Ulaanbataar dreamin?

March 8, 2007

In three months, this is the kind of guy I’m going to be hanging out with:

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That is, unless I recover my sanity within the ten days I have to respond to my Peace Corps invite.

Program: English Education and Community Development
Job Title: TEFL Teacher

(By the way, that’s a wrestler at the Naadam festival.) Wrestling, archery, and horse-racing comprise the “Three Manly Sports.” Although, these days, women can compete in the last two.

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Mongoooolia!

March 7, 2007

Oh Dear, the Peace Corps invited me to Mongolia!

That’s totally unexpected… scary… but kinda awesome.

At least I won’t have to change my blog name from Silk Road.

Four of the seven seas

March 5, 2007

Four of the world’s seas are named after colors. White, Black, Red, Yellow. Quick: where are they? And why do they have those vivid names?

White Sea: A freezing inlet on the northwest coast of Russia. Common sense tells us the name refer to the snow-covered surface during the Russian winter. During the summer, though, it looks inky-black. Did you know that gulags built a canal between the White Sea and the Baltic? Unfortunately, the canal runs too shallow — 10 feet — to accommodate most vessels.

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Black Sea: The resort-studded inland sea between southeastern Europe and Turkey. On their compasses, the ancients designated North as Black; and South as Red. The name Black comes perhaps from the Persian, and goes all the way back to the 5th century BC. But the sea also has dark water, probably because less salt means more ink-colored algae.

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Red Sea: The skinny gulf between East Africa and the Arabian peninsula. Though the sea itself does not look red, scarlet bacteria blooms near its surface. The mountains next to the sea are red. “Red-Faced” Esau is the Biblical figure whose descendants populated the coast. And perhaps “red” means “south” in ancient Asiatic languages.

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Yellow Sea: The armpit between China and the Koreas. Sand flows into the Yellow Sea from the Yellow River, giving it a more golden color.

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Photos from NASA