Enjoying a Greek evening with my Tiff!
View from the Narikala Fortress after a ride on the cable car! I love seeing snow blanketing the city…
Editor’s note: Writer Arnold van Bruggen and photographer Rob Hornstra started The Sochi Project in 2009. Their latest book, “The Sochi Project: An Atlas of War and Tourism in the Caucasus,” is a summation of the project and published by Aperture. This story published in February 2013.
On the other side of the mountains from the Russian town of Sochi, where the Olympic flame will be lighted, a war is being waged.
From the Caucasus’ impenetrable forests and mountains, Islamist rebels are engaged in a struggle for independence from Russia, with the goal of forming the “Caucasus Emirate.”
The conflict is not confined to the North Caucasus, however. In recent years, attacks on an airport, a theater and the metro in Moscow have resulted in dozens of civilian casualties.
After protests against the Vladimir Putin-Dmitri Medvedev leadership in Moscow in late 2011, the rebel leader Dokku Umarov announced that…
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Wow! So interesting how language “laws” can dictate something so personal as naming a child! Go Blaer!
How fantastically odd! I’ve never read of this until now. Thanks again, BBC!
Traveling Tip Tuesday – Tip #6:
As anyone who’s pounded the airport pavement and taken an overnight flight can vouch, being comfortable for hours on end is a definite challenge. There are a few items I always begrudgingly drag along with me on trips… and am later thankful for!
1. Shoe Insoles
- See yourself standing, walking, lumbering and stumbling around an airport any time soon? Gel insoles save lives! ..in the general sense. For some reason, roaming about an airport is always so tiring for me. Even the most comfortable tennis shoes, flats, and boots will turn evil after a few hours. For this reason, I always buy insoles with a deep heel cup to absorb all of the impact from wondering around (find insoles at any national chain store, ‘dollar’ store, or drug store for $5.50 – $20.00 depending on brand and quality). These same insoles can then be used on walking tours, shopping expeditions, and museum jaunts. Being comfortable in your own stylish shoes? That is the mark of a truly smart tourist.
- Why do I feel like I’m riding the graph of a sine function when dealing with the temperatures throughout airports and airplanes? A comfortable temp… then too hot… then comfortable… then too cold! Repeat! I’ve found that scarves can be lightweight, portable helpers for such temperature issues. It’s easy on, easy off, and can be quickly tied onto a suitcase or bag handle. For both men and women, scarves are a great way to look “pulled together” while still having an emergency pseudo-blanket nearby!
3. “Airplane” Socks
- You know those misfit socks in the back of your drawer that just never seem to make their way onto your feet? No matter how clean and warm they may be, they are always gloomily rejected. Well not today! I always pack a pair of deviant socks in my carry-on and put them on my feet the moment I start to settle into my seat on the plane. Shoeless, I will be eating, standing, and sleeping in these socks. Once the flight is over and I take them off, the “airplane” socks will be banished to the depths of my carry-on… not to be touched until adequate washing can be done! Don’t mix up these socks with those for normal wear on your trip… EVER. Who knows what these socks have been exposed to on the plane! So disturbing…
4. Neck Pillow
- Some people know they can do without them. I, on the other hand, am pro-pillow. Yes, they are cumbersome through security and unwieldy in the face of a carry-on. But I’ve found that I simply cannot fall asleep on an airplane without some type of neck support. Don’t rely on adjustable headrests for your comfort… many planes either do not have them installed or have sporadically placed them throughout the cabin! If you have yet to try a neck pillow on an overnight flight, I urge you to pick one up (try finding one at your local national chain store for around $7… ones sold in the airport run between $12 – $24…). If you love it? Great! More valuable sleep for you! If not, you at least have another pillow option in hotel rooms for when you are grossly uncomfortable or very sick (why hello there, 103° fever in Thessaloniki, Greece!).
Help a girl out! I need some advice! Has anyone tried those compression socks that keep your feet from getting so swollen? Any portable seat cushions that are amazing? Any other good tips?
Has anyone dared to wear onesie pajamas on an airplane?? If someone will buy me the Cheetah Chenille footed pajamas from www.jumpinjammerz.com, I promise I will wear them on an upcoming overnight flight.
$19.95.. Do I need this? Does anyone have it and love it? And most importantly, will anyone buy it for me? 🙂
Amazing story of an Iranian woman whose life was turned upside down by the Facebook-pillaging media…
I see this as yet another reason to verify and cite your sources!
Traveling Tip Tuesday – Tip #5:
And by request, a step-by-step guide to packing your precious wine bottles for the long trek home in your checked luggage! These tips also work for other sorts of liquids in glass bottles (e.g., spirits, sodas, mineral water, etc.). Of course there are professional methods of packing a bottle, but we travelers take what we can get. And that usually means junk and dirty clothes.
1. Gather your basic items:
- Paper products (local newspapers, old magazines, extra brochures, tissue paper from purchases)
- Masking/duct tape (packed courtesy of Travel Tip Tuesday #3!)
- Dark scarves and clothes
- Plastic bags
- Tenderly chosen bottle of wine
2. Place your wine bottle into one of the plastic bags and wrap extensively with tape. This layer is the best protection for the other items in your bag in case there does happen to be a crack in the bottle. Better to throw away a wet plastic bag than your whole suitcase of ruined clothes!
3. Wrap and tape a thick layer of paper around the neck and mouth of the bottle. This gives a little extra cushioning to the narrowest and most delicate part.
4. Liberally wrap and tape the paper all the way from the mouth to the punt (that conic indentation in the bottom!). Go ahead and overdo it. Tape it horizontally and vertically. The layers should feel very thick and spongy and will begin to resemble a very bizarre potato/baseball bat.
5. Put the entire contraption in another plastic bag and tape your heart out. At this point I begin to feel like a tape maniac… taping faster and faster, eyes bulging, palms sweating. It’s quite a scene.
6. Lovingly wrap your bottle in an item of clothing. Make it a dark piece in case, heaven forbid, your suitcase goes through a tornado and there is some staining. I prefer scarves because they are easy to wrap around an item a few times while not getting too bulky.
7. In keeping with the theme of cushiony layers, place your baby into another item of (dirty) clothing like a sweatshirt or pair of jeans.
8. Pack the bottle into your checked luggage with your other clothes. Put it somewhere in the middle of the suitcase in a horizontal position so the bottle will then be standing vertically and upright when the suitcase is stood on its wheels. Don’t put any heavy objects to the side of the bottle that will then be “on top” when the suitcase is stood up. Make sure you surround the bottle on the left, right, bottom, and top with clothes. Your suitcase will surely be thrown around so provide as much padding as you can!
9. When you finally get home and, crossing your fingers, open your suitcase, you can easily cut away the layers with a pair of scissors.