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Friday, March 23rd, 2007


Most Memorable Mass Transit

Wednesday, December 6th, 2006

Most of the time, mass public transit is kind of a drag – long lines, delays, noise, etc.  But sometimes it provides a unique glimpse of what life is like somewhere else: 

  1. Moscow subway – Part of the city experience involves riding the system’s endless escalators, visiting the exquisite older stations and, finding that, once you’re on the train, it’s not much different from New York.
  2. Dushanbe electric bus – When you can see the pavement through the floor, you know you’re not in the US anymore.
  3. Istiklal Caddesi trolley, Istanbul – A relaxing way to experience Istanbul’s most elegant street – though you have to give up any illusions of being anything other than a tourist.  If you’re really a mass transit junkie, you can preface the ride with a trip on the light rail from Sultanahmet and the quirky Tünel (Europe’s oldest mass transit system), and then follow it up with a tram ride across Macka Park near Taksim Square.
  4. Mexico City subway – Although I’m sure it’s similar in other cities, I’ll never forget my first rush-hour commute, where the only way to get on board is to stand in front of the door and let the crowd behind you shove you inside.
  5. Mongolian marshrutka – Similar to, but far more colorful (in a figurative sense) than, Mexico City’s ubiquitous peseros, the ‘fixed line’ minibuses plying the steppe provide the next best thing to travel by horseback.  One trip to a far-off destination should provide most of the highlights – greasy buuz from meat of uncertain origin washed down with salty ayran, stopping to chat for a half-hour with friends, relatives or anyone else, a cheerful (if frustrating) disregard any sense of scheduling or timeliness, the vast openness of the steppe, ovoos aplenty and music (if you ask nicely you might get a personal demonstration of throat singing).
  6. Ferries of all types, though I’m thinking in particular of the iconic Washington State Ferries and Istanbul’s scenic ferries (water taxis, such as Venice’s, don’t quite make the cut – they’re not really public transportation) – there’s nothing quite like the 360-degree view you get while out on the water.

Travel Tips

Monday, November 27th, 2006

1. Never use taxis unless absolutely necessary. This applies tenfold at airports, where locals always avoid the taxi ranks in favor of a convenient bus. At Moscow Domodedovo, I purchased a bus ticket, ... [Continue reading this entry]

Best Outposts

Friday, November 17th, 2006
Here's the first of my initial attempts at travel writing.  I'm organizing my travels into categories, of which this is the first one.  Outposts are small towns located next to big things - mountains, ranges, etc.  Their charm comes from ... [Continue reading this entry]


Saturday, January 21st, 2006
Using a nifty Google Maps-enabled site, I found that the 2008 total solar eclipse will pass directly over Novosibirsk, Russia's third-largest city. Rather than organizing an expedition to site where the eclipse will be at its ... [Continue reading this entry]

Eclipse Travel Planning

Monday, January 16th, 2006
I've received funding to photograph the March 29, the last total solar eclipse for over two years (the former nuclear test site ... [Continue reading this entry]

Travel record

Thursday, November 3rd, 2005
Places I've visited, from World66:

Hello world traveller!

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005
Welcome to your new website. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!