week 8

 

Mon: Xenius gave us a “behind the curtain” tour of how clothing can be recycled and repurposed. It looks like removing zippers and buttons is a big headache!

Tue: We bid farewell to Sarah Weiner in Japan while participating in a very civilized wild boar hunt.

Thu: A century since the assassination of Rasputin, a look at his influence in the demise of the house of the Romanovs.

Fri: A teshuinada in Guachochi during the early ’90s leaves us ready to depart for Raramuri land…

 

week 7

 

Mon: The Xenius reporter couple presented the dilemmas that self-driving cars pose. More relax and safer driving for humans except when, in a mixed traffic situation, computers are confronted with divining the all too human chaotic behaviour of us behind the wheel: speeding, singing, chatting, cursing, texting, eating, dozing, day-dreaming… even meditating!

Tue: With Sarah Wiener we learned how to prepare crystal noodles starting with grinding rice grains in northern Vietnam. Lots of hydration, dehydration and rehydration cycles.

Wed: Watching the raramuri’s spring festival or “teshuinada”, when they get together at the main town of Batopilas to reacquainted themselves with neighbors and friends after spending the long winter in isolated hamlets, it reminded us of atavic customs from our African ancestors. Shamanic rites, religious syncretism (native and christian) practices, passing around bowls filled with fermented alcoholic beverages, friendly fights among youngsters and a final ablution in the white water Urique river to rinse it all off.

Thu: A report of the “shocking” news that tsar Nicholas II abdicated 100 years ago. Trying to broadcast the 1917 event as if it had happened in 2017 worked well with live commentary -via Skype- from Petrograd, New York, Paris & Berlin; but the final photo post of the tsar on his facebook page standing in a private car-train while retained at Pskov felt out of place given the gravitas of the event. How do you tweet that the house of the Romanov, a 300 years old dynasty, has fallen? What a difference a century makes…

Fri: A pastoral take on the politically unstable Abkhazia republic 25 years after its bloody secession from Georgia during the dissolution of the USSR. The rural villages on the slopes of the Caucasus mountains where bears and wolfs roam free, transhumance and expiatory goat sacrifice are still practiced, and voluntary arranged marriages is a common societal practice, give a very bucolic feeling to the modern city dweller.

week 6

Mon: Xenius highlights the importance of urban and in-house spaces for growing edible plants, as well as, the side effects of the neonicotinoids insecticides on birds and mammals, including us.

Tue: Sarah runs through Rajasthan’s capital Jaipur searching for the hottest chili peppers … and she finds them. Red hot! Noth enough yogurt can quench the burn.

Wed: NHK informs on the travails of the “father” of the bullet train to convince the railway company, government and IMF to fund such high-tech project during the post-WWII era reconstruction.

Thu: We visit the raramuri people with the aid of a mexican female anthropologist doing her PhD field work in the sierra Tarahumara for 6 months. At last we hear some spoken words of the tarahumara language.

Fri: The renaissance of the cossacks running the steppes between the Don and Volga rivers as seen by the eyes of a Christian Orthodox priest attending to the flock with the helping hand of a mini-van is portrayed with nostalgic eyes by the narrator.

 

 

week 5

Mon: Xenius introduces the importance of epigenetics in the genotype versus phenotype paradigm. And it presents the newest cancer wonder treatment, immunotherapy, to much fanfare and overhype.

Tue: The tribal wives series visits the Raramuri people located in the Sierra Tarahumara. This is a community striking a perilous balance between mexican government subsidies and tourism revenues while adhering to their ancient way of life including own language, cuisine & beverages, shamanic healing ceremonies and sport traditions.

Wed: Sarah Wiener navigates the back waters of Kerala searching for the perfect garam masala spices recipe. It seems a numbing hot taste!

Thu: Joanna Lumley’s last stretch on her tour of Japanese islands includes the Buddhist pilgrimage from temple to temple along Shikoku island and the tropical waters of Okinawa prefecture.

Fri: ARTE reports on the Black Sea coastal resort of Sochi in the summer: The youth camps, the family run bed&breakfast, the state run sanatorium. Unfortunately, very little sand beach space for the lots of people, mainly russian, that visit it seems available. Although the tea tasting boutique shop tucked away in an alley looked agreeable… better escape for the Caucasus mountains just behind.

 

week 4

 

Mon: Xenius adresses the curcumin health benefits as sponsored by Ayurverdic medicine.

Tue: Sarah Wiener stops in the Indian state of Gujarat to witness the normalcy of an all vegetarian diet. Chutneys with samosas are all the rage but vegetarian dishes do not equate with healthy as plenty of fat finds its way to the plate.

Wed: Les dessous des cartes paints the complex mixture of the Caucasus mountains where the ancient Caucasian, Indo-European and Altaic ethnicities clustered in separate valleys received the geopolitical forces of Christian cossacks, Sunni ottomans and Shia persians. Did I miss to mention the Buddhist Kalmyks of the steppes just to the north?

Thu: The Transoceanica bus finally reaches the beaches of Lima after 7 days from departing Copacabana. Although scheduled to last only five, it is still notable the easiness in crossing the entire continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast.

Fri: Joanna Lumley takes on Honsu island with the typical helicopter ride above the megapolis of Tokyo, the perennially foggy mount Fuji and the allure of the cherry blossom vistas in springtime Kyoto.

week 3

 

Mon: Archiving in the electronic era plus how to dispose of e-waste are yet unsolved issues. How many back-up CDs turn out to be unreadable in a few years? How many of the broken and trashed electronics from Europe resurface in the street markets of Ghana or Nigeria after minor fixing?

Tue: Sarah, on her take two of Vietnam, shows us the central coast where harvesting tiny lobsters in a very shallow bay using semi-spherical woven bamboo tug boats or collecting algae (kelp?) to prepare salads and boil for tea are the way of life for coastal dwellers.

Wed: A tribute to the late Jean Christoph Victor, writer of “les dessous des cartes”, makes clear how maps express the sad reality of geopolitics in our world choking with wall borders.

Thu: The transoceanic bus reaches Cuzco, base camp for accessing the tourist trap of Machu Picchu…

Fri: Joanna Lumley’s tournee of Japan starts in Hokkaido, the least populated and most forested island of the archipelago. Worth considering a visit to Sapporo, but not in winter!

 

week 2

 

Mon: Xenius told me about the differences in feet fingers length: the Egyptian pattern versus the Roman or the Greek.

Tue: Sarah went to Vietnam to find the perfect recipe for the spring rolls and ate a Lotus flower plant root.

Wed: NHK African dream series portrayed the South Africa right before the 2010 football world cup. With an open border policy with Zimbabwe, the huge disparity in wealth (~300%) creates challenging issues of opportunities and risks for migrant workers.

Thu: The “Transoceanica” bus odyssey crosses from Brazil to Peru, after a day spent in border paperwork. The damage caused by illegal gold mining in and around Puerto Maldonado makes the town to be renamed Puerto Abandonado.