week 27

 

Mon: What made H. sapiens separate from other hominids? Xenius claims is the successful compromise between a baby’s brain size and the female pelvis ability to expand at birth.

Tue: Sarah McKenzie trip to Armenia leads us to discover the zhingyalov flat bread.

Wed: Uwe Johnson upbringing, from Nazi Germany to Communist DDR and later defection to west Berlin, gave him a peculiar angle to describe his impressions on American society after a two year long stay in the poor but cosmopolitan north-west Manhattan of the late ’60s.

Thu: How does the biggest milk cow farm in Russia get to be run by a german entrepreneur? Blame the collateral damage from EU economic sanctions…

Fri: Russian Travel Guide TV channel reporter explored the legends of Adygea by climbing its peaks, exploring its caves, and kayaking the river gorges.

 

week 26

 

Mon: “Xenius” makes the case for the international metric system as the standard for measurement units in everyday life. But, still, those recalcitrant anglo-saxons do not get it, not even after a NASA satellite engineering contractor screwed-up.

Tue: “360 degrees” report on the pomegranate real and symbolic value for the economy and societal well-being of the entire Armenian society. We get to meet the peasants at the Nrnadzor village taking their harvest to the central market of Meghri braving the unpaved roller-coaster road along the left bank of the Aras river facing the Iranian border located just across the water.

Wed: Amateurish black and white footage from the “cote d’azur” tournee in 1931 of Klaus & Erika Mann, the son and daughter of Nobel laureate writer Thomas Mann, gives a chilling sense of the people obliviousness to the economical debacle of 1929 morphing into the 1939 beginning of WWII.

Thu: “Les premieres dames du Kremlin” aimed at making sense of the role of the leader’s spouse in society. From the head strong¬†Nadezhda Krupskaya (wife of Lenin) to the divorcee Putina, via the suicidal Nadezhda Alliluyeva (Stalin’s second wife) or the soon to die of natural causes Gorbacheva, it is clear that, for at least the last century, Russian politics and family do not go together.

Fri: Dagestan nature preserves, covering reptile infested inland sand dunes, bird sanctuaries along river estuaries on the Caspian sea and, bears and goats filled mountain forests of the lesser Caucasus, have plenty to offer for the wandering traveler.

 

week 25

 

Mon: Xenius showed the impossibly simple art of making beer with water, grains, hops and the secretive yeast strain. A group of fanatics even tried to strictly revive and mimic a 19th century German method including vintage attire and surviving equipment.

Tue: The decaying sanatoriums around the Swiss lakes are a sad picture of the clusters they used to be for inspiration and social experimentation driven by intellectuals like Thomas Mann and Herman Hesse after WWI.

Wed: The “viking” on the loose in rural Georgia was a bit off putting. But the wild nature vistas, friendly village people and bountiful orchard harvest made for a delicious “al fresco” lunch and relaxed post-pandrial dance by a 85 years old peasant.

Thu: How can a husbandry matter upset the social balance in a mountain village? Come to Lahic in Azerbaijan where a European cow import by a young farmer is causing the elderly to call for a ban of the foreign intruder … or was it all metaphorical?

Fri: RT is hell-bent on showing the improved commercial ties of China with Russia and former soviet republics like Kazakhstan. In free-trade zone towns like Horgos or Yining (Uyghur autonomous province)¬† the results of the new “Silk road” generated wealth are undeniable.

week 24

 

Mon: Xenius taught us about Pacific ocean deep bottom mining of poly-metallic nodules and its environmental disastrous consequences. Believe it or not, down there it is teeming with life.

Tue: A train carriage turned into a mobile hospital riding along the transiberian track delivers much needed help to rural areas, as long as patients find their way to the station. Easier said than done, especially on a brutal winter day.

Wed: The savage viking visits rural Chechnya driving the route from Grozny to Itum-Kale passing by jewels like the 11th century Ushkaloi twin towers, and not stopping!!!

Thu: The ETH, or MIT of Europe, showed its formidable engineering strengths to remedy environmental degradation and ameliorate climate change. Only if the global citizenry gathered their collective willpower towards such a goal, the results would be at hand with minimal social disturbances.

Fri: ARTE 360 degrees report on the Lezgin people of the mountainous village of Kurush at the border between Dagestan and Azerbaijan was astonishing: collecting backyard manure to patch house walls, separating the wheat from the chaff by hand, threading wool into rugs at night with light coming from kerosene lanterns … Footage recorded in 2015.

week 23

 

Mon: Xenius presented the urban nuisance of the noisy crows. Should we deal with the crowds of crows with relocation of their nests or with predatory falcons?

Tue: Androids (human-like robots) are here to stay. And nowhere more so true than in Japan. R’u ready for a “Mazinger Z” real encounter?

Wed: The Finnish traveler leaves finally the helicopter behind and hits the (unpaved) grown of Ingushetia. Too bad he misses the highly scenic medieval tower complex of Egikal and instead heads for Magas outskirts to interview kiddos skateboarding in back alleys.

Thu: The impressions of Austrian journalist Joseph Roth during his trip to the just stabilized Soviet Union in 1926 reveal how effervescent the society was at the time. From the new ascending Jewish bourgeoisie class in Moscow to the pumping oil fields surrounding Muslim Baku. One cannot stop wondering how different that social experiment could have turned out…

Fri: RT documents the futuristic megapolis of Shenzhen, China’s “Silicon Valley”, where robotic platforms park your electric car and while it plugs itself to a recharging station powered by solar panels, you are free to shop around downtown riding on an elevated monorail tram.

week 22

 

Mon: Xenius investigates how the health self-monitoring devices affect one’s behavior towards a life quality improvement.

Tue: Arte documents the long lasting influence of Botticelli’s painting “Birth of Venus” on Western culture and society up to the present.

Wed: “Le Caucase en 30 jours” host ventures into the republics of Kabardino-Balkaria, to helipad on mount Elbrus, and North Ossetia, where he relaxes at the ski resort of Tsey with guitar in hand playing folk songs.

Thu: ZDF presents the lifestyle of Cossack’s descendants along the shores of the river Don. Since more than a century, they have exchanged the thrill of the horse and the sword for a quiet farming plot of land.

Fri: “360 degrees report” team took us to Varanasi to witness the healing powers of Ayurvedic medicine, including heat baths, sand massages and herbal extracts, curcumin included.

 

 

 

week 21

 

Mon: Are humans growing taller and taller? It looks like H. sapiens has hit a plateau at around 1.82 meters, much like in lifespan at around 115 years.

Tue: The gardens at villa Borghese in Rome delight in their appeal for nature no matter the season. Why is it so hard for city planners to get it right? Blame it on money.

Wed: The finnish viking starts his “Le caucase en 30 jours” trip in Sochi. Too bad he missed the walk along the hanging bridge over the Akhshtyrskoe gorge in the Mzymta river valley on the way to Krasnaya Polyana.

Thu: Mark Twain’s trip to Germany in the late 1860s gives a perspective on how a traveler influences the stereotype that his home society will construct about his host culture. Moral of the story: Do travel yourself!

Fri: Judy Garland’s career travails, just like those of Marlene Dietrich or Edith Piaf, show the high price paid for a life in the entertainment business.