A Travellerspoint blog

New Delhi, India - October 18, 2013

New Delhi, India - October 18, 2013

New Delhi. The airport smells like curry and 30 year old dust. I walk down the stairs with my bag and turn right at customs. I ask where the metro is. Outside, across the causeway, underground. The air is hot and sticky. I pass the cafe where I bought water two years ago.

The metro is grey and modern. European. I sit back and rest. The plane ride felt like days. Twenty-one hours by the ticket. Does this take time difference into consideration? Across Greenland from Chicago and over Moscow and the Russian west. I watched the live update chart screen on the plane. Five hours from Anchorage to Chicago and a five hour layover. I chatted with a biochemistry professor on the plane. He wants me to visit him in New Delhi where he teaches. He came from Kolkata with nothing, he says. A stewardess named Nena tells me about shopping in New York and London and Paris, buying presents for her friends and family.

Suburbs race by under the metro. New Delhi Station is the destination. A train to Gaya, 15 hours east is the goal. I have a hiking backpack and a day pack, easy luggage. I try one tourist office and another. I am lead across Connaught place to each in turn. They all claim to be official but they are not. No matter, there are no trains available for five days and I need Gaya tomorrow. Haggle for price, negotiate for rickshaw, watch the dogs and rickshaw walas nap on the streets. Women walk by in flowing saris. Curious people stare. I sit up straight on the back of the bicycle rickshaw, my bags at my feet. Dark glasses cover my eyes. I feel colonial, strong. Is this good? I pass a 100 foot temple to Hanuman, built in his monkey likeness. The entrance passes between his feet.

A flight is bought, tomorrow afternoon, and I find myself resting in Hotel Jennifer's Inn. Veg pakora to eat. Sleep by 8:30pm.

Wide awake at 1:30am. My eyes sizzle. I don't know how much I have slept in the past few days. No more sleep now. Fun Bollywood music videos flash on the TV. My favorite is "Bullett Raj."

At the airport at 11am. Bag check. Customs. At my gate a familiar face appears. An old American friend from the semester in Bodhgaya.

"How are you?"

"The Rinpoche is on our flight."

We board the plane to Gaya.

Posted by cazvan 05:46 Comments (0)

Post #100

August 13, 2013



This is the hundredth post on this blog. I want to use this small landmark to reflect on what this outlet has been and what it can be in the future. "No Parking" started as a documentation of fishing, field schools, and international travel to keep people I love informed of my life through words and pictures. I feel like it as changed as my personality has changed, and grown with me as I have grown. When I began posting, I was full of fear and awe. I feel that slowly these have been replaced with force and love. I am, like everyone, a work in progress, and I have a lot of work to do.

What then is the future of "No Parking"? I will use this place to continue to document and reflect. I am quite excited about the future.

I want to share four of my favorite pictures from my first international travel experience. In October 2008, I went alone to Europe, lost all of my belongings, made a friend, and came home a little bit bigger of a person.

Brussels, Belgium

The Roman Pantheon, Rome, Italy

The Hague, The Netherlands

Train ride, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Posted by cazvan 19:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Denali National Park - Day 07

August 12, 2013

overcast 46 °F

Woke up, "let's skip breakfast, I think we're close to the road."

The fog is still thick, no visibility. Pack, climb a ridge, south. See the road! We found it! The compass worked! Success!


Wait 3 hours for bus, 4 hour bus ride to get back to car. Change, brush teeth, wash face, is visitor center. Begin long drive back to Kasilof. Pick up hitchhiker going towards Homer. An ice climber, back from 3 weeks on a glacier. Lots of gear. Very friendly, interesting. Spend hours talking about climbing, guiding, climbers, fishing. Dropped him off at the post office in Kasilof, 1 hour from Homer, after he refused to camp in my yard for the night.

"Good luck."

Arrive home at 3am.


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Denali National Park - Day 06

August 11, 2012

rain 40 °F


I woke up and cooked. breakfast was a packet of oatmeal and coffee. I started up the creel valley, going south. The creek climbed and shrank. We gained 500 feet of elevation, then 1000, then 1500. The creek bed disappeared. I climbed higher. It became colder. the brush gave way to grass and moss as the range we climbed steepened, then rocks. The last 400 feet were almost sheer. I crested the Mt. Galen range with a 20 foot climb of steep scree. Sarah followed after a few minutes. So did the rain.


We sat and ate and planned. The fog set in immediately, visibility was limited to 100 feet. This made choosing a path down the ridge system difficult. I caught a glimpse of the the river and the valley floor below us before visibility was lost completely. I decided to follow the ridge, where the terrain was clear, to what appeared to be a series of plateaus on the topographic map. I told Sarah we might have to turn back as we try to find a route down. It was the late afternoon, but we were only 6 miles from the road, and I wanted to make it out. We followed the ridge into the fog.


Visibility dropped to 20 feet. The ridge line turned to a series of cliffs. We came to a point where it looked like a plank off a cliff. Too dangerous. I turned back and found a game trail and followed it. Trails usually don't go off cliffs. We walked and turned and planned for an hour. I hoped my compass was working.

We lost the trail but found grass. It became warmer. We were going lower. This is good. Rocks and cliffs became steep moss fields. We climbed down a creek bed, maybe a foot wide. Vegetation grew taller as we walked. Knee high, waist high, head high, above the head. 9pm. Follow the creek bed, follow the compass. Trudge, tear, trip, call for bears. Is Sarah behind me? Is she ok? Trudge on. Slide through the alders and cottonwood. Wipe the rain from your face. Look up to see if the fog has cleared.


The creek bed grew and finally, finally, joined another, larger creek. Moose Creek. This is good. Follow Moose Creek for 2 miles where to turns from west to north, .5 miles from the road. We walk along the gravel bar. No brush. Excellent. 10:45om. Sarah, we are .5 miles from the road. Hmm… There are no buses this late. We camped. Soaking wet. Dinner was fancy ramen, dried sausage, cheese.

Later that night. Deep sleep.

"Caz, I think there is something outside"

I remove the pistol from under my pistol, listen with extreme care. Five minutes. Nothing.

"Sarah, I don't think it's a big one."

Posted by cazvan 17:53 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Denali National Park - Day 05

August 10, 2013

sunny 55 °F


I woke up at 9am and left camp at 12:15pm. Breakfast was oatmeal and Starbucks Via instant coffee. I continued along the Boundary Creek valley for almost a mile, slowly winding though the brush upwards out of the eastern side. I cut high to a ridge above the brush line and followed it along the mountain side for a mile, across and up berry bushes and scree. I crossed several smaller valleys that carved into this ridge side. Across one valley I saw six caribou, three mothers and three calves. Across the next I saw a caribou and a brown bear, golden against a green background. I crossed below the bear, then cut up farther south on another ridge. I crossed over the ridge to look back on the location of the bear, 600 feet above the valley floor. It was only a few hundred feet away. I yelled "hey bear" very loudly and sternly. It saw me and came closer. I yelled again, with my arms in the air. At this point Sarah had caught up and was standing beside me. She yelled too. The bear kept coming.

(Credit: Sarah Jenks, http://whatmakesitgrow.wordpress.com)

At 100 feet I removed the .454 Kasull revolver from my pack. Sarah and I continued to yell. The bear hesitated and sniffed the air. We were up wind. It kept coming.

"This is interesting" I said to Sarah. The bear stopped at sixty feet from us and sniffed again. It was a smaller bear, maybe a second year cub. I kept watch for a mother or siblings around us. We were positioned on a small platform on a ridge with steep sides. The bear was below us, approaching slowly. I told Sarah to follow me up the ridge. It was rocky and somewhat steep. We advanced 100 feet up and the bear followed to our previous platform. It sniffed the area for a minute then started eating berries. We climbed higher and watched as the bear wandered off, downwards and away from us.


The last 200 feet of our climb was across steep scree. I made the summit 5 minutes before Sarah and meditated until she arrived. We have 300 degrees of view, all directions but north. To the east was rough, rocky, 4000 foot mountains, and to the west was 3000 foot rolling mesas, the start of the Kantishna hills area. To the south was the base of the Alaska range, it's peaks hidden in the clouds. We ate cheese and meat wraps and watched the mountains. The clouds cleared around Mt. McKinley/Denali and its summit was revealed, above the cloud cover of the Alaska range. Sarah and I were both in awe. She didn't believe me that it was a mountain top at first. This is the biggest mountain I have ever seen. It stood twice as tall as its brothers, a towering leviathan, massive, unworldly.


I climbed down the southern side of our 4000 foot hill and we camped at it base along side the central of three tributaries of Boundary Creek. Dinner was popcorn followed by Thai ginger/soy/veg noodles.


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Denali National Park - Day 04

August 9, 2013

sunny 59 °F


I got up at 9:30am. Washed face and hair with soap in the cold creek. Ate oatmeal with peanuts butter and Starbucks instant coffee for breakfast. Relaxing morning. Left camp at 12:15pm following Stony Creek north. I found a large pile of bear scat that dyed all the surrounding rocks blue from the berries. I followed Stony Creek as it cut west towards Boundary Creek. Stopped on a gravel bar for lunch near a large beautiful caribou rack/skull. A nice souvenir. Too large to hide in my bag. Ate trail mix, beef jerky and a salami and cheese wrap. I followed Stony Creek until it hit Boundary, maybe a mile farther, then cut south, to follow Boundary upstream towards the border of unit 39. The terrain is different, with many more alders, small cotton woods, and spruce trees around the creek. Much more green. Very nice. The amount of animal tracks is also notable. Bear, caribou, moose, and wolf, one day old and usually scattered but sometimes on the same path.


Sarah and I cut east out of the creek valley a mile south of the confluence of the creeks. Fifty feet above the creek bed, the brush gives way to scattered spruce, deep, soft moss, and blue berry bushes. More blue berry bushes than I have ever seen, with more blue berries than I have ever seen. The climb to the ridge out of Boundary Creek was slow; the moss was thick and spongy and hundreds of berries needed to be eaten. I climbed back down the ridge and we camped a few yards from the creek. Dinner was spicy Thai lemongrass noodles.



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Denali National Park - Day 03

August 8, 2013

sunny 62 °F


We woke up at highway campsite, 7am. Made coffee, oatmeal with added blueberries. Sarah packed the tent. We left at 8:20am to the Wilderness Access Center for wifi use until 9am when the Backcountry Access center opens.

Completed safety talk at the BAC, talked with the rangers about routes and terrain. There are 6 millions acres of trail less camping available, divided into units. I choose to cross unit 33 into unit 39 along Stony Creek wash. It's a three mile northward track to get to 39 where I can camp. From there, my route follows Stony Creek farther north, away from the Alaska Range, before cutting back south through mountainous terrain in unit 33 and 34. It should be a nice mix of low, brushy terrain, and rugged higher mountains. The rangers said I would have a good adventure.

I caught the 11am camper bus to get off at Stony Creek.

I got off at Stony Creek at 2:45. I followed the Stony Creek for 4 miles through head high alder and cotton wood thickets, over blueberry scrub and over the bar and creek itself. More creeks joined it and Stony grew. I camped on the gravel bar on a patch of soft sediments. Dinner was a Freeze dried Mountain House sweet and sour pork dinner.

I IMG_4359.jpg


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Denali National Park - Day 02

August 7, 2013



I woke up to the sound of the river, 8:15am. I made oatmeal and coffee. I found I had forgotten my boots. in Kasilof I asked if they sold boots in Talkeetna. No. I drove to Wasilla (70 miles south), bought boots, then to Denali (170 miles north). I stopped at Wal-Mike's in Trapper Creek, a wilderness mercantile I visited during my archaeology dig 2 years ago.

We arrived at the park at 5:45. The Backcountry Access Center was closing. I asked where to camp at the informations desk. No campsites were available for those with cars. I left the park and drove down the highway for 7 miles and camped behind a stand of spruce alongside the road.

Posted by cazvan 19:18 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Denali National Park - Day 01

August 6, 2013

sunny 68 °F


(On August 2, 2013, I found myself with few sockeye to catch and a nice paycheck from the season. With some time and some money, my deckhand and I decided to trade our maritime social isolation for something more terrestrial: a hiking trip in backcountry Denali National Park. What follows is the journal of this adventure.)

Sarah and I left Kasilof around noon. I stopped in Soldotna at Fred Meyer to buy groceries and at Sportsman's Warehouse to get a fuel canister and bug dope. We left Soldotna for Denali at around 2pm. Google maps says it should take 6.5 hours.

I stopped in Anchorage to confirm my route and get Starbucks. I hit terrible traffic in suburb-like Wassilla. Outside of Wasilla I stopped for fuel. At 7pm I stopped in Talkeetna. Sarah and I decided to camp in Talkeetna and make for Denali tomorrow. We found a private campsite by the Talkeetna River outside of town for $20. Dinner was a few packets of fancy ramen.

Posted by cazvan 18:44 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Lost Photos from Bolivia - April 16, 2013

From Soldotna, Alaska. July 30, 2013

sunny 90 °F

I recently discovered a scrap of paper containing a lost email address. The address belongs to a woman that accompanied me across the Salar de Uyuni, a 10,000 sq. kilometer salt flat between Bolivia and Chile, on April 16, 2013. I emailed the woman, who I believed held the photos from that trip. She responded and the photos were transferred. What follows are the highlights.

The sensation of being on the Salar was like being at sea. The salt stretched farther than I could see. Mountains looked like blurry paintings in the distance. The surface of the salt was solid and rough, like coarse concrete. It was hot in the days and frigid at night.

The Salar was formed when Lake Minchin dried up 30,000 years ago. The salt as originally deposited in the area from oceans that covered Bolivia. Rain water drew the salt from the surrounding mountains to the lake after the land rose and the oceans disappeared. There are islands of land in the Salar, the most famous, called the Eye of the Inca, is an old volcano, now covered in large Cardon cacti and fossilized sea creatures.





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Asado of Argentina

from Kasilof Alaska, June 20, 2013

I want to talk about my favorite or most memorable meals from South America.

Before my travels, I had no sense of the diversity of the Latin American countries, in terms of culture, language, and food. I want to start the series in Argentina.

Argentina is famous for its wine. The wine in Argentina is some of the best I have had. Full-bodied and moderately tannic Malbecs from Bodega San Telmo were my favorite.

Argentina is also famous for its beef. A lot of the country is farm land. There are a lot of cows, and people take meat and grilling seriously. Most Sundays, my housemates (and Argentines in general) get together for asados, or BBQ's. People cook beef, sausages, blood sausages and chicken. Simple salads are made too, usually with lettuce, carrot, tomato and hardboiled egg. A brand of beer called Quilmes and called fernet y cola are the drinks of choice. Fernet is an italian herbal liquor, similar to Jaegermeister, that is mixed with Coke and ice.

Parillas (pronounced par-eeshas, also the word for grill) are specialty steak restaurants that have pages of different types of steak. My favorite was called La Brigada in San Telmo, Buenos Aires.




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Rocking It

from Kasilof Alaska, June 19, 2013

65 °F

Having returned to the United States, I have entered into a period of reflection of my last ten months in South America. What did I learn? What was good? What was fun? What was bad? What do I want to avoid?

Besides enough Spanish to find the nearest bathroom, I also learned something maybe more useful. In contrast to my time in India, with focus on the internal mind, I was forced to look outward in Latin America. From Argentines, Chileans, Bolivians, Peruvians, and Colombians I learned how to better interact with humans, engage, make conversation, take everything more lightly, be more relaxed, more at ease, more physically and emotionally intimate, and, in general, how to be more and have more fun.

I made effort to manifest this new outlook, which was hard for me at times, with "the rock star." First discovered at the estancia (a sort of country hotel) called "La Nancy" in Pigue, Argentina, the rockstar contrasts serious expression with ridiculous form. Please, for your enjoyment, I present the series, "Rocking It."

Initial conception, with inspiration from David Bowie. La Nancy, Pigue, Argentina.

A camp at La Nancy the following weekend. La Nancy, Pigue, Argentina. With Cande.

Fitzroy Tower, outside of El Chalten, Argentina.

My departure my Buenos Aires in March, after months of living there. Here I manifested the rockstar for personal strength during this transition. Montserrate, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Along my travels, I taught the rockstar to others. Ali from Colorado and Andrea from Bogota manifest in the Atacama desert in northern Chile.

Crossing the massive Salt Flat of Uyuni, in southern Bolivia, my drivers taught me words in the extant Inca trading language Quechua. I bestowed upon them my sacred tradition, the rockstar.

I rocked on by the Geysers "Sun of the Morning."

The sunrises across the salt flats, to silhouette me in the beautiful landscape.

Rocking the Incan fortress temple Sacsaywaman, near the old Incan capital of Cusco.

Rocking in the mountains near Cusco.

Machu Picchu was the perfect place for the rockstar.

Some, those who took life too seriously, had difficulty in the conceptualization of the rockstar. Rosario from Chile, in Cartagena, Colombia.

The final rock, near the summit of the the Volcano Nevado de Santa Isabel.

People of the world, keep rocking it.

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Manizales - May 29, 2013

From Kasilof, Alaska - July 7, 2013


I arrive in Manizales after Salento, on my way back to Bogotá. The city is part of the Coffee Growers Axis, called Eje Cafetero, along with Armenia and Pereira. Manizales is a city of coffee production and higher education.

The city is rainy, cloudy, built onto high hills with narrow winding streets. I am alone here.

In my hostel I decide to hike to the Nevado de Santa Isabel volcano, the sister of the Nevado del Ruiz volcano that is currently spewing ash. I am unprepared for this hike, having left much of my gear in Bogotá. I hike in shorts. The summit of the volcano is a massive field of ice, shrouded in fog and freezing cold. The guide and I wait in the crazy as the third member of our party, a crazy man from Israel ascends into the mist to cover the last several hundred meters to the summit.

We eat lunch at the house of a farmer in the mountains. A woman serves agua de panela, (hot water with cane sugar), homemade cheese on bread, and a rice based soup while we sit and play with her child.








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Salento - May 26, 2013

From Kasilof, Alaska - July 7, 2013


My days in Salento are filled with coffee and mountain biking along hills of coffee plantations, called fincas. The coffee here has a medium body, somewhere between Kenyan and Guatemalan coffees, and a rich and fruity finish.

I hiked the Valley de Cocora, filled with was palms, the largest in the world. I met a long haired opossum and a group of biology students from Armenia, Colombia.

I had to save my friend from a cockroach on the water cooler in our hostel.

I did not buy the hat.








Posted by cazvan 17:48 Archived in Colombia Comments (0)

Bogotá, Colombia - May 23, 2013

From Kasilof, Alaska - July 7, 2013


I stayed in the old section of Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, in an area called La Candeleria. The Anandamayi Hostel is one of the nicest of my trip. Manicured plants filled courtyards surrounded my hammocks, Eastern art decorated the walls, and the beds were handmade. Even the showers were hand tiled.

Blocks from my hostel lies the main plaza of the city, Plaza de Bolivar, bordered by the Palace of Justice, National Capitol, seat of the National Congress, the Mayor's residence, and Primary Cathedral of Bogotá.

In 1985, 35 political militants from a group called M-19 took control of the Palace of Justice. They demanded a trial against the President, who may have been elected fraudulently. Three hundred people were taken hostage. On the second day, the army stormed the building. One hundred people died, including half of the Supreme Court.

Fifty-thousand people were murdered in Colombia in 1991 and 1992. In 1993, Pablo Escobar, the most powerful drug lord in Colombia, was killed in Medellín. His death lead to a fracturing of power in the cartels.

I speak of this recent violence in Colombia because the country has changed. The country feels fresh, especially Medellín, there is public art, people are kind and focused and present. I do not know if these impressions are my subjective bias, but I would imagine living through extreme violence would effect a person somehow.

I took a bike tour with a new friend from Massachusetts. It rained the entire time.






Posted by cazvan 17:13 Archived in Colombia Comments (1)

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