June 27, 2017


Xinjiang’s most extensive Buddhist site lies in a riverbed 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of the modern city of Kucha.

The Ancient Ruins of Subashi date from the Third Century CE and includes towers, halls, monasteries, dagobas (domed-shaped shrines) and houses, all severely damaged by time and the elements of the desert.  Yet the basic mud brick construction materials are clearly evident.

The city held several thousand inhabitants but was sacked and burned in the Ninth Century and had been abandoned by the Thirteenth Century.


Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region


June 26, 2017

Dear Friends and Fellow Dreamers,

Stand with me now at the Iron Gate Tower … and imagine ….

Imagine that behind us lies the Tian Shan mountain range.  Our Silk Road caravan has traversed the mountains carrying goods from Pakistan and the West.  Beyond the gate we face steep cliffs and even more mountains.

Please close your eyes.

Ürümqi (pop 3.5 million) - Uyghur name

Wūlǔmùqí – Chinese name

Xinjiang – Uyghur Autonomous Region

Peoples Republic of China

June 24, 2017

Hello and Welcome to Nan Shan – The Southern Mountains,

In the parking lot of this popular tourist area seventy-five kilometers (46 miles) south of the city, young Kazakh women offer to take us to their summer yurts for tea or lunch.  Horseback rides are available as well as hikes through the grassland meadows up the mountainsides.

(Between May and October Kazakh families move their yurts into this area to graze their herds. Kazakhs are an important minority group in this area of China.  The border of Kazakhstan is just beyond the mountains.) 



February 8, 2017


My friend Gary in Bangkok described his strategy when he visits a museum: “When I go to an exhibit,” he told me, “I choose one special painting and then stare at that work of art for at least thirty minutes.”

The Icons of Modern Art, the Shchukin Collection at the Fondation Louis Vuitton has on display more than one hundred and twenty paintings.  I have planned three visits.  But with hundreds of visitors streaming through the galleries at any one time, how shall I follow Gary’s advice?

Well, I did my best.