Episode Zero http://media.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/content.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/s01e00_Introduction.mp3 Welcome to 80 Days: An Exploration Podcast. This podcast is brought to you by three history and geography nerds in an internet-powered balloon. Your hosts are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly (in Hong Kong), Mark Boyle @markboyle86 (in the UK) and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach (in Switzerland). Each episode explores a little known country, city, territory or settlement from around the world. This is an introductory episode, explaining who we are, the origins and structure of the podcast. We will release episodes once a fortnight in seasons of ten episodes each. Please subscribe to get the latest episodes as they come out. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.
Audio: S1E04 Bhutan In this episode of 80 Days we’ll be talking about Bhutan a small, landlocked Asian nation with one of the best flags you’ll ever see. Bhutan is a country of less than a million people, bordered by the Tibetan region of China to the North and India pretty much everywhere else. Exploring Bhutan for you are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Hong Kong, the UK and Switzerland, respectively. (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle) http://media.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/content.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/S01E04Bhutan.mp3 It’s the last of the Himalayan Buddhist kingdoms, which unlike Tibet and Sikkim has retained its independence. Also known as , the “Land of the Thunder Dragon” due to the prevalence of the Drukpa Lineage school of Buddhism (aka the Dragon People). Bhutan is a strongly Bhuddist country, which remained and cut off from the outside world for much of its history. It is one of only a few countries to have been independent throughout its entire history, never conquered, occupied, or governed by an outside power. Since opening its borders to tourists in the 1970s, Bhutan has embraced democracy and now it famously promotes the concept of gross national happiness which is reflected in the Bhutan Gross National Happiness Index. Paro Taktsang/Tiger’s Nest (by Arian Zwegers) Recommended reading/listening History of Bhutan by Dr Lopen Karma Phuntsho (Random House 2013) – a very comprehensive history An article about archaeology in Bhutan, from the 2013 Annual Report of SLSA, gives a good insight into the early history of the region: “Archaeology in the Kingdom of Bhutan: Exploring the Country’s Prehistory” (P. Fux, C. Walser, N. Tshering) Paro Taktsang: The Breathtaking Himalayan Cloud Monastery (Bryan Hill, 2015, Ancient Origins) tells the story of Guru Rinpoche/Padmasambhava, an important figure in the nation’s religious history and the stunning monastery (pictured above) associated with him Drukpa Kunley was a “divine madman” and beloved “patron saint” of Bhutan, who wielded a euphemistic “flaming thunderbolt” is worth reading more about – he is an unexpected lewd and drunken hero in a tradition often seen as mild-mannered and serene Tibet, Buddhism and Bhutan – podcast by r/askhistorians dealing with the era where the Zhabdrung came to Bhutan from Tibet in the 1600s, unifying the country National Geographic article including photographs of the coronation of the first Dragon King, Ugyen Wangchuck, taken in 1907 by British colonial administrator John Claude White, who was based in Sikkim at the time, accompanied by his accounts of the people, place and culture he saw Asia’s Monarchies: Land of the Thunder Dragon is a 2010 documentary produced by Off the Fence which gives the history of the Wangchuck Dynasty of Druk Gyalpo (Dragon Kings) from Ugyen Wangchuck to the current king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck Is Bhutan On to Something with Gross National Happiness – a podcast from Stuff You Should Know discussing Bhutan’s unique political indicator in a bit more detail When TV Came to Bhutan – BBC Witness program about the change that came in 1999 when TV was introduced to the kingdom, discussing the effects with people who remember it Fast Forward into Trouble – 2003 article in The Guardian about introduction of TV and changes to the society; this article really emphasises increases in crime We mentioned how in the post-internet Bhutan, some Buddhist teachers now have a Facebook presence to exist in the modern world – one example is Venerable Lhalung Sungtrul Rinpoche, the current incarnation of the Terton Pema Lingpa (an associate of Guru Rinpoche) For those who can read German, you can delve a little deeper into the unexpected, yet geographically logical, connections between landlocked mountainous countries – Switzerland and Bhutan, best exemplified by Fritz Maurer’s Swiss cheese factory and brewery in the Himalayas. Jill Worrell of the NZ Herald also did a brief profile of Maurer, the first cheesemaker in 2007 (in English) Bhutan is no Shangri-La by Vidhyapati Mishra, writing in the New York Times writing about the experiences of the ethnic Nepali Lhotshampa refugees who were forced out of Bhutan in the 1990s Bhutan charms, but Shangri-La is no paradise by Belinda Goldsmith (Reuters, 2012): an article about the evolving tourism industry since the country has opened up to foreigners This Country Isn’t Just Carbon Neutral – It’s Carbon Negative – a TED talk by Bhutan’s Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay; as well as interesting details about Bhutan’s environmental policies, Tobgay gives insight into how modern Bhutan sees its place in the world and the importance of its culture and traditions Music links: Endless Song of Bhutan: Thrung thrung karmoi lu; and a selection of Tibetan and Bhutanese music from Traditional Music Channel
S01E10 Kowloon Walled City audio For the Season Finale of the first season of 80 Days, we’re going to do something a little different and look at a place that no longer exists: Kowloon Walled City. Once the most densely populated place in the planet, this unique, untamable settlement existed in Hong Kong, growing up from a military settlement which was originally built to demarcate the border between the British and Chinese controlled areas in the territory. It grew in size and scope to become a tightly-packed labyrinth of illegal activity and squalor, unregulated by either the Chinese or British governments. At its peak, over 30,000 people lived in the Walled City, resulting in a population density of approximately 1,255,000 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,250,000/sq mi). It was demolished in 1994, shortly before China retook control of Hong Kong, but has since become a cultural touchstone, a fascinating example of what humanity can become when allowed to run unchecked. Your hosts are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 and Joe Byrne@anbeirneach, in Hong Kong, the UK and Switzerland, respectively. (Theme music byThomas O’Boyle) http://media.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/content.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/s1e10-Kowloon-Walled-City.mp3 Some things you might like to know more about: The name Kowloon, given to the peninsula north of Hong Kong Island, comes from the Cantonese pronunciation of 九龍, Chinese for “Nine Dragons” (gau lung, or in Madarin Jiǔ lóng); the name was given to it by the last Song Emporer, the 8-year-old Bing (趙昺), who saw the 8 mountains surrounding the place as “dragons”. A clever courtier pointed out that the Emperor was also a “dragon”, and hence there were 9. The story is told here in HK Magazine We drew a few quotes and a lot of insight from Elizabeth Sinn’s article “Kowloon Walled City: Its Origins and Early History” (Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1987, vol 27, p 30); for a more detailed account of this era, this article is recommended reading When the Fortified City was built in 1846, giant stone name plaques decorated the main gate to the city (reading 九龍寨城, translated as Kowloon Walled City); they were excavated and can still be seen on the site today The Opium Wars led to dramatic changes in this region of Qing China, with Hong Kong and later Kowloon falling into British hands through the Peking Convention. Read further information about the wars from Julia Lovell (Birbeck, University of London) or Encyclopaedia Britannica Mark came across a cannon from the ship Nemesis (the British East India Company’s first iron-clad warship) in the gardens of Windsor Castle; it is pictured below. More on the Nemesis from Victorian Web. There is a very valuable article to understand the decades leading up to the demolition of the Walled City in the South China Morning Post: “How Kowloon Walled City survived attempts to knock it down for nearly a century” (30 August 2012, Fionualla McHugh) In his day job, Luke wrote an article (“Kowloon Walled City: Finding Truth in the ‘City of Darkness“, DigitalRev, July 2016) interviewing photographer Greg Girard about his collection of photographs from inside the Walled City before its demolition (the article includes some of these striking images). Girard and Ian Lambot published these photos in a book called City of Darkness, which has a website full of information and first-hand interviews with people who lived there and also some police reports; a write-up in the British Journal of Photography also features some of the photos, as does the Daily Mail Listen to 99 Percent Invisible‘s podcast episode all about the Walled City from an architecture and design point of view, in particular for their descriptions of its enduring impact in popular culture and the Tin Hau Temple We mentioned an upcoming computer game where you can explore a world based on the Walled City as a cat The Wall Street Journal made a documentary called “City of Imagination: Kowloon Walled City 20 Years Later” (available on YouTube); it features interviews with some former residents The music featured in this episode was a clip from Cantonese traditional song Agony in Autumn (妆台秋思) and a recording made by Joe at the nearby Chi Lin Nunnery in 2015 Recently, Luke visited the Kowloon Walled City Park, which now stands on the site where the City was before demolition; he took some photos while he was there Click to view slideshow. Finally, here is some handheld camera footage by Rob Frost from the early 1990s inside the City: We hope you enjoyed listening to Season 1. We’ll be taking a break for a couple of months to get production of Season 2 under way, but you may hear from us occasionally during the break. If you’ve been entertained by what you heard, then let us know – leave a review on iTunes (or wherever you listen), or get in touch on Facebook or Twitter. We also really welcome feedback about places we’ve explored and recommendations for where we should go next season.
S02E07 Georgia Audio In this episode of 80 Days: an exploration podcast, we’ll be talking about Georgia. Not the US state, but the country in the south caucasus, known to its inhabitants as “Sakartvelo”. This former Soviet Republic is nestled between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, and is home to around 3.7 Million people with a history dating back thousands of years. Throughout its history, Georgia has been subject to numerous larger powers, including the Mongols, the Ottoman Empire, and dynasties of Persia (Iran) and the Soviet Union. As the Iron Curtain fell, Georgia declared its independence and has operated as a modern Republic ever since. It’s neighbour to the North, Russia, however, has ensured that Georgia’s hold over independence has never been as secure as most Georgians would like. Ethnic conflicts and economic turmoil beset the country throughout the 1990s, culminating in the brief Russo-Georgian war of 2008, from which tensions still remain to this day. Your hosts are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Switzerland . (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle) http://media.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/content.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/S02E08-Georgia.mp3 Here are a few things you may want to read/watch more about: For general information about the country, we would recommend watching some of the following documentaries: “Georgia and the Great Caucasus“, “Georgia – the Hidden Heart of the Caucasus“, an episode of “Drop Me Off Here” on the country and “Europe in Georgia” (with subtitles). “This Is Georgia” made by Paul Brian while teaching English in rural Georgia gives a nice sense of what the country and its people currently look like “From the Land of the Golden Fleece: Tomb Treasures of Ancient Georgia” – a podcast from Cambridge University on archaeology and mythology (YouTube) 2002 article in Science describing the oldest discovered Homo erectus skull, found in Georgia To get a grip on the expanding and contracting borders of Georgia over the centuries, there are two videos available on YouTube, showing changing maps: here, and here In 1185 Queen Tamar built remarkable thirteen-storey fortress cave city of Vardzia in the Erusheli Mtn, which looks like something out of Lord of the Rings (Atlas Obscura). It survived the coming of the Mongols, but an earthquake and a Shah more or less finished it off. Now some committed monks live there (see it on YouTube). There is also another rock-hewn city called Uplistsikhe which served as capital after Arab conquest of Tbilisi The stunning mountain fortress of Vardzia today (Wikimedia Commons) “The History of the Mongols“ podcast gives a comprehensive view of the momentous impact of the Mongol expansion on vast reaches of the world, from China to the Caucasus; (iTunes link) Episodes “Tamerlane” and “Blood and Ink” might be of interest The text of the last ultimatum from Muhammad Shah to King Erekle II (who was colluding with the Russians), along with various accounts of the related history can be found in the book “Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia” by Door Donald Reyfield (Google Books) Joseph Stalin (Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili) remembered after 60 years in his home town of Gori, ironically in a church (YouTube) BBC Witness programme “Georgia in Crisis” contains the story about nurses threatening gangs with TB-infected patients (BBC website) “Seizing the Reform Movement: Rebuilding Georgia’s Police Force”, (Matthew Devlin) an article on the changes that took place after the Rose Revolution BBC Newsnight “What Really Happened in South Ossetia” (from 2008, YouTube) “#REVISITED: Abkhazia, the country that (almost) doesn’t exist” – a report from France24 (YouTube) “The Russians are Coming: Georgia’s Creeping Occupation” – a VICE documentary, featuring the interview we mentioned with a farmer who came home to find his farm in a different country (YouTube); this CNN article is on a similar theme Christian Broadcasting Network Feature on Georgia – beautiful scenic shots, and – of course – one or two churches Most of the music in this episode were examples of Georgian polyphonic singing, a very important style of music, being the oldest polyphonic music in the world (singled out by UNESCO as a vital aspect of cultural heritage).Some examples are: “Chakrulo”, which was one of 27 musical compositions included on the Voyager Golden Records that were sent into space on Voyager 2 on 20 August 1977. Here’s another example in the “Georgia and the Great Caucasus” documentary Georgian folk dancing is also a wonderful tradition, here are a few videos of that: Example from the same documentary of men dancing Amateur footage from an event in Vardzia Rustavi Ensemble showcasing Georgian singing and dancing Finally, we promised to include the video of the insane baptism rituals available in the Georgian Orthodox Church, so from EuroNews, here it is: A massive thanks to the inimitable Gary O’Daly and Jeffrey Dokar, two of the backers of our recent Kickstarter Campaign – thank you for making Season 2 possible. Big thanks also to Mariam Kalandarshvili for talking to us and helping us understand (and pronounce) some elements of Georgian history; we now know that the capital is T’bee-lee-see! Thanks too to our sponsor Hairy Baby, who in addition to making the funniest Irish-themed t-shirts, have also produced the official 80 Days shirt for our supporters. Find it by clicking here. You can get 10% off anything on www.hairybaby.com by using our promo code “80DAYS”.
Audio: S1E07 Isle of Man In this week’s episode of 80 Days, we are talking about the Isle of Man, a small island in the Irish sea that lies right between Britain and Ireland. From its highest point Snaefell (620 m, 2034 ft), it is said you can see 6 kingdoms: England, Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Man and Heaven. It’s known for its rugged landscape, motorsport and a very curious flag. Today, the island is a British crown dependency although it has never been a part of the United Kingdom. It’s 85,000 inhabitants, 28,000 of whom live in the capital, Douglas, on the east coast are spread over the island’s 572 square kilometers. The Isle of Man’s fascinating history has made for a unique pocket of culture within the British isles, a place that has never been truly overcome by the powers surrounding it, and has always stood apart. Your hosts are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach, in Hong Kong, the UK and Ireland, respectively. (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle) http://media.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/content.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/s1e07-Isle-of-Man.mp3 We are all Irish, but the Isle of Man, despite its proximity is really that neighbour we don’t know very well. Needless to say, we learned a lot this week about the smallest Celtic nation. There are some things we talked about you might want to know more about: Early history is best understood through archaeology from the stone age. We mentioned Mull Hill/Cronk Meayal (pictured below), where ancient shards of pottery and standing stones were found; we also mentioned Cashtal yn Ard; you can watch Standing with Stones discussing the ancient monuments of the Isle of Man on YouTube The blog BabelStone has an article going into detail about inscriptions in the form of Ogham and Nordic runes that scatter across the Isle Mull Hill Neolithic site We told of the Irish myth of Fionn Mac Cumhaill creating the Isle of Man by throwing a sod of earth from Co. Antrim into the Irish sea. Here is an earnest schoolboy’s telling of the story (from the 1930s Schools Collection) and a more irreverent modern telling from Badassoftheweek.com ; Founder-god figure Manannan Mac Lir is also important to the Isle’s Celtic mythology The initial interactions of Vikings with the Kingdom of the Isles is “unknown, perhaps unknowable” according to Donnchadh Ó Corráin’s lecture on Vikings in Scotland and Ireland in the 9th century, which touches on the topic Tynwald claims to be the oldest continuous parliamentary assembly in the world and largely consists of the directly elected House of Keys. At Tynwald Day (annually on 5th of July) laws are promulgated from a hill in St Johns. The Sword of State (which leads the procession on Tynwald Day each year) allegedly dates back to Olaf the Black Important dynasties to rule the Isle of Man were the Crovan Dynasty, Clann Somhairle (an article from Alex Woolf discusses their origins) and the Stanleys; the British monarch (currently Elizabeth II) is the current Lord of Man The Chronicle of Man and the Sudreys (early history of the Kingdom of the Isles in Latin with English translation) can be read here, while a version of Njal’s Saga which deals with the Battle of Clontarf in Dublin and the Manx brothers who fought on opposite sides can be found here We also mentioned that the Isle of Man was once part of the Archdiocese of Dublin; the homepage of Francis Street Parish describes the “manx emblem” decorating the church, reflecting this history William of Newburgh briefly accounts the life, blinding and castration of warrior-bishop Wimund, who we concluded was “not very bishopy” Some interesting people from the World War histories of the Isle include internees Joseph Pilates, artist Kurt Schwitters, and statistician Claus Adolf Moser; war veteran and Victoria Cross winner Robert Henry Cain The Camp – a newsletter from the World War 2 Hutchinson Internment Camp – can be read on archive.org A book of Manx Ballads and Music edited by Arthur William Moore (1896) includes a wonderful introduction, maligning the music itself with passages like the following: “It will be observed that their authors, the majority of whom are clearly illiterate men, are occasionally quite indifferent to the exigencies of either metre or rhyme.” Some of the songs are charming. The Arrane Oie Vie/Good Night Song can be found on manxmusic.com Language in the Isle of Man is unique. The Irish National Broadcaster RTÉ has an interview in its archives with Ned Madrell, the last native speaker of Manx in which he discussed recording equipment being sent to the Isle by Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) De Valera to help preserve the language. Today it is undergoing revival, and can be heard spoken by nationalist politicians, and indeed in schools. Irish-language program No Béarla visited the Isle of Man and explored the way that Irish and Manx speakers can understand each other. English is also spoken uniquely on the island, as was parodied by Manx comedy group Winging It Productions And finally, the TT (Tourist Trophy motorcycle race) is probably the thing the Isle of Man is most famous for. It’s fast, dangerous and unique and its madness is probably best demonstrated by a video, like this one of Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop racing at speeds of up to 200 mph on public roads
S03E01 Tasmania Audio http://media.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/content.blubrry.com/80_days_an_exploration/80_Days-S03E01_Tasmania.mp3 In the first episode of season 3 of 80 Days: an exploration podcast, we’ll be talking about Tasmania, the island state of Australia, known to early European explorers as Van Dieman’s Land. This verdant island is roughly the size of Ireland but with only 8% of the population. Tasmania or ‘Tassie’ lies 240 km or 150 miles south of the Australian mainland, and the state encompasses the main island of Tasmania, the 26th-largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 islands. Just over half a million people live in Tasmania, 40% of whom reside in the island largest city, Hobart, which is lies on the banks of the Derwent River on the south side of the island. Up until the early 1800s, the island was inhabited exclusively by Aboriginal Tasmanians, but was soon after claimed by the British and converted into a penal colony. For the next 50 years, around 75,000 convicts were sent to the island, which was viewed as a kind of ‘prison without walls.’ In 1854 its name was changed to Tasmania, and in 1901 it became a state in the newly-created federation of Australia. Your hosts, as always, are Luke Kelly @thelukejkelly in Hong Kong, Mark Boyle @markboyle86 in the UK, and Joe Byrne @anbeirneach in Switzerland . (Theme music by Thomas O’Boyle @thatthomasfella) Here are a few things you may want to read/watch more about: Of general interest: The Companion to Tasmanian History website, edited by Alison Alexander; Van Dieman’s Land – A History by James Boyce (2008) The following resources talk about the indigenous people of Tasmania before Europeans arrived in this part of the world: An episode from the History Extra podcast ; a timeline of Tasmanian aboriginal history from the website of Tasmanian Geographic Early Tasmania (James Backhouse Walker, 1902) The story of William Buckley’s survival and integration into aboriginal society can be found in a text called The Fort Phillip Settlement The story of Alexander Pearce is recounted in The Road to McCarthy (Pete McCarthy, 2003), comments from the director of a movie about the story, The Last Confession of Alexander Pearse, can be found in an interview here, Fanny Cochrane Smith was recorded by Dr Horace Watson in 1899 on wax cylinders – this was very early audio recording technology and it’s amazing that this voice from the 19th century exists, announcing herself as ‘the last of the Tasmanians’ (YouTube); This recording even inspired a song by a descendant of Watson. Some considered Truganini to actually be the last full-blooded Tasmanian (see National Geographic article) ABC article about Smith, and transcription of her songs in an academic article by Murray J. Longman List of multiple killings of aboriginal Tasmanians collected by Science Po You can have a listen to The Dollop podcast’s take on the history of homosexuality in female prisons in Tasmania, by clicking here ; or alternatively read this paper on “the plight of convict lesbians” (Female Convicts Research Centre) On Port Arthur prison On Irish revolutionaries imprisoned here (also referenced in The Road to McCarthy) On the First World War (Companion to Tasmanian History) Music you heard was from the following sources: Dewayne singing in aboriginal language to schoolkids English folk song about transportation to Van Dieman’s Land Irish folk song “The Black Velvet Band“ A massive thanks to all of our patrons on Patreon who are supporting season 3. If you’d like to join them and see what rewards are available for supporters, and get a peek behind the curtain check out www.patreon.com/80dayspodcast. We really appreciate every penny!