Archive for the ‘Flavors of INDIA’ Category

Kicker: Roaming the world with just a backpack is not for the faint of heart. This blogger ticks off Mongolia from her bucket list, but not without a scratch such as losing her Ipad in the hustle. Still, she brings home in photos, the smell and taste of her latest discovery.

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The stories about Genghis Khan, leader of the great Empire of the Mongols which is the largest conterminous in the history occupying some parts of China and Central Asia,ignited my dream of visiting Mongolia.

 

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The dehydrating overnight trip from Beijing to Hohhot will give you the time to really absorb the signature hospitality of the Mongolians inside the train, and in the morning,the mountainous terrain will greet you with its disarming views of beautiful landscapes where the grassland seems to kiss the sky.

 

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Upon arrival in Hohhot, another 3-hour exhausting bus ride took us to the grasslands. Hohhot is developing rapidly; the mushrooming establishments and top of the line cars on the streets are living proof to that.

 

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Spending a day with a nomadic family in a single room yurt or “ger”, with neither a bathroom nor running water,was memorable. We watched theirsheep and horses appear like migrants from the horizon and we ate the Mongolian staple food from the fermented milk. Horses are a big help to their daily livelihood and are known as a cheap thrill for frugal travelers.

 

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Even with the language barrier, the Mongols’ universal gestures, especially theirgenuine smiles hit me in rigid points I never knew existed. I sought a profound love for animals, living outside of my comfort zone and serenity.  I strongly admire the visibility of their allegiance to their spiritual creed both the Shamanistic and Buddhism elements even in the prairies, which is not so often visible in this modern world.

 

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I ate the legendary Mongolian Barbecue before catching my flight back to Beijing.  The barbecue was extremely good and tasty, and the sumptuous flavorful meat was perfect to cap off this trip. I was smiling throughout the long trip back home.

 

 

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New Talking Dictionaries

The Enduring Voices team is pleased to announce the launch of Talking Dictionaries, giving listeners around the world a chance to hear some of the most little-known sounds of human speech. 

Several communities are now offering the online record of their language to be shared by any interested person around the world. While you probably won’t walk away from these Talking Dictionaries knowing how to speak a new language, you will encounter fascinating and beautiful sounds–forms of human speech you’ve never heard before–and through them, get a further glimpse into the rich diversity of culture and experience that humans have created in every part of the globe. 

Losing Our World’s Languages

Every 14 days a language dies. By 2100, more than half of the more than 7,000 languages spoken on Earth—many of them not yet recorded—may disappear, taking with them a wealth of knowledge about history, culture, the natural environment, and the human brain. 

National Geographic’s Enduring Voices Project (conducted in collaboration with the Living Tongues Institute for Endangered Languages) strives to preserve endangered languages by identifying language hotspots—the places on our planet with the most unique, poorly understood, or threatened indigenous languages—and documenting the languages and cultures within them. 

Why Is It Important?

Language defines a culture, through the people who speak it and what it allows speakers to say. Words that describe a particular cultural practice or idea may not translate precisely into another language. Many endangered languages have rich oral cultures with stories, songs, and histories passed on to younger generations, but no written forms. With the extinction of a language, an entire culture is lost. 

Much of what humans know about nature is encoded only in oral languages. Indigenous groups that have interacted closely with the natural world for thousands of years often have profound insights into local lands, plants, animals, and ecosystems—many still undocumented by science. Studying indigenous languages therefore benefits environmental understanding and conservation efforts. 

Studying various languages also increases our understanding of how humans communicate and store knowledge. Every time a language dies, we lose part of the picture of what our brains can do. 

Why Do Languages Die Out?

Throughout human history, the languages of powerful groups have spread while the languages of smaller cultures have become extinct. This occurs through official language policies or through the allure that the high prestige of speaking an imperial language can bring. These trends explain, for instance, why more language diversity exists in Bolivia than on the entire European continent, which has a long history of large states and imperial powers. 

As big languages spread, children whose parents speak a small language often grow up learning the dominant language. Depending on attitudes toward the ancestral language, those children or their children may never learn the smaller language, or they may forget it as it falls out of use. This has occurred throughout human history, but the rate of language disappearance has accelerated dramatically in recent years.

http://travel.nationalgeographic.com/travel/enduring-voices/

In definition, Photography immortalize and capture any memorable place, person and a particular moment in our lives. However, the most powerful images comes from those who travel since it carries a strong visual communication in motion, colors and composition.  Since the advent of  emerging camera brands and the convenience of travel, it’s quite difficult to pick favorites in travel category.  Here’s my top three favorites as of press time.

1. PORAS CHAUDRY (http://poraschaudhary.photoshelter.com/)

His photos are visually striking, extremely rich in colors and composition.  He is also taking pictures for a particular advocacy and is currently doing the effects of global warming in Africa. I like the fact that this self taught photographer take pictures for greater purpose.

poras.chaudhary@gmail.com

2. STEVE MCCURRY (www.stevemccurry.com)

Hands down to his breathtaking photographs.  On a skill level rate, I must say this guy is incomparable.  His most recognized portrait was the Afghan Girl.  I will never get tired visiting his site everyday, my appropriate itching to travel treatment.

“Most of my photos are grounded in people. I look for the unguarded moment, the essential soul peeking out, experience etched on a person’s face. I try to convey what it is like to be that person.”

3.  JAMES NACHTWEY  (www.jamesnachtwey.com)

The images you see in Nachtwey’s photography conveys a profound and precise story.  From a mourning family member killed by a Taliban rocket to a tuberculosis ward in Zimbabwe , this leica user perfectly showcased a humanistic approach to photography.  He received so many honorable awards for his works including Martin Luther King award.

“Every situation is different than the next. A lot of it was instinct, a lot of it is knowledge and absorbing information and coming to some sort of innate understanding of events. “

** What is the best journey you’ve ever had? And who are your favorite travel photographers? Make me happy and share it. 🙂

This is my country and if you are not happy and satisfied with one island, worry not because there’s still 7,106 remaining islands to choose for an endless venture.  Of course I sound bias if I go on selling my country like pancakes here so let my photos speak for my belief that  we truly have more than the usual here.  

I love my country and honestly, I would gladly and honorably die defending this land.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to give my last breath in the name.. say Africa, Argentina, Tibet, Mongolia, Russia, Peru, Japan or Morocco in conjunction with my desire to see some more of the usual in this world.  So if ever you have posts about those countries I mentioned, let me devour my time reading it.  Share.

(Shot from Leica and Canon, these are from my 2011 travels around the Philippines)

 

MORE THAN THE USUAL SMILE (Bacolod City, Negros)

MORE THAN THE USUAL POSTCARD VIEW (Mayon Volcano in Bicol Province)

MORE THAN THE USUAL SPA (Hamilo Coast, Pico Del Loro)

 

MORE THAN THE USUAL BEDROOM  (Misibis Bay, Albay)

 

MORE THAN USUAL LIVING ROOM (Zulueta’s Residence, Tagaytay City)

 

MORE THAN THE USUAL NIGHT LIFE  (Keisha’s Ballet Recital at Resort’s World Manila)

 

MORE THAN THE USUAL BALCONY VIEW (Elizabeth Condo, Makati City)

 

MORE THAN THE USUAL MORNINGS (Surfing in Siargao Island, Surigao Province)

MORE THAN THE USUAL BARKADA SHOT (River Rafting in Cagayan De Oro City with my friends)

MORE THAN THE USUAL “I DO” SPOT (Lake Casecnan, Nueva Ecija)

MORE THAN THE USUAL WORK BREAKS ( Surfing Buddies in Siargao Island)

 

In Thailand, life is not black and white.  Everything is boosting contrast and colors.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am forever in awe with the concrete and abstract art form of The Taj Mahal.  A structure rich in visual elements of size and proportion, flawlessly made of  marble,  visible calligraphy made from gems,  design of flowers in the area as it is glowing across the Jamuna river,  Taj Mahal is the kind of beauty that will never be surpassed.

(In the memory of his dear wife and queen Mumtaz Mahal at Agra, IndiaTaj Mahal was built by  Muslim Emperor Shah Jahan over a period of 22 years and employing 20,000 workers.)

My compulsory souvenir shot at the entrance of the Taj.   🙂

From Jaipur City, Taj Mahal is approximately 7 hours by train. If you are coming from New Delhi, it is 3 hours away by fast train. Currently the airport in Agra where the Taj Mahal is located is still under renovation.  Entrance fee is around 700 Rupees for foreigners, 30 Rupees for the locals. If you are in Agra, do not miss the visiting the Agra fort too just few minutes from the Taj Mahal.

Bahut Accha!

Posted: March 26, 2012 in Flavors of INDIA

You know you’re in India when you get to hear this line from anyone there.  The word Accha is a versatile one but ultimately it means VERY GOOD. Since I have a penchant for learning a new language, I devoured my time in India speaking the basic terms.  Though I lost count of  how many times I erroneously use the word Dhanyawad – the more acknowledged “Thank You” word.  I kind of drove those Hindus away by overusing the familiar words. India was euphoric. I actually love the exhaustion brought about by the pace India was going.

For an in-depth memorable experience, trail-blazing culture and painful yet surreal wake-up calls… BAHUT ACCHA INDIA! You have cultivated my burning desire of immersing in your photogenic country since childhood. I look forward to being reunited with you again someday.

Universally renowned as Pink City, Jaipur boasts the finest royal  history and avant-garde frameworks of architecture. You can spot men in turbans everywhere  walking side by side with camels.  On a rocky hill behind the Maota Lake lies the beautiful fortress of Amber Fort with a lot of palaces inside. I enjoyed going around the picturesque area as it is nestled by bare trees and  structures with elaborate murals, mosaic and intricate carvings.