Friday, November 6, 2009

Window on the Past: Travels through Albania, Siberia and the Buryat Kingdom



A year ago I was traveling through Albania, Siberia and the Buryat Kingdom as the advance person for a private jet company. Looking back, it seems that jet was moving well outside the shadow of the crumbling economy and so too was I. A lot has changed in a year.

These were remarkably untrodden places to work in and each held an incredible allure for even the most intrepid of us. I was elated to get to go, if not for the passport stamps and the frequent flyer miles. I was not prepared for how fantastically beautiful and mesmerizing each place would prove to be.

I was there as a destination manager and not a photographer - so I only had time to shoot a few images. Here's a short video which does little service to these beautiful places and people. Most of the water shots are of Lake Baikal - the deepest lake in the world; the ruins and blue lake are from Butrint National Park in southern Albania - a would-be birder's paradise if birders were paying attention; and the beautiful Asian woman is the Crown Shaman of Lake Baikal.

When you get a call at midnight, full moon a-rising, for a command appearance with the Crown Shaman, you get dressed and go. And you have the adventure of your life, even if it means finding yourself dressed head-to-toe in celebratory tribal-ware -- genuflecting around a fire and dancing that most ancient of dances passed down through old Genghis Khan himself.
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