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Bob Ramsak
I'm a reporter, editor, photographer and blogger with a lust for travel, art, culture and justice. I've visited 54 countries and counting.
I'm a reporter, editor, photographer and blogger with a lust for travel, art, culture and justice. I've visited 54 countries and counting.

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Ho Chi Minh, one of the world’s most revered anti-colonialist figures of the 20th century, would have been 127 today.

Here are some shots I took back in October 2010 of the Vietnamese national hero’s mausoleum in the center of Hanoi’s Ba Ðình Square where his embalmed body lies in state and where my streak of bad luck with visits to the preserved bodies of Communist icons continued.

Lenin’s mausoleum was closed on the frigid winter day I visited Moscow in 2006. In Beijing two years later, I had no time to even think about standing in line to get a quick peek at Mao’s glass coffin. And in Hanoi, my visit coincided with the Vietnamese national hero’s two-and-a-half month respite in Moscow for his annual maintenance. I suppose there’s always Kim Il-Sung but a visit to Pyongyang isn’t on the agenda any time soon.

At 42 meters wide and just over 21 meters high, the structure is impressive, if a bit severe for the chaotic energy that is Hanoi. It’s likely too severe for Ho himself, who clearly stated in his will his wish to be cremated. But instead of his ashes being scattered throughout the country, pieces of the country were brought here and incorporated into the mausoleum where Uncle Ho’s spirit remains alive, albeit tightly sealed in a glass sarcophagus.

More about the mausoleum and several photos in this updated post.


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We all remember the first time we're surrounded by countless boobies. You know, the blue-footed variety. Mine came four years ago today on Isla de la Plata, the so-called 'Poor Man's Galapagos', an island and national park that sits about an hour by boat from Puerto Lopez, Ecuador.

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Banana delivery near Kabarole, Uganda, 31 March 2017.

For a Uganda: Roadside series I hope to finish by end of this month.

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The peak at the center is Rušica (2096m/6876ft), as seen to the east/southeast in Kranjska Gora, the Julian Alps of western Slovenia.


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Some mid-morning crosstown traffic in Tumbes, a city of about 95,000 in northwestern Peru near the border with Ecuador. Yes, I was humming a Jimi Hendrix song.

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The rain didn’t start until just after we took our first steps into the forest. As if on cue, it wouldn’t cease until we climbed back out nearly five hours later. In between it was a steady rain, sometimes a loud pelting on large green leaves the size of doormats, other times soft, sensual drops that drizzled the forest floor with a stream of sloppy kisses. Mostly though, it leaned towards the former.

With the steady beat of raindrops on leaves and the echo of forest birdsong as a soundtrack, the annoyance of the rain that largely framed the hike’s first hour turned into a saturated calm by the second. As the third hour began, it no longer seemed to matter how wet we were or if we’d see any wildlife at all. I’d reached a kind of calm sublime contentment I’d never quite felt before. A slight smile turned into a soft laugh when Debbie, our guide, pointed to a rustling in a tree above us.


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After an extremely long hiatus, the occasional Urban Canvases series resumes today with this set of 24 nearly forgotten images of riotously colorful murals, scribbles and scrawls found over a five or six block stretch near San Ignacio Square in Medellin’s Candelaria district during my first visit to Colombia in May 2013.

Four years on, how many do you think still exist? If you can identify any of the artists, let me know so I can credit appropriately.


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I’ve been taking photos of Doha’s rapid growth since my first visit to the Qatari capital in March 2010. That habit continued last week during my 11th visit to the richest country, per capita, on the planet.

Here are 18 more snaps of Doha's ever-changing urban landscape, along with, for a point of comparison, a video clip of what the futuristic West Bay area looked like six years ago.


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Quick question, please, for any and all who've been through Chicago O'Hare recently: is this aeroponic garden still located over the corridor to Concourse G in Terminal 3?


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Here are a few shots for the Window Seats series of what I believe are the still snow-covered peaks of the Cilo-Sat Mountains in the eastern part of Turkey’s Hakkari Province, near the country's borders with Iraq and Iran. I was hoping to get a glimpse of Iran’s Lake Urmia, the largest lake in the Middle East and the second largest salt lake on the planet, but this fairly brief view of the area’s rugged mountains was all I managed to catch through the thick clouds.

Taken this afternoon during a flight to Doha, Qatar.


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