Rudy Maxa's World
Building on his past seasons of travel shows featuring Europe and the Pacific Rim, award-winning travel journalist Rudy Maxa broadens his horizons, and those of his audience. In this series, Rudy offers his sophisticated take on a destination's history, culture, architecture, politics and cuisine, while also turning a journalistic eye to the people and lifestyles of Russia, Estonia, Turkey, India, Argentina, Japan and Thailand.
Istanbul, Turkey (#103) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Everywhere in the Turkish capital is evidence of civilizations that tried to tame it. From the Romans to the Ottomans, this tumultuous city has seen it all, and its architecture, cuisine, and customs reflect that reality. Here, Christianity and Islam have their touchstones, and the cliche that "East meets West" at the Bosporus is a truism. Rudy tries to avoid buying a Turkish carpet - he admits he's powerless to visit Istanbul without returning home with a rug - but, as usual, he fails. Prowl some of the Grand Bazaar's 2000 shops and spend some time with a professional shopper who teaches travelers the fine art of haggling. And can those Turkish carpets tell stories? Many do - stories of love and despair are woven in wool and color. Rudy gets steamed and scrubbed in a 16th century hammam, or public bath, and tours some of the world's great buildings - Topkapi Palace, the Aya Sofia, the Blue Mosque, and the downtown Spice Market. Be hypnotized by Whirling Dervishes, charmed by the Iznik art of ceramics, and learn how to buy a - carpet.
Turkey's Turquoise Coast (#104) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Viewers will be forgiven for thinking the southern Turkish coast on the Mediterranean Sea more closely resembles the Italian countryside or Greek islands. That's because the best Greek and Roman ruins are found in Turkey. Great, ancient towns of Ephesus, Antalya, Myra and Dalyan dot the Turkish coast, tempting visitors to step back into time when lavish Roman homes and markets dotted the landscape. Boarding a gulet, the traditional wooden Turkish boat, for a Blue Cruise, Rudy departs from the popular seaside town of Bodrum for a watery visit along the coast with stops to tour dramatic, historic ruins.
Bangkok, Thailand (#105) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The capital of Thailand appears the capital of pandemonium, its streets filled with tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis, cars and 12 million people. But the Thais have mastered the art of creating tranquility behind closed doors, whether in homes, hotels or temples. Rudy takes you to back streets and the quiet, residential klongs, or canals, of Bangkok. Visits to Bangkok's legendary food carts and markets reveal the real city that captures the affection of visitors who take the time to seek out what makes Bangkok special. Marvel at the Emerald Buddha (made no less spectacular by the fact it's really jade), visit the city's flower and fish markets, join locals offering incense and flowers at colorful outdoor shrines, celebrate the king's 80th birthday with an all-day and all-night party, and take a wooden boat along the city's main artery, the wide Chao Phraya river. A side trip takes viewers to the world's only outdoor market whose vendors must fold back their displays 16 times a day as a train passes through the heart of commerce, missing vegetables, meats, and fish by inches.
Thailand, Golden Triangle (#106) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Tea plantations have replaced the opium fields in northern Thailand, but dense jungle still covers much of the area where Thailand borders Burma and Laos. Visit an Akha hill tribe village trying to maintain its traditions in the face of tourism. Meet elephants rescued from life in Bangkok at an elephant orphanage. Join Rudy as he takes mahout lessons and gets soaked steering his elephant into the river that separates Thailand from Burma. Explore the small villages that mark this part of the country and meet a Buddhist monk who uses horses, martial arts, and religion to steer young men away from the temptations of drugs being produced across the border in Burma. The saffron robes of Buddhist monks, the vivid colors of local blossoms, and the brilliant emerald of rice fields make the Golden Triangle a magical corner of the world.
Thailand, Andaman Islands (#107) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
Some of the world's most beautiful waters and beaches await visitors to southern Thailand, where the names of Andaman Coast towns such as Phuket are well known to backpackers and sun seekers. But there's more to this 16-million-year-old ecosystem than just golf and sunbathing. Dramatic limestone cliffs and rock formations jut from translucent waters of Phang-nga Bay; join Rudy as he paddles through hidden entrances of small islands to find mangroves few people ever see. Meet locals in a seaside village devastated by the recent tsunami as they struggle to rebuild by offering sustainable tourism and home stays to visitors.
Estonia (#108) Duration: 26:46 STEREO TVG
The old town in the capital city of Talinn is Europe's best-restored medieval town with streets and buildings that recall the days of the Hanseatic League but whose cafes, art galleries, hotels, and restaurants today appeal to both sophisticated as well as first-time travelers. Venture into the countryside of Estonia, to the large island of Saaremaa and the much smaller island of Muhu, where you'll find windmills, thatch-roofed farmhouses and quiet waters. Of special interest is a candid interview with Mart Laar, the prime minister who took over a country that was an economic and psychological basket case following the withdrawal of Soviet troops and-with the help of a flat tax-turned Estonia into one of Europe's most dynamic and forward-thinking little countries.