Inside Tokyo's Red Light District Kabukicho

As far as red light districts go, Tokyo’s Kabukicho near Shinjuku station is relativity tame. Unlike Amsterdam there are no pot houses (aka “coffee shops”), prostitutes are not for sale in windows like a pimped out version of a holiday display, and at only 600 square meters it’s not even that big. What Kabukicho lacks in overtness it makes up for in subtlety and uniqueness. I spent a day walking around during the day time, but come after 6 pm and the streets are packed with partying salary men showing business associates a “good time” and getting hammered. Sounds enticing doesn’t it. What type of clubs exist in Kabukicho? The area is dominated by small drinking holes, DVD shops, peep holes, and host and hostess clubs that cater to lonely husbands and wives who need a little attention from well dressed, flirtatious professional conversationalists. If you are expecting the run Read full article…

Video instructions on how to hike from Brod to the old Macedonian Smuggling Pass. This is an extra resource for those looking to hike this path and would like to see what it is like and where the map will take them. For a written explanation on how to reach the mountain pass, including a map click this link. What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments on the video and the beautiful area of Brod, Dragash. Share

100 Travel Blogs and Video Vanity

Traveling, writing and blogging can be a lonely business. It can be as difficult to meet people on the road as it is knowing how many people read and enjoy what you write. Maybe this is why we as writers and travel bloggers are so obsessed with our site traffic numbers and the number of friends/fans we have on facebook (hey, please be my friend). We all go through rough patches while traveling where we miss home and family, just as we go through bouts of self-doubt wondering if what we write is worth anything to anyone. Like anything in life, when you face a period of depression, self-doubt, adversity, whatever, you have two choices: wallow in it all and remain in the same place, or continue walking and see what’s around the next corner. Every corner for me has always offered a solution to my problem now out of Read full article…

Thunder and lightening…no problem. No path, whatever. Once you see how beautiful Dragash, Kosovo is nothing will keep you away from the dramatic mountains and the fresh air. Here is a short introduction to the Dragash Hiking Guide, a project I’m working on to be the first to map out hiking routes in this remote area of southern Kosovo. Not a bad way to spend the weekend! More detailed Dragash, Kosovo Hikes will be up soon. As will the magic letters What do you think? Would you visit Dragash, Kosovo? Share

Hiking Dragash, Kosovo: Brod to Mount Cule

Mountain shepherds, enormous Sharri Dogs, free roaming horses, pristine babbling streams and dramatic mountains are just a small taste of what awaits you in Dragash.  “I’ve lived in Kosovo for 9 months and I had no idea there was anything this beautiful,” said a friend as we stood in the middle of a wind swept mountain pass barely an hours walk from the road.  Unfortunately, comments like this are all too common. This one was made by a woman who lived just a 30 minutes drive from where I led a small group on a hike through the sharp green Sharri Mountains in Dragash Municipality. Located in the southern end of Kosovo, Dragash is an oasis of untouched natural beauty and traditional villages sandwiched between the borders of Macedonia and Albania. Ignored by the Yugoslav government, the area never received development money for tourism despite its wealth of flora, fauna Read full article…

Hiking in Letnica, Kosovo: A Black Madonna, abandoned villages and the old Croat miller

The road ends at the small Kosovar village of Letnica on the border with Macedonia. The white church of the Black Madonna watches over the town from a small hill. The large church only magnifies the empty feeling of the town where only about 100 people are left. Dirt roads snake into the town in between dilapidated stone houses. Despite the abandoned air the town is surrounded by forested rolling hills, giving the area a peaceful feel. The twittering of songbirds floated through the air as we climbed the small hill to the church. If the town was ever to have a crowd we found it as four men sat outside the church socializing and taking in the surrounding views. A middle aged man reeking of raki (the Kosovar equivalent to Italian grappa) shadowed us the whole way, pleading for money and trying to be best friends the way only Read full article…

Well OK, not a photo but isn’t a video better? This video was taken on safari in Sri Lanka’s Mineria national park. The elephants were protecting their babies hidden between their legs by locking trunks, growling loudly, and slowly advancing on us to push us out of the area. Who knew that elephants growled! I took this video just shortly after I was charged by a large bull elephant. It was “only” a mock charge but lesson learned, don’t get near another man’s girl. Share

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