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Exciting news! The Internet Slowdown net neutrality protest planned for September 10th is really taking off. This morning, a dozen of the world’s largest websites announced that they’re joining in a big way. Sites you know and love like Etsy, Kickstarter, Wordpress, Vimeo,…

Celestial Mountain crossing

Traveling from the edges of Kyrgyzstan to the western frontier of China is for those looking for beautiful scenery and unique experiences.  Flying is just too easy. But, be aware.  There is a mental and physical price to pay.   Many foreign passport holders are still required to hire a private escort to take them through the area south of the border and into Kashgar, The journey usually requires a long wait at the top of a chilly mountain.  Bring some snacks, a good book and plan doing lots of waiting without no knowledge of why there’s a hold up.  This crossing is primarily used for shipping goods back and forth between the two countries.

There are rewards to all the discomfort.   Endless views of barren pastures that usually feature packs of wandering wild horses, playful yaks, ancient Caravanserai’s and occasional sightings of a local family packing up their yurt.  This is probably one of the best ways to experience what life was like during days of trade along the Silk Road.  It’s all about the journey when it comes to this part of the world. 




Odds and Ends of Kashgar’s Livestock Market

Kashgar’s Livestock Market lies a distance from the city center.  Go and see where some parts of Uighur life have remained unchanged.  




Dinner after a long day of dealing:


Silk Road Circus

The Silk Road Experience at the foot of the Flaming Mountains outside of Turpan:




Gobi Desert-scapes of the Ancient Silk Road

Dunhuang Silk Road Oasis


Taklamakan Desert Plains


Mingsha Mountain


The renovations on the Bolshoi have finally been completed after being the subject of corruption, faulty construction plans, and unforeseen volume of repairs.  Many of which fell into the catagory of “unavoidable” and if we don’t do them the foundation will "crumble like a deck of cards".

Overall, total renovations had the price tag of over $700 million USD, but considering it has survived 3 fires, a few WWII bombings and overall 150 years of neglect - of course many of those were during Soviet times.  The bill was high and all the dramatice events that followed it’s struggle back to like could be future subjects for those who compose operas and ballets for such venues.  It could even eventually be preformed before 1300 patrons on the Bolshoi’s very own stage.

I had a chance to visit Moscow back in May 2010 and loved it.  The pictures above are of what the Bolshoi looked like back then.  The front of the theater doesn’t look much different then the post renovated building, but if you look at it during the day you would have seen that the buildings visage is all fake.  I found a better daytime picture which shows what I’m talking about.  It’s by a fellow traveler named Alan Hadden and it’s here.  I was disappointed that it was covered but happy to see that some care was being given to a building that’s not just a theater but a location where many historical events took place.  It now has been restored to it’s former glory and I’m looking forward to seeing it someday.

For more information on the Bolshoi please check out the Bolshoi’s official website.  It officially opens November 2nd.

The temps are in the 60’s today, but cool weather and snow is coming to the NYC area. Get your skates sharpened and get the winter digs out of storage because the ice rink at Bryant Park is opening up tomorrow (Oct 27th) in Bryant Park.  It appears be the same set-up as last year (restaurant and cool seating area) and vendors and rink installers are working hard getting things ready for opening day which looks to be a raining one :>/


Happy Skating!

Rainbow City at the Lot will be on display or inflated until the beginning of July.  This seedy part of Chelsea now is home to a cute interactive balloon filled lot.  The Lot is planned to be a summer home to pop up displays which will be accompanied by premium food and drink (for sale of course).  The current display is kind of cool but I wish it was more Takashi Murakami opposed to being a rip off of the hipster version of the Mario Brothers.  The addition does brighten up the hood to the dismay of the homeless squadors who used to call the area home.  Their pop up home was relocated to an undisclosed location. The area was quickly given some attention will soon be full of hand picked food vendor trucks.  So it’s out with the grit and in with the new Chelsea (or new name to be decided by real estate brokers).

The High Line will soon be extending its green path all the way up to 30th Street in upper Chelsea on the west side.  Many gardeners, construction, maintenance and administrative staff are all busy getting the latest section complete so it will open to the public in June. There isn’t an exact date and they have only said to stayed tuned and they will be posting the date on their website and here’s the latest teaser from their blog.

The Gothamist wasn’t even allowed to take pictures of the new section even after they asked for permission to tour of the new grounds.  This didn’t stop them.  They managed to get some adjoining roof access along the path and took a few shots. Here’s some of the illicit pictures they took from above.

Section 1 is full of green and coming of age now that plants are settling and branching out.  The monsoon rains this past week have given the elevated gardens a good feeding before the long hot summer sets in.  I’m curious to see what happens to the trees when they get too big?  My guess is that the gardeners will dig them up and replace them before the roots do any structural damage.  A good question to ask if I take a tour.

There are many like myself who are looking forward to what the High Line has to offer in the days ahead.  Lots of questions come to mind like:  Who will the food vendors be?  How will they effect the flow of the walkway?  What’s the new section will look like?  Will the new section change the area of 10th Ave between 21st and 30th?  I’m already seeing new businesses popping up that have High Line in their title. (i.e. The High Liner Diner formerly the Empire Diner on 10th and 22nd)  The answers will soon come in the weeks ahead.  

There is a little activity going on just beyond Section 2.  I’m already looking forward to the final Section 3 which is only mentioned to be started at a future date.  When it comes down to it,  the answers really aren’t that important.  All that matters is that we have more green to enjoy in a section of town that could really use it and some day there will be a green elevated trail that will give visitors 1.45 miles path just for walking, and lounging while enjoying the view of the NYC skyline from above the day to day commotion. 

Governor’s Island is open!  The ferries are free, the breezes are cool and there’s no better place to go and hang out this holiday weekend then this green island right off the tip of Manhattan.

The activities are there for both kids and adults all summer long.  They include:

FREE friday bikes from Bike and Roll Rentals

The Figment Mini Golf course (also free)

and food events throughout the summer including the Beer PickNYC May 29 + 30

For more information check out Governor’s Island Official site and follow them on twitter