Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Talk at the Library

On Tuesday the 25th I'll be giving a talk at the Exeter Library about my trip. If you're in the Exeter Area, you should come out since nothing else happens around here on Tuesday nights.

From the library's promotional release:

The Flightless Journey of Ethan Martin

6:30 PM - 7:30 PM  Oct 25, 2011

 Join Exeter resident and world traveler Ethan Martin at the Exeter Public Library, as he shares his photos and stories of his 1 year, 30,000 mile trek through roughly 30 countries on 3 continents.  Ethan grew up in Exeter, studied English at UNH and lived in Utah, Turkey and Korea.  He has always had a love of traveling and made it his goal to travel by land and sea, across Eurasia to the Atlantic.  In September of 2010, using monies he had earned teaching in Korea, Ethan began his journey, leaving Korea by boat and continuing on by ferry, train, van, bus, horse, foot and hitchhiking.  Within a year, Ethan had accomplished what he set out to do and extended his flightless trip with a celebratory transatlantic cruise.  Ethan will be telling tales of his trip, of the cities and the countryside, the people he met, books he read while traveling, as well as sharing some of the logistics of and the reasons for his overland trip.

 The presentation is free and open to the public.  It will take place in the meeting room of the Exeter Public Library.

I'll have some photos and and a little Google Earth tour of the places I talk about. Hope to see you there!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Coming to This

Yes, the daily retrospective photo has come to an end. I think we all knew it was going to happen sooner or later, and hanging out in the woods for ten days without the Internet was as good a time as any to quit.

However, I am continuing to write monthly travel columns for the Exeter News-Letter. Yet another installment has been published and can be viewed here. I even took the initiative to write my own headline and send in a few pictures along with the article. Click on the main photo to check out the sketchy dentist office I didn't patronize.

In other news, I will be giving a talk about my travels at the Exeter Library on October 25th. The show starts at 6:30PM. More to come on that.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

To Olkhon Island

This is the ferry plying its way across Lake Baikal to and from Olkhon Island. We arrived after a bumpy van ride with an ugly but supremely happy-looking young Russian couple, a doughy Asian woman, and some guy sleeping in the front.

Neither the lake nor the island made a great first impression. As you can see, the sky and the water were both gray and cold. I snapped some pictures from a rocky outcrop, being most impressed by the sharp shoreline behind  this shot. We watched the ferry slowly making progress and a couple dozen people, some on foot, a few in vehicles, boarded for the quick trip to the largest island in the world's deepest lake.


October fourth, our first full day off a train since the day before we got on a train in Vladivostok. That's like five or six days. Exploring Irkutsk, which I think can be described as a generally unattractive city with some very pretty buildings, we strolled through a plaza by the circus, quite close to our under-construction hostel. There, men had horses and camels and other beasts for photo opportunities, little go-karts for children to tear around in, and there were legions of audacious pigeons with no qualms of snatching food out of peoples' outstretched hands.

I really like this photo for the soft color palette, the full extension of the pigeon's wings, the geometric shapes of the background, and the borderline-disgusted What-The-Fuck look of the girl.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Train, Day the Last

I'm a day late again. I know this. That's why on this post, you get to see not just a photo from last year's today, but a video too.

Three days on a train is a long time. You can sleep, read, listen to music, drink vodka and beer, eat, play backgammon, cards, and nap. There really isn't much more. I didn't mind it so much, but the nights were slightly stifling. Sitting in the dining car for breakfast, this is how Adam felt about the heat in the bunks at night.

He may well be loading his imaginary gun to blow his brains out.

Looking out the window in Siberia is beautiful, but even that can get old since there are days worth of the same view from the windows. Most of the variety comes from the time of day and quality of light. This is a brief video of early morning somewhere east of Lake Baikal, our last day on the three day train from Khabarovsk.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Brief Stop

This is the Chernyshevsk-Zabaikal'skiy train station, located riiiight about here. The statue is the man the station and town is named after, Nikolay Chernyshevsky. We had a quick break here last year today at around 8:30PM local time, which was hours ahead of the official train time which is on Moscow's clock.

For three days, the only time Adam and I got off the train was at brief stops, between 5 and 25 minutes, at various stations such as this one. Generally, we'd get off and stretch on the platform a bit in our shorts and flip-flops, blending into the other passengers comfortably dressed in track suits and sweatpants.

Here's another photo of the station, from a more distant perspective with the tracks and entire building in view. Maybe it's an old photo, previous to some renovations or just not well shot, but it sure looks a lot shittier than it does in my picture.

Russia, Train 2, Day 1

I like long train rides, and last year's today was the beginning of the longest train ride I took the whole trip. We left in the morning and rolled past golden hills and blue skies. Fall isn't really the most popular time for tourists to ride the Trans-Siberian, and we were going the opposite way of most tourists anyway, so it was a relatively quiet ride on our first day, perfect for a couple beers in the dining car, contemplating the passing fields and hewn cabin villages.