Monday, January 21, 2008

Blogistan is Dead as a Goat in that Afghan Polo Game

Just to clarify, Liz and I have been in DC and NYC, respectively, for quite some time, and my ambition to catch up on the blogging I couldn't do in China fizzled somewhere in Yekaterinburg. If anyone stumbles on this blog and is interested, I recommend clicking on the August posts and skimming through from the beginning.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Perfect Pick-Me-Up for Long Caravan Rides

A Uighur energy drink found in Urumqi, China.

Manas Bad-Ass

Almaty graffiti inspired by Central Asia's favorite epic poem.

What's Your Beef

Is this Almaty's Green Market? Or Karakol's animal market on a bad day?

Ghost Spa

Jeti Oghuz is a small town set against the picturesque background of deep red sandstone cliffs. It was one of the many resorts built around Issyk-Kul during the Soviet period, and like the rest of them, it doesn't have a big tourist flow today. Its last moment of glory came in 1994, when Jeti Oghuz was chosen as the site of the first summit between Boris Yeltsin and Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev. While still operating, the Jeti Oghuz resort complex looks run-down and creepy.

Since I have a soft spot for Soviet ruins, I wanted to get inside and poke around. So I paid the fifty-cent fee for 15 minutes of using their mineral-water pool. The water in the pool looked kind of grimy and it wasn't as hot as it was supposed to be, so I used my allotted time to take pictures of the facilities. Here are a few.

I Just Couldn't Stan It

Mao banned blogging in his address to the 3rd Congress of the Chinese Communist Party.

Sorry about the lapse in posts, but what could I do? China hates freedom.
Now I'm in freedom-loving Siberia, where - get this - it is very cold. This is a good reason for me to spend some time indoors at internet-kafe and attempt to catch up on a month's worth of misadventures, starting with a couple of posts I had half-written in Kazakhstan, thinking naively I would be able to complete and post them on arrival in Urumqi. Now finally they can see the light. Thanks, Putin, for protecting liberty. Four more years!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Blogistan: The Forbidden Fruit

So for the 2-3 of you who actually read this blog, sorry for the sporadic postings over the last few weeks. Once we made it out of Kyrgyzstan OK, we were planning on doing some intense blog sessions before heading off to China, but alas, fate had another plan for us.

For starters, Internet access kind of blows in Almaty. Not that it isn't available, but I guess being the richest 'stan, most people just have it in their home, so access for the poor bums on the street is few and far between.

Second, I (Liz) got face-controlled at the Chinese embassy in Almaty. Having heard tales of how horrific their Almaty embassy is, as soon as I arrived I headed straight for a travel agent to grease the visa wheels, as it were. Alas, no amount of money could overcome the truth in the age old axiom that communists are lazy. JK, Mao Zedong! But seriously - the embassy in Almaty was closed from the 27th of Sept. to the 8th of Oct. for some holidays. Since I had to fly back on the US by the 10th at the latest, China was effectively ruled out. So I did the only thing a girl could do - hopped a plane to Bangkok. Having already been to Thailand a few years back, I decided to head south for Malaysia, where I spent a few days on the old colonial island of Penang before heading for the east coast Perhentian Islands for some great diving. I have some good pics to post, but unfortunately I am unable to upload photos on the Apple IIGS I am working with here in a Malaysian Internet cafe.

As for Brian, I have it on good authority that he has made it safely into China and is rickshaw-ing it all over the eastern provinces. Unfortunately, in addition to being lazy, the communists also hate freedom. (Again, JK MZ!). Apparently Brian is not able to access the blog from China, so you faithful readers will have to wait until he reaches Mongolia, that bastion of free speech, before you can hear about his Chinese exploits...