Cathedral Saint Alexandar Nevski in Sofia, Bulgaria
Bay of Kotor, Montenegro
Cruise ships pull into the Bay of Kotor and offload thousands of tourists into the small town. Tourism is a mixed blessing as it brings outside money to the area, yet the cruise ships are unsightly, loud, pollute, and the added tourists create congestion and more waste in the town.
Small cathedral inside the fortress in Niš, Serbia
This Skull Tower originally had 954 skulls on it built after a battle in 1809 was constructed as a symbol of victory and a deterrent for potential attackers - Niš, Serbia
Public basketball court in Perast, Montenegro
Gas station toilet in Morin, Kukës, Albania
Toilet in gas station bathroom above - Albania
Amazing mountains in northern Montenegro
Near Budva, Montenegro
Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Ruins from around the 6th century, eventually became part of the Byzantine Empire around the year 1000; Aquaduct that used to run water for about 3km - nearly two miles - Stari Grad, Bar, Montenegro
Family vineyard in the mountains of Montenegro
Tallinn, Estonia - Alexander Nevsky Cathedral - the domes are a symbol of power; and yes if you noticed it is the same exact name as the cathedral in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Beach in Svētciems, Latvia
Love locks on a pedestrian bridge in Riga, Latvia
Coastal wildlife refuge - Parnu Bay in the Gulf of Riga, essentially the Baltic Sea
Cobble stone streets and old fixtures - Riga, Latvia
Driving from Riga to Vilnius
Much of the drive from Tallinn to Riga was lined with walls of stick straight trees. I went out hiking and the ground reminded me of the peat moss in Alaska - the flies were bad but at least there were no mosquitos
Tallinn, Estonia - Gargoyle downspout. Interesting fact I learned when I was living in D.C. that the name gargoyle is from the sound water makes when it is going down and out of them - gargle, gargle, gargle
Street scene in Old Town Tallinn
Outside of Old Town, Tallinn is very modern
Tallinn, Estonia - a woman walking outside a modernly designed shopping mall
Riga, Latvia - Rooftop bars are very popular in the summer throughout the Baltics and Scandinavia
I had this obnoxiously purple beet soup throughout this region and it was amazing every time.
Belarus, small wooden foot bridges crossing the drainage ditch along a rural road. My best guess is that people use them to gather wood from the forest to use for heating their homes.
Helsinki Cathedral. Finland is quite different than Sweden and the language is more like Estonian. The UN recently reclassified Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as a region of Northern Europe, removing them from the region of Eastern Europe.
Stockholm, Sweden - cathedral in old town
Malmo, Sweden - the turning torso tower.
Nyhavn, Copenhagen, Denmark
Hallgrimskirkja Cathedral - Reykjavik, Iceland
Found a palm tree in Stockholm, Sweden
Basalt formations at Giant's Causeway - N. Ireland, these formed from volcanic fissure eruption and cracked in hexagonal shapes, there are roughly 40,000 of these columns here in Giant's Causeway.
Basalt formations along the southern coast of Iceland; like in Ireland, these were formed from lava cooling and cracking into these geometric shapes.
Black sand beach, Iceland
Copenhagen, Denmark - during the warm months people gather at the water's edge whether or not there's a traditional beach.
Helsinki, Finland - people gather at a boat dock as they would a beach
Helsinki, Finland - people flock to this floating dock
Wheelchair ramp in Helsinki, Finland, while I never saw a wheelchair on it I did see people using the ramp bikes
Vassa, Finland - Taking off at 2:01am - notice how light it is... Vassa is 63 degrees north so just south of the Arctic Circle
Christiania (Freetown Christiania); in Copenhagen, Denmark is an international commune of around 850 to 1,000 residents. It used to be self-regulated by those squatting there; however, now Danish laws apply to Christiania.
Derry, N. Ireland - the site of the "Troubles" ... Bloody Sunday was here in 1972 and now there are murals on many of the buildings.
Dublin, Ireland - shades of Irish greens are everywhere - even in the cities.
Sea cliffs in Northern Ireland
Sea cliffs in Iceland
Iceland has roughly 80,000 horses and with a total population of 300,000 people that's more than one horse to every four people.
Northern Greenland over the Arctic Ocean. Geographically Greenland is considered to be a part of North America; and is politically aligned to Denmark and identifies with a Northern European lifestyle.
near Snaefellsjokull, Iceland - the landscape is distinctive and boasts waterfalls around every turn.
A lot of parallels to popular fonts, packaging and colors to US companies.
London, U.K. - children are not a barrier to travel, in fact, I find it easier to travel with children than to stay at home with them. I travel frequently with my young boys (oftentimes alone) and they help me to see the world from a different perspective. I will continue to feed their young and curious minds with places around the world.
Annecy, France - while most people go to France to see Paris, I highly encourage visiting the smaller towns and villages to get a more thorough bath in French culture. Here fresh flowers line the walkways throughout the entire town.
Colmar, France - this small French town is near the German border and the architecture resembles that of Germany more than French.
McDonald's in Freiburg, Germany.
Innsbruck, Austria - view over the train station with a green roof and in the distance is the old Olympic ski jump venue (1976)
Arguably one of the best ways to see Europe is by train. The continent is so interconnected by railway and it is an easy and relaxing way to see the many countries of Europe.
Basel, Switzerland - Tuesday afternoon around 1:00pm along Rhine River: people drinking wine and beer in public; women breast-feeding in public; shorter work-days, more vacation days, free health care, mostly-free college education = this is essentially democratic socialism in a nut shell, oh and life-expectancy 82.7 (5th in the world), USA is 78.7 (34th in the world).
Ghent, Belgium - the bike culture throughout Europe is very apparent
Amsterdam, The Netherlands. There are 12 Administrative Provinces in The Netherlands and two of them contain the name Holland (North and South Holland); Amsterdam is in Noord Holland.
Houses in rural France near the Swiss border - I took this shot for because of the cat in the upper window
Rapeseed fields near Liechtenstein
Public toilet in Amsterdam - would you use this?
Houseboat in Amsterdam - a lot of people live in boats on the canals; there are also a lot available as Airbnb rentals if you want a unique place to stay.
Red Light District in Amsterdam - prostitution is legal in The Netherlands but not on the streets. That's why prostitutes stand up behind a window and have their own room. The name of "Red Light District" comes from the red neon lights that highlight the 300 windows where women are working; it is a regulated industry and workers pay taxes.
Locarno, Switzerland. This southern Swiss town sits adjacent to the border of Italy and while it was snowing this day there are plenty of palm trees dotting the lake.
Lugano, Switzerland - a lot of trees are pruned back this way across Europe, I've even seen this done in South America - notably Colonia, Uruguay, which has a Portuguese influence.
Germany - Teenagers hanging out on top of a pedestrian bridge over a road and train tracks
Insect in Switzerland - the back looks like a tribal mask; invasive species?
Camogli, Itlay - haven't heard of it, neither have most; it is on the other side of the peninsula from Portofino - equally as impressive and less expensive.
Southern Italy - people take advantage of the beach daily.
Santorini, Greece - tourism is the largest industry, followed by agriculture (there are several wineries). These popular Greek islands (Mykonos, Santorini and Crete) are starting to limit tourists due to supply and waste issues.
Lisbon, Portugal - equally as impressive as the Golden Gate Bridge in the background.
Genoa, Italy - statue of Christopher Columbus, while he often sailed from Portugal he was born in Genoa.
Andalusia, Spain - wind turbines dot the coastline as an effective and efficient form of renewable energy for the region.
Seville, Spain - rooftop views full of cathedrals, palm trees and even a bull-fighitng ring.
Cadiz, Spain - these small coastal villages still rely heavily on the fishing industry.
Gibraltar - is actually a British Overseas Territory located on Spain's south coast. It’s dominated by the Rock of Gibraltar, a 426m-high limestone ridge
Santorini, Greece - the blue and white combination of the architecture compliments the colors of the Greek flag and the preexisting colors in the islands became the strongest trademark of the Cycladic Islands. Since 1974, all new houses have had to be painted white
Athens, Greece - while there is a lot to see and do in Athens, I tell people that you can see all the popular attractions in a day (Acropolis, Parthenon, Temple of Zeus, etc...)
Southern Italy - it is very common to see clothes hanging outside of windows as most do not have dryers.
Seville, Spain - the Three Kings Parade is popular on January 6 every year. Here the children ride on the floats and throw candy to the adults (most of it remains in the street). It is not Santa Claus who brings gifts on Christmas Day. The tradition here in Spain is that Los Reyes Magos, known as the Three Wise Men or the Three Kings in English, bring Spanish children their gifts on the Day of the Epiphany, January 6th.
Street scene in southern Spain - orange trees and tiled buildings
Over the Azores - pilots' view.
Kathmandu, Nepal - an earthquake rattled Nepal in (April 2015) and remnants of the devastation are still abundant (15 months later) Nearly 9,000 people died and 40,000 children were either injured, orphaned or left homeless. Here a woman walks down a rubble-filled street carrying a child.
Kathmandu, Nepal - the sunlight illuminates the doorway where a family plays; with little access to electricity and restrictions throughout the city, many people spend time outside, looking out windows or sitting on doorsteps.
Thamel, Kathmandu - children playing on a side street with make shift toys (mostly trash).
Dusk in Khatmandu
Street food - vegetarian pancake
Basantapur Durbar Square - a dog awaits for some scraps from a local butcher, he received some moments after I took this shot
Buying my breakfast out of a blue bucket on the street... The police walked up to this man selling freshly squeezed juice and he was very stoic while he gave them "free" glasses of juice and they walked away, not paying and not even thanking. We noticed he was happy with every other customer including me. Police corruption; four police ended up getting free juice from this man. Two of the police also had received "free" breakfast from the blue bucket.
Market in central Kathmandu - I found that some market sold very specific products (this one sold only cooking oil); I waited patiently to have no people, mopeds, cars, motorcycles, trucks, dogs, etc... in this photo.
Thamel, Kathmandu - so many shop workers have beds in their shops.
Mass amounts of tangled electrical wires are everywhere throughout India, Nepal and Bangladesh; definitely not up to code.
Kathmandu - after 15 months many roads and alleys are still covered with debris from the earthquake.
Kathmandu - many buildings have poles supporting the structure - way too many to feel safe.
Traffic in South Asia is some of the worst I've seen. Very few if any stoplights or traffic signs, very little traffic control (only the major roads and that limited), people, cars, trucks, mopeds, bicycles, tuk-tuks, dogs and even cattle share the streets.
Many construction workers wear flip flops and work with very simple tools to do large projects.
Brick by brick - the man at the top was bringing bricks up one at a time on a rope and cementing them into place, a man below was helping.
A boy receives a haircut on the street.
Just walking with a refrigerator; walking with a sofa
Cattle and dogs wandering around an outdoor market
Colorful potato pasta
Kathmandu - a man walks his bicycle through the small tunnel walkways beneath buildings
Rural Nepal - sometimes people place baskets over chicks to keep them safe from overhead predators; the wingspan of this Griffon was more than 6 feet (nearly 2 meters)
Annapurna region of Nepal - such a valuable resource - each village has several water spigots where they collect water.
Family outside their house in a small village near Dhampus
Corn drying inside their kitchen, small attic, and outside windows.
Drying clothes in a rural village in the Annapurna region of Nepal.
Rural Nepal - Collecting grass using scythe... we saw women clearing entire fields with the small tools.
Funeral; they burn the body and then spread the ashes into the river. The Ganges River is the most holy and in in Varanasi, India it is the holiest area as that is where the river bends back north and there are many of these pyres burning and dumped into the river every day. Imagine what this does to the ecosystem of the river, also imaging how much land is saved by not burying all these bodies as in Christian religious burials.
Collecting sand and rocks from the river to use for construction in the city on the same river as the pyres burning.
Pokhara, Nepal - has a humid subtropical climate at 827 meters (2,700 feet); there are three snow-capped 8,000m (26,000+ feet) peaks you can see in the far background.
Himalayas - Mt. Everest is the tall one in the background.
Rural Nepal in the Annapurna Region
The valley in rural Nepal floods every spring and often times it causes major damage
This man collected water buffalo dung to fertilize his terraced fields; those piles are manure.
No one told us about the leeches in Nepal; these aren't from blisters, rather wounds from leeches. They latch onto your shoes, up to and into your socks, hundreds of leeches on us simply walking through the forest and grass.
Boat Taxi area at Lake Phewa
Dump truck, most vehicles (especially buses) are pimped out.
A woman walks through an alley while on her smartphone. Cell technology is very apparent even in the roughest parts of this realm.
Even in floating water villages like this in Dal Lake, India - people have cell phones (Photo by: Luke Baltrusch)
Makeshift housing in Mumbai, India (AKA the slums of Mumbai) (Photo by my colleague: Luke Baltrusch)
Street children in Chennai, India (Photo by my colleague: Luke Baltrusch)
Karni Mata Temple - the Rat Temple in Rajasthan, India (Photo by my colleague: Luke Baltrusch)
Trekking in the mountains, very close to Pakistan – on the other side of the mountains (maybe 50 miles) is where they captured Bin Laden. (Photo by my colleague: Luke Baltrusch)
Kashmir Valley (Photo by my colleague: Luke Baltrusch)
Butcher shop in Srinagar, India (Photo by my colleague: Luke Baltrusch)
India - This is Lalu's garden; this is his wife in their 'kitchen' cooking up some fresh chapatti and greens (Photo by my colleague: Luke Baltrusch)
One of my favorite parts of traveling is watching children be children; what child doesn't like playing amongst pigeons... and notice he has a white face mask tucked under his chin (saw face masks quite often in the urban areas of South Asia)
Always a good laugh looking at the menus; this was at a Chinese restaurant in Pokhara, Nepal
Nepal's flag is arguably the most unique in the world.
Sample of just how many pigeons are in the city of Kathmandu
A photographic technique I like to employ to bring the subject to the forefront and into focus - oftentimes the background can be distracting: Same photo just removing light from the background thus rendering it black.
A man working at a motorcycle repair shop in central Kathmandu
Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia - sunrise at the train station. This train runs from St. Petersburg to Beijing.
Small village just across the border from Eastern Russia into Mongolia. Notice the bright blue paint around the windows (and doors), I was told that they do this to protect themselves from evil spirits entering the house. There is a gradual transition from Mongolian to Russian, even place names such as Ulan Ude, Russia, resemble place names in Mongolia, remnants of a once powerful and expansive Mongolian empire.
Mongolia - common site on the streets of Ulaan Baatar
Drainage ditches in Ulaan Baatar – this capital and Mongolia's most populous city, is a lot like this.
Yurt - this circular tent is a way the nomads survive in the high plains of Mongolia and even in the Gobi Desert, this one happened to be in the outskirts of town.
Central square in Ulaan Baatar, notice the traffic on the right.
Border crossings are always interesting from country to country. On the Siberian railway from Mongolia to China the railway track gauges are smaller so the wheels need to be changed and each car is lifted separately. You have to wait outside the train during this fix and it adds about 4 hours to the border crossing. Crossing from Russia to Mongolia the border crossing took about 6 hours and there were no adjustments to the trail wheels, it just took them that much longer.
North Korea / South Korea border. This is a statue that is outside the DMZ - I went underneath North Korea about 30 meters in a tunnel but didn't officially enter the country. What does this sculpture say to you?
Seoul, South Korea - the Han River flows through the city and there is a nice walkway on both sides.
Seoul - I took this photo in 2008 and Starbucks (and other large US corporations) continue to spread around the globe.
Tokyo, Japan - and the line is out the door of this Wendy's
Tokyo, Japan - there is a large vending machine culture where you can buy everything from underwear, coffee, cheeseburgers, condoms, pregnancy tests, cigarettes, etc...
Street Market in Seoul, South Korea.
Restaurant bathroom in rural China.
Beijing, China - far corner inside the Forbidden City (not what is usually shown in the advertisements)
Front of the Forbidden City adjacent to Tiananmen Square - very common to see large portraits of leaders throughout East and Southeast Asia. Also a lot of umbrellas, for the sun (in addition to rain).
Great Wall - this is the newly refurbished wall where tourists go, I was here early before it became overly crowded
Great Wall - this is near Jinshanling and Simatai (not as popular for tourists, but I enjoyed it far more)
Tokyo (view from my hotel) - part of a green movement; covering rooftops with flora
Night Market in Beijing China - I had Scorpion, Seahorse, and Snake this night, what would you like to try?
Long-tail boat in Phi Phi, Thailand. Some of the most beautiful water I've seen and great diving!! These boats put a lot of pollution into the water – should they continue to be allowed in this area?
Karst formations near Phi Phi, Thailand; same formations that make up Halong Bay in Vietnam.
Karst formations seen from the beach in Krabi, Thailand
Singapore Customs gave this stamp to me as I entered the country - Thailand has the same "death to drug traffickers" provision.
Hut in rural Laos
Arguably the best way to see SE Asia.
Borneo - girls riding in the back of a truck in Sabah - (This certainly wouldn't fly in the USA with all the seatbelt laws).
Luang Prabang, Laos - boat taxi's on the Mekong River.
Malaysia - agriculture in Sabah, Borneo... in a lot of areas in the world they still work the land by hand.
As the sun rises in Luang Prabang around 200 Buddhist monks depart from their various temples to gather their daily meal. The tradition of alms gathering dates back to the 14th century, yet still today locals wake early to prepare the food for the monks and wait quietly by the roadside to give their gifts. Although the main purpose is for locals to give alms to the monks, you will also notice small children kneeling with baskets in the hope that the monks will share some of their alms with them so that they can take food back to their family.
So many beautiful Temples in this sleepy little town on the Mekong.
Common site - Rooster walking through the yard of a Temple
So many Chameleons, everywhere
Millipede I encountered while hiking up to Mt. Kinabalu in Malaysia
Praying Mantis just hanging out on the bathroom wall above the urinal in the airport at Luang Prabang, Laos
Kuang Si Falls, Laos
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - my first encounter with a century egg; would you try one?
Laos - another encounter with century eggs (they are the pink ones in the front) sitting out in the early morning heat.
Luang Prabang, Laos - street scene
A son plays on a smart phone while his dad waits for customers at the night market.
Singapore - fish spa where fish ate the dead skin off my legs (they have full body treatments but I had a hard time doing just my legs - it tickled so much I couldn't stop laughing - the locals must have thought I was mental
Bangkok, Thailand - the fresh aroma of street food blended with emanating smell of sewer, so beautifully orchestrated in the uniqueness unto your own... yet I am so content sitting on a small stool eating noodles on the street at Midnight.
Chinatown in Bangkok - amazing street food and an overall better vibe than Khao San Road (where a lot of tourists go). Khao San Road is like the Cancun of Mexico, very pumped up for tourists (including prices) and you can buy pretty much anything there from Fake IDs (including US driver's licenses), odd herbal remedies like Shark Fin, I even saw a girl peddling laughing gas.
Pressed Pig Face in Bangkok - I was interested in tasting this but didn't want to buy the entire face just for a taste.
Rambutan stand in Bangkok
Basket of peppers and lime peels out on a families patio.
Some of the best desserts throughout SE Asia
I don't like pancakes but picked up five of these for 5,000 LAK = 62 cents and it was arguably the best pancake I've ever had (cocount-type batter and gooey inside). Notice the hot coals beneath the cast iron pot.
Pimped-out motorized Tuk Tuk, preferred mode of transport in Bangkok.
Family eating breakfast (hot noodles) outside a 7-Eleven in Bangkok.
Inle Lake, Myanmar - man smoking cigarette on his fishing boat (photo by my colleague Gary Giss)
House on Inle Lake, Myanmar (photo by my colleague Gary Giss)
Holding 2 Million Laotian Kip; conversion = 8,112.50 to 1 US Dollar.
Laos - my kind of buffet; and it is only 15,000 LAK = $1.85 US
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia - outdoor market adjacent to the South China Sea.
Trash day - people put their trash out in baskets: much more classy than the big bins I wheel out to the curb in the USA.
Austral Realm - Australia & New Zealand
New Zealand - vast difference in water levels due to the tidal shift - the largest tidal shift in the world is Canada's Bay of Fundy
The south island of New Zealand, I could walk more than a quarter mile in ankle deep water before it started to get deeper.
Story Bridge spanning the Brisbane River. The Brisbane River weaves throughout the city and is the heart of the city and plays a big part in economy and lifestyle.
Economic and population growth in the Austral Realm has been constant over the past few decades and continues to boom. The CBD in Brisbane, Australia continues to expand.
New Zealand - eels, a lot of eels - I picked up some ground beef in the shop next door to feed them and they swarmed me.
New Zealand - Soil on top of rock – remnants of an earthquake, I was about two hours from Christchurch when the large Earthquake hit in 2011; this was from a previous earthquake.
Near Wellington, NZ - This is a hiking path through trees that gave inspiration for the Ent Trees from Lord of the Rings
Found this Mario Bros. Mushroom while hiking through the ’Ent’ Forest. New Zealand is arguably a safer place to hike as it has no poisonous snakes whereas Australia has many venomous snakes.
Abel Tasman National Park - one of the best running trails I've seen (north part of the south island).
Homeless people are seldom seen in this realm though there are a lot of wanderers and gypsies. This is a photo of Ben Hana - A.K.A. Blanket Man, such a stable figure in Wellington he acquired a moniker, he has since passed away.
I found it odd that pet food has it's own fridge/cooler section of the grocery. It boldly states on the package "Not for human consumption"
Do you think Bed, Bath, and Beyond would have a problem with this store?
I saw several of these large sidewalk vacuums. The cleanliness of a city speaks volumes to the pride a city has in its appearance.
Minyon Cliffs, New South Wales, Australia. Normally there is a waterfall cascading 100m over the edge down to the canyon, but with the record drought and heat it is bone dry. Thankfully no fires here.
Byron Bay, one of many beaches along the Gold Coast of Australia.
Traffic on the M-1 to the beaches. While the beaches are a popular destination, especially during the holidays. Traffic to the beach on the M-1; what should have taken about 2 hours, took nearly 4.
With the expansive amount of shoreline and beaches it is always possible to get a quiet and serene place all to yourself.
Three Rondevals in South Africa
Bourkes Luck Potholes in South Africa
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This port area, which I didn't have anything to do with thankfully, was FULL of people!
Boat Dock in Ghana – close up of boats in another area below:
Plains of Northern Kenya
It's not Dune 45 (most photographed dune in the world), but it looks nice - Namib Desert.
Little girl outside a container house in the Township of Langa - two families share this one container; there are several containers in this row; Cape Town South Africa.
Cape Town, South Africa: This is the middle-class apartment where the 16 families live. South Africa is made up of 84% black, 8% white and 8% people of color (mixed race, middle eastern, etc...) Black is definitely the majority here yet live in the most poverty.
Cape Town, South Africa: I took this photo in a middle-class area of Langa, I'm standing adjacent to a bed where the grandmother sleeps - the bed to the left is for a husband, wife and their two kids - the bed on the right is for a husband, wife and their child. At night they pull a mattress out from under their bed for the kids to sleep on.
Shower that is used by 16 families - (cold water only); the lone toilet that is used by 16 families; the kitchen, dining & social area for the 16 families - I am standing adjacent to another table. Notice the small sink in the corner. At night the teenagers pull mattresses out and sleep on this floor - doors lock at 11pm and open at 5am.
Washing Clothes; collecting fresh water in the Langa Township (200,000 people live in this township) - Cape Town, South Africa
Toddlers playing in Langa Township
The rare two-story shack in Gugulethu Township (500,000 people live in shacks in this township).
Boy playing with tire in front of a car wash in Nyanga Township (around 1,000,000 people live in this township).
Cote D’Ivoire – children play this game of rolling tires with a stick – it is fairly common throughout Africa
Guinea Bissau – boy carrying rocks on his head
Boy in Cote D’Ivoire – he was lucky enough to have flip-flops, most his age didn’t have any footwear; his stomach was abnormally distended but didn’t have to do with malnutrition.
Cote D’Ivoire – girl fetching water
Khayelitsha Township (1.5 million people live in shacks here)
Two sides of Sierra Leone - do you think one affects the other?
Zanzibar - guy sleeping on the grass. But really, notice the architecture of the buildings – can you see remnants of imperialism?
Swakopmund, Namibia. Germantown, in Africa - you can certainly see signs of imperialism here.
Between Lusaka and Livingstone, Zambia - I saw huts virtually everywhere in Africa.
These “beehive” huts in Swaziland are similar but different to those in Zambia.
Children playing in rural Swaziland; I put the tree in focus in this shot but a better shot of this type of tree (below) is all over in this area.
Imagine running blindly into a tree with these thorns...
Swaziland - boy kicking a make-shift ball made out of a bag of plastic bags.
Inside a school in Gambia
Inside a school in South Africa
The only thing on the counter at the border (Customs and Passport Control). Roughly 30 percent of people in South Africa have HIV and Swaziland has the world’s highest at 32 percent coupled with the world’s highest death rate from AIDS giving Swaziland one of the world’s lowest average life expectancy.
Dilla, Ethiopia – Ethiopians going about their daily lives in this village.
One of the many goats wandering around this small Ethiopian town.
Street scene in Nairobi - the bus I was taking had to pull into another area far worse than this picture. It was an area called Eastleigh.
Market scene in Liberia
Liberia – common street scene
Bus in Gambia
Sierra Leone – typical road – trucks and busses carry these portable tracks to be able to make it through muddy spots and steep hills.
Road in rural South Africa - it is very common to see people walking along the side of the road and hitching rides. Notice the speed limit of 100 (62 mph) people do go this fast on these roads which is scary.
South Africa near Addo Elephant Park; roads like this are used for safaris.
Cote D’Ivoire – Housing (left) above the Market (right)
Guinea Bissau – not so fresh water flowing through town
Ghana – sign on the beach
Grocery in rural Swaziland near the border of Mozambique. I went in and tried to buy a Coke and they didn't have one, they had barely anything so I bought some candy and gave the little girl behind the counter a large bill (knowing she wouldn't have change) and left.
Sheep heads - they eat what they can off of the head - we were told the cheek is the most prized piece of the head; people selling sheep heads out of the back of their truck in another township of Cape Town.
Cape Agulhas- Southern Most Tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean "meet"
Cape Agulhas- Southern Most Tip of Africa - it was worth the extra drive to see this.
For this particular road trip around the southern tip of Africa I rented a car in Johannesburg and the car they rented me had very little tread - we drove nearly 2,000 miles (3,200km) with bad tires - this wouldn't be legal in most places to rent a car with bad tires.
People bungee from this bridge high above the Zambezi River – Zimbabwe is on one side; Zambia the other.
I chose to bungee from a strikingly similar bridge – Bloukrans Bridge (center) – the world’s highest bungee from a bridge.
African Rhino - I learned that they are shooting poachers who are killing Rhino for their horns. Authorities have killed 20 poachers in Krueger National Park (2012).... After hearing about the stories of how they are taking these Rhino it makes sense. It is predicted that Rhinos may be extinct in 20 years. They are seemingly as harmless as cattle - we were so close I could have slapped them on rear. Such gentle and calm creatures - they really only care about eating grass.
This Impala looks as if it narrowly escaped a lion by the looks of the recent gash on her hip.
This young male lion was staring me straight in the eye as I shot this photo, his face was illuminated by the headlights.
Guinea – chickens being sold at a market
Gambia – smaller town outside of urban area
DRC: Congo - throughout Africa vans are a major source of transportation. Like a local bus or taxi (this one was particularly full).
Gabon - train station with operating service
Libreville, Gabon – half man / half woman statue along the coastline breaking free from the chains of slavery.
Cote D’Ivoire – plantains, a lot of plantains.
Ghana – I can imagine the stories this woman has of living in Western Africa.
Street food in Cote D’Ivoire
Street food in South Africa.
South Africa - many businesses operate out of spaces like this.
Guinea – Fuel Station
Not all places in Africa are poor; these houses are in a beautiful area along the Southern coast of Africa. Knysna, Hermanus, Mossel Bay, Port Elizabeth, Jeffries Bay, etc... are all very beautiful and modern areas on the southern coast.
North Africa / Southwest Asia / Middle East
Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
Fresh fish market in the port city of Tangier, Morocco
Tangier, Morocco - this is how most people buy their spices
Morocco - Would you buy this tongue?
Typical men and women's clothing throughout N. Africa; sign for Mosque dress code in the Middle East.
Istanbul, Turkey - the Blue Mosque at night
Many Mosque towers throughout this realm have speakers on them for the call to prayer - many times during the day and night one can hear chanting being blasted throughout the city.
People washing their feet prior to entering the Blue Mosque in Istanbul (it is proper etiquette to wash ones feet prior to going into the mosque - barefoot); in other mosques I've seen people wearing socks.
The problem with a Male Prayer Room within the Male Toilets is that men are washing their feet in the bathroom sinks. Abu Dhabi International Airport
Not only do Mosque's have separate entrances and prayer rooms for men and women, the train cars in Dubai have separate Men and Women's cars on the metro; I'm just across the pink dividing line on the floor (notice how women have seats and the men's side is jam packed).
Istanbul, Turkey - men and women touching in public isn't very common in this realm but I did snap a photo of this couple holding hands crossing the road and rail tracks. About four months prior there was a bombing here and the airport bombing happened about a month after.
Abu Dhabi, UAE - my wife and I got in trouble for my arm being around her for a selfie, they wanted to see my camera to delete it - this is the selfie I took of us after.
Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. - I then noticed the rules they had posted about photography.
As "American's" we were't the only one's taking shots inside the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque.
Tehran, Iran - Asadi Tower (the monument that the news often shows) a local said that an Iranian fighter pilot flew an F-16 through there. He was a part of the Anti-Revolution and was arrested and executed.
Persepolis, Iran - a lot of ancient history throughout this realm.
A once grand building in Ephesus, Turkey
Darius I, Darius II, and Artaxerses I Tombs, Near Persepolis, Iran
Not the typical landscape one things of when you imagine Iran - shot during a hike to Babak Castle.
Sudan is in the transition zone between North Africa / Southwest Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa - the north in the Saharan Desert is Sudan and is mostly Muslim; South Sudan is more Christian.
Wadi Hafa, Sudan, just south of the border of Egypt - Lake Nubia is in the background. The border of Sudan juts north along the lake and most of the lake is in Egypt and is called Lake Nasser.
The Pyramids of Meroe in Sudan
House made of sticks in the Sahara Desert - Sudan
Old train station in the Sahara Desert - Sudan
Istanbul, Turkey - so many stray cats... like most realms there are a lot of stray dogs and cats but there seemed to be an overabundant amount of cats here.
Morocco - Notice all the trash on the rooftop - their are several markets along the stairway in the background.
Ranch salad dressing as a drink, with a straw in it so you can suck it out (not mine as I don't like ranch).
Burj Khalifa - currently the tallest Building in the world - Dubai, UAE at 2,717 feet is about 1,000 feet taller than One World Trade Center in NYC.
View from the top of the Burj Khalifa: this is my friend Jesse's photo. I would have gone to the observation deck at the top but it cost 500 Dirhams ($136.24), but if I would have went before 6:00pm it would have only been 350 AED or roughly $95 dollars.
Had to go through the Dubai Mall on the way from the train station to the Burj Khalifa - it is pretty much like the Mall of America, with an aquarium, Caribou Coffee, Johnny Rockets, large rotundas, and pretty much any store you can find in the USA is in here. There is also a large ice skating rink (it was 107 degrees outside). Dubai Mall is larger than the Mall of America (Dubai Mall is 18th in the World; Mall of America is 27th in terms of size) China has the world's largest malls.
If you've been to Las Vegas and have seen the water fountain show at Bellagio, the one here in Dubai is just as spectacular... why must humans build large artificial lakes in very hot and arid climates.
Dubai, U.A.E. - Here is construction of a new place they are building up for a new resort adding land to the water. (due Dec 2-3, 2017); I took this photo Sept. 2016 so roughly 15 months there will be a beautiful resort here.
View of the construction from my hotel, this was all shallow water that is now built up to hold a large resort.
Atlantis in Dubai (there is also one in the Bahamas) all of the land for this resort was reclaimed from the sea (taken from my hotel room).
Dubai, U.A.E. - notice the bridge in the background developed on the left, undeveloped on the right - as of now it is a bridge to no where; a lot of planning is going into infrastructure to build this city.
The United Arab Emirates is a very clean and sterile country, also very expensive - a coffee (plain, black and small coffee) was around $10. I did walk around the city a bit and found some trash and areas that weren't as kept up but for the most part it is very well manicured.
Istanbul, Turkey: and most areas of North Africa and Southwest Asia are deeply rooted in history and while they may not be as clean as countries such as U.A.E. Oman, Qatar, etc... there is a charm with the older architecture, smaller cobblestone roads, and walkability of the cities.
Iquitos, Peru - houses on the Amazon River
Market in Monserrate, Colombia
I photographed this man in smoking in central Bogota, Colombia in 2010 (left), ended up watching No Reservations (with Anthony Bourdain) years later and saw the same man with cigarette in hand (filmed 2008)
McDonalds in Bogota, Colombia - this one only sells McDonalds desserts (no burgers or fries)
KFC in Medellin, Colombia - here is another walk-up dessert bar - you can only buy desserts here - no chicken.
Colombia is known for it's coffee; this is a portable 'coffee shop' of all the places I went for coffee all I could find was Juan Valdez (they must export all of their premium coffee, otherwise Juan Valdez must have a monopoly on coffee sales in Colombia).
Buenos Aires, Argentina - Inside a restaurant in Argentina - you think this would entice people into the USA to stop in for a bite?
Colonia, Uruguay – like Cuba there are a lot of classic cars in this quaint village along the Rio de la Plata. This is a restaurant where you can sit and eat in an old car just like this one, minus the plants growing inside.
Drainage system in Georgetown, Guyana - notice how each house drains into a public 'above ground' sewer. Their fresh water is kept in the large black barrels.
Georgetown, Guyana. A lot of houses built adjacent to one another were literally night and day. The same goes with religions there (Mosques, are built next to Churches which are built next to Temples and based on my conversations with the locals there is no religious conflict - why can't more of the world use this as an example?)
Public beach in Guyana - definitely don't want to go there for the beaches - a good reason is that the sewage referenced before empties near here.
The metro system in Medellin, Colombia is better than any I've been on in the USA. Very expansive, affordable, clean and safe. This is in a very mountainous area so they have cable cars as part of their system to take you to the top of the hills.
So relaxing floating over the high mountain forest on the public transportation from the city up to the National Park. We looked down and saw large blue-butterflies the size of both my hands combined.
From the metro I saw tractors pushing trash into the river, this was a huge trash dump on the side of the hill behind a housing complex in Medellin, Colombia.
Lima, Peru - this is not a pet store, it is a fresh food market.
More of the fresh market in Lima; it isn’t refrigerated in here and it’s rather warm.
Iquitos, Peru (largest city in the Peruvian Amazon) - you think the streets in your town need fixing....
This little boy was sitting on the street drinking juice out of a bag in Iquitos, Peru.
I snapped this photo as I walked by an open door of someone's house in the rural Amazon in Peru - I was surprised that nearly all the houses had TV with dishes attached (somehow) to their houses.
Kayaking in the Seven Lakes District, Argentina
People live here in the mountains on the border of Argentina and Chile – it’s called Refugio Frey and it is roughly a 6-hour hike to get here (about 4 hours to get down). I was surprised to see a cabin here in such a remote location and even more surprised that they sold us a pizza and beer.
Market in Cusco, Peru, this is the cheese aisle –reminiscent of the market in Lima.
Juice anyone – this was a very popular juice stand outside the market in Cusco, right out of a bucket on the street.
Kids all over Central and South America have bags of juice with a straw. I suppose they might find it unusual to see kids with juice boxes in the USA.
Valdivia, Chile – a businessman in a suit is shopping here at a fresh fish market near the water.
All the scraps are taken care of as they are thrown over the dock by the Chilean Seals (Sea Lions).
Some of the best works of graffiti (street art) I’ve seen is in Argentina, also a lot of public displays of affection – you just don’t see people making out in the USA as I see in Central and South America.
This woman was selling water at Ollantaytambo, Peru with her son on her back – I see children accompanying their mother often throughout South America. The girl on the right (eating a snack out of a rock on the side of the road) was with her mother who was working at a juice stand in the mountain area of Pisac, Peru
Driving across the mountain pass between Chile and Argentina – each photo was taken only 2 hours apart – such drastic change in climate in such a short distance.
No cars and a lot of walking people improvise – a lot of carrying heavy things
Being outside in the elements all day shows particularly with the elderly and how weathered they are in the face. This woman’s fingernails and toenails show a hard life – I saw much worse than this but didn’t take pictures
I saw men sleeping everywhere on benches, in the park at bus stops, seems to be a common practice to catch some sleep whenever possible.
Hiking up to the Christ the Redeemer Statue in Rio de Janeiro; many cities throughout Latin America have statues of Jesus perched on a high point overlooking the city.
The view of Rio from Christ the Redeemer Statue - Copacabana Beach is to the left; Ipanema Beach is to the right.
Town center in Antigua, Guatemala
My first meal in Guatemala – sitting on the steps adjacent to the shot above, which I took after eating this plate of food (cost $2)
Guatemala: two brothers on horseback checking the family coffee crops; I hiked this same trail 7 months later and saw them working hard in the field.
Belize: slash and burning the forest and other vegetation to make room for agriculture
Pickup-trucks usually have someone riding in the back (95% of the time) first photo in Nicaragua, second in Guatemala. It beats the alternative to a packed public bus in Guatemala City (third photo) or a family on a moped (I've seen as many as five on a moped in Central America and throughout South Asia).
Common sight throughout Central America is bicycle, horse, or horse with cart, this was taken in Nicaragua.
Original Stand-up paddle boarding like this fisherman on Lake Atitlan in Guatemala.
Washing clothes by hand in a stream in rural Guatemala
Breakfast view while camping and hiking the third highest peak in Central America (Acatenango) in Guatemala
Eruption at night. Camping here was a big rush. For perspective on size see the photo of two people on the right.
Imagine if these were introduced to your backyard – invasive species
Young and Old: Snapshots of young boys on a street corner and an old woman a couple blocks away.
Mayan Ruins in Yaxha’ (Haven’t heard of it? Neither has anyone else that’s why it is so empty and we had the place to ourselves – snapped this photo of my buddy experiencing the ruins, rather than just seeing them as you would among other tourists in popular places).
Nicaragua is popular for surfing as you can see from this wave in San Juan del Sur
This was a child in a wooden crib with wooden floor outside a market in Nicaragua. His mother was working behind the counter as he sat outside here.
Families hanging out on the side of the road on a Sunday (Guatemala)
Mosquito netting was common in the nicer rooms throughout Central America.
Drove across Guatemala to the east coast of Belize (Belize City) the country was underwhelming and not what I expected, the islands are nice off Belize but the mainland is very poor and can be dangerous; I did find this nice fruit stand in Belize City the morning I flew out.
The beautiful water off the coast of Belize (where the tourists go) this was taken at Caye Caulker.
A bright yellow color of paint emphasizes the Spanish Colonial architecture of the church in the main square of Granada, Nicaragua.
Trinidad & Tobago - like most places in the world the rainforest in Central America is losing ground to human encroachment (untouched forest on the left and not far away you can see housing and a public landfill going into the forest).
Panama City: arguably the most beautiful skyline in Central America
The Revolution Tower in Panama City – notice the American landmark in the foreground.
Miraflores lock on the Panama Canal – The Panama Canal has locks and is not an open waterway from Atlantic to Pacific
A local told me, "A walk through here is bath in Panama's culture." This market consisted of a lot of stolen stuff for sale.
Apartment housing in Panama City; I saw a man burning a couch here but unfortunately I didn't capture it in a photo.
Another apartment complex in Panama City.
People name their cars (this is common in Latin America) this wouldn't fly in the USA because it impairs driving visibility.
Mexico City - Soldiers raise a large flag in the Federal District, they do this ceremony every Sunday morning.
This is in central Mexico City - a large park in a huge urban area, such a nice reprieve for many people living in the city.
Mexico City - not that the large parks go without their share of homeless people.
Mexico City - the night before this street was packed (standing room only), I took this photo shortly after 6:00am and the street was nearly cleaned up.
Zihuatanejo (West Coast) "I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope." The final lines of The Shawshank Redemption. “Zihuatanejo. It's a little place in Mexico on the Pacific Ocean. Do you know what the Mexicans say about the Pacific? They say it has no memory."
Tulum (East Coast) Riviera Maya, known as some of the best beaches in the world; however, Sargassum seaweed has increasingly started coating the beaches. Data gathered over the past decade has revealed the likely cause of these seaweed invasions have been flourishing in nutrient rich environments caused from a combination of Saharan dust clouds, warming temperatures and the growing human nitrogen footprint. Additionally, the influxes of the past decade seem to have originated along Brazil’s Atlantic coast, not in the Sargasso Sea. Large amounts of fertilizer flow into the Amazon River and then to the ocean from industrial agriculture. Nutrients also pour into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River from climate change-driven downpours that increase runoff.
Balandra Bay, Baja Sur (West Coast) - it is about waist deep in middle of this pristine bay, usually filled with tourists and the sand is white; however, there was a yacht that caught fire at the opening of the bay and spilled oil and fuel so much that this bay had been closed for months when I arrived. Notice the dark settling in the sand and the black oil on the peninsula's on the left shoreline. This is along the Sea of Cortez, often called the “Aquarium of the World,” the Sea of Cortez is one the most abundant and diverse underwater ecosystems on the planet.
Ixtapa - just off the west coast there is an entirely different world than we see above the surface. This school of fish surrounded me, literally thousands of fish and not one touched me as they swam around me. I heard Humpback Whales under water, they were probably within 1km, I also hovered above sea turtles the size of picnic tables. I highly recommend getting on the water and under the water.
Cenotes are abundant on the Yucatan Peninsula. A Cenote refers to an underground chamber or cave which contains permanent water. In other words, it is a natural sinkhole where the ceiling of the cave (mostly made up of limestone) has collapsed. Cenotes come in all sorts of different shapes and sizes. The most common types of cenotes are Cave, Semi-Open and Open Cenotes. Cave cenotes being the youngest and the open cenote being the oldest as it’s cave ceiling has fallen into itself.
Natural Hot Springs of El Sargento on Baja Sur. This was one of the coolest hot springs I've ever seen. The hot volcanic water comes up from the sand and mixes with the ocean - so people build holes and circles in the sand for a natural hot tub. If you dig your toes and feet into the wet sand on the beach the water is scalding hot.
Chiapas (S. Central Mexico). One of the most amazing experiences I've had in nature. The wind coming off this mountain was so warm - unbelievably warm, literally like standing by a heater. The water was so powerful and it was a day before the full moon so the light illuminated the waterfall. I took this photo around 11pm.
We decided to hike our way to the top the next morning. We made it to the top, swam across a pool, with strong current; I put a red circle where we stood and overlooked the canyon.
Workers coming back from Sugar Cane fields in Chiapas State.
Sumidero Canyon in Chiapas - These walls are more than 1,000 meters, between 1/2 to 3/4 mile high throughout the canyon - notice the boat. There is normally a waterfall cascading down, and over time this has deposited a large amount of calcium carbonate onto the vegetation-covered rock. These deposits are then covered with moss, creating a geological structure that now looks like a majestic fir tree, or Christmas tree. There was just a little bit of water, mostly mist, coming off the tree when I was under it.
Central Guadalajara - this place reminded me a bit of Rome with the music, culture, birds, and overall vibe. Colonia Americana was voted the best neighborhood in the world (2022) and was about 3-miles walk from here. Guadalajara is located in Jalisco State and is a major hub of manufacturing and distribution - for instance, the adjacent town is Tequila and you can see fields of Agave and do many tours of distilleries; liken it to wine country in Tuscany, Italy or Napa/Sonoma in the USA.
Seafood is abundant in coastal Mexico; resembles the dish above in Antigua, Guatemala. Fresh seafood done simply.
Zihuatanejo, locals and restauranteurs gather in the mornings to get the freshest catch.
There's a distinct perimeter around Mexico City (neighborhood blocks to emptiness of the high plaines). Notice the mountains, Mexico City is more than 7,000 feet elevation; much higher than Denver, and the sewer treatment plant in the foreground in the photo on the right.
Demonstrators set up tents in front of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City to protest against the gender violence. These have been here for a year. If you want to understand the grand scale of violence against women in Mexico watch The Three Deaths of Marisela Escobedo on Netflix. I met the Assistant Director a year prior when I was in a different area of Mexico.
Before and after of Mayan ruins excavated in southern Mexico. There are still a lot of structures that have not yet been cleared and restored throughout Guatemala and Mexico; it takes a considerable amount of time and money to archaeological work.
I always try to work in a layover in Mexico City when possible; one of the most beautiful cities in North/Middle America.
Havana, Cuba: so many vintage autos - I thought we would see maybe one in twenty cars that were vintage; but it was the other way around - vintage outnumber newer models.
Community grocery store in Havana
Nearly $400 US for this pack of freshly rolled cigars - no local Cuban could afford this.
The money is interesting in Cuba - all foreigners purchase Convertible Pesos which end up equalling nearly 1:1 per US Dollar. One Convertible Peso CUC = 25 National Cuban Pesos, so basically we are charged 25 times that of the locals. We could not get National Pesos - I actually couldn't get my hands on one an entire week in Havana.
We talked with several locals and the average wage is around $20 US per month - some more/some less - around 60 cents to $1 per day. I thought we would encounter more beggars but the people were all very nice and embraced us as being from the USA.
My wife and son on Barcelona Street directly in sight of the Capitol Building - maybe 400 meters from the Cuban Capitol grounds...
Beauty is everywhere in Havana, one just has to look - Basilica Menor de San Francisco de Asis
Images of Che Guevara are all over in Havana - what is his significance in Middle America / the world?
Socialism - today, tomorrow, always [propaganda like this is seen all over Cuba]
This goes to show how much we waste as Americans (I saw plastic bags hanging outside nearly every window as they wash and re-use them). Also to note, China consumes roughly two billion plastic bags per day.
This is the first county I have been to that didn't have Coca Cola - this is Cuba's National Cola. There are also no McDonald's, Starbucks, etc...
I spotted this bus the last day I was in Havana in 2011; people in Cuba were very friendly to me being from the USA. If the embargo is lifted and if travel is opened freely between the USA and Cuba it will change the look and feel here.
The Russian realm: the Russian core and peripheries (including Ukraine), the Eastern Frontier, Siberia and the Russian Far East. These photos (minus the first one) are ones that people don't see published yet evoke a strong sense of place.
Moscow: Iconic image of St. Basil's Cathedral adjacent to Red Square.
Moscow: pay toilets adjacent to Red Square; notice the person at the end, yes that is her 'office' where you pay for using the toilet and you can buy gum, soda, chips, cigarettes, etc... (they are neatly displayed inside her stall)
McDonald's in Moscow, notice the mural above the sign. What does this photo show about American corporations worldwide reach?
Moscow: Domed architecture is abundant throughout the city.
Moscow: Padlocks on a bridge over the Moscow River. People do the same thing on the Ponte De Vecchio in Florence, Italy and other cities throughout Europe; I've also seen them in cities such as Buenos Aires in South America.
Moscow: A view of St. Basil's Cathedral from the far end of Red Square. A lot of capitalism from street vendors to tour guides. Would you be willing to try some street food in Moscow?
Moscow: The subway in Moscow runs deep below the surface of the city - rumor has it that it was built that way to serve as a shelter during post-nuclear attack. I've been on rapid transit systems (subways) all over the world and Moscow's is one of the most difficult to navigate.
Moscow: Many dogs (often feral) wander around the city; here they are gathered in a park.
Omsk: taken from the Siberian Railway; graffiti, does this look similar or different to what you see where you live?
Yekaterinburg: Yes, there was a chimpanzee on the train - they were from Kazakhstan.
Novosibirsk: I decided to get off the train and spend some time in this city as it looked like a good stop on the map; there was no hotels/hostels so I ended up staying at a home-stay I found on-line in Moscow. No one in the house spoke English; they had several cats and the house smelled of cabbage, onions and cigarette smoke - despite all that my hosts were very friendly and did the best they could. Also, I arrived at night, could not figure out how to tell the cab driver to get to the address I had - they use a Cyrillic alphabet so I couldn't even write it down for him - luckily I found some college students who could read my English and tell him. He dropped me off at the door and I had to figure out which room my host family was in - I was very lucky to find it.
Novosibirsk: mailboxes at the above complex - yes, they too must get junk mail.
Novosibirsk: The track at the University made of several rubber mats. There was a soccer game in progress when I walked through campus.
Irkutsk: Kids are kids no matter where they grow up - or are they?
Near Irkutsk: people farming by hand. Hard to imagine that they still do this (I took this photo in 2007 and I doubt much has changed since then) Their homes are all wooden and drab but their windows are brilliantly light blue.
Lake Baikal: The world's deepest and oldest lake; I hiked a good portion of the day and it was amazing, imagine Lake Tahoe meets Switzerland. The water was crystal clear and the mountains in the background were something out of a fairytale. I want to go back but it is such an out of the way place (probably what hinders tourists keeping it fairly remote).
Have you ever heard the saying "don't judge someone until you walk a day in their shoes;" do you feel "Americans" are quick to place judgment, not only each other, but on foreign cultures? One has to have an openness about them to allow strangers to sleep next to them. In the photo below is the guy I shared a train car with for four days (Yuri). He was from Tajikistan and couldn't speak English or Russian. He was such a nice guy as he had a buffet with him, he kept pulling food out of his bag and pushed it over to me, and in his very rough attempt at English said, "please." Over and over again I kept hearing please, please, please - he was so generous. But what surprised me most was that on day three he pulled a cooked game-hen out of aluminum foil and pushed it over to me and said, "please." I don't know how he cooked it, or rather how he kept it hot for three days? It was a nice respite from cucumber, tomato, and cheese sandwiches, tea, and pot-noodle (ramens) that I had over the past three days. Yes we shared that small table in our train car, and I took this photo from my bed across the table to Yuri's bed.
I spent three days in a train car with the couple in the photo above - they were returning home from their honeymoon at the Black Sea -they lived in far east Russia along the Chinese border. He was a Russian Soldier. They didn't speak English either but through simple gestures I found out he was in the Russian military (I saw his ID badge on day two), so I showed him my US Air Force ID and he instantly took interest in me and started showing me photos on his digital camera from their honeymoon. I had a map and he grabbed my pen and showed me where they lived and where they vacationed, etc... Such a nice couple (although I will mention I shared a train car for three days with a young couple on their honeymoon so I did my best not to make it awkward by keeping out and pacing up and down the aisle of the train for hours (to give them their alone time). And just for perspective - I'm 6 feet tall and she was taller than I, so he was 6'7" 6'8"ish... big fella!!
Kiev: St. Andrew's Cathedral
Kiev: St. Andrew's Descent - this is a place where artisans sell their works, there are also a lot of antiques.
Kiev: All over the city people were shoveling snow off rooftops
Kiev: Icicles are everywhere, likely why everyone is so intent of shoveling rooftops; Soviet-era buildings must not be insulated well
Kiev: Unlike big cities in the USA, pedestrians cross streets underground. There are almost always shops and vendors beneath every street intersection.
Handicap access to below level street crossing; I would rather take my chances crossing a busy road than maneuver down this...
Kiev: World's deepest metro station - Arsenalna (105 meters) and the escalators are fast, really fast
Kiev: On my way to Arsenalna - unlike Moscow the subway system had ‘English’ in addition to Cyrillic so it was easier to navigate. Two plastic tokens for the metro (each token is one ride system-wide) cost me roughly 25 cents.
Kiev: You know its cold when the pigeons are huddling up next to a metro vent to catch some warmer air.
Instead of strollers people use sleds to tote their kids, groceries, etc… I saw the same thin in Norway.
Quite a few mobile espresso bars here in Kiev.
Ukraine has been independent from Russia (USSR) since 1991 yet there are still a lot of Soviet era statues.
Like Moscow, I saw packs of dogs wandering the streets in Kiev.
This happened to me once when I lived in Minneapolis, though being plowed in is better than being towed.
I couldn't get myself into this cafe to try one of these. Instead I had a Panini from a street vendor. A friend of mine from Latvia translated this for me upon my return to the USA; it reads: “Without sausages and lard – life is not good!”
Bessarabskiy Market, nice fillet of the sheep’s skull; much better job than the sheep skulls I saw in Africa.
I saw a three wedding parties in my short time here. All the brides wore a special bridal jacket for the cold temps. All of the couples placed flowers at the base of this memorial.
St. Michael's golden-domed monastery; Mykhailivska Square; I was here at 11:30 am and it was packed inside for service (literally I barely fit inside the door to catch a glimpse).
Some of the best architecture I've seen - entire roof of this building is copper
Cathedral at the Pechersk Lavra
Kiev: People's Friendship Arch overlooking the Dnipro River. Not quite as big as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis but still rather large (notice the couple walking beneath the archway).
Golden Gate - originally constructed in 1024 this was the gateway to the ancient city fortress. (Kiev recently celebrated its 1500 year anniversary!!)
Another ornate building near Pechersk Lavra; yes – the halos are real gold (they almost appear to be really glowing).
Photos, captions and descriptions by Tyrell Heaton
Place is the character of an area as defined by its physical and human features. Each place on earth has certain unique