Time to take a little look back over my year's travels and share a little more. The big difference this year is that I didn't get underwater. It may be the first year in a decade that this has happened, I haven't checked. I had some medical issues that kept me out of the water, but hopefully I'll get a chance to see if my wetsuit still fits in 2016.
My first stop this year was Myanmar. I wanted to get there before western tourism started to change the country beyond recognition. I think I made it in time, but change is happening fast. The first sign of trouble was that Coca-Cola had just gone on sale a couple of weeks before I got there. People I spoke with were thrilled about it, even though most hadn't tried it yet. Sounded like the beginning of the end to me. But like most places I go, I wanted to get out to see and meet people who haven't been too effected by modern civilization, which is a bit difficult in Myanmar. The government, in spite of now being more "open", wouldn't allow me to travel too far into areas they considered sensitive. Usually that meant that they were cracking down on local ethic groups and they don't want people knowing about it. Pretty disturbing. That said, I did go to some great if not a touch touristy areas where I met some terrific people. I visited Yangon, Bagan & Inle Lake. A lot of Yangon is still old world enough to get a feel for how it might have been before the modern age came knocking. I only spent a couple of days there, but it was pretty lively with great street food and curious people. Bagan is very old town in the middle of Myanmar, with something close to 2500 ancient temples. When I say ancient, we're talking from the 9th -13th centuries. Old. Inle Lake may have been my favorite stop. I fell in love with the fishermen there, with their old "leg on oar" rowing technique. I followed them around for a couple of days taking shots from a canoe. I have some pix of Myanmar in the slide show just below.
( A note about the new slide shows: just watch them go automatically, or click to stop & start!)
India was the next stop on this same trip - a mix of some tourist hot spots ( Taj Mahal) and tiger safaris. New Delhi was a mixture of complete chaos and great food. I was only there a short time so some of the chaos was self-induced, but the "Old Delhi" part of town was taxi filled traffic jams, thousands of people, and open air markets. It was loud, hot, dusty, and fun. The Taj Mahal was amazing to see. I was lucky enough to go there at night, and then again before the big crowds showed up in the morning. I really enjoyed tracking tigers in two of India's national parks, Rathambhore & Bandhavgarh. Great sightings in both parks and plenty of other life to photograph when the tigers didn't show up. Take a look:
In October I spent a couple of weeks in Tanzania & Kenya. I went back to Tanzania to continue a project of photographing the unique acacia trees there at the Ngorongoro Crater. I had a good time being the only visitor at the Thompson Crater Camp. Having the whole place to myself was pretty cool and has never happened to me before. I spent a few days in the crater then to the Mara and Amboseli in Kenya, where I got my fill of big cats, elephants and great scenery. The Olare Orok Conservancy adjacent to the Maasai Mara National Park never fails to deliver great encounters with the big cats. Amazing. A couple of mornings we hung out with lions, leopards and cheetahs all on the same drive. It was my first time in Amboseli, which is right next to Mt. Kilimanjaro along the border with Tanzania and famous for it's elephants. A great place that I hope to return to some time.