Altai mountains book, its author interviewed

This video from the Netherlands says about itself:

Reconnecting with landscape in a globalized world. | Arita Baaijens | TEDxHaarlem

1 June 2015

Contemporary maps leave out the human connection, the sense of awe one feels standing face to face with the mountains, the taste of its water, the messages carried by the wind. To really understand our position and establish a sense of place in a rapidly changing world we need to revise our maps and add the human connection.

Arita Baaijens is an explorer, biologist, author, photographer, and fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, the Explorers Club, the Long Riders Guild, and WINGS Worldquest, who recently selected her for one of their distinguished awards.

The Dutch adventurer has already completed over 25 desert expeditions on camel throughout Egypt and Sudan. She is the first woman to have crossed the Western Desert of Egypt solo on camel and the first Western woman to have travelled the Forty Days Road on camel twice. In Mauritania she photographed the last surviving female caravaneers.

Currently Arita Baaijens travels and works in Siberia and Central Eurasia, to research sacred landscapes and traditional cultures. In 2013 she was the first to circumambulate the Altai Golden Mountains in the heart of Eurasia: 4 countries, 101 days, 1500 km on horseback. March 2015 the Spanish Geographical Society honored Arita Baaijens as Traveler of the year.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

This December 2015 Dutch video is about Ms Baaijens’ new book, about her journey to and in the Altai mountains.

That book, Zoektocht naar het paradijs, was on a shortlist of five books for this year’s Jan Wolkers Prize, the prize for best Dutch natural history book; though it did not win.

Ms Baaijens was the first one of three prize nominated authors to lecture on 16 October 2016 in the Lakenhal museum. Though it was more of an interview than a lecture: with as interviewer Ms Anneke Naafs, of Vroege Vogels radio. Both ladies wore high heels. A bit of a contrast with the subject of the book, an often arduous journey through mountains and valleys of Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia and China. A journey in which Arita Baaijens did not avoid potential dangers; and where, like in an airplane which may crash, high heel shoes should be removed.

The Altai mountains, Ms Baaijens said, are on the UNESCO World Heritage list. Not anywhere else had she seen so many beautiful wild flowers.

Snow leopards live there.

Arita Baaijens talked about the Karakol valley in the Russian part of the Altai.

Some of the local people are Christians; some are Tengrist, an ancient Central Asian religion:

Historically, it was the prevailing religion of the Turks, Mongols, and Hungarians, as well as the Xiongnu and the Huns.

Ms Baaijens told that Altai people were careful about Erlik, the god of the underworld and death.

How can tensions between these ideas of local people, and other ideas, like of scientists, be dealt with? she asked herself.

Arita Baaijens intends to go to Papua New Guinea for her next journey.

Next in the Lakenhal that day came a lecture on crabs, lobsters and other crustaceans. So, stay tuned!

2 thoughts on “Altai mountains book, its author interviewed

  1. Pingback: Crabs, lobsters, shrimp and books | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Black-tailed godwit book wins Jan Wolkers Prize | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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