While we didn't end up eating at the famous Ghost Street in Beijing (lines at each restaurant turned out to be enormous, with 30-40 people waiting outside), I sure enjoyed walking there at night. The street is covered with Chinese lanterns and looks really festive, especially after rain when the lights are reflected in the puddles.
Contrary to what the name of this blog suggests, some trips just don't work out. I've had a few of those by now and it's about time to start sharing them. Introducing Trips That Didn't Work - a brand new section of my blog.
This particular trip was a hike to mount Hua, one of the five sacred mountains in Taoism. And even though the trip didn't entirely suck per se, it was a hardass day that almost cost me my marriage. But let me start from the beginning.
When I think of the most famous square in the world, Tiananmen comes to mind even before Moscow's Red Square. I imagine it is the main pilgrimage place for Chinese tourists since both Mao's mausoleum and the Forbidden City are just steps away. Plus who doesn't want to take that iconic picture with the famous portrait of Mao? It's almost like no one would believe you've been there if you don't have that picture...
Here’s an unexpected revelation: Russian Superstitions Part I is the most popular page on my blog when it comes to natural search traffic. I personally think it’s because I’m not alone navigating this eerie world of signs and symbols and trying to follow the “rules” of life... but Jonny says it’s because these superstitions are hilarious and make no sense.
Since the Part I was published, I kept coming up with the additional superstitions in my everyday life. Sooo... back by the popular demand: Russian Superstitions Part “Dva”. Enjoy!
Contrary to what the title may suggest, the Mass Games have nothing to do with actual games or a competition. It is a highly synchronized performance of thousands of athletes and dancers who in a beautiful 70-minute show tell a story of love, war, separation, reunification and friendship.
There is no lack of street food in Beijing, but this particular snack street is famous for its unconventional menu and really convenient location - a five-minute walk from the Forbidden City and only two steps away from the pedestrian Wangfujing street.
The scariest thing that I made myself eat was a silk worm. What would you try?
Kim Il Sung had a special relationship with children. Or at least all the propaganda tells us that he did. He believed children were the future and deserved only the best. So he built them a palace - a Schoolchildren's Palace in Pyongyang - where they could nurture their talents in various after-school activities.
The children we saw there were extremely talented! They danced, sang, played musical instruments, and recited poems. We all were very impressed. But at the same time there was something else about these kids that left us feeling uncomfortable and uneasy. I wonder if you can guess what it was by looking at the pictures and videos I have here.
Five years ago I had no idea that regular travelers are allowed in North Korea. I thought the visas were given only to selected few, so I never bothered researching further. Turns out, getting to North Korea is quite easy although expensive. Here's what you need to know.
Very green, clean and unspoiled - this is how I will remember North Korea. Or, rather, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) - the official name by which they prefer to be called.
Korean kids are the cutest! I spotted these two on my first day in Pyongyang and was really lucky to snap a shot before our guides rushed us away. Technically, we were supposed to ask for permission before photographing people. I don't think they've ever heard of candid photography.
As I am slowly going through thousands of pictures that I made in North Korea, I will be sharing them here. So stay put for more unauthorized images from the least known part of the world.
Locals know the best places, right?
That's why I really like this project - Travel to my Country - started by Ashray and Zara from BackpackMe. They asked bloggers from around the world to write about their respective countries highlighting special locations and unique experiences. I wrote about Russia, of course, suggesting travelers to search for elusive 'Russian soul' (if you find it - give me a shout).
Check out stories from 35 countries on five continents here.
'Changing City' was the topic of one of the assignments for my street photography class. Frankly, this kind of subject brings up mostly negative associations in my mind - gentrification of some areas, decadence of the others. But I decided to go positive this time by picking Evergreen Brick Works as a case-study. It's hard to think of another place that would better symbolize the positive change happening in Toronto right now.
The deposit is paid, so it's almost official: in August we are going to North Korea!
Wat Arun in Bankok is beautiful during any time of the day and in any weather. At night it shines especially bright, like if it was made of gold. But this is when it also feels least approachable, almost forbidden.
In my last post I was sort of hard on Damnoen Saduak Floating Market near Bangkok, calling it fake and touristy. Nevertheless, the place is worth visiting just to see how industrious people can be with what's given them by nature. Watching and photographing locals in their element was by far the best part of the whole day at the market. The chaos all around me was actually very helpful for taking candid shots.