Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Silk Road's Black River

Right now I'm watching an episode of NHK's Silk Road The imagery of course jaw-dropping, and the culture and history astonishing. Right now they are talking about (and visiting) the Black River area of Inner Mongolia. This is the poster child for desertification; there were a large lake, a roaring river, and cities supporting thousands until the fourteenth century. Then it all dried up for reasons that are still poorly understood. Nothing but desert, ghost cities and canals, and miles and miles of Buddhist monuments and graveyards.

It's a warning, a tragedy and a puzzle.

I would love to follow the Silk Road through central Asia, but the farther west you get, the worse the current atmosphere is for Americans. Some day...

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