Yucatan, Mexico

The Sidereal Murphy's Law That Doomed the Dinosaurs


mini dinosaur
portal to the underworld
Destination: Cuzama
Semi-railway transport that, along the Chunkanan farm, takes visitors and bathers to the Cuzamá cenote.
spoils of time
Chunkanan hacienda building, in ruins, not because of the meteorite impact but because of the foreseeable effects of the economy.
Life. Good Life.
Two gringos celebrate human life that, according to the increasingly popular theory, the extinction of the dinosaurs allows them to enjoy.
Flaminga Cuesta
Flamingos feed in the brackish lagoon of the El Corchito Nature Reserve, an area dammed up on the earth's edge from the meteorite impact.
a green fracture
An opening in the predominant layer of limestone that covers the terrestrial area of ​​the Yucatan Peninsula affected by the meteorite impact.
Cenote
bi-color pair
Horses rest on the stony ground (limestone) generated by the apocalyptic explosion caused by the Chicxulub meteorite 66 million years ago.
underground bath
Bathers enjoy themselves in the lagoon of one of the numerous sinkholes spread across the Yucatan Peninsula.
Scientists studying the crater caused by a meteorite impact 66 million years ago have come to a sweeping conclusion: it happened exactly over a section of the 13% of the Earth's surface susceptible to such devastation. It is a threshold zone on the Mexican Yucatan peninsula that a whim of the evolution of species allowed us to visit.

(Puerto) Progreso is, par excellence, the seaside resort of the meridians, especially in July-August, when heat and humidity tighten in these tropical parts of the Americas and make the atmosphere stifling.

During summer, homes and businesses on the waterfront overlooking the Gulf of Mexico fill with temporary guests.

Some of these homes are small, inelegant but picturesque houses that seem to squeeze together to enjoy the gentle coming and going of the sea.

Others, further from the center of the village, are sophisticated and open houses that the North Americans build to take refuge there from the winter frigidity.

In high season of Caribbean tourism, huge cruises dock at the village's pier, the longest in Mexico, with a modicum of 6.5 km.

So, the gringos disembark and wander around the malecon, before and after boarding vans and buses and heading off towards Mérida, Chichen Itza and other historical and natural places in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Often, despite the water being muddy all year round, they find the seaside flooded with bathers and guests from the region, a crowd given over to a sunny, exotic and amphibious celebration of life and their free time.

This is the picture we painted of living and hot. The one we found on a November morning almost turning to December is quite different.

After three days of cold front, the sky returns to blue, much more common in these parts. The sun shines, but with measured power. When we pass to the other side of the front of houses, the malecon it is delivered to the Norths, the prevailing and furious winds that blow down the gulf from the northern ends of America.

It's also deserted. The fact that we do not see a soul encourages us to flee and explore other corners of the top of the peninsula.

Iguana in Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico

An iguana in the vicinity of the Tulum Wind Temple. The devastation caused by the Chicxulub meteorite will have wiped out all land animals weighing more than 25kg. Of the huge predominant dinosaurs, much smaller specimens remain.

About Chicxulub. And the Abrupt Extinction of Dinosaurs.

All morning, we traversed an equally desolate domain of the Yucatan. We skimmed a circumference of the Earth in times of such disembowelment that its destruction gave rise to a kind of Global Winter and the consequent extinction of the larger species, especially the (non-flying) dinosaurs that have long dominated the planet.

The theory of the impact of a 15km diameter meteorite, about 65 million years ago, gained acceptance among scientists as the most pressing explanation for the sudden disappearance of these prehistoric reptiles.

In 1978, Glen Penfield, a geophysicist researching oil for the Mexican company PEMEX detected a crater about 300km in diameter.

It was named Chicxulub, a village a few kilometers south of Progreso, which we approached after admiring the flocks of flamingos in the brackish waters of the El Corchito Ecological Reserve and, to the east, in the Laguna Rosada.

Flamingos in El Corchito Nature Reserve, Mérida, Mexico

Flamingos feed in the brackish lagoon of the El Corchito Nature Reserve, an area dammed up on the earth's edge from the meteorite impact.

The reserve predates the port of Chicxulub, a kind of marine extension of the town namesake of the interior, in turn, close to Dzibilchaltún, a smaller Mayan archaeological site that we also take advantage of to take a look at.

As far as El Corchito and Laguna Rosada are concerned, we can see on the map that they are just two domains of the vast dammed area below the almost insular coastline that encloses the Yucatan.

Such weakness – or geological fault – turns out to be only broader and more exposed than those that dot the peninsula, including its countless cenotes, (deep sinkholes) and the underground rivers that supply and connect them.

This Swiss-cheese panorama is, after all, the geological consequence of the sidereal phenomenon that killed the dinosaurs.

An Apocalyptic Impact

Recent studies carried out in the shallow bed of the Gulf of Mexico allowed to conclude that the meteorite has fallen in one of the least favorable places on the face of the Earth.

If the impact had occurred a few hours before or after, the most likely would be that the meteorite would have reached a deep area of ​​the Atlantic or Pacific ocean and that depth would have cushioned the impact.

At the time and place in which it occurred, the meteorite fell into a shallow sea, covered with a kind of mineral plaster.

The collision was devastating. It opened a crater in the Earth's crust that was 100km long and 30km deep. This crater later collapsed and more than doubled.

Now green fracture in the limestone surface of the Yucatan peninsula

An opening in the predominant layer of limestone that covers the terrestrial area of ​​the Yucatan Peninsula affected by the meteorite impact.

Today, its marine section (almost all) is covered by XNUMX meters of sediment. The terrestrial, in turn, was under a layer of limestone, as we have already seen, dotted with sinkholes and related erosive phenomena.

The explosion generated by the impact of the meteorite had a power equivalent to ten billion atomic bombs "Little Boy”, the one that the B-52 “Enola gay” dropped on Hiroshima. It generated earthquakes and tsunamis that swept much of the planet. It released huge amounts of vaporized rock and sulfur, as well as soot that also combined particles of other substances.

Joanna Morgan, a British professor and scientist who participated in the most recent investigations, says that 325 gigatonnes of sulfur were projected, an estimate that guarantees conservative.

Whatever the amount, an apocalyptic cloud obscured the atmosphere. It so blocked the sun's rays that the temperature dropped between 8 and 17°C and several areas suffered catastrophic droughts.

In the northern hemisphere, climate change was more pronounced and lasting than in the south. This, in an era when the Earth's climate had been cooling for some time due to an intensification of volcanic activity.

It is believable that the rainfall had dragged part of these vaporized particles back to the sea. Kunio Kahio, a renowned Japanese scientist, argues, however, that a substantial portion was left to circulate in the upper atmosphere.

Cenote Sign in Chunkanan, Mérida, Mexico

Signal identifies the Cumaná cenote, a hidden sinkhole on the semi-abandoned Chunkanan farm, south of the city of Mérida.

Chicxulub, from Extinction of Dinosaurs to Renewal of Life on Earth

If we go back to the probabilistic facet of the impact, we will see that, over the millennia, several other meteorites of similar dimensions have fallen on other parts of the Earth: Chesaoeake Bay, in USA., Bavaria, among others.

But only a rare and exceptional terrestrial surface – laden with hydrocarbons – like the one around Chicxulub, could bring about an atmospheric change and a mass extinction like the one that took place.

On the suffocated and frigid Earth that the meteorite bequeathed, vegetation of significant size quickly succumbed. Without food, possibly frozen, followed the dinosaurs and many other species, it is believed that 75% of all animals or at least all terrestrial animals weighing more than 25kg, although mostly bird dinosaurs survived.

In the wake of this theory, different scientists discovered areas with tens of thousands of fossil fragments accumulated in a layer of sediment with just 10 cm.

Now, this concentration of victimized specimens buried in the same place would only be possible if caused by a fulminating and devastating event like the one that caused the Chicxulub crater.

That event annihilated the dinosaurs forever. At the same time, it shuffled the data of life on Earth. In such a way that, as the atmosphere normalized itself, the evolution of the species received an increment that led to the incredible diversity verified for some time now, and to the emergence, proliferation and supremacy of the human species.

Entrance to a cenote near Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Another entry into the underground world of the Yucatan Peninsula, this time in the state of Quintana Roo, near Playa del Carmen.

Also there, on the edge of the crater, in the geological legacies of the impact, as in those that mark the anthropological progress of Man, native men and women and outsiders live and celebrate the life that, believing in increasingly accepted theories, the catastrophe meteorite to them will have granted.

The post-impact tropical scenario of the Yucatan Peninsula

From Progreso, we zigzagged through the territory of the Yucatan, first through the Mexican state of the same name, then through the rest of the peninsula. Like thousands of visitors from other distant parts of the affected planet, we are dazzled by the cities that Mayas disseminated in this, which, after an incredible migratory epic, became their corner on Earth.

After Dzibilchaltún, we explore the Chichen Itza ceremonial complex and other places like the yellow city Izamal where vestiges and heritage Maia and Hispanic colonial live together class a class, street a street.

As is also common sense, we decompress from some tourist stress in several of the natural water spas that abound in these parts. In the absence of bathing conditions on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, we ventured into the depths of the Rio Secreto (an underground river).

We bathe on the perfect Caribbean beaches of Quintana Roo, the newest of the Peninsula states; also in Tulum which is crowned by one of the rare architectural ensembles Mayas erected almost over the Caribbean Sea.

Ruins of the Chunkanan farm in Mérida, Mexico

Chunkanan hacienda building, in ruins, not because of the meteorite impact but because of the foreseeable effects of the economy.

On another tour of the Yucatan, we return to the interior of Mérida, discovering a farm darkens secular, once producing cacti used for clothing fiber and other uses.

A Legacy of the Meteorite, the Yucatecan cenotes

Hacienda Chunkanan dates back to the time of Mexican President Porfirio Diaz. As the resident guide tells us, Diaz offered it, in 1937, to peasants in the area so that they could take their livelihood from it. This happened until, in 2002, in a context in which the raw material had already been devalued, a hurricane called Isidoro devastated it.

Since then, the recovery of infrastructure and production continues to be delayed. For want of better, the peasants take advantage of what survived the cyclone and what the Chicxulub meteorite left them.

"Make yourself comfortable, we'll have ten minutes to travel." Jesus Pech Arjona, the driver of the carriage we took, instructs us. Faced with growing outsiders' interest in the Yucatan's historic farms and most impressive sinkholes, native workers made use of the property's basic rail system.

Transport access to the Cuzamá cenote, Mérida, Mexico

Semi-railway transport that, along the Chunkanan farm, takes visitors and bathers to the Cuzamá cenote.

Accordingly, a leisurely horse tows us and the small carriage along a corridor cleared of tropical vegetation. Ten minutes later, we disembarked. “See that sign at the bottom of the stairs? The entrance is through there!”

We went forward and peeked at the opening where the stairs were tucked away. Downstairs, lightly lit by the plunging sunlight, the cenote de Cuzamá, a deep and wide sink with a pool of translucent emerald water. We put on the bathing suits.

Cenote (dolina) in the state of Mérida, Mexico

Bathers enjoy themselves in the lagoon of one of the numerous sinkholes spread across the Yucatan Peninsula.

We went down the stairs and joined four or five other bathers who were already enjoying the unusual lagoon. We splashed, swam, investigated the strange bottom of the flooded cave.

And we floated for minutes on end, just thinking about the irony of the same furious meteorite that annihilated the dinosaurs, having validated us. And to the delicious geological whim in which we felt renewed.

More tourist information about the Yucatan Peninsula on the website visit mexico

Izamal, Mexico

The Holy, Yellow and Beautiful Mexican City

Until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, Izamal was a center of worship for the supreme Mayan god Itzamná and Kinich Kakmó, the one of the sun. Gradually, the invaders razed the various pyramids of the natives. In its place, they built a large Franciscan convent and a prolific colonial houses, with the same solar tone in which the now Catholic city shines.
Campeche, Mexico

Campeche Upon Can Pech

As was the case throughout Mexico, the conquerors arrived, saw and won. Can Pech, the Mayan village, had almost 40 inhabitants, palaces, pyramids and an exuberant urban architecture, but in 1540 there were less than 6 natives. Over the ruins, the Spaniards built Campeche, one of the most imposing colonial cities in the Americas.
Tulum, Mexico

The Most Caribbean of the Mayan Ruins

Built by the sea as an exceptional outpost decisive for the prosperity of the Mayan nation, Tulum was one of its last cities to succumb to Hispanic occupation. At the end of the XNUMXth century, its inhabitants abandoned it to time and to an impeccable coastline of the Yucatan peninsula.
Mérida, Mexico

The Most Exuberant of Meridas

In 25 BC, the Romans founded Emerita Augusta, capital of Lusitania. The Spanish expansion generated three other Méridas in the world. Of the four, the Yucatan capital is the most colorful and lively, resplendent with Hispanic colonial heritage and multi-ethnic life.
Cobá to Pac Chen, Mexico

From the Ruins to the Mayan Homes

On the Yucatan Peninsula, the history of the second largest indigenous Mexican people is intertwined with their daily lives and merges with modernity. In Cobá, we went from the top of one of its ancient pyramids to the heart of a village of our times.
Champoton, Mexico

Rodeo Under Sombreros

Champoton, in Campeche, hosts a fair honored by the Virgén de La Concepción. O rodeo Mexican under local sombreros reveals the elegance and skill of the region's cowboys.
San Cristóbal de las Casas a Campeche, Mexico

A Relay of Faith

The Catholic equivalent of Our Lady of Fátima, Our Lady of Guadalupe moves and moves Mexico. Its faithful cross the country's roads, determined to bring the proof of their faith to the patroness of the Americas.
Campeche, Mexico

200 Years of Playing with Luck

At the end of the XNUMXth century, the peasants surrendered to a game introduced to cool the fever of cash cards. Today, played almost only for Abuelites, lottery little more than a fun place.
Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

The announced day passed but the End of the World insisted on not arriving. In Central America, today's Mayans watched and put up with incredulity all the hysteria surrounding their calendar.
San Cristobal de Las Casas, Mexico

The Home Sweet Home of Mexican Social Conscience

Mayan, mestizo and Hispanic, Zapatista and tourist, country and cosmopolitan, San Cristobal has no hands to measure. In it, Mexican and expatriate backpacker visitors and political activists share a common ideological demand.
Campeche, Mexico

A Bingo so playful that you play with puppets

On Friday nights, a group of ladies occupy tables at Independencia Park and bet on trifles. The tiniest prizes come out to them in combinations of cats, hearts, comets, maracas and other icons.

Mexico City, Mexico

mexican soul

With more than 20 million inhabitants in a vast metropolitan area, this megalopolis marks, from its heart of zócalo, the spiritual pulse of a nation that has always been vulnerable and dramatic.

Uxmal, Yucatan, Mexico

The Mayan Capital That Piled It Up To Collapse

The term Uxmal means built three times. In the long pre-Hispanic era of dispute in the Mayan world, the city had its heyday, corresponding to the top of the Pyramid of the Diviner at its heart. It will have been abandoned before the Spanish Conquest of the Yucatan. Its ruins are among the most intact on the Yucatan Peninsula.
Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), Chihuahua, Mexico

The Deep Mexico of the Barrancas del Cobre

Without warning, the Chihuahua highlands give way to endless ravines. Sixty million geological years have furrowed them and made them inhospitable. The Rarámuri indigenous people continue to call them home.
Creel to Los Mochis, Mexico

The Barrancas del Cobre & the CHEPE Iron Horse

The Sierra Madre Occidental's relief turned the dream into a construction nightmare that lasted six decades. In 1961, at last, the prodigious Chihuahua al Pacifico Railroad was opened. Its 643km cross some of the most dramatic scenery in Mexico.
chihuahua, Mexico

¡Ay Chihuahua !

Mexicans have adapted this expression as one of their favorite manifestations of surprise. While we wander through the capital of the homonymous state of the Northwest, we often exclaim it.
Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico

On the Edge of the Cenote, at the Heart of the Mayan Civilization

Between the XNUMXth and XNUMXth centuries AD, Chichen Itza stood out as the most important city in the Yucatan Peninsula and the vast Mayan Empire. If the Spanish Conquest precipitated its decline and abandonment, modern history has consecrated its ruins a World Heritage Site and a Wonder of the World.
Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

From New Spain Lode to Mexican Pueblo Mágico

At the beginning of the XNUMXth century, it was one of the mining towns that guaranteed the most silver to the Spanish Crown. A century later, the silver had been devalued in such a way that Real de Catorce was abandoned. Its history and the peculiar scenarios filmed by Hollywood have made it one of the most precious villages in Mexico.
Real de Catorce, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

The Depreciation of Silver that Led to that of the Pueblo (Part II)

With the turn of the XNUMXth century, the value of the precious metal hit bottom. From a prodigious town, Real de Catorce became a ghost. Still discovering, we explore the ruins of the mines at their origin and the charm of the Pueblo resurrected.
Xilitla, San Luis Potosí, Mexico

Edward James' Mexican Delirium

In the rainforest of Xilitla, the restless mind of poet Edward James has twinned an eccentric home garden. Today, Xilitla is lauded as an Eden of the Surreal.
Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Safari
Amboseli National Park, Kenya

A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

The first European to venture into these Masai haunts was stunned by what he found. And even today, large herds of elephants and other herbivores roam the pastures irrigated by the snow of Africa's biggest mountain.
Mount Lamjung Kailas Himal, Nepal, altitude sickness, mountain prevent treat, travel
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 2th - Chame a Upper BananaNepal

(I) Eminent Annapurnas

We woke up in Chame, still below 3000m. There we saw, for the first time, the snowy and highest peaks of the Himalayas. From there, we set off for another walk along the Annapurna Circuit through the foothills and slopes of the great mountain range. towards Upper Banana.
shadow vs light
Architecture & Design
Kyoto, Japan

The Kyoto Temple Reborn from the Ashes

The Golden Pavilion has been spared destruction several times throughout history, including that of US-dropped bombs, but it did not withstand the mental disturbance of Hayashi Yoken. When we admired him, he looked like never before.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
Adventure
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

Jukka “Era-Susi” Nordman has created one of the largest packs of sled dogs in the world. He became one of Finland's most iconic characters but remains faithful to his nickname: Wilderness Wolf.
Ceremonies and Festivities
Pentecost Island, Vanuatu

Naghol: Bungee Jumping without Modern Touches

At Pentecost, in their late teens, young people launch themselves from a tower with only lianas tied to their ankles. Bungee cords and harnesses are inappropriate fussiness from initiation to adulthood.
The Baton Rouge Capitol reflected in a reflecting pool at the State Library
Cities
Baton Rouge, Louisiana, United States

From the Indian Frontier to the Capital of Louisiana

During their incursion up Mississippi, the French detected a red stick that separated the territories of two native nations. From this expedition of 1723 to here, the European nations that dominated these parts followed. As history progressed, Baton Rouge became the political core of the 18th state in the United States.
Cocoa, Chocolate, Sao Tome Principe, Agua Izé farm
Meal
São Tomé and Principe

Cocoa Roças, Corallo and the Chocolate Factory

At the beginning of the century. In the XNUMXth century, São Tomé and Príncipe generated more cocoa than any other territory. Thanks to the dedication of some entrepreneurs, production survives and the two islands taste like the best chocolate.
Parra Sea
Culture
Mendoza, Argentina

Journey through Mendoza, the Great Argentine Winemaking Province

In the XNUMXth century, Spanish missionaries realized that the area was designed for the production of the “Blood of Christ”. Today, the province of Mendoza is at the center of the largest winemaking region in Latin America.
4th of July Fireworks-Seward, Alaska, United States
Sport
Seward, Alaska

The Longest 4th of July

The independence of the United States is celebrated, in Seward, Alaska, in a modest way. Even so, the 4th of July and its celebration seem to have no end.
Homer, Alaska, Kachemak Bay
Traveling
Anchorage to Homer, USA

Journey to the End of the Alaskan Road

If Anchorage became the great city of the 49th US state, Homer, 350km away, is its most famous dead end. Veterans of these parts consider this strange tongue of land sacred ground. They also venerate the fact that, from there, they cannot continue anywhere.
Barrancas del Cobre, Chihuahua, Rarámuri woman
Ethnic
Barrancas del Cobre (Copper Canyon), Chihuahua, Mexico

The Deep Mexico of the Barrancas del Cobre

Without warning, the Chihuahua highlands give way to endless ravines. Sixty million geological years have furrowed them and made them inhospitable. The Rarámuri indigenous people continue to call them home.
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

life outside

tarsio, bohol, philippines, out of this world
History
Bohol, Philippines

Other-wordly Philippines

The Philippine archipelago spans 300.000 km² of the Pacific Ocean. Part of the Visayas sub-archipelago, Bohol is home to small alien-looking primates and the extraterrestrial hills of the Chocolate Hills.
Christmas in the Caribbean, nativity scene in Bridgetown
Islands
Bridgetown, Barbados e Grenada

A Caribbean Christmas

Traveling, from top to bottom, across the Lesser Antilles, the Christmas period catches us in Barbados and Grenada. With families across the ocean, we adjusted to the heat and beach festivities of the Caribbean.
Northern Lights, Laponia, Rovaniemi, Finland, Fire Fox
Winter White
Lapland, Finland

In Search of the Fire Fox

Unique to the heights of the Earth are the northern or southern auroras, light phenomena generated by solar explosions. You Sami natives from Lapland they believed it to be a fiery fox that spread sparkles in the sky. Whatever they are, not even the nearly 30 degrees below zero that were felt in the far north of Finland could deter us from admiring them.
Kukenam reward
Literature
Mount Roraima, Venezuela

Time Travel to the Lost World of Mount Roraima

At the top of Mount Roraima, there are extraterrestrial scenarios that have resisted millions of years of erosion. Conan Doyle created, in "The Lost World", a fiction inspired by the place but never got to step on it.
Jeep crosses Damaraland, Namibia
Nature
Damaraland, Namíbia

Namibia On the Rocks

Hundreds of kilometers north of Swakopmund, many more of Swakopmund's iconic dunes Sossuvlei, Damaraland is home to deserts interspersed with hills of reddish rock, the highest mountain and ancient rock art of the young nation. the settlers South Africans they named this region after the Damara, one of the Namibian ethnic groups. Only these and other inhabitants prove that it remains on Earth.
Sheki, Autumn in the Caucasus, Azerbaijan, Autumn Homes
Autumn
Sheki, Azerbaijan

autumn in the caucasus

Lost among the snowy mountains that separate Europe from Asia, Sheki is one of Azerbaijan's most iconic towns. Its largely silky history includes periods of great harshness. When we visited it, autumn pastels added color to a peculiar post-Soviet and Muslim life.
Principe Island, São Tomé and Principe
Natural Parks
Príncipe, São Tomé and Principe

Journey to the Noble Retreat of Príncipe Island

150 km of solitude north of the matriarch São Tomé, the island of Príncipe rises from the deep Atlantic against an abrupt and volcanic mountain-covered jungle setting. Long enclosed in its sweeping tropical nature and a contained but moving Luso-colonial past, this small African island still houses more stories to tell than visitors to listen to.
Crocodiles, Queensland Tropical Australia Wild
UNESCO World Heritage
Cairns to Cape Tribulation, Australia

Tropical Queensland: An Australia Too Wild

Cyclones and floods are just the meteorological expression of Queensland's tropical harshness. When it's not the weather, it's the deadly fauna of the region that keeps its inhabitants on their toes.
View from the top of Mount Vaea and the tomb, Vailima village, Robert Louis Stevenson, Upolu, Samoa
Characters
Upolu, Samoa

Stevenson's Treasure Island

At age 30, the Scottish writer began looking for a place to save him from his cursed body. In Upolu and the Samoans, he found a welcoming refuge to which he gave his heart and soul.
Mahé Ilhas das Seychelles, friends of the beach
Beaches
Mahé, Seychelles

The Big Island of the Small Seychelles

Mahé is the largest of the islands of the smallest country in Africa. It's home to the nation's capital and most of the Seychellois. But not only. In its relative smallness, it hides a stunning tropical world, made of mountainous jungle that merges with the Indian Ocean in coves of all sea tones.
Vairocana Buddha, Todai ji Temple, Nara, Japan
Religion
Nara, Japan

The Colossal Cradle of the Japanese Buddhism

Nara has long since ceased to be the capital and its Todai-ji temple has been demoted. But the Great Hall remains the largest ancient wooden building in the world. And it houses the greatest bronze Vairocana Buddha.
Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
emperor akihito waves, emperor without empire, tokyo, japan
Society
Tokyo, Japan

The Emperor Without Empire

After the capitulation in World War II, Japan underwent a constitution that ended one of the longest empires in history. The Japanese emperor is, today, the only monarch to reign without empire.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
female and cub, grizzly footsteps, katmai national park, alaska
Wildlife
PN Katmai, Alaska

In the Footsteps of the Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell spent summers on end with the bears of Katmai. Traveling through Alaska, we followed some of its trails, but unlike the species' crazy protector, we never went too far.
The Sounds, Fiordland National Park, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Fiordland, New Zealand

The Fjords of the Antipodes

A geological quirk made the Fiordland region the rawest and most imposing in New Zealand. Year after year, many thousands of visitors worship the sub-domain slashed between Te Anau and Milford Sound.