Blog posts of '2011' 'August'

Ba Dinh Square, Hanoi
Bill HaytonKindly Contributed By Bill Hayton
Author of Vietnam, Rising Dragon
"Vietnam is full of wonderful, remote places: terraced hills, pristine islands and wide green valleys. But if you want to understand something of how Vietnam works you don’t have to go further than the center of Hanoi. Ba Dinh Square, the epicenter of political life in Vietnam, was designed for parades.
Biologists in Galapagos
Recommendations for the scientifically minded visitor to the Galapagos: Michael Jackson's Galapagos, A Natural History is still the best single reference, not at all insulting to the scientifically literate; Tui de Roy corrals dozens of scientists currently working in Galapagos for her illustrated, authoritative overview Galapagos, Preserving Darwin's Islands (it is a good single reference for looking up research articles); and
The Inca Trail
The long delayed new edition of The Inca Trail, Cuzco & Machu Picchu has finally arrived, just in time for the 100th anniversary celebrations of Hiram Bingham's rediscovery of Machu Picchu. Not just for those hiking the Inca Trail, this compact guide includes an excellent overview of the culture and history and attractions of Cuzco and the Sacred Valley, along with a chapter on Lima, good maps, travel information and photographs.  Delayed by, oh, three years, this new fourth edition, with a history of the Incas by Hugh Thomson, was fully re-walked, revised and rewritten by Alexander Stewart. It has jumped to our Essential Reading for Machu Picchu.
CN Traveler: Laos and the Four Corners
Run, don’t walk to pickup, or dial-up, the August issue of CN Traveler, which includes not just David Ebershoff’s uncommonly evocative "Loving Luang Prabang" but also "The Vanishing," Leslie T. Chang’s travels in the Four Corners region. If these reports don’t fire up a desire to visit the old royal capital of
Namtso, Tibet
Kindly Contributed by Canyon Sam, author of Sky Train, Tibetan Women on the Edge of History.
"If you have slack in your schedule on a visit to Tibet, be sure to take the opportunity to see some of the countryside surrounding Lhasa.  This high desert plateau is some of the most beautiful landscape in the world.