Tag Archives: Soviet Union

To the last city.

No, that’s a misnomer. Tashkent was, if anything, Uzbekistan’s first city, at least in the modern sense of the term. First one to be occupied by the Russians, first one to be reached by a railroad, first to host all … Continue reading

Posted in Central Asia, Uzbekistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 2).

I’d seen Serik a long time before we met in the parking lot outside the Altair hotel; in fact, I first read about him on Al Jazeera. Dubbed “Aralsk’s only tour guide”, he’d accepted to be my guide for the … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Disaster by design: the death and partial rebirth of the Aral Sea (Part 1).

The aurora was a promise of yet another scorcher of a day, as it’d been yesterday and tomorrow was bound to be, but right now it was fresh and cool as I sat on my pack on the first of … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

“I’ve once been to Kyzyl-Orda, but never to New York”.

I recently attended a training course which, as corporate events normally do, started with an ice-breaker. Every attendee had to stand up, one by one, and declare to the roomful of colleagues something quirky, or unusual, about himself. When it … Continue reading

Posted in Asia, Central Asia, Kazakhstan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Notes from the fringes of the Empire: Yerevan.

Yerevan lies in a bowl shaped like the tongue of a cat, delimited on one side by the Hrazdan gorge, and on the others by steep hills, on which stand strange perches and other abstruse relics of the Soviet past. … Continue reading

Posted in Armenia, Caucasus, Europe | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“The Lost Heart of Asia”, by Colin Thubron, Vintage

Then I heard Pasha calling me to return. It was late and dark, he said, and this was not our country. It doesn’t happen often, for me, to arrive at the last word of a book and think Aw fuck, … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment