Lijiang: Ethnic Minority Markets

On the Road

Yunnan Province


June 4, 2014

You ever see a pig on a leash?

You ever see a lady smoke a pipe?  Did she have tattoos on her forearm?

Somewhere between Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shaxi, we were lucky enough to pass through a large town with a colorful weekly market in progress.

The ethnic minorities were welcoming and friendly and pleased to pose for a photo.

Many, if not most of the women were dressed in their finest outfits.

Bangkok: Punk Rock Girl



June 20, 2014

Today I participated in the “Punk Rock Girl Shoot.”

Along with eight other amateur photographers and our leader, professional photographer Dennie Cody, we spent three hours this afternoon photographing the unique model Tanya, the Punk Rock Girl. *

The shoot took place at a vacant lot/playground/graffiti park at Ratchathewi in downtown Bangkok.

Tanya changed her outfit four times.   She was creative, emotional and beautiful.

Please see for yourself.


Shaxi: Ancient Tea Horse Road


Yunnan Province


June 6, 2014

Dear Friends,

During my brief visit to the livestock market in Shaxi, I recalled the ditty “Mules” that I learned at Boy Scout Camp.   As I trod the grounds among horses, cows, bulls and other assorted browsers, I paid strict attention to the lyric.*

Shaxi is an historic town along the Ancient Tea Horse Road that connects China to Burma to Tibet to India.  But Shaxi is unlike Lijiang, another caravan stop to the northth.  Lijiang boasts an airport that dismounts herds of visitors.  Shaxi retains an “ancient” atmosphere.

Lijiang: The Old Town and Market


Yunnan Province

People’s Republic of China

Elevation 2400m 7900 ft.

June 2, 2014

Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers,

I can never resist a market.  Can you?  Always lively, colorful and surprising, the market is a core element of daily life.  What is more essential than food, clothing and household goods?   And what is more fun? 

So after our early morning stroll through the Old Town of Lijiang that included an invitation to a tea ceremony, my guide Illian and I head over to the main market.  I took about “a thousand” photos, and finally stocked up on a half kilo of fresh, sweet green plums for the ride ahead.

Long Live and Prosper



April 1, 2014


I haven’t mentioned this to anyone before because it was such a long shot.  Astronomical, really.  I never thought that I would even have a remote chance.   But now …?

Last Easter, (Orthodox Easter), the USA National Aeronautical and Space Administration, NASA, in conjunction with the Russian Federal Space Agency, Федеральное космическое агентство России or the FKA, sent out a notice to several hundred travel bloggers. Including yours truly.

They were looking for an experienced traveler and travel writer to ride to the International Space Station.  They wanted to transport someone talented who could write an arresting essay about their visit there. (You know.  Something like the New York Times “36 Hours in Ocho Rios.”)

The requirements are quite stringent: decent physical condition, current Passport valid for at least 90 days, travel experience beyond the Caribbean, and the ability to feel comfortable in Slavic cultures.  (Ha! Jan? Polatschek??) 

Single and “mature” is also an advantage.  Just in case anything unforeseen happens, either during the training somewhere in Kazakhstan, or during the blast-off somewhere in Siberia, or during the re-entry heat and friction somewhere in the Ukraine, or somewhere, you know, as they say at NASA, “up there.”

Well, I just got a message on my mobile phone.  (How the hell did they find the number?)  It’s good news.   I am on the “Short List.”