Ukraine

Radioactive Bandages

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I’ll admit that a day tour to Chernobyl wasn’t the first thing that came to mind when I knew we’d be spending a few days in Kiev. However, the moment I realized that was doable, it was as good as booked. Chernobyl and more specifically the city of Pripyat and the exclusion zone have been […]

Ukraine

The Shadow of Dictators

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Our visit to Ukraine was a bit of a happy accident for a couple of reasons. The time in Afghanistan was cut short due to flight scheduling shenanigans and that ultimately turned out well because we were still able to see most of what we planned. Because of the flight issues, we had very timely […]

Afghanistan

That Camera Could Be A Bomb, Sir

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Beginning with the cancelled flight that routed us through Islamabad, we quickly learned that flights in Afghanistan can be unreliable. With only days left in Afghanistan, we turned our attention to the departing flight. At first search, it appeared that the Kabul to Istanbul direct flight had been cancelled. Thanks again, Turkish Airlines. Of course, […]

Afghanistan

Taliban Police Checkpoints

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Mutually armed interactions at security checkpoints have a way of encouraging civility between opposing parties. Even when there is great disproportionality, rational actors usually want to avoid any risk of bloodshed on their side. Mogadishu comes to mind: cruising up to an intersection partially obstructed by AU troops with RPGs and NSTVs aimed directly at […]

Pakistan

Cancelled Flights To Keep Things Spontaneous

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This hasn’t proved to be the year to expand my country count. The last trip to the Bosphorus, which while entertaining in hindsight, was certainly an epic fail in flying up to the Baltic region. I was beginning to wonder if a future endeavor this year might be cursed. This time around, for both security […]

USA

South Florida, Rural Florida

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I haven’t been to Miami in a few years, so a friend getting her SCUBA certification was a nice reason to spend the weekend there. I wish I could say that 8th street isn’t still a fascist enclave, but on the cusp of a pivotal election, unfortunately that was as clear as ever. There’s still […]

USA

Domestic Travel?

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I don’t need to belabor the obvious by saying how weird this year has been. It’s been difficult to start traveling again, and now certainly isn’t the time to be picky about the when and where. If you’re in a position to travel safely, your options are limited. For me, that certainly put some domestic […]

Turkey

Last Stop on the Quarantine Tour

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Kemeralti market has been around long enough to have seen a few plagues ravage the globe. No surprise then I guess that things there were functioning as normally as one could expect. Built in the 16th century, the market in Izmir is not quite as old as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul (the world’s oldest), […]

Turkey

Catching Up On All The Feels

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Turkey is balancing reopening their tourism industry with pandemic safety in a way that only a burgeoning autocracy can accomplish. It seems that plenty of people around the world have gotten the memo and descended upon the country. After my warm stay in Belarus, I had personally reached a point where Turkey was feeling like […]

Quarantine

Vaccinated and Ready to Break Quarantine

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Unless you’re dead, you really don’t have anything to complain about this year. Of course, suffering being the relative thing that it is, that won’t stop anyone, myself included. Yes, people have lost loved ones, jobs, become disabled and experienced all sorts of tragedy. Many have joined the Sisyphean struggle to dismantle systemic racism and […]

Quarantine

Old Town is a Total Tourist Trap

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Many recommended itineraries have you spending between two or three full days in Old Town. In my experience, even with the throngs of tourists in high season, the whole area can definitely be seen in a single day. The main attraction is clearly the Shinto Shrine that looms large on the hill over the old […]

Quarantine

Wild Dogs on the Loose in Akiba

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Even with all the traffic, both pedestrian and automobile, I would describe the background din as calm today. Even when the streets are packed, driver behavior is extremely polite, rarely necessitating use of the horn. People on the street don’t engage in loud banter. Anything that disturbs your fellow city inhabitants is rude, and most […]

Quarantine

Date Night in Tokyo

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There are many more expensive restaurant options that could be sought out, places with nicer ambience, full alcohol bars, all sorts of conventional options. Nevertheless, Coco Curry House was what we were both craving. One order at spice #4, one at spice #7, chicken katsu, pork tonkatsu, and at least least ten addons between us.