Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Photos from Tashkent to Song-Kul Lake


time to bore you all with more photos! Thanks for the feedback to the previous
ones (to the two people who replied :) ).

This time it's into Central Asia - from Uzbekistan heading east into

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 01 - Glimpse of Turkey
A brief glimpse of Istanbul from above after changing planes in Istanbul for

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 2a - Tashkent Solo
One hundred 500-Sum bills makes about $40. Certainly makes you feel rich! Then
it's an ongoing battle with jetlag whilst exploring the Mirabad bazaar (under
the bizarre blue roof), the back streets of Tashkent (along with Barf
bus-stops), the fine art in the museum (this was the 4th largest city in the
USSR after all) and 'The Café'.

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 2b - Tashkent Park Life
After the fountains, the next shot is of the outside of the Amir Timir Museum.
The INSIDE, however, is breathtaking! Amir Timir was the great conqueror after
Genghis Khan and carved out an empire for himself from Turkey to northern
India, leaving universities and Turkmen in his wake. Never heard of him?
Neither had I until this trip... I guess that's a euro-centric education for
you! He's the guy on the horse. Finally in this set there are some shots of
locals playing chess and Nargile (Uzbek backgammon) in the park.

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 3 - Fountain Swimming
I met up with the group this day, that's Leslie with a 'Sum' of money. Geddit?
Also, check out the Oliy Majlis parliament building (gold with blue
half-dome), Alisher Navoi memorial (the Uzbek Shakespeare - read the quote in
the photo), escaping the heat by fountain swimming (it was about 40C+) and the
statues of the model Soviet war family (a smithy who adopted 15 war orphans).

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 4 - Fergana Valley
We drove up through a mountain pass in minibuses, while our truck had to go
via Tajikistan (you learn to love Uzbek bureaucracy after a while, honest!).
Some shots of my fellow campers, then we stopped off at the Khan's palace and
a Pottery workshop on the way to Fergana itself.

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 5 - Fergana
Fergana's famous for its silk, so here are photos of men spinning silk,
spitting on silk, painting on silk, boiling silk and women weaving silk. After
that it was a short stop at the ruins of KUBA (quite ironic when you consider
where I had just come from). Back to Fergana to explore the bazaar and get
chatting to the locals (including the ones trying to kill themselves in the
storm drain).

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 6 - Osh, Kyrghyzstan
Across the border into Kyrghyzstan and the gigantic Osh Bazaar to meet more
incredible, warm and friendly locals, quick to flash a gold-toothed smile at
the drop of a hat. So I bought a Kyrghyz hat, we climbed Solomon's Throne and
found our first Lenin. The first verse of The Kyrghyz Song was penned from the
hotel balcony in one of these photos. It'll be famous one day!

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 7 - To Toktugul Reservoir
Hmm. Not much to look at here if you weren't on the trip. Giant ants and
Kyrghyz mountain scenery (no matter how remote, there's always an electric

Kyrghyzstan 2002. Set 8 - To Song-Kul Lake and Away
Again, not much here for the casual viewer. Some scenery, a passing donkey and
a memento of the campsite by the river where I was violently ill all night.
Getting the runs when you're camping and it's freezing and it's raining and
you're not sure where you left your loo roll ain't no fun!



Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Yet more Cuban photos

Hi gang,

I've been busy over the Easter break - it's time to release the next set of photos. Still Cuba and Spain, but next time the focus will move to Central Asia...

Cuba 2002. Set 07 - Santiago Pre-Carnaval
Setting up for the Carnaval in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba's southern rhythym capital! The 'El Rapido' is one of my favourite photos - Fast Food, Cuban Style.

Cuba 2002. Set 08 - El Salton y El Cobre
El Salton is a waterfall in southern Cuba - behold backflips through the stream and a pig slowly roasting on the shore. On a trek up behind the falls we encountered some locals growing coffee and cacao. The pigs are sleeping, not dead! Finally we stopped off near el cobre, an afro-cuban monument full of symbolism and a sporting a giant phallus.

Cuba 2002. Set 09a - Santiago Carnaval
Carnaval! For 7 days 3 districts of Santiago become a 24/7 party district. Things slow down a little during the day (when most of these photos were taken) but almost every side-street, for two miles, has a stage, and a dj, and a throng of bodies sweating and swaying to the salsa/cuban r&b/latin pop beat.It may not be Rio (or Port of Spain) but it's an amazing experience!

Cuba 2002. Set 09b - Santiago Carnaval
Kids playing on the death-trap fairground rides, the semi-naked performers in the carnival procession and finishing with some candid shots of some geezers playing dominoes under a street light.

Cuba 2002. Set 10a - Back to Havana
After the excesses of Santiago Carnaval, it was a return to Havana. Coco-taxis, fountain swimming, walking the dog (Havana style) and the monument to the Maine. Which the Americans say was blown up in Havana and the Cubans maintain was sabotaged to give the Americans a pretext for war. If you look carefully you can still see the rust-marks of the original text, before the Fidel replaced it with the new message.

Cuba 2002. Set 10b - Back to Havana
Street Kids, Bits and Pieces from some of the museums, my favourite Red Sofas and a Cuban take on Park Life (Pork Life?)- have you ever seen a bigger pair of tourists?

Cuba 2002. Set 10c - Back to Havana
As the sun set on Havana, so my time in Cuba came to an end. Some shots of the Maracón in twilight, then random pics on my last day.

Cuba 2002. Set 11 - MAD to home
Stopped off in Madrid on the way home. And happened across a match between (an injury depleted) Liverpool side and Real Madrid. Real won the day, even before they signed Ronaldo :) The photos are of the game, sandwiched between Mohsin and Selima looking cute together.



Wednesday, April 09, 2003

More photos from Cuba

Time for more photos from the Archive.

6 sets from Cuba, plus Peace Marches viewed from the Eye and pics from the two NE&T dinners.


039 Peace Eye. View of the marches from the Eye, Alice ponders World Peace... then decides that a world of Peas would be better.
(not online yet!)

040 NE&T 2.1. Pictures from the first NE&T dinner since the renaissance, at Sarastro's. If you don't like your photo email me and I'll take it offline. To everyone else - take a look QUICK before the most embarrassing photos are taken off :)
(not online yet!)

044 NE&T 2.2. Pictures from the latest NE&T dinner, at Detroit Bar. Followed by a couple of snaps of a random geezer giving an interview from a Rickshaw and some pics from a sunny morning after in Cambridge. Again, if you don't like your photo email me and I'll take it offline.
(not online yet!)

Cuba 02c - Havana living. The view from my room, a night trip to see the cañons fired, some of the teachers and students at the spanish school and a glimpse inside the national museum.

Cuba 03a - Trinidad 1. Views of the town, a coming-of-age party in the back of a convertible classic car, a hike up the mountain behind town and a dog named 'Gasolina'.

Cuba 03b - Trinidad 2. A spooky church, more views of town, a dog very scared of a cat, tiny crabs, an enormous lizard and street life.

Cuba 04 - Camaguey. More dramatic churches, an electrical storm, the local master playing damas (draughts), colourful market, colourful characters and the Irish lasses.

Cuba 05 - Holguín. Street-baseball, a sunny graveyard, a juxtaposition of telecommunications and religion and the view from the top of lots and lots and lots of steps.

Cuba 06 - Baracoa. The beach, divers, Columbus ('cos this is where he landed and planted a 6' wood and silver cross), the remains of the cross (tourists kept taking slivers), jamming in the streets (I was on Maraccas!), Hatuey (who spent his life fighting the missionaries and is now memorialised by a bust facing the church which houses Columbus' cross) and some ici-taxi drivers.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Photos from Cuba

The first set of pictures from my travels is now online, please use the URLs below.

These pics are from my trip to Cuba, more will follow over the coming weeks (it will be Cuba, then Central Asia, then Middle East)!

Set 1 - Home-Madrid. Stop off in Madrid for a week before flying on to Cuba.
Featuring Maja, some Koreans going mad in a bar following a goal against italy in the world cup, a waterfall full of soap after the huelga general, Danny, Mohsin & Selima and Homa & Steve.

Set 2 -
- Central Havana. The Capitolio (modeled on the Capital building in Washington DC), the national theatre, street baseball, the Cuban flag and the world's longest bus queues (for the world's longest buses).
- Plaza de la Revolucion. Ché Guevara, Jose Marí, more Cuban flags and vultures circling over Havana.



If you want any more info about any of the pics, drop me a line or make a mental note to ask me next time we meet!