I remember my disbelief in 2001 that someone (the Taliban) would want to destroy the 1,500 year old giant Buddhas in Afghanistan  – and yet they did.

I am saddened to read that once again history is being destroyed – this time the group –  Al Qaeda-linked Islamists; the targets are historic and holy sites in the UNESCO-listed city of Timbuktu.

It is a sad reflection on the human race  that,  for some, a fierce determination to destroy overshadows any appeals for reasoning and preservation of such cultural, historical world treasures.

 

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Posted by: baworldtraveler | February 1, 2012

Isolated Amazon Tribe Turns Violent

It is not often any more  that we read articles about isolated tribes. It seems that logging and modern man’s exploding encroachment into previously remote natural areas for logging and oil may have been the cause for a tribe in the Amazon to venture from their safety closer to areas more trafficked by tourists. There were attacks from some members of the tribe.

Click here to read the article and see a rare photo of two of the tribesmen sitting on a riverbank log.

It doesn’t seem fair that our devouring of natural resources should have such negative impact of so many species and rare nomadic tribes.

 

Posted by: baworldtraveler | November 14, 2011

Africa’s Western Black Rhino – “Poached Out of Existence”

I am saddened by the news that yet another species has been declared extinct, the Western Black Rhino (also known as the Western Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis longipes) or West African Black Rhinoceros.) In the past it had primarily been found in Cameroon. No more. 

Watch the  informative 3 minute National Geographic YouTube video about the Black Rhino. The video (uploaded April 2008) brings out a few simple points about the Black Rhino. 1. The only preditor the back rhinos in the wild have are HUMANS! 2. Some humans use their horns for decoration, medicinal cures, and as an aphrodisiac. 3. Since the 1970’s the numbers of black rhinos have dropped 95% due to loss of habitat and poaching.

It seems that humans should be the protectors of animal species that share our planet, especially those at risk of becoming extinct. Yet, once again, not enough steps were taken, support given, or will to protect it existed….

Click here to read one of the articles about it. (“Poached Out of Existence”)

The following information on the Western Black Rhinoceros is from Wikipedia .(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Black_Rhinoceros)

The Western Black Rhinoceros was heavily hunted in the beginning of the 20th century, but the population rose in the 1930s after preservation actions were taken. As protection efforts declined over the years so did the number of Western Black rhinos. By 1980 the population was in the hundreds. Poaching continued and by 2000 only an estimated 10 survived. In early 2006 an intensive survey of northern Cameroon (the last remaining habitat of the species) found none, but efforts to locate any surviving individuals continued.[3] The illegal poaching, limited anti-poaching efforts, failure of courts to hand down sentences to punish poachers and more all contributed to the species’ eventual demise. No animals are known to be held in captivity. In November 2011, the subspecies was declared extinct by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.[1]

For your convenience, some links to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) ‘s web site follow.

The IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species

Current News – IUCN’s Web Site

Posted by: baworldtraveler | November 5, 2011

1500 Year Old Tree Falls in the Forest – and Made a Sound!

It is hard enough to image something that has been alive for over 1500 years.  It is even harder to believe that a tourist was able to record the giant sequoia as it fell and knocking other large trees in its’s path.

The diameter of the tree is 17 feet.

Click here to see the video and a great photo of the fallen sequoia tree!

The question now is what to do with the tree. It fell across a popular hiking path. Some say leave it but cut the section that crosses the path so tourists can walk through it.

I think that they should respect such magnificence and leave the tree as it fell. They can certainly more easily modify the path of the trail to go around the tree than cut through a 17 foot thick trunk.

Let me know what you think.

It is fascinating to think that photos of  Robert Falcon Scott, an explorer of Antartica, who died during his expedition nearly a century ago, have resurfaced and are being published in a book, The Lost Photographs of Captain Scott. He arrived 33 days too late to be the first to reach the South Pole and on top of that, horrible weather conditions kept him from completing his return trip.

Click here for the MSNBC article by Andrea Mustain.

Related links for your convenience:

Robert Falcon Scott (Columbia.edu)

Robert Falcon Scott  (Wikipedia)

Robert Falcon Scott Images

Robert Falcon Scott You Tube Memorial

Antartica

 
Posted by: baworldtraveler | October 17, 2011

Was Tourist Eaten by Cannibals? Police say no.

I read an article from the eTN Global News claiming the disappearance on the remote island of Nuku Hiva, of the German tourist, Stephan Ramin,  possibly ended with his being cannibalized.  Just as quickly I found an article on Fox News.com with police denying such a fate was met by the missing tourist. 

Regardless of how it happened, I feel for his family who have lost him and don’t have all the answers surrounding the circumstances of his disappearance and his fate.

Here are links to both articles for you to read as well as some links to information about the French Polynesian Islands.  

Click here to link to the eTN article posing possible case of cannibalism.

Click here to link to the FOX.com article dismissing the case of possible cannibalism.

Click here to link to the IBTraveler article about it.

Additional links for your convenience:

cannibalism   “Cannibalism was widespread in the past among humans throughout the world, continuing into the 19th century in some isolated South Pacific cultures.”

Nuku Hiva

Marquesas Islands

French Polynesia

Posted by: baworldtraveler | September 21, 2011

Enjoy Autumn Views Riding the Durango-Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad

A client of mine was a railroad buff. He had this exquisite photo of an old train prominently displayed on the wall of his office. One day, I asked him about the photo. That was the day I learned about the Durango-Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad, a ride that starts in Durango, Colorado and climbs the beautiful SanJuan mountains to Silverton. 

I decided that I would one day experience that unique ride through the San Juan Mountains , on that narrow guage railroad. I found myself on a vacation exploring the southwest a number of years later and took a quick detour to Durango. The ride did not disappoint. It was autumn. The weather couldn’t have been better – clear blue sky and nothing but sunshine. The ride took about 3 hours each way. I rode in the car that had the open view. I had enough time to walk around Silverton, catch lunch and then head back to Durango.

The vista’s were breathtaking, especially watching from the back of the train, as the front of the train snaked its way through the mountainside, riding its edges and crossing bridges that connected mountainsides. See a good photo by clicking here.

Just last year, I met someone whe said she was going to take the Durango & Silverton train ride that weekend. She did and reported back that it was still as good an experience as when I had gone.

Here is my only warning  and piece of advice for those who take the ride. If you are going to spend any time in the open car – be sure to have your glasses or sunglasses on to protect yourself from the cinders, or ashes that will be in the air. Without glasses, you will not be able to enjoy the ride in the open car – you will be too busy wiping the specs of “grit” from your eyes. I passes this advice on to my friend who heeded my warning and was prepared when she took the ride.

Take the ride, you will not be disappointed.

Link to wikipedia.

For your convenience, I have added links below from Durango & Silverton’s web site.  

Watch the video “Autumn in the San Juans” (1st video),   “A Dirty Job” (4th video) and “Train and Trail” (5th video) by clicking  here.

To read more about the history of the Durango & Silverton Narrow Guage Railroad, click here.

To read some frequently asked questions, click here.

For information on the Durango area, click here.

From the Durango & Silverton website:

 ” We operate out of our original 1882 depot located at 479 Main Avenue, Durango, CO 81301

  The D&SNGRR is history made up of original equipment, maintained to perfection, operated and kept up by people today using skills long lost to ordinary endeavors. Our history protects and preserves the very human character that made our country great. On our railroad, you will experience Colorado at its best…wildlife, waterfalls, majestic peaks, all from the view of an 1880s train. You will see places you can get to only by foot or train. You will experience first-hand why the D&SNGRR was voted “One of the World’s Top Ten Most Exciting Train Rides” by the Society of American Travel Writers in 2009. The most important part of our mission is you. It is to give you an experience you will never forget. Riding the D&SNGRR you are now a part of history. You are now an 1882 railroader. Welcome Aboard! We’re glad you’re here.  –Allen & Carol Harper

 The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad winds through spectacular & breathtaking canyons in the remote wilderness of the two-million acre San Juan National Forest for an unforgettable year-round adventure. Experience the adventure of traveling by a coal-fired, steam-powered locomotive on the same tracks miners, cowboys and settlers of the Old West took over a century ago. Relive history with the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a truly spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.”

September 11, 2001 was a day that preserved memories of both the best and the worst of things. all at the same time.

We all remember that it was one of those rare, perfect September days. There was no humidity. The sky was so exquisitely blue and clear that we all still remember noticing it and appreciating it that morning, a morning that was about touch all of our lives in one way or another. It was the day that marked our new normal. Our cocoons were ripped open, we were shaken into a new reality, and forever unable to return to our previous way of life.

I had been on my way to a meeting in the North Tower that morning but had missed an earlier train. I remember the feeling of shock and  incomprehension I felt when I heard on the radio that the tower had fallen. I was getting a ride out of the city and was at a point on the highway that normally offered a quick glimpse of the Towers off in distance – not that day and never more. I still react every time pass that same point in the highway, 10 years later.

The horrible – we all know of all the tragedies that occurred that day. Lest we forget, the media replays every aspect, round the clock for weeks leading up to and after we mark yet another anniversary. A decade of them. I will not repeat them here.

The best – we all forgot about ourselves and thought of the collective “us”. We became more compassionate and patient. We showed a knidness and gentleness toward others, and took the time to help, to reach out, and yes – to give thanks and be grateful for many things both great and small. We stopped feeling entitled. We did a lot of soul-searching.

Driving in NYC, was surreal. The honking of horns had stopped, even if you didn’t move right away after a red light turned green.

The city was quiet and felt as if it was holding its breath. The sky was still. There was not a plane in the sky for so long that when you saw that first plane after 9/11 – you were startled and you flinched.

I found an interesting article the other day. It is by the only American astronaut in space with an international crew on that day. He shares his reflections. It includes a link to a video that shows what NYC looked like from space.

While I had seen the photo shot before, the article  and video was new. I thought others might want to see it to so click here if you are interested.

Here is the URL in case there ou have a problem with the link. http://www.space.com/12834-9-11-01-manhattan-space.html

Posted by: baworldtraveler | September 1, 2011

Inspirational Photo of Turkish Mosque Interior

I wanted to share a great photo of prayers in a local Turkish mosque in Istanbul. Go to http://everything-everywhere.com/2011/08/24/prayers-in-a-local-mosque-in-istanbul-turkey/

I found it inspirational.

Irene has come and gone. I am happy to report I was merely inconvenienced by a day and a half without power.  Low lying areas in my town and neighboring towns around the county were once again flooded – but we all  knew that would happen. They are the places that always flood when there is a lot of rain – no hurricane needed.

When I was finally able to tune into some reporting on the storm’s damage, I was shocked to see the footage of flooding and damage in the Catskills. Towns destroyed. Someone on one of the news reports said that the volume of water flow was greater than that of the flow of water falling over Niagara Falls.

Margaretville, NY it by 16 feet of water. See video of Main Street rescue at http://upstater.net/tag/flooding-catskills-irene/.

Vermont, famous for its covered bridges, was no exception. Sadly, covered bridges fell victim to the flooding. They were not spared.

Some ABC footage of the Catskill and Vermont flooding (including the destruction of one of its covered bridges) can be found at http://abcnews.go.com/US/video/hurricane-irene-washes-catskills-town-upstate-york-14402964.

A NY Times article at http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/29/irenes-rain-impacts-come-as-u-s-cuts-flood-tracking-technology/ says, “As all of this is playing out, Congress is steadily trimming the budget for maintaining stream-flow gauges and other monitoring efforts aimed at forecasting flood threats. More on that below.

In Vermont, the rain from Irene was less severe but the steep-sloped topography produced destructive flash floods. The event is no match for the state’s “flood of record,” which was spawned by the remnants of a late-season tropical storm in 1927. Here’s a remarkable assemblage of archival film (from the Vermont Historical Society) documenting that event:”  

Be sure to scroll down the article to see the video of 1927 Vermont  flooding.

I don’t know how people and towns recover from such utter devastation. We should keep their situation in mind when you think you are having a bad day to provide some perspective.

My heart goes out to all those still crippled by Irene. Goodnight Irene.

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