Dialing in from the Dark: What’s Coming Up

We just finished a three-day trek that landed us at Inle Lake, Myanmar. While the people, markets, temples, villages and floating gardens here have all been wonderful, internet connectivity and availability of electricity leave much to be desired. With rolling brown-outs, random power outages, and heavily censored dial-up internet, staying in touch with the outside world has been next to impossible. Being able to view one’s inbox is cause for fist-pumping victory; sending an email is cause for nationwide celebration. That we have been able to post this article is something of a minor miracle.

Local Fisherman at Inle Lake - Burma
Traditional fisherman at Inle Lake, Myanmar.

Due to these infrastructural challenges, you may have noticed that we’ve been quiet recently. We figured it might be helpful to let our readers know what articles and photo essays are queued up for delivery when we enter the land of non dial-up internet (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore) later next week.

Rounding out Central Asia: our reflections on Central Asia are drawing to a close.

  • Central Asian Food – de-mystifying the adapted nomadic table of Central Asia
  • Marshrutka Monologues – a view of life in Central Asia from a seat on public transport
  • Sex and the Central Asian Visa – what bureaucratic visa application processes indicate about daily life in former Soviet Central Asia
  • Central Asian Grind – an honest look at the joys and woes of traveling through Central Asia
  • Staying Connected – staying in touch in Central Asia through a collection of mobile phone SIM cards, scattered internet cafes and wifi-enabled outposts
  • The Golden Camel Awards – a camel’s eye view of the best and worst that Central Asia and the Caucasus have to offer. In three parts: Part 1: Taking the Logic out of Logistics, Part 2: Food and Markets, and Part 3: Sights and Landscapes.

Saying Hello to the New China:

China is a surprising country, fascinating in ways that we never expected.

  • Kashgar on the Edge – how and why donkeys and skycrapers compete for space in Xinjiang province, China’s non-Chinese western frontier.
  • A Tibetan Pilgrimage – fortunate timing affords us a stunning view of a festival in a predominantly Tibetan town outside of Tibet. A photo essay, including shots from a Tibetan opera that you won’t want to miss.
  • The Antithesis of Authenticity – China seems to have a problems with fakes – not just Rolex watches and designer branded goods, but tourist sites as well.

Add to this a slew of photo essays from Xi’an, the site of the Terra Cotta Warriors, the traditional Chinese village of Pingyao and a host of observations from the hutongs in Beijing to the banked tracks of the magnetic levitation (Maglev) train in Shanghai. China is on the move…and so are we.

So, please stay patient just a little longer and we’ll do our best to reward you with some worthwhile content.

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  1. donna says

    Just read about you in the Scranton paper. I wish you well…I’m reminded of myself at your age. How is America viewed by those you meet? How is Christianity faring throughout your travels?

  2. Joe Urciuolo says

    I too just read about your travels in the Scranton Times-Trib, great story.Congratulations on living a life long dream of mine. Being a National Geo member forever, I find your website fantastic. Can’t wait to read all the stories. Keep up the good work.
    So long from North Scranton.

  3. Paul and Rosemarie Fahey says

    Dear Danny and Audrey,
    Great to read about you in the Times. Great website. Good luck with your travels–hope to see you around Lake Scranton one of these days.
    The Faheys

  4. Cathy says

    HI D and A,

    I did not read about you in the Scranton Times, but I see you have quite a lovely fan club.
    I haven’t been at “the market” for a while so it’s nice to catch up. Where are you off to next — assuming you can get online to answer before you get to the next place!
    Hezky den,

  5. Deirdre Spelman says

    I too join the ranks of “read about you in the Scranton Sunday Times-Tribune and was impressed at your journeys and lifes experiences. My Aunt Gloria Dinner lived next door but one to your family on Wheeler Avenue and she was delighted to see you , Don all grown up. I have enjoyed reading back through your blogs and hope they are the beginings of a book. I knew your Dad way back when I was in Graduate school and after I got my MSW. I imagine both your parents are proud of all your accomplishments. Travel safely . I know your experiences will not only forever change your lives but the lives of all you touch. What a wonderful journey and way a way to make your mark on our truely interdependent world. I teach University 100 at Marywood and will be showing your website tomorrow to my students fro inspiration, imagination and a view from other worlds outside NE PA.
    Thank-you. Deirdre Spelman

  6. says

    Hi Cathy!
    Hope you enjoyed your visit at “the market”! We just arrived in Bangkok this morning from Myanmar, so we have a chance to get online and enjoy electricity again : )

    We’re off to Malaysia and Singapore next. Likely to India after that, unless things calm down in Sri Lanka. We’re staying in touch with a friend in Colombo to see how things go.

  7. says

    To the readers of the Scranton Times who commented, my individual responses are below. Your comments mean a lot to us. Thank you for your patience while we found time and better internet to respond.

    Deirdre: I was a frequent visitor at the Dinners’. I’d stop by and exchange my news of the neighborhood for glasses of orange soda and peeks at Mark’s train set. Your note triggered memories of those days of simplicity and innocence and made me nostalgic for the old neighborhood. Please send my best to Mrs. Dinner.

    We hope our writings may serve as the foundation of a book some day. Thank you for your note and kind words and support. We’ll be reminded of it and others like it when we’re struggling to publish something in the dark and over a grindingly slow internet connection.

    Thank you also for sharing our website with your students. We hope they find it educational, inspiring or both. We’d love to hear from them.

    Ro and Paul: I’m so glad you wrote in, if only to have your email address. I’ve been hounding my father about it. I believe we owe Scranton a much longer visit next time we’re on the East Coast so we don’t have to rely on chance conversations around the lake.

    Joe: Thanks for writing in. To be mentioned in the same sentence as National Geographic is quite flattering. Thank you for wonderful compliment. We’ll look forward to your comments and continued feedback. We’re glad to have you on the journey with us.

    Donna: How is America viewed by the people we meet? Sounds like an appropriate title for one of the chapters in the book we intend to write. Much of it depends on who you are talking to and what region they are from (e.g., Southeast Asia vs. Central Asia vs. Europe). Generally, most individuals we meet have the capacity to separate the actions of individuals from the actions of their governments, however much they like or dislike either. This is refreshing.

    People we meet often express, in a surprisingly nuanced way, that they have concerns about some of the political and foreign policy decisions that America has made. However, their impression of American people generally remains positive. So there’s a gap…and also a diplomatic opportunity. Also, for many people, their view of America is heavily influenced by American TV shows they happen to watch. Speaking to travelers like us broadens and begins to fill in the picture of what real Americans are really like.

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