"Mystics and Charlatans"

Shrouded in a haze of blue smoke and swirling ash the freshly packed chillum glows a deep red. Half-closed bloodshot eyes sparkle from the light now filling the cloister around the central courtyard and shrine. What is smoked in the conical clay pipes is a varied mixture of ganja (marijuana flower and leaf), charas (a form of hashish handmade in In...
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"Garden of Eden"

My first encounter with the Brokpa happened during the Ladakh Festival which is held during the first two weeks of September. It opens in Leh, with a spectacular procession through the streets. Villagers are dressed in traditional costumes, and gather at the polo grounds below the Leh Palace. The Drokpa, or Brokpa, descend from the Dards, an Aryan...
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"Men Who Knit"

We land at the bottom of terraced slopes and begin a forty-five minute steep climb up a winding path of stone steps. Taquile Island on the Peruvian side of Lake Titicaca is a small two-and-a-half-mile-high island and once a prized possession of the Incas. We follow the path toward our lodgings through a series of archways and cobalt blue panoramas...
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"Leaps Of Faith"

Classical dances in Bhutan are reflected in the religious mask pageants and ritual dances. The religious dances are symbolic and have a common theme to destroy or trample the evil spirits. It is believed that witnessing the masked dances will better prepare people to handle the unknown, which they will encounter after death. Watching all the fright...
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"Into Thin Air"

"Would you like me to wait?" asked the driver. My habit of always being early to catch a flight had landed us at the Shanghai airport 3.5 hours prior to my flight to Lhasa Tibet. I told my driver that I would be fine, thanked him for being on time, and taking me to the airport in the middle of the night. One hour prior to boarding, the ticket count...
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"Where The Fairies Sing"

The Kalash are one of the world's endangered minority communities. The Kalash valleys are located in the southern gorges of the Hindu Kush mountain range of Pakistan`s Northwest Frontier Province. I am in Balanguru village during their Pagan Spring Festival of Joshi. Villages like Balanguru, remain isolated, very poor, and unique. They are also und...
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"The Buddha`s Eyes"

Buddhist chants provided a trance-like ambience disturbed only by the intermittent sound from large ritual drums and tibetan short horns. The Gelugpa monks (yellow hat school) chanted sutras in perfect unison, as the sun rose over the ancient 12 storey complex. Thiksey Gompa was built in 1430 AD on a hilltop north of the Indus river. It takes a whi...
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"Valley Of Flowers"

"We must be past the first checkpoint by 6:00 a.m. The Khardung la is closed for repairs on Mondays, and the weather can be pretty volatile; a build-up of snow will leave the pass unuseable from several hours to days. We must be on the road by 3:00 a.m." These were the final words Stanzin my guide said to me before retreating to his tent outside of...
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"People Of The Ten Suns"

Yung`s eyes filled with tears, as she related the details from the phone call she had received late in the evening. Her 86 year old grandmother had passed away suddenly in her sleep. Grandparents are very special to the Chinese, as the children are usually brought up by them while the parents travel to other parts of China to work. She informed me...
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"Keepers Of Silver"

"Remember, do not take the cup with your hands, otherwise, your hosts will let go of the cup and you will be expected to drink the whole cup." Words of warning, delivered with a smile from my Guizhou guide. The Rice wine greeting is a custom unique to the Miao ethnic people. When guests come to a Miao village, chances are they’ll be greeted with se...
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"Ladies Of The Mist"

Popularly known as 'Land of the Dawn-lit-Mountains', Arunachal Pradesh is India's remotest state, and the first Indian soil to greet the rising sun. In the fall of 2002, I had been hiking through the misty hills, photographing sparkling rivers, gurgling waterfalls, and cane bridges of this incredible land. Cane bridge Bamboo suspension bridge M...
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"Burden Of Beauty"

I did not expect to encounter the Padaung tribe on my trip to Burma (now called Myanmar) in the winter of 2001. I had photographed the Kayan earlier in Thailand. You have to pay a hefty entrance fee where the Kayan have found dubious refuge in the artificial tourist villages along the borders. Often referred to as the Long Neck Karen, the women are...
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"People of the Taboo"

At the end of the rainy season in September, Wodaabe clans gather in several traditional locations, before the beginning of their dry season migration. The best known of these is In-Gall's Cure Salée salt market, and Tuareg seasonal festival. Here the young Wodaabe men, with elaborate make-up, feathers, and other adornments, perform the Yaake: danc...
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"The Last Warriors"

February/March 1998 - They gathered around our base camp before the blazing Ethiopian sun parched the savanna. This region of low mountains covered with acacia and cacti, between the lakes of Stephanie and Turkana, is home to the Hamar tribe of Gema Gofu Province. The Hamar are considered the most beautiful in East Africa, an agro-pasturalist tribe...
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