Saturday, September 17, 2022

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Miss Moqtada Entertains"

miss moqtada



Isaiah's latest THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Miss Moqtada Entertains."  High stepping cult leader -- and modern day Evita Peron -- Moqtada al-Sadr sings, "Don't cry for me, Sadr City.  The truth is I never left you.  All through my wild days . . ." Isaiah archives his comics at THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS

As climate change harms Iraq, they remain governmentless

October 10th, nearly a year ago, Iraq held elections.  Yet they have still not named a president or prime minister.  All these months later, the political stalemate continues. RUDAW reports:

Iraq’s political climate is currently experiencing its most difficult period since the US invasion of the country around a decade ago, Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi said Saturday while expressing hope that  stability in the country emerges victoriously. 

“Iraq is going through a political crisis that may be the most difficult crisis after 2003,” Kadhimi said during the Shiite Arbaeen pilgrimage, adding that solutions must be found to overcome the crisis and “move towards a secure and stable Iraq.” 

Millions of Shiite followers from around the world embark on a journey annually towards Iraq’s holy Shiite city of Karbala to attend the Arbaeen pilgrimage, a Shiite ritual marking the end of a 40-day mourning period for the death of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, in 680 AD.

“My call to all political forces in Iraq is to let us take inspiration from this Arbaeen ceremony and to put Iraq and all the Iraqis in mind,” the Iraqi premier continued. 

The political instability in Iraq has reached staggering depths with the country entrenched in deep political turmoil as different factions in Baghdad have been unsuccessful in reaching an agreement to form a government, almost a year after early elections in October 2021. 

So what's on the agenda now?

There are calls for 'snap' elections.  Even though it's thought that were it decided tomorrow to hold elections, the process could take four to six months -- printing ballots, et al.  

Idiot and cult leader Moqtada al-Sadr wants snap elections.  He also wants Parliament dissolved -- the current Parliament immediately.  Does he not grasp that an election law has been required prior to each election?  So, for 'immediate' elections, Parliament would need to reconvene at least long enough to pass an election law.

The Judiciary has made clear that the Constitution must be followed and that it cannot dissolve the Parliament because only the Parliament has that power.  

He's also an idiot because he seems to think he'll do better in a new election.  No.  He's antagonized countless Shi'ites.  He's made himself look worse than the militias -- which is only one of the Shi'ite rivals he has -- only one.  He commanded his cult to turn out.  While they did (to a degree) most Iraqis sat out the election outside of the KRG -- in fact, most Shi'ites sat out the election.  Voter turnout is officially at 41% -- 'officially' because, anticipating a low turnout, prior to the election -- sensing a low turnout, the government reconfigured how they'd count the turnout and eligible voters.  

Moqtada's stunts in the last month have angered many Shi'ites.  Arabic social media is filled with assertions from those who sat out the 2021 election that they will vote in a new election just to send a message to Moqtada.


The Shiite pro-Iran Coordination Framework carried out over three days last week negotiations with Sunni and Kurdish forces to form a new government in Iraq.

The Framework is keen on forming the new cabinet as its rival, cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, head of the Sadrist movement has yet to comment on the efforts.

The Framework held talks with the Sunni Azm and Sovereignty alliances and the Kurdish Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan.

Leaks to the media confirmed speculation that the Sunnis and Kurds have set a number of conditions to join the Framework in the new government.

It remains to be seen whether the Sadrists and Framework will meet after the Arbaeen commemoration on Saturday.

An informed source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the negotiations between the Framework, Sunni and Kurdish forces are not official, rather the latter two parties are “testing the waters” with the former to see whether it would achieve repeated demands that have been ignored for years.

The source said the negotiations are significant because they go to show how far Sadr’s former allies – the Sunnis and Kurds – have grown distant from his movement.

RUDAW adds:

Gharib al-Muradli, another Coordination Framework MP, told Rudaw that a total of 183 MPs have signed the petition, which also includes Kurds, Sunnis, and Turkmen.

Iraq continues to be shrouded in uncertainty and political instability triggered by the current parliament’s failure to form the country’s next government due to political disagreements, almost a year after the early elections in October.

Under Iraq’s constitution, the dissolution of the parliament can only be done through an absolute majority of its members, or upon the request of one-third of its members.

While the government struggles to form, Iraq faces many, many problems.  Such as climate change.  AFP reports:

To feed and cool his buffaloes, Hashem Gassed must cross 10 kilometers of sunburnt land in southern Iraq, where drought is devastating swathes of the mythical Mesopotamian Marshes.

The reputed home of the biblical Garden of Eden, Iraq’s swamplands have been battered by three years of drought and low rainfall, as well as reduced water flows along rivers and tributaries originating in neighboring Turkey and Iran.

Vast expanses of the once lush Huwaizah Marshes, straddling the border with Iran, have been baked dry, their vegetation yellowing. Stretches of the Chibayish Marshes, which are popular with tourists, are suffering the same fate.

“The marshes are our livelihood — we used to fish here and our livestock could graze and drink,” said Gassed, 35, from a hamlet near Huwaizah.

Southern Iraq’s marshlands were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2016, both for their biodiversity and their ancient history.

But now, beds of dry streams snake around the once verdant wetlands, and the area’s Um al-Naaj lake has been reduced to puddles of muddy water among largely dry ground.


“The political crisis is adding a layer of complexity to the climate crisis in the country,” said Zeinab Shuker, an Iraqi sociology professor at Sam Houston State University in the US state of Texas.

“The worst-case scenario is what is happening right now,” added Shuker, who writes about the political economy of Iraq.

Iraq is embroiled in a political quagmire that has left it without a functioning government for almost a year, the worst deadlock the country has experienced since 2003.

Parliament has failed to agree on a new president or prime minister since an election last October, in a power struggle among rival factions that spilled over into deadly street clashes earlier this month.

Meanwhile, citizens are facing an increasingly tough struggle with the impacts of a heating planet.

The temperatures in Iraq’s capital Baghdad rose by 1.7 degrees Celsius between 1960 and 2021, according to Berkeley Earth, a U.S.-based environmental data science nonprofit. During summer, temperatures often reach up to 50C (122 Fahrenheit).

Iraq is the fifth most vulnerable country to the impacts of climate change in the world, according to a report this year by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Stan's "DO REVENGE, Flabby Viola, Sally Field and THE FLYING NUN" and Mike's "Russell Brand, Chris Hedges" posted earlier as did the following:


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will governor newsom sign two bills strengthening "guest worker" rights?

By David Bacon
Capital & Main, September 16, 2022

Alfonso Guevara, an H-2A worker, uses a short-handled hoe, the "cortito," that has been banned in California because repeated use causes damage to the spine.  California's agricultural wage order says:  "Weeding or thinning with short-handled hoes is prohibited when the hoe is used in a stooping, kneeling or squatting position."  This photograph was taken in Oregon.  In California AB 857 would require his crew boss to give him a list of his rights, including the prohibition of this kind of work that can cause damage to the spine.

Two bills awaiting Gov. Gavin Newsom's signature - or veto - would broaden protections for an estimated 300,000 foreign contract workers laboring in California on work visas. While the documented abusive conditions in "guest worker" visa programs have led to calls for their termination, these bills would offer some improvements to the workers involved.

AB 364, authored by Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (D-Pomona), seeks to regulate the recruitment of many workers brought to the U.S. under contract labor visas. AB 857, coauthored by State Assemblymember Ash Kalra (D-San Jose) and State Senator María Elena Durazo (D-Los Angeles), would give guest workers on H-2A visas (contract workers in agriculture) notification of their rights under state law, making it easier for them to go to the Labor Commissioner if those rights are violated.
"Congress has failed to act to protect workers who are recruited abroad through temporary work visa programs," explains Daniel Costa, director of Immigration Law and Policy Research at the Economic Policy Institute. "The abuses of labor recruiters have included requiring the payment of illegal fees to obtain jobs, which can result in debt bondage, as well as cases of wage theft, discrimination, human trafficking and other abuses. But since these U.S. work arrangements are being set up abroad, it is difficult to regulate the behavior of recruiters."

Protections that AB 364 would provide include a prohibition of recruitment fees by labor recruiters operating outside the U.S., and a requirement that they give workers a written contract specifying their wages and working conditions when they're recruited. Because it's difficult for workers to get paid for violations by a recruiter operating abroad, the recruiters would have to have a California address and post a bond.

Rodriguez's legislation was written to expand state protection to work visa holders omitted in a previous bill, SB 477, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in 2014. That law only applies to workers in one of the smallest visa categories, the H-2B visa program. They make up less than 1% of temporary work visa holders in California. H-2B workers are employed in jobs often called "low-skilled," but not agriculture - primarily hotel and hospitality, meatpacking, domestic and home care, and landscaping jobs. ?Assemblymember Rodriguez's AB 364 would cover all work visa holders - those on A-3, B-1, H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, L-1, O-1, 1, P-3 and TN visas - except for students on J-1 visas who also work.

Nationally, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimates the number of temporary work visa holders is 1.6 million, while Costa believes it's closer to 2 million. The DHS says about 300,000 work in California, a number they admit is not a direct count but an estimate. Costa estimates that AB 364 would cover at least 310,500 workers.

Farmworkers brought to the U.S. in the H-2A visa program harvest melons in July 2021 in a field near Firebaugh, California. At 9 in the morning, it was more than 95 degrees, and would soon surpass 110. It was the second day of work in the U.S. for the indigenous Cora workers from Nayarit, Mexico; they were not yet accustomed to the high temperatures. One worker fainted and got a nosebleed from the heat. They worked for the labor contractor Rancho Nuevo Harvesting in a field that belongs to the Fisher family, a large California grower.

Workers come to California to work in several basic industries or job categories. The H-2A visa program covers farmworkers. They can only stay for less than a year, and if they are fired by the contractor or grower who brought them, they must leave the country. Growers were certified to bring more than 317,000 H-2A workers to the U.S. in 2021, three times the number eight years earlier. Of these, 32,333 were brought to California. Three large California-based companies, Fresh Harvest, Foothill Packing and Rancho Nuevo Harvesting, accounted for 12,974 workers. One company alone, CSI Visa Processing (formerly Manpower of the Americas), says it recruits more than 25,000 workers from 12 offices in Mexico every year.

Some of the most egregious examples of recruitment abuse involve farmworkers on H-2A visas. One Texas grower, Larsen Farms, charged 100 Mexican workers as much as $1,500 each for a visa, and workers couldn't leave the job until they'd paid their debt. In November 2021, the U.S. Attorney in Georgia filed a case against 24 growers and labor contractors for abusing H-2A workers. The complaint included two deaths, rape, kidnapping, threatening workers with guns, and growers selling workers to one another as though they were property.

While the federal government sets regulations and is responsible for enforcement, effective oversight hardly exists. According to the Cato Institute, the Department of Labor fined, on average, 2% of all employers from 2008 to 2018. Most fines averaged $237 for minor infractions, and the maximum fine was only $115,624. On average, fewer than 20 employers a year were suspended or banned from the program, an annual rate of 0.27%.

The annual cap for the recruitment of H-1B workers is set at 85,000 per year, and because these visa holders can stay in the country for multiple years, the total number of H-1B workers in the U.S. was 583,420 in 2019. Those workers are considered "high skilled," some holding advanced degrees, and work in the technology industry, health care, and even as teachers in the school system. There is no annual cap on the L-1 visa, supposedly intended for transfers of people within a corporation into the U.S. from outside the country, and there are no education or skill requirements.
The record of abuse of people with these work visas is as extensive. According to a 2021 report from the Economic Policy Institute, "Thousands of skilled migrants with H-1B visas working as subcontractors at well-known corporations like Disney, FedEx, Google and others appear to have been underpaid by at least $95 million. Victims include not only the H-1B workers but also the U.S. workers who are either displaced or whose wages and working conditions degrade when employers are allowed to underpay skilled migrant workers with impunity." The recruiters are large corporations. One, HCL Technologies, made $11 billion in revenue in 2020.

A federal bill, the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2022, would go after recruitment abuse in this category, especially the use of H-1B workers to replace workers in the U.S. It was introduced in March but has not passed either house. Terry FitzPatrick?, co-chair? of the Alliance to End Slavery and Trafficking, urged California legislators, "Despite ATEST advocacy at the federal level for more than 10 years on these issues, a lack of comprehensive and consistent federal oversight and regulation means temporary workers continue to be exploited and trafficked."

AB 857 is directed specifically at farmworkers coming to the U.S. under the H-2A visa program, responding to a long history of false and misleading claims by recruiters denying farmworkers' rights under state law. California's workplace standards and minimum wages and benefits are governed by a series of wage orders, part of the state labor code. In recent years, farmworkers have won coverage in those orders for overtime pay and sick leave, as well as break times and other protections. State law does not exclude workers from the protection of those regulations, regardless of whether they have legal immigration status, or if they are laboring under work visas like H-2A.

Nevertheless, according to a California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation fact sheet, in a review of 280 job offers used to recruit more than 22,000 H-2A workers, 172 falsely claimed employers didn't have to pay travel time, 144 denied workers tenants' rights and 131 claimed that H-2A workers couldn't receive outside visitors in company housing. Although workers are covered by sick-leave benefits, many came into legal-aid offices complaining that their employers wouldn't pay them, even when they got the COVID-19 virus during the pandemic.
Federal H-2A program regulations require recruiters to give workers a copy of their job offer, or contract. But they're not required to notify workers of their protections under California state law, which are much broader. AB 857 would require recruiters and employers to notify workers, in Spanish and in writing, about those protections. It also specifically requires that workers be notified about emergency disasters - critical information for farm laborers who toil in the smoke and heat during the heat dome and fire seasons, and in emergencies stemming from the pandemic. The bill, according to CRLAF, would cover 110 employers and recruiters, and more than 25,000 workers.

One right enumerated by the bill states, "An employer shall not retaliate against an employee for complaining about working conditions or for organizing collectively." When an H-2A worker is fired for protesting, not meeting production quotas, or for no reason at all, he or she loses their visa status and must leave the country. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, recruiters then can, and do, blacklist them. The bill would prohibit this, although it is not clear how this right might be enforced.

Ultimately, however, given the abuses that can and do happen to people on work visas, both bills simply try to impose a degree of regulation and protect at least some rights. Neither bill addresses the impact of the work visa programs on the surrounding workforce. "The power that visa programs give employers, and the individuals and companies that they contract with to recruit workers, is then used to undercut wages and labor standards," warns Costa.

Contract work visas have been controversial since the bracero program, which brought millions of Mexican workers into U.S. fields from 1942 to 1964. Farm labor advocates, including Cesar Chavez and Bert Corona, accused growers of using braceros to replace farmworkers already living in the U.S., and keeping the braceros isolated in camps where they were vulnerable to exploitation. Congress finally ended that program during the civil rights era.

One worker advocate, who for legal reasons didn't want to be identified, concludes, "When you look at where our agricultural system is headed today, what's growing is the worst possible alternative. We're creating a permanent underclass of workers with fewer rights, isolated from the communities around them. While we're trying to limit some of the worst abuses, these programs should really be abolished."

Farmworkers brought to the U.S. in the H-2A visa program harvest melons early in the morning in a field near Firebaugh, in the San Joaquin Valley.  The temperature at the time, about 9 in the morning, was over 95 degrees, and would reach over 110 in the afternoon.  These workers are Cora indigenous people, recruited from the Mexican state of Nayarit.  It was their second day of work in the U.S. and they were not yet accustomed to the heat.  One worker fainted and got a nosebleed from the heat  They worked for the Rancho Nuevo Havesting Co. labor contractor, in a field that belongs to the Fisher family, a large California grower.


64th annual Southern California Journalism Awards from the Los Angeles Press Club for General News (Online):
Capital & Main, 2/16/21

Judges' comment: Phenomenal people-centric story rich with story arcs and data.

"This story by David Bacon chronicled the effort by the Tulare County sheriff to evict unhoused people living on the Tule River near Porterville. The majority of this unhoused population are people of color residing in a region whose largest city, Fresno, has long been plagued by homelessness and poverty. Partly as a result of the story, the river dwellers sued the county, and the sheriff had to defend his actions publicly. Although the community leader, Chendo, was arrested, the sheriff had to release him, and he and his partner Josefina are still living in a trailer on the riverbank. Co-published by Visalia Times Delta." - Arlan Tariq in Medium



More Than a Wall / Mas que Un Muro explores the many aspects of the border region through photographs taken by David Bacon over a period of 30 years. These photographs trace the changes in the border wall itself, and the social movements in border communities, factories and fields. This bilingual book provides a reality check, to allow us to see the border region as its people, with their own history of movements for rights and equality, and develop an alternative vision in which the border can be a region where people can live and work in solidarity with each other. - Gaspar Rivera-Salgado

David Bacon has given us, through his beautiful portraits, the plight of the American migrant worker, and the fierce spirit of those who provide and bring to us comfort and sustenance. -- Lila Downs

- a book of photographs by David Bacon and oral histories created during 30 years of covering the people and social movements of the Mexico/U.S. border
- a complex, richly textured documentation of a world in newspaper headlines daily, but whose reality, as it's lived by border residents, is virtually invisible.
- 440 pages
- 354 duotone black-and-white photographs
- a dozen oral histories
-  incisive journalism and analysis by David Bacon, Don Bartletti, Luis Escala, Guillermo Alonso and Alberto del Castillo.
- completely bilingual in English and Spanish
- published by El Colegio de la Frontera Norte with support from the UCLA Institute for Labor Research and Education and the Center for Mexican Studies, the Werner Kohlstamm Family Fund, and the Green Library at Stanford University

Price:  $35 plus postage and handling
To order, click here:

"The "border" is just a line. It's the people who matter - their relationships with or without or across that line. The book helps us feel the impact of the border on people living there, and helps us figure out how we talk to each other about it. The germ of the discussion are these wonderful and eye-opening pictures, and the voices that help us understand what these pictures mean." - JoAnn Intili, director, The Werner-Kohnstamm Family Fund


Letters and Politics - May 19, 2022
Three Decades of Photographing The Border & Border Communities
Host Mitch Jeserich interviews David Bacon, a photojournalist, author, broadcaster and former labor organizer. He has reported on immigrant and labor issues for decades. His latest book, More Than A Wall, is a collection of his photographs of the border and border communities spanning three decades.



Photographs by David Bacon

Kolligian Library at the University of California Merced
5200 N. Lake Rd.
Merced, CA  95343
October 1, 2022 - February 10, 2023

Public reception October 13, 2022, 4-6 PM



Photographs by David Bacon

La Quinta Museum
77885 Avenida Montezuma
La Quinta, CA 92253
January 8, 2023 – April 16, 2023


Online Interviews and Presentations
Exploitation or Dignity - What Future for Farmworkers
UCLA Latin American Institute
Based on a new report by the Oakland Institute, journalist and photographer David Bacon documents the systematic abuse of workers in the H-2A program and its impact on the resident farmworker communities, confronted with a race to the bottom in wages and working conditions.

David Bacon on union solidarity with Iraqi oil worker unions
Free City Radio - CKUT 27/10/2021 -
Organizing during COVID, the intrinsic value of the people who grow our food
Sylvia Richardson - Latin Waves Media
How community and union organizers came together to get rights for farm workers during COVID, and how surviving COVID has literally been an act of resistance.
Report Details Slavery-Like Conditions For Immigrant Guest Workers
Rising Up With Sonali Kohatkar

The Right to Remain

Beware of Pity

En Español
Ruben Luengas - #EnContacto
Hablamos con David Bacon de los migrantes y la situación de México frente a los Estados Unidos por ser el principal país de llegada a la frontera de ese país.

Jornaleros agrícolas en EEUU en condiciones más graves por Covid-19: David Bacon
SomosMas99 con Agustin Galo Samario

"Los fotógrafos tomamos partido"
Entrevista por Melina Balcázar Moreno - Laberinto

David Bacon comparte su mirada del trabajo agrícola de migrantes mexicanos en el Museo Archivo de la Fotografia


Online Photography Exhibitions
Documentary Matters -  View from the US 
Social Documentary Network
Four SDN photographers explore themes of racial justice, migration, and #MeToo
There's More Work to be Done
Housing Assistance Council and National Endowment for the Arts
This exhibition documents the work and impact of the struggle for equitable and affordable housing in rural America, inspired by the work of George “Elfie” Ballis.
Dark Eyes
A beautiful song by Lila Downs honoring essential workers, accompanied by photographs

A video about the Social Justice Photography of David Bacon:

In the FIelds of the North
Online Exhibit
Los Altos History Museum

Virtual Tour - In the Fields of the North
History Museum of Tijuana
Recorrido Virtual de la Exposicion - En los campos del norte
Museo de Historia de Tijuana

The David Bacon Archive exhibition at Stanford Libraries

Exhibited throughout the pandemic in the Cecil H. Green Library at Stanford. The online exhibition (, which includes additional content not included in the physical show, is accessible to everyone, and is part of an accessible digital spotlight collection that includes significant images from this body of work. For a catalog: (



Photographs and text by David Bacon
University of California Press / Colegio de la Frontera Norte

302 photographs, 450pp, 9”x9”
paperback, $34.95 (in the U.S.)

order the book on the UC Press website:
use source code  16M4197  at checkoutreceive a 30% discount

En Mexico se puede pedir el libro en el sitio de COLEF:

Los Angeles Times reviews In the Fields of the North / En los Campos del Norte - click here

THE REALITY CHECK - David Bacon blog

Other Books by David Bacon - Otros Libros

The Right to Stay Home:  How US Policy Drives Mexican Migration  (Beacon Press, 2013)

Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants  (Beacon Press, 2008)
Recipient: C.L.R. James Award, best book of 2007-2008

Communities Without Borders (Cornell University/ILR Press, 2006)

The Children of NAFTA, Labor Wars on the U.S./Mexico Border (University of California, 2004)

En Español:  

EL DERECHO A QUEDARSE EN CASA  (Critica - Planeta de Libros)


For more articles and images, see and

Copyright © 2022 David Bacon Photographs and Stories, All rights reserved.
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Our mailing address is:
David Bacon Photographs and Stories
address on request
OaklandCa 94601

US Helps Ukraine Refugees While Afghans Get Abandoned


Bucket List Car Trips Around the World


Your World.
Bold & Bright

From the OZY archives we bring you stories to fuel — and thrill — your mind. These are the deep dives into the ideas and topics shaping our world.

Sep 17, 2022


Oh, the excitement of planning a road trip: checking maps, packing the snacks, getting the playlists ready. Typical road trips are often arranged to get us from one point to another, hopefully with a bit of nice scenery along the way. The journeys we’ve gathered for today’s Daily Dose are not your typical road trips, though. Some involve navigating perilous old pathways, while some climb up the steep and twisty sides of massive mountains. And some deliver drivers into hidden places of myth and mystery. One thing is for certain: all of these car journeys have spectacular views — from the tea fields of Rwanda to the raw wildness of northern Norway, and from stunning passes in South Africa to photochromic sugar fields in Mauritius. Enjoy the ride!

– Bev and the OZY team

See ‘Norway in miniature' on a wild drive

Have two days free and fancy the idea of seeing a microcosm of Norway’s best bits — white sand beaches, majestic mountains, a churning ocean, loads of whales? This wild drive will not disappoint. The journey begins in Bodø and ends in Senja, a rugged island north of the Arctic Circle that typically only sees tourists from Norway. You’ll see massive mountain walls, dense forest, raw and exposed coastlines, the world’s fastest tidal current and one spectacular fjord and tiny fishing hamlet after another. 


Tip: If you travel during mid-May to early August you’ll have nonstop daylight.

Head out of Hanoi and into the hills … on a scooter

A 50-mile motorbike ride is tonic for the soul — especially with stunning Vietnamese scenery and a stop at a bear sanctuary. This drive begins at the mythical, pea-green expanse of Hoàn Kiếm Lake and heads into the hills to the cool, forested embrace of Tam Đảo. Along the way you’ll cross the Red River on a 2-mile wind-buffeted bridge, see miles of rose and chrysanthemum farms, experience perilously steep climbs, travel narrow and winding roads through primal forest and then climb some more. The best part? You’re more likely to be held up by a posse of fluffy yellow ducks than any human traffic. 


Tip: Plan your two-wheeled escape during a weekday and avoid national holidays.

Take a lush drive through Rwanda’s tea fields

With its breathtaking views of tea fields, volcanoes and beaches, do you need more reasons to take this stunning road trip in Rwanda? The Kivu Belt road stretches 120 miles along sparkling Lake Kivu and through iridescent tea plantations as well as other terraced farmlands. It takes five hours to drive from the Rubavu district to the southern Rusizi district but you’ll want to break the journey up over two days. There’s just so much to see: volcanoes, sweeping views of lush islands, banana plantations, palm-lined streets and bicyclists loaded up with steel canisters of milk, earth colors changing from volcanic black to a rusty red. 


Tip: Consider ending your journey at Emeraude Kivu Resort, Cyangugu, with a mug of green tea.

Forget bingo. The best thing to do in Mauritius is drive it

Mauritius has a tawdry reputation for bingo nights and all-you-can-eat buffets. But there’s another side to this island nation, and you need to get in a car to see it. On this drive in southern Mauritius you’ll see spectacular deserted beaches, fecund forests, crumbling stone churches and miles of photochromic sugar fields, all on roads virtually devoid of tourists. In 58 short miles you’ll pass authentic fishing ports, centuries-old ruins, pristine forests and azure waters. Even the island’s lumo-green interior will take your breath away. Be sure to enjoy the sections of indigenous forest and splendid jungle before hitting the village of Chamarel — that’s where you’ll finally have to contend with busloads of tourists. 


Tip: Pack a swimsuit and a snorkel as there are many beautiful watery places to explore.


on The Carlos Watson Show!

The beautiful backroads of South Africa’s coast

The Garden Route — a land of primeval forests, rugged white beaches and vertiginous coastal cliffs — is one of South Africa’s most beautiful regions. Most people see it from the newer highway, but those in the know drive the old Route 102 (R102) and its various offshoots, which snake their way in and out of every single valley and see hardly any traffic. The 200-mile stretch between Great Brak River and Van Stadens Pass is a dramatic drive of hairpin bends, mystical villages, majestic mountains (with splendid Indian Ocean views) and stunning passes, including a narrow gravel gem through ferns and forest — and a few roads that might look closed, but are passable to the adventurous. 


Tip: Take a detour on the Montagu Pass, the oldest unaltered gravel pass in the country.

A hairpin road to paradise in Greece

Not for the faint of heart, this winding, treacherous road — well, an old mule path — has sections through the mountains so narrow that two cars and maybe an eyelash can pass through them. But the white-knuckle drive (rumor has it even taxi drivers get queasy) to Kyparissi, Greece, is definitely worth it. With hair-raising twists and turns alongside precipitous drops, gorgeous (and terrifying) views of the Myrtoan Sea and too few guardrails, expect many adrenaline rushes. Danger aside, it’s worth the trek to see the three villages of the Kyparissi region, including Kapsala, a mostly abandoned village. Anyway, wouldn’t you risk life and limb to see a place so intoxicating it became the seaside getaway of George H.W. Bush, Prince Charles and, reportedly, Princess Diana, the morning before her death?

Community Corner

Do you have a favorite off-the-beaten-path drive? Is there a little-known road trip you’ve always wanted to take? Share your hidden gem with us and we may cover it next.


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