5/31/13

The Great Pyramids




Giza, Egypt

The Nile

Cairo, Egypt

5/29/13

Dubai Domes

 Mall of the Emirates
 Dubai Mall
Dubai Mall

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Jumeirah Beach Hotel



The view of the Burj Al Arab from the Bahri Bar.

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

5/28/13

Burj Khalifa

 The entrance lobby for "At the Top"
The outdoor viewing platform on the 124 floor. Look at the guy in the cowboy hat and you will notice there are 8 inch gaps in the glass. 

The two pictures that follow were taken through these gaps and I have to say its rather strange to have your camera dangling 1483 feet in the air. 


 View looking up from the outdoor viewing platform to the top of the building
 Indoor viewing area
This photo really gives you an idea of how tall a 2717 foot building is.
The Burj Khalifa as the sun sets over Dubai. This shot was not easy to get, anyone who cares to know the story ask me sometime. 

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

5/26/13

The Taj Mahal






Agra, India

Snake Charmer

Agra, India

New Delhi

Jantar Mantar 
 India Gate 
Humayun's Tomb: This tomb was built by the father of the man who built the Taj Mahal. While Taj Mahal was built to a grander scale, many of the aspects of this tomb were incorporated into the Taj Mahal.


New Delhi, India

5/23/13

Baljeet Nagar Slum


New Delhi in May. Day time temperatures of 116F degrees and dust everywhere, but it’s a dry heat. If you wear a hat and sunglasses and also keep enough water in you, the human body does a surprisingly great job of keeping you going.

For your average traveler the conditions above are enough to either write or run home about. However for a "real traveler" they are just details in a story to used to one up another travelers tale. 

In an era of dirt cheap air travel, easy to get visas, and the internet anyone can jump on a plane and do what you did. So while you’re Mom and friends who never really left the states will think you are cool, in the traveling world you’re just another backpacker.

That’s where the one upping comes into play. In third world cafes and bars around the world travelers share their stories. The younger travelers will relay their stories of terrible bus rides, dirty hotels, and petty crimes committed against them, while the more season travelers will talk of wild adventures and their near misses.

This is the reason why I found myself in Delhi’s largest slum today. I wanted an experience that would assault my senses, endanger my health, and completely divorce me from my established reality.

The pictures that follow do not show any people, because my guide asked that I not take any pictures of the slums residents. What did the people look like? They were clean and their clothes were in good condition. Some of the kids had swollen bellies because they had dysentery, but no one was dying in an alleyway. 

The slum had electricity for those who could pay for it. There was a water truck that came 3 times a day to supply the people with water. And the place really did not smell all that bad in spite of having an open sewer system.

There was a reason for that though. Dry hot air evaporates water quickly. When there is no standing water, there is no smell, and few insects like flies. From what my guide told me, moment it rains the entire slum becomes a flooded smelly cesspool.

The pictures that follow have not been cropped. I recommend you click on and then zoom in on the pictures:







So whats my wild traveler story? Was I nearly robed? Did the slums residents chase me out? No its simpler than that. As I stood at the slums highest point looking out at the new houses the Indian government was building for the slums residents (see the picture below) a naked young boy, maybe 4 or 5 years old, walked out onto the hillside close to me, coped a squat, and let loose a long filthy stream of diarrhea. 

Standing there I imagined the rain flooding the slum and streets with sewage. I saw the sun come out and turn it all to sand. The wind began to blow. As people walked through the streets the dust fell on their clothes and stuck to their feet and shoes. Without knowing it, people tracked it into their homes and as they slept, the little boys sickness slipped into their nose and eyes leaving them sickened in the morning. 
My walk through the slum today made me realize that the true job of a traveler is not to one up his fellow travelers. Rather it is to experience things that others will not or cannot experience and then relaying those stores back to everyone on the sidelines.

New Delhi, India

5/21/13

Phusang National Park

 Khun Korn Water Fall 
The path up to the falls. 

Chiang Rai, Thailand

Wat Rong Khun


This temple is set up take you on one heck of journey through each of the 4 Noble Truths.
Chaing Rai, Thailand  

5/16/13

Honda Sonic

There's something about a 125cc engine that's strapped to what is essentially a bicycle frame. It really makes you feel like a kid again. While this bike was far more refined than other 125cc bikes I have ridden, getting off quick from a red light, trying to ride up a steep hill, and breaking the 75 mph barrier all took a deep understanding of what this bike had to offer.

The position of your body and when you shifted all determined how far the Sonic would let you take it. While there were times I wanted more power, this bike forced me to slow down and enjoy what I was riding through.

Then there was the reliability. The kick starter ensured you could always get the bike going. The tiny engine sipped gasoline when it was miles from any fuel stop. Having a small liquid cooled engine meant that in spite of the 100 degree tropical temperatures I was riding in, the bike was not going to overheat. And the bikes light weight meant it would always make it to the top of a dis-repaired dirt road.

While I would not go back to riding a 125cc bike again full time, it was great to get back to my roots deep in Northern Thailand.

Phum Cave

The entrance to the cave.

 Cave Millipede

The black dots on the ceiling are scores of bats. 

Chang Rai, Thailand