Earl Hardie Karges's Blog (29)

Great Travel, Great Stories

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Traveling through space is geography.  Traveling through time is history.  I just finished reading the Travels of Marco Polo and Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux simultaneously; okay, actually I was alternating between them.  As fate would have it, they’re traveling…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on May 22, 2016 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Beijing Runaround: Buses & Planes & Subways

Any flight that leaves at 1:20 in the morning is already doomed as far as I’m concerned.  It can only go down hill from there, especially when the airplane seat back doesn’t seem to want to recline backward.  But this one’s worse than that.  Not only do I arrive…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on December 12, 2015 at 3:27pm — No Comments

Visiting the Marshall Islands Majuro Atoll

After four days in Pohnpei, FSM, some of them with drenching rain, all of them with power blackouts, it’s good to get the hell outta’ Slidell, that is Pohnpei.  I’ll leave half a bear of honey behind, but the flashlight and Virgen de Guadalupe votive candle will go with me, presumably all the way back to LA, since the trip’s almost over.  And certainly the brownies will come along, too.  Micronesians make damn good brownies btw.  So I board the plane—a pound or two heavier—in a downpour and…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on December 3, 2014 at 8:59am — No Comments

Vigan, Philippines: Restaurants & Ruins, Empanadas & Españoles

Baguio is the only bump in a long ride up the coast from Manila to the far reaches of north Luzon.  I’m sure there’s a route that hugs the coast the entire way, but I wanted to stop at Baguio first, before continuing on to Vigan.  Manila is only 150mi/250km away from Baguio, but after a seven-hour bus ride, seems much farther.  That’s because the going is so…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on November 8, 2014 at 5:30pm — No Comments

Mongolia: So Far From God, So Close to China

As the plane is landing at Chinggis Khan International Airport in Ulaan Bator, I look down at the dirt tracks swirling through the pastures surrounding the runway.  They look something like a beginner’s guide to chaos theory, the likely paths and the harder ones, converging and re-converging according to some logic or design.  I figure this must somehow be the map to the…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on June 15, 2014 at 2:59pm — No Comments

Mexico's Wide, Wide West: Life in a Remote Fishing Village

Puerto Lobos is a study in contrasts.  If (the more developed) Bahia de Kino feels like “land’s end”—per Lonely Planet—then this is off the map, though that is changing with the new highway, as previously mentioned.  My only visit two years ago, the road had just been paved to here—from the north down the coast—shortening the distance from the big city of Caborca…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on June 4, 2014 at 5:45pm — No Comments

U.S. & Mexico's Wide, Wide West: Buses & Borders


Puerto Libertad is a notch ahead of Puerto Lobos.  At least it has some hotels, and restaurants, too—even an Oriental one, I hear.  But I know in my heart the trip’s really over, anyway, because once the rhythm’s broken, then you have to skip to the next…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on May 29, 2014 at 9:03am — No Comments

#Male' #Maldives: Caffeine in the Clubs, Muslims on the Beach

The Maldives are a string of pearls posing as islands floating gracefully over the Indian Ocean and Arabian Sea, 1192 nuggets—1000 of them unpopulated—not simply strewn higgeldy-piggledy atoll, but arranged in a double helix and organized into garlands and necklaces…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on May 6, 2014 at 8:06am — No Comments

#Kabul #Afghanistan: Jihad for Dummies vs. Spring Hopes Eternal

The queue for Safi Air flight #248 from Delhi to Kabul looks like something of a loya jirga…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on April 29, 2014 at 7:30am — No Comments

Luzon & Baguio, the Philippines: Fruits & Veggies, Gardens & Flowers

Baguio’s cool, and I don’t just mean the weather, though that’s significant at this altitude of some 1,400 meters, around 4500 feet.  It’s a nice place also, a true garden city in every sense of the term, complete with “orchidarium,” a term I was heretofore unfamiliar with.  The markets are replete with broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, beans, and all…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on April 28, 2014 at 5:58pm — No Comments

Manila, Cousin to Bangkok: A Tale of Two Cities

Manila is one of those sprawling mega-cities that somehow defines the modern era, somehow defines Southeast Asia, and somehow defines what it is to be human in an era in which quantity seems to have triumphed over quality.  We just may be victims of our own success—reproductive, that is—as the fruits of our collective loins threaten to overwhelm us.  The Philippines…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on April 10, 2014 at 4:11pm — No Comments

In the Philippines, the Boondocks of Bontoc, Sagada, Banaue

After a near panic-attack—or maybe it was claustrophobia, I’m not sure—from being in rooms without windows for six days straight, I get on the bus from Baguio to Sagada resolving to do better.  I even find banana bread.  That’s a good sign.  “You ever have before?” the lady behind the smile asks.  I smile back.  Does a hippie live…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on April 3, 2014 at 9:36am — No Comments

Micronesia: Guam's Glitter Gulch & Pohnpei's 'No-Service' Atoll

Unbeknownst to most of us Guam has had much of the same history as the Philippines, first coming to the world’s attention during Ferdinand Magellan’s famous booty call to the region in 1521.  I suspect he found more in the Philippines because he died there and Spain didn’t get around to formally colonizing Guam until 1565. That’s the way it stayed…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on March 25, 2014 at 7:51am — No Comments

Dynamic Pricing, Dynamic Booking, Dynamic Travel (Part 2)

I'm not a travel hacker, not really. I enjoy the places, not the interfaces. And traveling in coach is just fine with me, thanks. As a matter of fact, I do much of my traveling BY coach—bus, that is. I went all over Mexico and Central America before I ever crossed an ocean thirty-five years ago. And the only time I've ever flown first class was when they bumped me…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on December 3, 2013 at 9:12am — No Comments

Travel Alert: India Surrenders! (Visa-runners Can Exhale Now)

No, mercenaries have not overrun the Chinese lines, and there are no soldiers from the Mersey or the Thames or the Thyme.  No bombs have been launched; no shots have been fired.  No casualties have been reported;…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on November 15, 2013 at 12:49pm — 4 Comments

Congo Square Revisited: Halloween in the Big Easy, and Other Nearby Attractions

As I prepare for my inevitable Never-Ending Tour and the inescapable expatriation that that will likely involve, I find myself standing at the crossroads (again) and taking inventory of my life and environs—particularly the USA—to see what's left to do here and what's here worth keeping.  And even though I've been to some 150-odd (as…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on November 5, 2013 at 5:49pm — No Comments

Dynamic Pricing, Dynamic Booking, Dynamic Traveling (Part I)

Everybody knows about ‘dynamic pricing’ by now, that internet-era phenomenon of everybody paying a different price for the same flight.  It’s a whole lot like haggling with a rug merchant in… well, just about anywhere.  Actually it’s mostly about tailoring certain prices to certain markets at certain times based on certain criteria, and as long as you know some basic principles, it can work to either party’s advantage.  It only gets creepy when it seems like the robots at Google know more…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on October 24, 2013 at 10:03pm — No Comments

Great Travel, Great Writers: Steinbeck & Naipaul, Not a Miller Moment



Travel writing not only has the potential to compete with novels on literary merit, but to excel.  After all, it’s potentially got everything: exotic locations, true adventure, multiple story lines, peak emotion, honest reflection, and poetic…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on August 25, 2013 at 10:07am — No Comments

Great Travels, Great Writers: The 1800's - Stephens and Leonowens

For pics, more info and similar stories see the author's music, film and books blog.

Have you ever noticed that the best travel writers never really considered themselves as such?  Look at anybody’s list of favorites and you’ll see names like Kerouac, Bowles, Matthiessen, etc. quite often, along with names like Theroux and Iyer, writers who…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on June 8, 2013 at 4:53pm — 4 Comments

Semana Santa in a Remote Mexican Fishing Village

(part 2 of 2, for more pictures see here)

First you have to realize that Puerto Lobos is not your typical Mexican coastal beach town, with palapas and cabanas, mar y sol, margaritas, mojitos and chicas in bikinis.  Oh sure,…


Added by Earl Hardie Karges on April 10, 2013 at 4:12pm — No Comments

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