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The World Nomad Games! What?

Posted by on 9:30 pm in Culture | 4 comments

The World Nomad Games!  What?

Fred was leading a delegation to Uzbekistan in August this year when he learned of the World Nomad Games taking place the following week in next-door Kyrgyzstan. Sharon had lived in Kyrgyzstan for two years back in the 1990’s, with Fred as a frequent visitor.  Both fell in love with this small, poor, mountainous country with more horses that people.  It was an easy decision to add a week to his trip to take in those games embracing and extolling the nomadic culture of Central Asia. As Fred researched the games, it quickly became clear...

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What Has Happened to Uzbekistan ?

Posted by on 2:59 am in Culture | 18 comments

What Has Happened to Uzbekistan ?

What has happened to Uzbekistan?  Recent headlines note it is “one of the 12 happiest places in the world”.  Lonely Planet lists it as one of the three “must see” destinations of 2018.  Another notes it is “one of the ten safest places to travel”. Fred recently traveled to Uzbekistan with a small Seattle/Tashkent Sister-City delegation celebrating the 45th anniversary of the oldest sister-city relationship between a Soviet and a U.S. city.  He was flabbergasted. Fred and Sharon have lived in and visited...

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Mountain Music

Posted by on 1:21 am in Music concerts | 9 comments

Mountain Music

This blog, unusually, is about a US trip, not an international trip.  In June we went to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the high mountains of southwest Colorado.  This festival at 9,000 feet has been attracting bluegrass music fans for 45 years. Fred’s college roommate Bill and his wife, Marsha, have gone to Telluride many times, and were great to make all the arrangements.   Over 10,000 of your closest friends attend this festival, so prior planning year in advance is essential.  We scored festival tickets a year ago and were not...

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A Trip to Remote Antarctica

Posted by on 3:21 pm in Antarctica Majestic | 16 comments

A Trip to Remote Antarctica

A trip to Antarctica is on every traveler’s “bucket list”… and a trip that takes you south of the Antarctic Circle is an even finer “bucket”.  Such cruises are not for the budget traveler, but who could resist when we kept hearing that the place was melting?   We thought we had better get down to see it before it was gone.  Well, we can tell you that even though it IS melting, there is still a lot of ice left. All cruises to the Antarctic occur during the southern summer, when sea ice is at its least dense....

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The Dzongs (?) of Bhutan

Posted by on 10:07 pm in Culture, Travel | 4 comments

The Dzongs (?) of Bhutan

Our earlier blog talked a bit about Bhutan and how to get there. The latest government pro-tourism project is called, “Why not Bhutan?” The tiny country is now pretty well set up for “high value” (or high cost) and low-impact tourism. A variety of tour companies run treks in the country, though no mountaineering is allowed…in respect for the deities who inhabit the 7,000 meter peaks. We decided on the more usual visit of hitting the three main tourist spots, all centered around western Bhutan. Although the...

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The Last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom: Bhutan

Posted by on 4:07 pm in Antarctica Majestic, Shopping Overseas, Travel | 12 comments

The Last Himalayan Buddhist Kingdom: Bhutan

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 judged for its contribution to the “Gross National Happiness” of the Bhutanese people. Still, we were...

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The New “Great Game” on the Silk Road

Posted by on 4:25 pm in Travel | 6 comments

The New “Great Game” on the Silk Road

The 19th century “Great Game”,  the subject of Kipling’s classic book “Kim,”  referred to the geopolitical jousting between Czarist Russia,  busy expanding into Central Asia, and Great Britain, long established on the Indian subcontinent. The two great powers almost came to blows along their common border in the high Pamir Mountains.   They finally agreed to give a buffer zone to Afghanistan to lessen the chance of inadvertent war between themselves.   That buffer, the Wahkon Corridor, is a finger of Afghanistan...

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The neatest place you have never heard of: Tajikistan

Posted by on 9:24 pm in Travel | 15 comments

The neatest place you have never heard of:  Tajikistan

Why go to Tajikistan? In the 1990’s Fred served at the U.S. Embassy in Tajikistan, while Sharon served at the Embassy in Kyrgyzstan. Sharon’s country seemed like a happy Dr. Seuss country, while Fred’s was embroiled in a nasty civil war.   This conflict had transformed the USSR’s best mountain adventure destination into a no-go zone with landlines littering once-pristine trekking routes in the high Pamir mountains…home to numerous peaks over 6 and 7,000 meters. After peace came in 1997, the two of us often...

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Argentina’s Clever Orcas: Part Two

Posted by on 3:28 pm in Travel | 5 comments

Argentina’s Clever Orcas:  Part Two

Seeing the clever Orca “Killer Whales” of Peninsula Valdes has long been on our bucket list of things to do.  Our last blog talked about visiting the Southern Right Whales’ breeding grounds around Peninsula Valdes, and this second part centers on another fascinating whale-watching reason to stop here – – its unique Orca population. In addition to Southern Right Whales and Orcas, the Peninsula Valdes  marine nature reserve, which is the highlight of the Atlantic coast of Patagonia, is also home to other beautiful...

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Whales in Patagonia – Part One

Posted by on 1:47 am in Travel | 5 comments

Whales in Patagonia – Part One

We love whales.  We live in Langley on Whidbey Island and regularly see both Orcas (Killer Whales) and Gray Whales from the deck of our house. We are involved in Orca Network’s Langley Whale Center, and haven’t hesitated to travel to see whales in Maui, Mexico, Oregon and Maritime Canada.  So it will be no surprise that one of the reasons for the Lundahls visiting Patagonia was for the chance to see whales on the Peninsula Valdes. Seeing whales is all about catching them at the right spot during their annual migrations....

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