Adventures in Culture and Travel

29 October, 2011

Can You Drive From Alaska To Russia?

Can you drive from Alaska to Russia? Yes, yes you can.

In high-school I had the odd inclination to jump into the car and drive to Russia. I only told a few people, and they all laughed. But now, thanks to the Internet, I realize I'm not the only one with this "crazy" idea. As we all know, America is actually quite close to Russia near the Alaskan coast. Technically the two countries are only 64 miles apart. Those 64 mile seem like light years when you realize you're not going to get across. A proposed tunnel, built by the Russians, may solve the problem partially, but the bottom line is that spirit of exploration within those of of who want to do this cannot be diminished.

Sure I should just buy two tickets to Cairo and go enjoy the nice exchange rate with the middle east, but I crave adventure. Something inside of me wants to go to my Avis counter ask for a car and smugly sign my name to where it says "Won't drive in Mexico or Canada", and then laugh as I run to my rental car. Drive through Canada, into Alaska and then stand on the Alaskan coast (probably in flip flops and a tank top) and figure out some way to visit my Russian friends on the other side.

Yes I know, even if you make it to the Bearing Strait, or even across to Russia, you'll find incomplete, or ineffective infrastructure, remoteness, and multiple other problems. It won't matter though, because once you get there, they have endless amounts of vodka. Need further encouragement? It's been done before: Steve and Dan Evans sailed a Land Rover Defender, yes a car, across Bering Strait, where they were met with a small fine, (apparently it's against the law) and some ecstatic Russians ready to drink with them.

Also in 2006, a British and American walked, yes walked on foot across a frozen Bering strait over a period of fifteen days. Think it's absurd, well that's exactly how the original Alaskans migrated. The irony is that when the explorers made it to the the Russian coastline they were temporarily arrested and detained when they arrived. But imagine the feeling!

So if you really want to drive to Alaska, it appears that at the current moment, that is what you must do: park in Alaska and walk across. (Assuming you don't have an amphibious vehicle.) This also will involve a lot of survival skills and equipment, an extended vacation (more than my two weeks off per year), and an almost reasonable $72 fine when you get detained by Russia's finest. I guess for now I will put my hopes on hold. Maybe, I'll stick with flying to London, or go down to Cairo... but one day, when you least expect it... and I disappear, I might be walking to Russia just to prove I can do it.

22 October, 2011

Anamorphic Chalk Drawings By Julian Beaver

Julian Beaver
Julian Beaver, (Beever) nicknamed The Picasso of Pavement, is a Belgian born English freelance street artist whose specialty is anamorphic chalk art drawings. A type of artistry known in France as trompe l'oeil meaning to deceive the eye, Julian combined European busking with his talent, and amazing skills which ultimately led to worldwide recognition.. Beaver uses flat surfaces such as streets and sidewalk as his canvas, then manifests 3-D optical illusions through the art of morphing. By looking at the anamorphic images from the correct angle, the picture seems to defy the laws of perspective. Some suggest art is all about the angle you approach it from, and in Beever's case, it's the various ways at which you look at his masterpieces that make observers say "wow!"

Julian Beever pictured with his 3D chalk art drawings.

Update! Due to the popularity of this post, Kristen sent me this note to share with my readers on Mr Beaver's New York showing:
I noticed that you have posted about Julian Beever and his artwork on your blog in the past, and I thought you would be interested in his newest creation. My agency recently worked with Julian to create the “Fountain of Youth” in Union Square in NYC a few weeks ago. We recorded a video of how he works and posted it on YouTube. You can check it out here:

It’s the first video we’ve seen produced of how he creates his amazing pavement drawings. Check it out, see what you think, and pass it along if you like it. Let me know if you’d like to know more about the campaign.

Julian Beaver's website: