September 29, 2000. Truck stop en route to Kerman (Iran). I love trucks.
I have now cataloged 2719 photos. 1793 of them were from the year 2000 (65% thus far). It was slow going, and I took a long break from what became the sheer monotony of the task. I started 2000 over a month ago. In the meantime I’ve been posting the 1995 Lithuania photos, though I’ve forgotten exactly why I started. I’m into 2001 now, and should go back to add non-scancafe scans of images pre-2001. What a task. WHAT A TASK.
In the midst of a transition period, I haven’t felt like writing much. I’ve been dancing a lot (ergo—it’s all good).
Going through old things that sit in my mind (apartment, hard drive), not as far back as I’d like. There are photos, journals, & disc upon well-organized disc of .pdf’s, .jpg’s & .gif’s. Favorite prints and chromes that could be scanned, & at least two projects unfinished. Should I do it? Should I find time to do it or should I just let it all go? Can I?
My preferred catharsis is writing now anyway. Perhaps I should let this all go. Get rid of the cameras, and all the stuff. Organized stuff, but still, it’s stuff.
This image is from a journal of info I kept on tour, long ago. The same journal that the bulk thoughts writing came from. I’m going through old things, trying to clean up the site, and found this, my record of films I shot in Iran. (Ah, no, I don’t recommend Kodak Gold, however I ran out of print film and had to buy some there.)
While I’m content, at present, with my slightly settled life, I’ve got friends (e.g. oushi za) on the road, and it makes me wistful and jealous. The summer always brings me flashbacks to moments abroad in hot places. Good people. & watermelon.
Click for a larger, pretty image
Just a quick note to say hi and all is well. I’m in Shiraz and, yeah, the grapes are all they’re cracked up to be (not to mention the most amazing fresh dates the world over). I’m really really loving Iran—it’s one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been. I wish I had time to tell a few stories.
I saw Xerxes tomb this morning. Persepolis too (center of the Persian Empire built circa 500 B.C.E.). Excellent! Unfortunately, after just having spent an hour waiting for a computer while watching four different men type furiously with two fingers, I have about two minutes until I have to meet the group. I must say that I am a bit tired as I haven’t had a day (an hour?) off since before the Ovyind and Gunda tour back in July.
I’m shooting more film here and getting anxious to see some of it. And tired of worrying about its safety. Half of it is sitting in Gulnara’s fridge back in Tashkent.
Man I wish I could write a full sentence.
More with time and hopefully rest,
(Insha’allah for sure)
For years I’ve traveled, and all the while I’ve tried to figure out how get paid for it, while photographing and building up a portfolio. That’s the simplest explanation of how I became a tour guide in Uzbekistan and Iran.
It became clear early on in the tour season that leading later-middle-aged Australian tourists around Central Asia was not my calling, and perhaps not a great idea at all, but that was not going to prevent me from finishing the season. No way. I would persevere, suffer, and complain because if nothing else, I’d learn what I did want through what I didn’t.
What saved me wasn’t taking photos, but writing bulk emails (and many people along the way, but that’s part of the story), which came to be known as “the bulks.” I’d scribble into a journal when I had time, and turn the notes into big emails about my tours when I hit a town with internet access. The next time I checked my email, I was delighted to see that my friends forgave the impersonality of the bulks and sent me lines of encouragement and appreciation, as well as updates from their own lives.
I’ve posted them here, interspersed with more recent recollections, because they are a fun, light way of learning a little bit about the area I was in, places no one much heard about until 2001. Enjoy!
[This was written retrospectively in 2004, but is posted here as an introduction.]
next: how i ended up a tour guide in central asia and iran: an honest explanation