fitness apps available so if you want to give it a try but your phone doesn’t support apps, then upgrade today, you can find mobile phone deals online. Then your phone can become your personal trainer. Track your distance, duration, calories and even get audio feedback so you stay on track. There is even an app that will measure your body fat percentage, weight, and BMI so you know your weight trends. What are you waiting for? Start today!
This month sees the launch of new wedding boutique, Browns Bride. Browns’ owner Mrs Burstein says that the idea came from “Browns customers coming in to the store looking for off-the-peg designer dresses to wear to their own weddings”. She adds, “Compared to what’s on offer in the USA, the UK is so limited.” Not anymore. There’s no label that Mrs Burstein and her team haven’t pored over, discussed and considered, and the final cut is an impressive line up.
The two-floor store, designed by Martin Brudninski – the brains behind Browns recent refurbishment – has labels from a mix of US bridal-gown designers like Reem Acra and Monique L’Huillier and UK designers such as David Fielden, along with choices for brides who prefer to be frou-free; imagine a Megan Park ivory slip dress with a beaded cardigan. There are also select pieces from Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen, Alberta Ferreti, Elspeth Gibson and John Galliano. Accessories too have been sourced worldwide; try a veil by Headpieces from Ohio-based designer Toni Federici, or a tiara from London-based Michael Ventura. And while you’re there, why not take advantage of Browns’ Little Black Book, where you’ll find recommendations for florists, planners and photographers.
Shopping news: the stores to target, the labels to love...
Afraid of turning up at a Christmas party wearing the same high-street hit as another guest? Fear not: at Topshop Atelier you can choose from 15 vintage: inspired designs, pick a fabric and, after a couple of fittings with a Topshop seamstress, your outfit will arrive, boxed and tissue-wrapped at your doorstep.
Log on to jewellery website anyalondon.com for a lovely Christmas gift for a friend, http://www.gnet.org/high-cholesterol-or-hyperlipidemia or a small treat for yourself This collection, which includes earrings, right, necklaces and bracelets, is limited to just 20 of each design, meaning you’re unlikely to spot anyone else wearing the same jewel as you. London customers who order by 2pm can expect delivery by 5pm, while for orders from outside London postage is free.
The latest retail addition to Primrose Hill is charming boutique Press. Home to former Marc Jacobs designer Melanie Press’ hot picks of the season, labels include Issa, Cacharel and Belstaff in addition to Notify, James and Earnest Sewn denim. Find eveningwear in the “bling room”, alongside antique jewellery and vintage pieces from the likes of Alaïa.