"Dawn's Early Light"

"My name is Macy, just like the department store". The tiny twenty-four-year-old chatterbox was a graduate of a four-year tourism and management school and currently working for CITS (China International Travel Service) in Guilin. Our 1.5-hour transfer to Yangshou was filled with a one-sided conversation about her family and friends. I was booked i...
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"Daughters Of The Forest"

"It will not be safe to go into the tribal areas especially later in the day. The men, can and will become very aggressive, as alcoholism is a major issue. They spend most of their time brewing and consuming liquor from rice, palm, and the mahula flower. They are short-tempered and they get angry at the simplest thing. There are many Bonda men serv...
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"The Living Goddess"

"It is forbidden to photograph the Kumari inside the Kumari Ghar." My young guide repeated these words several times. I explained to him that my original guide, Buddhi, had been granted special permission through his contacts to allow me the privilege. A quick phone call from him confirmed that this was the case, and we proceeded to the home of Sam...
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"Heavenly Maidens"

A gentle knock at the door annouced their arrival. Mr Samchai with his palms pressed together in a prayer-like fashion gave a slight bow; the "wai" is traditionally observed upon entering a home and is shown as a sign of respect. He introduced me to Miss Year, a dance instructor, and the two young ladies who would be my models. Twenty-six year old...
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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 t...
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"Children Of The Horn"

Changjiao Miao live in the mountains 2,000 meters above sea level, in 12 villages located close to each other, with a total population of 4,000. I travelled to Guizhou China in the fall of 2008, and my main goal was to visit this fascinating culture. On a typical day, the women simply wrap their hair behind their heads around a sharp-ended wooden b...
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"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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"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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"Children Of The Moon"

He scurried quickly through the maze of thatched and bamboo huts. A young girl follows throwing bits of coral at the disappearing figure. The 6-year-old girl is an albino, and she is not unique among the Kuna, a band of indigenous people who live in Panama and Colombia, with the largest population in the San Blas Islands off the Panamanian coast. T...
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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 ambiance 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 unusable 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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"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 the '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 bridg...
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