Pullman-style to the Windy City

In their 29th season, The Simpsons hit up New Orleans, and while there, Homer went on a whistle-stop food tour. Gene’s was one of his stops. Open 24-hours, Gene’s serves a smashingly good Po’boy, as I can finally attest to. Right across from it, the latest extension of the city’s endearing streetcar system, one that I could hardly tire of riding. Both of those cultural icons, only a stone’s throw away from my Airbnb. Its good to be back in the Big EasyIMG_1587 Continue reading “Pullman-style to the Windy City”

Silver Star to NYC

The rising sun gradually illuminates Biscayne Bay, the Port of Miami, and eventually, our hotel room. Hushed conversations, and the stirrings of the morning are difficult to ignore, and there’s far too much daylight by now, to continue snoozing through. South Beach lies, but 4-miles away. I coerce myself out of bed, lace up, and head out across the Venetian Causeway
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Provo, and then some

Providenciales, or Provo, is where you’ll typically fly into, if you’re visiting Turks and Caicos. And chances are, you’ll probably end up staying in the Grace Bay area, home to a namesake beach, which more often than not finds itself at the top of worldwide rankings. That is, of course, if you have the resources, and are willing to shell out top dollar. Most people traveling here, it seems, do have the means necessary. But what if your pockets don’t run so deep? The good news is, a visit here is still feasible, and, as it turns out, a lot more exciting…IMG_0567

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PNG, for short.

Flight 19 from Hong Kong has been a smooth one so far, and I’ve even managed to get some shuteye. Final cabin checks call for the lifting of our window blinds, and I do so with the excitement of a little child. I’m about to land in a part of the world that has, for the better part of my existence, been nothing more than an enigma; a far away land, inaccessible to most, with many a story to its credit, but few facts to speak of. A smattering of islands between the southern reaches of Indonesia, and the northern tip of the behemoth that is Australia. In pre dawn light, I behold Papua New Guinea…IMG_9832

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The Last Continent

The Port of Ushuaia, the southernmost city on our planet, wears a busy look today, hosting no less than five ocean-worthy vessels on this glorious afternoon. A National Geographic expedition ship sits on one end of the pier, a couple of larger, more conventional cruise liners are moored further along; and sandwiched between them all, is the smallest of the lot, MV Ocean NovaIMG_9112

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Magistrale Diaries: The land of the Khaans

Two knocks on the cabin door and some garbled words spoken by our Provodnitsa are enough to awaken us. Outside, to the backdrop of rolling hills, trucks line a highway that gradually reveals an industrial sprawl. There’s a definite nip in the air and the sun is yet to make an appearance. Moments later, just a few minutes behind our advertised time, we pull in to Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia…P1020609

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Magistrale Diaries: Naushki, and the International Border

We’re already at Ulan-Ude when I awake. It seems we had the time zones all mixed up – Moscow+5 it shall be for the rest of our trip. We had it right 3 years ago though, alighting here at 4 in the morning local time, just to pay our respects to the junction where the Trans Mongolian bifurcates from the Trans Siberian.

Its barely daybreak as we step outside, and the station thermometer displays a chilly 12C or 54F. As the first rays of light peak out from behind, Ulan-Ude is slowly coming to life. We have a 45-minute halt here, where our locomotive is changed – electric giving way to diesel – and more than half of our original train formation is cut off. We will be seven carriages long upon departure, and ours will bring up the rear.IMG_8059 Continue reading “Magistrale Diaries: Naushki, and the International Border”