Destinations

Basque Country

The next day I was on a bus five hours north to Bilbao, the largest city of Spain’s Basque Country—a region and people defined by their ancient language, Euskara. A city so proud, they’ve never fielded a non-Basque on their football club. They even refuse to keep corporate sponsorship on their jersey because they regard it as their national team.

Ramadan in Kandahar

Ramadan is entering its final week and the holy day of Eid is beginning. The people here in Kandahar are much more observant of the traditions of Islam than anywhere else I’ve been. The fast is a true one, no drinking of water, eating of food, or smoking is allowed during the daylight hours. People go to work, but every thing tends to trickle off into just a drizzle of activity by late afternoon. However, like any generalization the individual experience is much more different.

transdniestria

The Country that Doesn’t Exist: Transdniestria

One of the oddest relics of the breakup of the Soviet Union is the Transdniester Moldovan Republic, known locally as Pridnistrovia. As part of the ethnic gerrymandering in the Soviet Union, Moscow added a Russian and Ukrainian populated slice of land on the eastern bank of the Dniester River to the original Moldovan Soviet Republic. This was part of a larger policy of diluting ethnic concentrations in all of the republics to weaken any indigenous nationalism.

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