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Posts tagged ‘Peace Corps’

the roads less traveled

“Why is it that every time we visit you something crazy happens?” mused D’s mom with a touch of fatalism. In Ecuador, where D served in the Peace Corps, protesters shut down the country’s major highway during D’s parents’ visit. Violent clashes between protesters and the police took place in a small town in the Amazonia quite literally minutes after D had turned the rental car around to head back to Quito. In Kenya, we also were forced into changing our travel plans on the fly during D’s parents’ visit when we came upon a roadblock and, predictably, angry protesters about to clash with the police. In Rwanda, on the other hand, our misadventures were entirely self-inflicted.

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travels in kodachrome

Growing up in New York City, it took D a long time to develop a love for the great outdoors. It wasn’t until he spent several years living in a tiny village high up in the Andes mountains during his Peace Corps service that he came to appreciate just how soothing life can be when one is surrounded by nature. Ever since, he has craved nature like a drug, which it turns out has a perfectly reasonable scientific explanation. Ensconced once more in the concrete jungle of a big city, which can feel downright depressing in foul weather, our minds frequently oscillate between reliving our recent hikes and planning our next outdoor adventure.

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Smokehouse

This day was a year in the making, and it was worth the wait.

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first generation tug-of-war

Arriving in America a couple of months shy of his tenth birthday left D in a cultural no man’s land. Had he reached adolescence in Russia before immigrating, he likely would have felt a strong urge to hold onto his Russian heritage. On the other hand, had his family made the move a few years earlier, he happily would have shed the vestiges of his brief Slavic upbringing in favor of a thorough Americanization. As it happened, he felt both instincts tugging him in opposite directions, though not always with equal force.

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a look back: Peru, part one

Unlike Ecuador, which tends to be overshadowed by its larger southern neighbor, Peru needs no introduction. Since the discovery of the Inca ruins at Machu Picchu a century ago, tourists have been flocking to Peru in ever greater numbers. In fact, tourism-related development has been so rampant that there is legitimate concern about its impact on the ancient Inca city and several other sites. While Machu Picchu is certainly worth visiting, there are also plenty of other stunning locations around the country that beckon to the adventurous traveler. Amazingly, some of these hardly see a foreign soul despite the fact that Peru hosts several million international visitors annually.

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a look back: Ecuador

It all started in Ecuador. For S, Quito was the launching point of her eight-month-long trek through South America. D, meanwhile, called this small Andean nation home for three and a half years. When he finally embarked on his own South American travels, the joy and excitement of the road ahead was tempered by the melancholy of leaving a country that had captured his heart forever.

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when a camera fails to do the world justice

We got married mere weeks before packing out for our first Foreign Service tour. Knowing that we had been posted to Africa, where innumerable safari trips awaited, we made a wedding present to ourselves and invested in a quality SLR camera and complement of lenses. Long before we could afford nice photographic gear, we had been bitten by the travel bug and the love of travel photography that insatiable wanderlust spawns.

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View from Cotopaxi summit, 5897m (Ecuador)

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April fools

In retrospect, it was probably overly optimistic to hope that a cross-Atlantic trip scheduled for April 1 from the tiny airport in Portland to an even smaller one in Chisinau would pass without some misadventure.

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Ukranian Open

In years past, the Ukranian Open has been held in either the capital city of Kiev or in Lviv in Western Ukraine, which is widely considered one of the country’s most important cultural centers. It is unclear what happened this year: as best as D could gather, there was some balloting controversy that took place on Ukraine’s ultimate frisbee forum and Ivano-Frankivsk got to host the annual tournament for the first time. People were upset; teams that travel from Russia and Belarus decided to skip the tournament. Last year, there were 16 teams, including Chisinau’s Flying Mamaligas. This year, only ten teams participated in the competition, and they were all from Ukraine.

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happy birthday, Moldova

Sadly, the skies are gray today for Moldova’s National Day — the twenty-second anniversary of the country’s declaration of independence. This hasn’t stopped us enjoying the day off, of course. Besides, we got a healthy dose of national celebration this weekend.

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