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Warsaw Packed

Warsaw’s main square. On top of the pedestal is King Zygmund who was not very good. Used his position to enrich himself. Sad.

Haha.  The title is a pun. Does anyone know what the Warsaw Pact is?  In case you ditched class that day (Kathy), it was the alliance of the Soviet Union with its satellite states, including Poland. Signed in 1955, the purpose of the Warsaw Pact was to defend its member states against the US and Europe, which had its own alliance, NATO. The Warsaw Pact dissolved in 1991 and Poland has been a member of NATO since 1999. I imagine that rankles a certain somebody in Moscow. 🙂  Continue reading

Postcard from Poland

Sometimes I visit cities that are super livable. They are kind of low key with lots of trees, clean air, an arts community, public transportation, and people who seem to like each other. Bonus points for being situated on a body of water and having a university. Places that come to mind are Vancouver BC, Rotterdam, San Miguel de Allende, Stockholm and Hiroshima. Continue reading

Mongolian Style

Mongolia is not generally known for its art or design.  But there is so much here that is beautifully evocative of the country’s land and its people. Mongolian art and design are influenced by the country’s historic relationships with other parts of Asia, including India, China, and Tibet.  The complement is also true — Mongolia has influenced the art of many other Asian regions.

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Wind Horse

Genghis Khan created the largest empire in the history of the world on the back of a horse. He believed in “khiimori,”  or “wind horse” — a human quality that remains essential to Mongolians 900 years later.  Wind horse is the strength of your spirit, your inspiration, your courage.   Khiimori is like the soul of the horse and the spirit of the earth and the sky.  It is these untamed places in Mongolia.   Continue reading

Living with the Nomads in the Eternal Blue Sky of Mongolia

For a short time, we are living a little bit like the nomads of Mongolia, 300 miles west of Ulaanbaatar in the area around Bulgan. We are a 90 minute drive from anything you could call a road.  At our base camp, Lapis Sky, we live in tents called gers. We ride the descendants of horses that carried the Mongolians who, 900 years ago, conquered most of the known world. We watch the thrilling spectacle of 40  children racing “thunderhooves” across the steppes. We sip vodka from the same small cup and sample “airag,” the yogurty fermented mare’s milk the Mongolian nomads prize. Continue reading

Mongolia Is A Country

I am a little embarrassed to say that I didn’t know Mongolia was a country until I decided to visit. I guess I assumed it was a region that was part of China and part of Russia. But Mongolia is a democracy with a president and – since the Soviets pulled out in 1991 – it has a mixed economy. It is unlike any place I have ever visited. Continue reading

Russia in the 21st Century: You Say You Want A Revolution. Nyet

 

I have just arrived in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where the national government doesn’t care what one of the little people says about Russia to the folks back home. And if anyone actually cared, I don’t have much to say that would get me In Trouble. The American media is saying it way better than I could. But you never know. Steven Colbert just left Moscow so there could be a heightened sense of indignation about sardonic Americans.        Continue reading