Archive for the 'International' category

Mt. Emei, Sichuan

OK, so the pictures uploaded in reverse order… but you get the idea. The temple at the “Golden Peak” sits at over 3,000 meters. The map said I hiked over 15 kilometers from the base to the top… my legs sure felt like it. I stayed at a hotel near the summit and hiked up the next morning for the sunrise.

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The climate in this part of Sichuan is very humid, even in February, and although it wasn’t particularly cold, the wet air made it easy to get a chill.

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Above the clouds on Mt. Emei.

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Locals wandered the streets of Emei Town outside the park selling pairs of small steel spikes that hikers could tie on the bottom of their shoes. I bought a pair, assuming it was just a tourist thing. But it turns out they were completely necessary once I approached the summit, where the snow had packed down on the stone stairs, becoming a virtual ice slide.

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The predawn hike up the final few kilometers was completely worth it, as the sun rose up and across the mountains, illuminating the sea of clouds below.

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Monkeys in the monestary. Emei mountain has several old Buddhist monestaries that perch on its cliffs. It also has an abundance of monkeys that have grown far too bold as local tourists throw food at them.

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The week before the Chinese New Year holiday, there were probably fewer fellow hikers than at any other time of the year.

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Qingdao

Eating the Turkey – a Retrospective

No, I consumed no turkey in Turkey. Chicken indeed, fish and olives in abundance, however.

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Local or Tourist?

Empires Come, Empires Go

The church on the cliff in Amasra, Turkey, on the Black Sea coast, was built in the early AD’s, then destroyed, rebuilt, then turned into a mosque, then back into a church, saw medieval castle walls rise around it and crumble away, and then turned into a mosque again.

Turkey’s Black Sea coast has patiently waited out the rise and fall of empires and civilizations, tribes and armies and kings and generals slaughtering and assimilating each other for control of heaven on earth ports, Amasra chief among them.
The Amazons, Phoenicians, Persians, Romans, Byzantines, and Ottomans have all come and gone.
Today, for the few months of summer anyway, Amasra is a coveted refuge away from the realities of Turkish life (few foreigners seem to holiday here), with a thriving industry of fish restaurants and beach chair renters, and UNESCO World Heritage medieval ruins.
If only I had more than two days.

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Ballooning in Cappadocia

… But worth the steep ticket price. Unique geography, and human history stretching millennia. Anatolia, Turkey.

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The Turks In Turkey

That is Ted. That is not a Turk. But it is in Turkey. Istanbul.
The cliche “east meets west” romanticization is in fact quite accurate, Persian rugs draped across Byzantine era stone rooms that now house Italian cafes.

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Istanbul isn’t all Byzantine churches and ottoman mosques, though there’s plenty of that.

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There’s also classy restaurants on the Bosporus or in Nevizade, modern art museums and hipster bars.

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Nanjing: City Walls and College Towns

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Breaching the City Walls

The old walls and massive gates of Beijing’s Forbidden City, imposing as they are, were no match for the masses of mostly domestic tourists pouring in past the bronze studded red wooden doors and over the canal to get their piece of Ming/Qing Dynasty grandeur.

It turns out the Spring Festival is a very popular time for Chinese tourists to visit the Forbidden City

It turns out the Spring Festival is a very popular time for Chinese tourists to visit the Forbidden City

Massive red doors once kept the peasantry out, now the masses rub its armaments for good luck.

Massive red doors once kept the peasantry out, now the masses rub its armaments for good luck.

Fireworks were still randomly exploding around Beijing, but the wind was blowing and the sun was out, it was a fantastic day to walk those well worn stone steps.

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Forbidden City and city

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More Myanmar

Buddhas at Shwedagan Temple, Yangon

Buddhas at Shwedagan Temple, Yangon

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Teddy Bears

The teddy bear rugs must have been on sale when they were decorating this temple.


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