Our trip this October took us back to South Asia to visit old friends in both India and Nepal and to make new friends in Bhutan, a country we had never visited before. We found Delhi and Kathmandu as chaotic, bustling, polluted and wonderful as ever, and this made our stay in bucolic and unique Bhutan especially fun as a contrast. We had read a lot about this last of the Himalayan Buddhist kingdoms, where every policy decision is... Read More
During our recent trip to Patagonia, we visited both Chile and Argentina. We liked the flora, fauna and folks in both countries, but wondered why they have had so much trouble getting along throughout their history. Looking closely at a map–you notice that there is a section of their joint border in the southern Patagonian ice field, the third largest hunk of ice in the world, where they can’t agree on where the border... Read More
Mongolia is a wonderful country whose vast landscapes are scattered with round portable nomad tents. The majority of the Mongolian population call theirs “gers”, but the minority Kazakh people in far western Mongolia call theirs “yurts”. Kazakh yurts, however, should not be mistaken for Mongolian gers. There are a number of differences. The two nomadic dwellings rang from the same sources, but have developed... Read More
Mongolia is a vast country–13th largest in the world–with a small population–3 million. Of interest to the driver, is that it has fewer kilometers of road per person than any country in the world, and some of the worst urban traffic. Until the 1990’s virtually all vehicles, and there weren’t many, were of Russian manufacture. Now those old and patched-up Russian vehicles have migrated to the far... Read More
Fred and Sharon, former diplomats, have never lived in Mongolia. As a long-time repressive client state of the former Soviet Union, the U.S. didn’t even formally recognize the country until the late 1980’s. As a result, there was no U.S. Embassy in Ulaan Baatar (Red Hero) at which they could serve until too late in their careers. Fast forward into the 21st century, and the country had turned into a multi-party democratic... Read More
Poles are indomitable in spite of their past!