Walk through the tunnel of ten thousand vermillion torii (gates) snaking their way up the mountain at Fushimi Inari Shrine outside of Kyoto and you’ll soon realize that no two are exactly the same. Look one way and you’ll see bare, unadorned orange posts. Turn the other and you’ll see the names of all the businesses or individuals who donated each gate as a sign of gratitude for their prosperity. Among the thankful, a range — from men of small business to giants of Japanese industry hailing from companies like Hitachi or Panasonic.
No business is too big to be thankful to Inari, the Shinto god of rice, sake and prosperity. Continue Reading »
Whales with legs? In the desert?
That’s what you’ll find in the Valley of the Whales (Wadi El-Hitan) in Fayoum, Egypt. More accurately, you’ll find the over 35 million year-old fossilized remains of whales with short legs, appendages marking their evolution from land mammals to sea mammals. Continue Reading »
Have you ever wondered where your morning tea comes from? Continue Reading »
Want to know the end to a perfect afternoon in the Yucatan? Taking a dip in a cenote.
What is a cenote, you ask? Continue Reading »
As some zero in on the Mayan calendar coming to an end at this year’s winter solstice, others go on (that would include us, by the way). In that spirit, we spent the day yesterday with two archaeologists at Chichen Itza Mayan ruins in Mexico’s Yucatan province and dug a bit deeper into the story. Continue Reading »
4:00 A.M., alarm blaring, almost violent at an ungodly hour. I cursed it and was tempted to roll over. But I knew if I had, I’d regret it. I had a volcanic lake to visit.
After a bumpy chicken bus ride, we finally arrived at the lake’s edge. The sun was just coming up and we were among the very few people there.
Open up the panorama to see Quilotoa Lake for yourself. Continue Reading »
Since our visit to Myanmar (Burma) in 2008, a lot has changed. Aung San Suu Kyi has been released from house arrest. The junta government seems to be loosening controls and opening up. Heck, it seems like every week there’s a group of foreign dignitaries visiting Myanmar, something impossible during the time of our visit.
But even with all the dignitary visits and changing moods, we imagine that Shwedagon Pagoda is still the same. Continue Reading »
Carnes Asadas at the Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca, Mexico. It’s an institution!
When you first enter the market, follow your nose towards the smoke and aroma of grilled meat and you’ll find yourself in the Carnes Asadas (roasted meats) hall. Vegetarians beware: this is full-on meatatarian territory. Continue Reading »
Just when you begin to think every church is the same and you’ve seen it all, you enter yet another that surprises. Your jaw drops, you narrow your gaze to tune into the detail, you arch your back to admire the ceiling.
Such was our experience today at Santo Domingo de Guzmán Church in Oaxaca, Mexico. Continue Reading »
One part transportation hub, another part monument to the human experiment, Grand Central Terminal is said to be number six on the world’s most visited places list with 21,600,000 visitors each year.
Hitler sent spies to sabotage it, Croatian nationalists attempted to bomb it and visions of the future once conspired to demolish it. Continue Reading »