And here’s something for the weird and wonderful category. There are, indeed, still places on this planet that have little or no contact with the rest of the world. Here’s a brief look at the history of one of those places: North Sentinel Island. It has a reputation for being the “most dangerous” island in the world. After watching this video, you should get a sense of how it has earned that reputation. (h/t to Annie L.) [Read more…]
As I mentioned last time, and in the great words of lyricist Sammy Kahn: “It very nice to go trav’lin’ … but it’s oh so nice to come home.” That’s especially true when you live in one of the most magnificent and temperate places on the planet.
It’s natural that whenever anyone travels to other places folks who live there always want to know where the traveler is from. When I’m the traveler and I tell them I live in southern California – and in San Diego, no less – the response is often something along the lines of, “It’s so beautiful there; why do you bother to leave?” My answer, by the way, is always: “Just to see how things are different elsewhere.”
Sometimes, I’ll grab my camera and spend some time walking around San Diego as if it were a city I was visiting. I try looking at familiar things and scenes like they were new to me. [Read more…]
The month of August means vacation all across Europe. Most of the EU nations have legal provisions allowing workers up to four weeks of vaycay yearly, and many workers traditionally take it during August.
Of course, that’s ironic for Americans who don’t know better and go on their summer vacations to Europe in August. I was one of them on my first trip there. Before I learned about “shoulder seasons”.
While many of these images weren’t made during August, here’s a glimpse of what you might find walking the streets of any of these places on any day if you were to do a whirlwind European tour this month. I’ve arranged them roughly north to south; west to east. [Read more…]
Just a short little video with some relaxing drone footage of a lake in Thailand known for its red lotus flowers. [Read more…]
“Etla Crucero, Etla Crucero!” From the organized chaos of Oaxaca’s El Central transportation hub men and boys shout out the various destinations of collective taxis and city buses. They always sound so persuasive that the traveler has to fight back the urge to blurt, “You know what? The heck with that doctor’s appointment, I’m going to Etla!”
El Central is just one node in a hybrid web of long distance and city buses, collective taxis, and mototaxis–enclosed motor scooters with space for two or three in back–that connects the towns and cities of the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca with an efficiency, frequency, and economy that leaves states like California in the dust. [Read more…]
In Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Marco Polo explains, “In Maurilia, the traveler is invited to visit the city and, at the same time, to examine some old postcards that show it as it used to be … If the traveler does not wish to disappoint the inhabitants, he must praise the postcard city and prefer it to the present one, though he must be careful to contain his regret at the changes within definite limits.”
For the traveler visiting Oaxaca, the southern Mexican city differs from Maurilia in at least two respects. First, the historic center of Oaxaca appears not to have changed at all, for at least a century. The narrow streets packed with buildings built to a human scale hold businesses that open onto the sidewalk. If the traveler could find a postcard from 1918 and compare it to a postcard from today all that would be different is the clothing styles of the pedestrians.
“No question, the life of the Mexican free dog—we prefer the term ‘free’ to ‘street’—has never been an easy one.”
One look at the goateed philosopher who growled these words revealed their truth. Max looks like a small mop that hasn’t seen water in a while. Where the fur ends and actual flesh or even bone begins could itself be a philosophical question. Max is the leader of a pack—a not particularly ferocious, self-selected group of three, sometimes four canines of uncertain and utterly unrelated blood lines.
They roam the streets of Santa Isabel Etla, a smallish town in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. The pack’s foundational compact proclaims their geographic range as running from the Collectivo stand to the Municipal Market. However, like much of the Mexican Constitution and Greek claims to the name of Macedonia, the compact is more aspirational than real as business owners, waiters, and various other two leggeds are constantly challenging the pack’s right to patrol or even exist in their own land. [Read more…]
Editor’s Note: SDFP Contributor Nat Krieger is currently traveling in Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico.
What is human dignity, and where can it be found? There seem to be as many answers as there are questions. Bob Dylan had a “fat man lookin’ in a blade of steal, thin man lookin’ at his last meal…for dignity.” In a 1998 communique the Zapatistas asserted that:
“Dignity is that nation without nationality, that rainbow that is also a bridge, that murmur of the heart no matter what blood lives in it, that rebel irreverence that mocks borders, customs, and wars.”
Wandering with a Zapatista guide around the rain lashed EZLN caracole of Oventic you see almost immediately that you’re in a place dedicated to building human dignity, a zone of soft spoken autonomy and rebellion unlike anywhere this reporter has ever been. [Read more…]
By Nat Krieger
Editor’s Note: SDFP Contributor Nat Krieger is traveling in Oaxaca and Chiapas, Mexico.
No matter where you travel in the world, the people who stand guard at borders nearly all share the look. Their uniforms vary, dark blue or green are especially popular, but they usually have the look. Maybe they learn the look in border guard training, or maybe they get the job because they already have it. Along with the look — hard, distant, with generous or soupçon annoyance — comes the voice, hard, distant, with generous or….
You get the idea. If you use our local border crossings you probably already know about the look, and the voice. [Read more…]
While Mexico is world famous for its cuisine, many Mexicans look to the state of Oaxaca as having the best food in the republic. Oaxacans do it all, from tejate “the drink of the gods” to mole, and from toasted chapulines (grasshoppers) a very BC (Before Conquest) dish, to amazing hot chocolate. All these specialties have Amerindian culinary and linguistic roots, but Oaxacans also have a way of adding cinnamon, among other ingredients, to make their chocolate drink second to none. [Read more…]
By Michael-Leonard Creditor
A long-ago traveling companion taught me that you couldn’t truly know a route until you’ve traveled it in both directions. I’ve experienced the truth of this many times in ways both large and small. It was demonstrated again on this journey. Having seen and noted the geology and topography on the trip north, I was now more ready to really observe the differences and changes I’d see on the way back.
It wasn’t long after Totality ended that vehicles began exiting the campground. The reason, we reasoned, was that some folks had long drives home ahead of them to get to work on Tuesday. We had the luxury of being able to take our time, and the need to stop again in Casper for fuel, before heading out on our return journey. [Read more…]
By Michael-Leonard Creditor
We spent the second night at a place called Point of Rocks. It’s really just a truck stop, right off the interstate, but it has a neat name. It turned out that Arline wasn’t as comfortable as I’d been the night before. She wanted to be among other vehicles and people. Any noises during the night, from the nearby freeway or from trucks moving around the area, were no intrusion to a peaceful night for us both.
The little café attached to the truck stop office/store didn’t look appetizing as we drove by, so I elected to “drive down the road a bit” to another eatery. Little did I realize that next stop would be Rawlins, 80 miles “down the road”!
The eatery, once we got there, turned out to be totally worth it. Right off the freeway exit, Cappy’s was once a BJs Brewhouse. I guess it wasn’t urban enough for BJs, but it seemed just fine on this day-before-eclipse Sunday. [Read more…]