Sunday, October 4, 2009

Lonely Planet Central Asia - the 9 to 5

This winter I'm working on a new edition of Lonely Planet's Central Asia guide. This is the more normal part of the job, stuck in my studio in front of the computer screen and typing up the new guide. Research was earlier this autumn in Tajikistan, one of my favourite places. I entered Tajikistan from the Afghanistan side, spent a couple of weeks in the high Pamirs checking out the latest homestays from META, the excellent community tourism organisation there, and then finally managed to catch the white-knuckle flight from Khorog to Dushanbe. I've been to most of Tajikistan before but this time managed to hitch and hike up to the Zerafshan and Yagnob valleys, where there are new homestays. Did some hiking in the hills, visited all the homestays and enjoyed being away from the lowland heat of Dushanbe which was punishingly hot in August.

I always come away from a trip with one great place to visit next time; this time it's Zarosh-Kul, an incredible looking Pamiri lake on a 6 day loop trek out of Barchadiev, near the Pamir Highway. That's my tip for an adventure to do right now in Tajikistan.

In the meantime I'm stuck at my desk over the winter, tweaking Central Asian history and food sections. Gives me a chance to be normal. Well.....

The Marco Polo Trip Part III

Autumn is firmly here in Montana with snow expected tomorrow, so it's lucky that I'm headed off in a few days on the latest leg of my Marco Polo trip. This section concentrates on Gansu and Beijing, from the Buddhist caves and desert sands of Dunhuang down the old Silk Road through the Hexi Corridor to Lanzhou and then on to Beijing to track down the old Mongol capital of Xanadu, to the north in what is today inner Mongolia. I'll post some pictures when I get back.


Classic Pamiri Scenery of Gorno Badakhshan

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