Practical Traveler: Up Close, but Doing No Harm

June 26, 2012

The New York Time’s Practical Traveler series posted this article last week about eco-friendly traveling.  The article advises on things to look for when considering an eco-friendly trip and has three examples of programs around the world that meet this criteria.  They discuss an elephant camp in Thailand, visiting Ecuadoran villages, and adventure travel in Costa Rica.

“While tourism is a vital source of income for many developing countries, it can also result in pollution, deforestation, inefficient energy use and cultural exploitation,” said Ronald Sanabria, vice president of sustainable tourism at the Rainforest Alliance, an environmental group based in New York. The best sustainable tourism businesses not only recycle, conserve water and energy, and use locally produced goods, they also hire local employees, support community projects and preserve cultural heritage.



New York Times information on Mongolia

June 2, 2012

Mongolia is the world’s least densely populated country, with 2.9 million people spread across an area three times the size of France, two-fifths in rural areas on windswept steppes.

Landlocked between Russia and China, Mongolia contains vast troves of natural resources like coal, copper and gold that have attracted intense interest from mining giants around the world and turned the nation into a pawn in a global game involving China, the United States and Russia. Washington has lauded the country for its smooth transition from Soviet satellite to thriving democracy.

General Information on Mongolia

Official Name: Mongolia
Capital: Ulaanbaatar
Government Type: Mixed parliamentary/presidential
Population: 2.952 million
Area: 604,103 square miles; slightly larger than Alaska
Languages: Khalkha Mongol (primarily ), Turkic, Russian
Literacy: Total Population: [98%] Male: [98%]; Female: [98%]
GDP Per Capita: $2,100
Year of Independence: 1921

Slideshow: “The Downturn Reaches a Mongolian Goat Farm”


(click on the images to go to the NYTimes website to view the entire
slideshow and read the captions that go along with each photo)

Slideshow: “Inner Mongolia’s Field Hockey Players”

For 1,000 years, the Daur people of Molidawa, in Inner Mongolia, have been playing a game called beikou. The game is similar to field hockey and entails whacking around a ball-like knob of apricot root with long wooden branches.

A local cultural organization holds beikou matches. Two dozen or so players assemble and put on their traditional uniforms: boots, silk pantaloons, long silk robes belted with a sash, and a Daur hat that looks a little like a bishop’s miter.
Eight schools in the area teach hockey starting in the third grade. The best students are admitted to a select hockey development program in Molidawa.
(click on the images to go to the NYTimes website to view the entire
slideshow and read the captions that go along with each photo)

“Mongolia Navigator”

A list of resources from around the Web about Mongolia as selected by researchers and editors of The New York Times.


NY Times profile of Mongolia

NY Times search results for “Mongolia”

News about Indonesia

May 20, 2012

From New York Times

The airline industry in Thailand has been heavily criticized in the past few years because of some safety concerns which resulted in a few fatal wrecks.  The European Union has banned most of Thailand airline’s from flying into their airspace, and now, as of February 2012, there has been more news about a series of arrests of pilots who have been using drugs:

“Quakes Set Off Panic Among Indonesians, but No Tsunami in Indian Ocean”
April 2012

“Former Treasurer Convicted of Bribery in Indonesia”



Lady Gaga cancels Indonesia gig

Indonesian Earthquakes



Youtube search of “Indonesia news”

New York Times search of “Indonesia”