web analytics
 

Photo courtesy of CassandraW1. There are some fascinating traditional festivals that take place around the globe every month but probably none more bloody (and few more colourful) than the Andean festival of Tinku. Each May, thousands of indigenous Bolivian indians ascend upon the isolated, mountainous city of Potosi looking to pick a fight. In a ritual dating back 600 years, local indians slug it out, toe-to-toe until blood is spilt. The spilt blood - an offering to the earth goddess Pachamama - should ensure a successful harvest for the coming season.

I started to pen a dark and moody piece about crossing Russia on the Trans Mongolian Railway during the depths of a Siberian winter. Of how harsh the Russian climate can be at that time of year. Of how there's an austere beauty in the bleak solitude of her snow-blasted villages. A sense of resignation in the puffy faces of those station vendors, whose lives in which you play the most minor of roles. In the end I thought stuff it, what's with all the poetic crap!

Although the days of working for your passage hopping freighters are a thing of the past - a heavily specialised and unionised work force put paid to that - with a little planning and flexible travel dates, there aren't too many regions you can't now get to as a paid-up-passenger on board a cargo ship.