Of Note

Cyberian Dispatch 7: Spirits of Buryatia

Posted on 12.05.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 7: Spirits of Buryatia

  Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac Outside of Sukhaya, a village in Buryatia so small and remote that it doesn’t appear on Google Maps yet, we paused at a roadside monument for Khaim, the spirit that holds sway in four local villages. A posted sign warned foreigners who don’t understand local traditions against participating in…

Cyberian Dispatch 6: 114 Gigabytes of Ice

Posted on 11.15.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 6: 114 Gigabytes of Ice

  Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac Most people who have never visited Siberia imagine it as a vast territory locked in permafrost. In fact, it was far from that when we arrived in September. We often walked about Irkutsk in shirtsleeves admiring the flowers and enjoying the warm breezes. Temps slowly diminished over time, but…

Cyberian Dispatch 5: The Closest Place to Kiss the Lake

Posted on 10.29.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 5: The Closest Place to Kiss the Lake

  Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac If the goal is to get to Lake Baikal quickly, Listvyanka makes it easy. Sitting at the source of the Angara River, Baikal’s only outlet, Listvyanka is a mere one hour marshrutka (minibus) ride from Irkutsk. It also has a reputation as the most commercial and touristy of all…

Cyberian Dispatch 4: A Glimpse of Moscow

Posted on 10.20.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 4: A Glimpse of Moscow

By Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac No city can be grasped in a few days, so our quick fling with Moscow is already a haze of veiled impressions on the fly. Gabriela had been once before — but long ago, and the city has changed dramatically in the interim. Mark never. The outstanding Fulbright office…

Cyberian Dispatch 3: A Sacred Island Reveals Itself

Posted on 10.06.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 3: A Sacred Island Reveals Itself

  by Gabriela Bulisova & Mark Isaac Olkhon Island, situated about midway in Lake Baikal’s long crescent, is more than 70 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide. It has about 1500 permanent residents, most of them indigenous Buryat people, and the bulk of these live in the one small town, Khuzir. During the warmer months,…

Cyberian Dispatch 2: Russia’s Vast Galapagos

Posted on 09.28.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 2: Russia's Vast Galapagos

  by Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac How to comprehend — and then convey — the enormity of Siberia and the incalculable volume of the world’s deepest and oldest lake? These are early problems for our project on Lake Baikal. Russia is the world’s largest nation in terms of area, with more than 17 million…

Cyberian Dispatch 1: Exile Begins

Posted on 09.20.2018 in Of Note
Cyberian Dispatch 1: Exile Begins

  by Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac “You’re going there willingly?” That’s been one of the most common responses when we tell people we’re headed to Siberia. Yes, we chose to spend the next nine months in this place that is known primarily as a punishment and a place of exile. The practice of sending…

A River in Retreat

Posted on 09.02.2018 in Of Note
A River in Retreat

  Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac It was not only the grape harvest in Chl’aba, Slovakia that was compromised by a scorching hot summer without rain (see our last post), but the nearby Danube River has dropped to its lowest levels since the early 1960s, according to local residents. The most obvious result is that…

A Change of Climate

Posted on 08.30.2018 in Of Note
A Change of Climate

Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac Our back to back Fulbright grants took us in 2017-18 to Ukraine and will take us in 2018-19 to Eastern Siberia. While the projects are 5 time zones away from each other, they have much in common. Both are focused on water that has been dramatically affected by climate change….

Mykolaiv Sketchbook: Georgians Preserving Language and Culture

Posted on 12.15.2017 in Of Note
Mykolaiv Sketchbook: Georgians Preserving Language and Culture

  by Gabriela Bulisova and Mark Isaac During the Soviet era, the expression of ethnic identity was discouraged or even punished, so people of many backgrounds were forced to suppress any public celebration of their roots. But after Soviet rule collapsed, the public embrace of one’s origins once again became possible. That is the case…