“The driving here is something special; only India is worse.” – Anonymous, on the rules of the road in Georgia
The more we travel, the more stories we collect about Georgian driving habits. For example, one of the Mongol Rally teams traveling without a map of Tblisi, decided to hire a taxi to show them the way through the city. After a harrowing bob and weave through town, “rather like a video game,” the rally driver asked the taxi driver for a hotel recommendation. The taxi driver, thinking they were looking for prostitutes, replied “How much time do you need? One hour? Will that be enough?” Continue Reading »
While putting the finishing touches on our website, we spent a considerable amount of time at internet cafés in Tbilisi, Georgia. At one café, we noticed a semi-private room set up with couches, comfortable chairs and computers outfitted with webcams for video Skype calls. The typical configuration: children and grandmother crowded around the computer and Mommy or Daddy on the video screen. So, what’s going on here? Continue Reading »
As we continue along the Silk Road in Uzbekistan, our minds often take us back to Turkmenistan, whose ancient history is longer and remains underground, unexcavated and unreconstructed.
The few clicks across the Caspian Sea brought us to a world of visual stimuli significantly different than that of the Caucasus (Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan). This is what we’ve always envisioned when historians speak of the iconic Silk Road and the Orient. Continue Reading »
Where do you find a $200,000+ Aston Martin V8 Vantage sportscar followed by a clunking white Indian Ambassador? In Turkmenistan, of course.
In Uzbekistan, we’ve also come across small cars covered with stickers and driven by Westerners desperate for the next mechanic or gas station.
What’s all the fuss? Awareness, fundraising and rallies. Continue Reading »
The challenge of internet access in Central Asia cannot be overstated – dial-up speeds, outages, power cuts, blocked sites, old computers at internet cafes, and limited opening hours to name just a few. Clicks can take an eternity to conclude, if they do at all. And Big Brother and his crew are watching (take your passport along to internet cafes in Turkmenistan). Continue Reading »
Hopefully, we ship out of Baku tomorrow (Friday, 20 July) and float uneventfully across the Caspian Sea to arrive in Turkmenbashi the following morning for a 10-day peek at Turkmenistan. Given the nature of things there, access to internet is unlikely.
In case we are lucky enough to successfully connect during our stay, we promise to publish something. Continue Reading »
In Georgia, the food is quite appropriately an expression of the culture. Warm, gooey comfort food like khachapuri (cheese-stuffed bread) finds balance with matsoni (sour yogurt). Herbs like tarragon, flat parsley, dill and coriander combine with walnuts and garlic for rich fillings and sauces. Continue Reading »
We introduced Adrianne and Rick earlier on this blog. Having told their story to several people recently and feeling renewed inspiration, we wanted to share more about them and their work.
We feel that Adrianne and Rick can tell their story better than we can. Below are excerpts from an email interview conducted after they returned to Canada from their latest work in Cambodia (December 2006-March 2007).
Continue Reading »
Thanks to the tourist bus from Iran, we made it back to Baku in time for a feast with Yahya and his family. That evening, we relayed the following story from our days in Tbilisi, Georgia:
As we shared an early evening beer on Tabori mountain in Tbilisi with our pal (who shall remain nameless for security reasons), he thrust his bottle in the direction of the skyline, and proudly toasted “to vulva!” Continue Reading »
So there we were, parched on the pavement in Gobustan, Azerbaijan. Fresh from gurgling volcanic mud holes and ancient cave scratchings, we looked forward to catching a marshrutka (minibus) that was due any minute back to the big city, Baku. Fifteen minutes, no marshrutka. Thirty minutes, no marshrutka. Heat exhaustion setting in. Drink some water. Continue Reading »