Paris. The city of love, fine art, good food, great wine. And now the city of armed military patrols. We have visited France several times before, and the sight of fully armed soldiers patrolling the streets was as out-of-place in our conception of Paris as a UFO full of extraterrestrials would have been. And yet, this is Paris’s new temporary reality. The state of emergency declared after the November attacks was extended in February for another 3 months, and this decision clearly weighed on everyone’s mind even as Parisians sought a return to normalcy.
Posts tagged ‘politics’
For two months, at least, D has been trying in vain to corral his thoughts into a vaguely coherent blog post dedicated to old Soviet cartoons, which remain the brightest memory of his childhood. Not only have words failed him thus far, but also each attempt at penning his thoughts has ended with D spending an hour in front of his computer screen, watching classic multiki. They are that good!
Although we traversed more or less the same path through the northern Andes, our routes began to diverge in Bolivia. S headed to Patagonia, exploring parts of Chile and Argentina along the way, while D crossed eastward, going through Paraguay en route to Buenos Aires. As a result, while we still visited many of the same places in Bolivia, there is a lot less overlap in the photographs from our two trips.
D’s first full day in Tbilisi coincided with a national holiday — Georgia celebrates Mother’s Day on March 3. D had planned to spend the day wandering around the city and getting acquainted with its charms. Instead, his colleague suggested a trip out to David Gareji, an ancient complex of rock dwellings, churches, and monastic caves that straddles Georgia’s border with Azerbaijan.
After visiting us in Nairobi, a friend jokingly suggested that we should print concert-style t-shirts featuring the places we have served as a memento for those of our friends and family members who visit us at every one of our postings. In Kenya, we had hosted visitors nearly every month. Moldova, though easier to reach from the United States, has proved a much quieter assignment, and the potential pool of t-shirt recipients has dwindled from several dozen to just two for now. In addition to S’s mom, thus far only our friend Cam has visited us in both Nairobi and Chisinau.
Ever since watching Banksy’s documentary Exit Through the Gift Shop, we’ve tried to keep our eyes peeled for some of the pioneer urban artists whose surreptitious stencils, tags, and paste-ups add vibrancy to sometimes drab city neighborhoods. We still have not come upon any of Space Invader’s tile work or the once ubiquitous Obey posters — the brainchild of Shepard Fairey, who prior to creating the Obama Hope design dedicated himself to plastering innumerable city walls the world over with posters of André the Giant. Though the names of the artists who have applied their skills to Lisbon’s walls are less well known, the city is the most graffiti-friendly metropolis we have ever visited, and some of the artwork is nothing short of brilliant.
Sprawled across both banks of the Bosphorus, with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia, Istanbul can be overwhelming. On our first visit, we took in most of the must-see sights. We visited the Blue Mosque, Aya Sofia and both the Topkapi and Dolmabahce palaces. We strolled around the Grand Bazaar and the Spice Market, visited the underground Basilica Cisterns, and took a trip up the Bosphorus to the Princes Islands. With all that, we barely scratched the surface of all that Istanbul has to offer.