Nukus City and Area Photo Gallery

Traveling by car from Khiva to the far west of the country to the town of Nukus and beyond to the Aral Sea is across dry flat desert terrain. Nukus is the sixth-largest city in Uzbekistan, and the capital of the autonomous Karakalpakstan Republic. The population of Nukus 2014 is approximately 230,000.  The city is

Uzbekistan: Khiva Photo Gallery 2

Khiva is an impressive site on what was once the Great Silk Road from Asia to Europe.  Khiva was infamous for its long and brutal history as a slave-trading post. The historical old town was restored by the Soviets in the 1970s. The clustered array of mosques, madrassas and tiled minarets give a sense of how

Uzbekistan: Khiva Photo Gallery 1

Khiva is an impressive site on what was once the Great Silk Road from Asia to Europe.  Khiva was infamous for its long and brutal history as a slave-trading post. The historical old town was restored by the Soviets in the 1970s. The clustered array of mosques, madrassas and tiled minarets give a sense of how

Uzbekistan: Bukhara Photo Gallery 2

Central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara has buildings spanning a thousand years of history, and a thoroughly lived-in old centre that probably hasn’t changed much in two centuries. It is one of the best places in Central Asia for a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. It was as capital of the Samanid state in the 9th and 10th centuries

Uzbekistan: Bukhara Photo Gallery 1

Central Asia’s holiest city, Bukhara has buildings spanning a thousand years of history, and a thoroughly lived-in old centre that probably hasn’t changed much in two centuries. It is one of the best places in Central Asia for a glimpse of pre-Russian Turkestan. It was as capital of the Samanid state in the 9th and

Uzbekistan: Samarkand Photo Gallery 2

The ancient city of Samarkand is a crossroad of diverse world’s cultures. Founded in the 7th century B.C. as ancient Afrasiab, Samarkand reached a cultural and commercial peak in the Timurid period from the 14th to the 15th centuries. The significant existing monuments include the Registan Mosque and madrasas, Bibi-Khanum Mosque, the Shakhi-Zinda compound and

Uzbekistan: Tashkent Photo Gallery 2

Tashkent (meaning ‘Stone City’) is the capital of Uzbekistan with a population of about 2,309,300. Due to its position in Central Asia, Tashkent received Persian, Chinese and Turkic influences in its early history, before Islamisation in the 8th century AD. After destruction by Genghis Khan in 1219, the city was rebuilt and profited from the

Uzbekistan: Tashkent Photo Gallery 1

Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan with modern and ancient buildings and lifestyles. From donkey carts to Mercedes-Benz (a few) the city is a complex mix of ugly Soviet-style apartment blocks, sleek modern office buildings and historic Islamic-style mosques and museums. There is a wide range of fine hotels from plain two-star digs to five-star

Gay Tibet–An Impossible Dream

Looking for a LGBT community in Tibet is futile. Of the handful of modern reports about gay life in Tibet, since 1999, only one writer claims to have encountered more than one or two gay individuals, usually by chance. Jump ahead to my own visit in 2013 when I did not find any gay person

Thailand–A Place for Gay Old Men

Getting old and gray does not mean giving up sex. In southeast Asia, especially Thailand, many retirees find renewed romance and sexual pleasure among the country’s welcoming young gay generation.   This story incorporates another earlier story of unknown origin, published perhaps in Thai Puan magazine, perhaps in 2011 in Bangkok. The author is unknown.

Gay in North Korea

Being gay in North Korea: finding insightful information about LGBT life in this closeted country  is like trying to find water on Mars. This overview by a British writer suggests, among other things, that the only North Koreans who know about homosexuality are ones who escape into South Korea where gay life is more known.

Tibet Random Rural Photos

Tibet is a dramatic country with vast grassy plains and rugged high mountains. It is a Buddhist country with countless monasteries, temples, shrines and symbolic stupas. The lifestyle is rural with most Tibetans engaged in agriculture and animal raising. Mount Everest is called Chomolungma by Tibetans which means ‘Goddess mother of the Earth’. It’s easy

Tibet: Lhasa – Sera Monastery

Sera Monastery is one of the ‘great three’ Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. It is about 5 kms north of Lhasa in the hills. The monastery oversees 19 smaller hermitages (including Pobanka Monastery) and nunneries all located in the foot hills north of Lhasa. The Sera Monastery campus is a complex of structures with the

Tibet: Lhasa – Pabonka Monastery

Pabonka Monastery is a historical hermitage (founded in the 7th century) about 8 kilometers northwest of Lhasa on the slopes of Mount Parasol. It is well known today partly because it’s the site where ‘sky burials’ take place. Sky burials involve the dismemberment of  deceased human corpses and leaving the remains open to the sky

Tibet: Lhasa – Jokhang Temple

Jokhang Temple is located on Barkhor Square in central Lhasa. For most Tibetans it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. It is in some regards pan-sectarian, but is controlled by the Gelug Buddhist school. The temple’s architectural style is a mixture of Indian vihara design, Chinese Tang Dynasty design, and Nepalese design.

Tibet: Lhasa – Summer Palace

The Summer Palace is the former summer home of HH Dalai Lama. It’s now a museum, as designated by the communist Chinese, but many native Buddhists still consider it a sacred place and offer prayers at the temples within. Foreign visitors cannot go in to any temples or museums or to other cities or sites

Tibet: Lhasa – City Photos

Visiting Lhasa city is like finding a ghost in a closet full of living beings. It is at once an ancient seat of tradition that lives in the shadow of progressive communist changes. Throughout the city and beyond there is indelible Tibetan ethos mixed with the artifice of Chinese manufacture. The imperialist occupier would like

Tibet: Lhasa – Potala Palace

The Potala Palace is the former home and seat of government for the Buddhist leader Dalai Lama. He was chased out of Tibet when the Chinese invaded Tibet in 1959 and took over the country. Since then the Potala Palace has not been used for government or religious functions. The Chinese have designated it as

Tibet Faces

The faces of Tibet are diverse in appearance and in lifestyle. From hip city teens to rugged farmers to aged monks and wandering tourists, the variety is panoramic. There is wonder, humor, puzzlement and more than a little hidden resentment at living under an occupying and repressive communist system over which they have no control.

Mount Everest Photo Gallery

Mountains are generally measured from sea level, in which case Mount Everest (29,028 feet; 8,848 meters) is the highest. Hawaii’s Mauna Kea, though, rises an astonishing 33,476 feet (10,203 meters) from the depths of the Pacific Ocean floor. Measuring from base to peak, Mauna Kea is the tallest mountain on earth, of which only about