Travelogues from Remote Lands: August 22, 2017

23 August 2017
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7 Minutes in Heaven: To the Top of the World by Chopper

“Your lips are turning blue,” said the Kiwi pilot, shouting over the roaring chopper. “That’s the first sign of altitude sickness.”

The helicopter roared. If the blades are turned off, the helicopter won’t start again in the thin, dry air. Mountaineers struggle and sacrifice for this view – popping blood thinners and trekking eight days to acclimatize – some never getting this far. But there is a short cut.

“Seven minutes max,” he warned.



Thar She Blows: Thailand's Whale Watching Season Kicks Off

Avid snorkelers and divers in Thailand will be no stranger to the diverse array of wildlife beneath the waves of the Land of Smiles. But it’s the common anchovy that brings one of the most miraculous creatures in the oceans to the nation’s shores. It is peak season for Thailand’s largest mammal: the Bryde’s whale.

“The best method to find these whales is using experienced eyes,” says Jirayu Ekkul. “An experienced observer or whale watcher can distinguish the whale’s blow or even a surface feeding from up to two to three nautical miles away […] Our crew can spot the whale 30 to 60 minutes away before our boat reaches the area.”

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Dhaka and the Symmetry in the Swarm

The bells on the rickshaws ring so often and so regularly that it sounds like pleasant, metal rain. It’s easy to imagine shouting, and pushing, and honking in the photos – but, in reality, the sound of Dhaka traffic is the sound of pleasantly tinkling, politely ringing bells. The streets of Dhaka are chaos, but it’s a meditative chaos.

Standing over the angular buildings that make up downtown Dhaka, one feels the humans pumping through the city: standing on their rickshaws to stare over trucks, poles slung over their shoulders to balance the weight, kids dancing through the traffic. At the pier, the human tumult continues to the water where boatmen smile and hawkers bark. On the floor of the markets, excess produce is trampled and forgotten. The city Dhaka does many things. But it never stops.



Trading Rockets for Rain in Yasothorn

The vast majority of the people of the Isaan region depend on the agriculture of the flat plains. In the summer months, the temperature can be brutal. The sun beats down on those working the fields and the crops are dry. People around the country pray for rain.

Since time immemorial, the locals of Isaan have been practicing a unique tradition to make the rains come. They fire volleys of rockets at the heavens.



The Lens Leads: Photography Expeditions in Vietnam

“It is a tour where people need to be ready to get dirty,” says Etienne Bossot, speaking of his Mu Cang Chai photography expedition through Vietnam. “At this time of theyear we find a lot of activity in the fields. It is a great combination of village, market, and landscape photography.

Etienne is part of the photo tourism boom, holidays where your casual photographer learns the skills and tips of professionals, changing holiday snaps into print-worthy acts of photojournalism.



Nepal's Bardia: Trekking with Tigers and Rafting with Rhinos

Nepal, usually known for its dramatic mountains and cliff-side culture, has another side to its personality: a world filled with tigers and crocodiles, lazy rivers and grasslands. The Bardia National Park in the far west of Nepal is a haven for the nation’s rarest animals, sheltered in the shadow of the Himalayas.

Here, glacial waters run through the lowlands, and the impassable mountain heights keep the forests sated. The country’s mix of high and low altitudes and rainfall has given rise to the biodiversity of Bardia, Nepal’s largest and most undisturbed national park in the Terai region. At Bardia National Park nature lovers can spot one-horned rhinos and Bengal tigers, raft with river dolphins, and bask with gharial crocs.


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