Afghanistan’s Wakhan Corridor
Afghanistan’s Kyrgyz nomads survive in one of the most remote, high-altitude, bewitching landscapes on Earth. It’s a heavenly life—and a living hell.
A book of Matthieu Paley’s photographs of the Kyrgyz, “Pamir: Forgotten on the Roof of the World” was published in October by La Martinière in French and Knesebeck in German. He is trying to get it printed in English, too.
[Credit : Matthieu Paley]
At night, after the exhausting games of canasta, we would look out over the immense sea, full of white-flecked and green reflections, the two of us leaning side by side on the railing, each of us far away, flying in his own aircraft to the stratospheric regions of our own dreams. There we understood that our vocation, our true vocation, was to move for eternity along the roads and seas of the world. Always curious, looking into everything that came before our eyes, sniffing out each corner but only ever faintly - not setting down roots in any land or staying long enough to see the substratum of things; the outer limits would suffice.”
— Ernesto Che Guevara, The Motorcycle Diaries
Pictured: A man pumping water from the river, Ningxia province. (Photo: Zhang Kechun)
Chengdu-based photographer Zhang Kechun spent two years photographing from the banks of China’s Yellow River. Though the lunar tones and low horizons feel foreboding, Zhang insists the photos carry a message of hope. See the project on LightBox.
Photograph by Paolo Pellegrin, National Geographic
A window reflects an image of Fidel Castro in a working-class Havana neighborhood few tourists see.
With all of these pictures of the Olympics floating around, it begs the question, what kind of shape are former Olympic cities in?
Jamie McGregor Smith explored the ruins of Athen’s 2004 Olympic development, discovering beauty in a desolate place.
via The NY Times
Kyoto in a word is: great. The sheer number of shrines, temples, and other cultural sites in one place is astounding, and it’s all beautiful. There is too much to do, and I’m not sure you can ever do it all. My favorites definitely included Arashiyama, a western district with bamboo, temples, and monkeys; Fushimi-inari, a 4km torii-lined shrine walk; and visiting nearby Nara, with so many deer and the biggest Buddha in Japan. I was sad to go, but tomorrow I am going to the Studio Ghibli museum, so I’m excited!!
Guys. I fell in love in Hiroshima. Naturally, it was with a food. Hiroshima style okonomiyaki. And yes, when you eat it, sweet love music plays just like in this video.
When Americans travel abroad, they are often surprised at how well other countries do the things we used to think America does best. In fact, one reason so many American businesses still lead the world is because they benchmark the competition and emulate best practices. But suggest to an American politician that we should try to learn from other countries, and he will look at you like you are from Mars. It is somehow unpatriotic even to raise such comparisons.
Imagine if a politician were to say, “France has a better health care system than we do.” I can almost guarantee that politician would suffer electoral defeat — even though the statement, in most objective respects, is true. The U.S. is, for too many, the only country that matters; experiences anywhere else are irrelevant. Remember, we have many members of Congress who boast they have no passport.
At a time when many trend lines in the U.S. point to relative decline in this regard, one actually brings hope: More and more young Americans go abroad for some of their education.
Read more. [Image: jbachman01/Flickr]
I was just thinking on the train yesterday how embarrassing America’s rail system is and how embarrassing we are at frankly a lot of other things, and wondering how the world lets us get away with invading other people’s countries and bossing them around when we are clearly not number one anymore, and thinking about how nothing will ever change because too many Americans can’t help but see Europeans as moral-less commies.
This article contemplates these things well.
Japan - Hida Mts
Set up camp for a few days at a ryokan in Hida-Takayama, which was awesome. The ryokan was a great experience, and the area was so beautiful and luscious. My favorites were visiting Shirakawa-go, a World Heritage traditional gassho-house farming village, and Kamikochi, a hiking base in the Hida Mountains (the central “Japanese Alps”), where I got to be in beautiful nature and stalk wild Japanese macaques that were running around all over the place. Best!