Dustin Main

@dustinmain

Canadian adventure traveler since 2009. Entrepreneur, photographer, ice cream aficionado. Current projects in Burma/Myanmar www.dateanadventurer.com
- My Sister’s Keeper - "Ein Cho Khin’s personal aspirations take a backseat to helping her sister live a better life" Twin sisters Ein Cho Khin and Ein Cho Zin (22) are nearly inseparable, often sitting or standing together, hand in hand Their lives are linked by more than just their shared birthday; Ein Cho Zin was born deaf.  In the city of Mawlamyine, there were no services to support her, and the nearest is 8 hours away in Yangon.  Unable to attend a specialized school to help her learn to read, she relies on her sister for nearly all communication and never leaves the house without her.  While they haven't learned sign language, they have been able to create their own system of gestures and signs to communicate with one another The impact of this on Ein Cho Khin's life is hard to deny.  While she had entertained the idea of university in the past, an illness when she was in Grade 10 left her unable to continue her classes.  Although still young, when it comes to marriage, it's something she's no longer interested in. Holding her sister’s hand, she says, “We will stay together for life" When asked what she would say to Ein Cho Zin if she could hear, she replied that she would ask, "Are you happy?" ***** This image and story are part of the documentary photography project "This Myanmar Life" ***** Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife
Fishy market negotiations in Sittwe. Myanmar ThisMyanmarLife Up Close Street Photography
Wandering the Flatiron district as the sun starts to creep down in the sky.
Zombie bride meets a little doggy @ Yxefringe
Lines of my life
Street performance from an obviously dryer day at Yxefringe
Catching fire with @undeadnewlyweds at Yxefringe
Josh @joshuabarad repping Courage Wds2015 Pdxart
Last trip to the lake for the year, and one last dip in the lake As I usually spend my summers in Canada, I try to get out and camp at least a couple of times during the season. This year, I only had a pair of trips, and this last one was pushing it. Some beautiful sunny afternoons were had, but also some chilly nights. Brrr Exploresask Waskesiu
Spent the morning yesterday walking the High Line urban park in NYC. Brilliant idea and great way to reuse a structure instead of demolishing it. Art + nature in an otherwise concrete place Bonus tip: arrive before 8am for better light and to miss the tourist crowds.
Heading back to Jordan for the first time in a couple of years in just a few weeks. Honestly, I've barely touched (or even had a chance to look at) my images from that trip. Piles of amazing stories and images though. Gotta get around to sharing...
1st night in Cappadocia. Riding high in a balloon tomorrow morning :)
Legends all over the world are embracing Doitinadress this month and doing badass stuff in a schoolgirl dress in support of @onegirlorg and their projects helping girls and women in West Africa We Do It in a Dress so a girl in Africa can go to school This photo was taken during our backpacking trek last year in the beautiful Canadian Rockies.
Two days into an Iran journey, and all can say at the moment is that it's almost certainly nothing like you would expect Tehran is massive, numbering in the 14 million range. Traffic is wall to wall, and the street photography is off the hook More to come (as the crappy internet allows) Tehran
My hot air balloon flight @ Cappadocia lasted more than two hours today, dipping in and out of valleys and canyons along the way. We kissed balloons and picked apples off of trees, proving yet again that yet each and every balloon flight is a unique experience Cappadocia is one of the world's hot air balloon hotspots, and up to 150 balloons rise to the sky nearly every morning, even in winter when temperatures can dip to -25c. The numbers used to be higher even, but the government has recently limited the number to 100 at one time, and 150 max per day A ride in a hot air balloon is no budget affair, with flights typically running $200 for 45min, to $300 for 90min. Still, there are few better ways to see massive sites like Cappadocia, and the birds eye view can often be worth the splurge.
Short but sweet stay in Istanbul. I don't tend to shop much when abroad, but that doesn't stop me from checking things out Mannequins and reflections are a pair of favorites that often catch my eye. Red doesn't hurt either.
Early 6am rise in Isfahan yesterday to wander around the Nagish-e-Jahan Square. Built in the 17th century and flanked by 2 mosques, a palace, and a bazaar, it's no surprise that's it is a central meeting place for people here Shortly after sunrise, I had the place mostly to myself. A group of ~40 men were doing their daily workout at one end of the fountain, while pairs of women wandered and chatted. I shared tea with a few of the men, and had a lovely conversation with architectural student @_zahra_karimi before I had to run off. The square was one of my favorite places I've experienced so far in Iran . It's has a different feel at each time of the day. Quiet in the morning, while shopping and laughter take over in the afternoon, and wonderfully lit in the evenings. A great place for an evening stroll or for the local kids to ride their bikes In this photo is the Sheikh Lotfollah Mosque whose ceiling was one of my favorite to photograph from the inside Everydayisfahan
A staff of volunteers cook up food for the less fortunate at the Grand Bazaar in Tehran The occasion was the annual Ashura holiday. It's a day, or actually a series of days, of mourning. Iran Iran4real Everydayiran
It was a massive public holiday when we arrived in Iran a couple of days ago. Black flags flying everywhere around the country The holiday is seen as a day of mourning for Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad about 1000 years ago. It's seen as a sacrifice for the Muslim people (Shi'a), and caries on for several days. Down by Tabiat Bridge, there was a live reenactment in the amphitheater of the events, and behind an area where families, friends, and couples were lighting candles. This young man was taking a photo of the tattoo on his wrist with the help of his friend. Despite censorship that prevents access to Facebook, Twitter, and many other websites, many citizens actively circumvent these blocks and access social media to share just like many millions of others around the world.
Leave my Mom alone for a few minutes to go to photograph a mosque, and when I come back she always has a few new friends. In Kashan she was teaching English to a man, and here in Isfahan she was chatting up two translator students named Somaye and Zahra while sharing some tea Iran probably isn't what you think it is... Everydayisfahan Everydayiran Iran4real
One of the most beautiful mosques in all of Iran , and who am I to argue? I just love the shapes, lines, and curves, so there is no doubt you'll be seeing more from me soon. At Nagish-e-Jahan in Isfahan
Tea time in Tehran Iran
Wanting the streets of the village of Abyaneh in Iran The village was quiet but for a few older women in the dusty red "streets" sitting outside wearing a white headscarf. Bought some delicious dried apple from one of the ladies that would have been out of this world had there been a dash of cinnamon as well Next time, BYO cinnamon Iran Iran4real
Afternoon in Persepolis 2500 year old ruins of a majestic city. Two hours just can't do it justice How do you visualize a site that existed more that two millennia in the past? I tried my best to help my Mom understand, with the help of my brother Vahid. Turns out that his passion and presentation abilities match mine perfectly Iran Iran4real Everydayshiraz @philljane
Bathroom at an Iranian roadside reststop It was a long drive from near Yazd toward Persepolis , and we pulled over mid way at a roadside rest stop area. Instead of picnic tables, there are elevated rectangular blocks of concrete covered in rock. It's BYO Persian carpet for your picnic I met a trio of trucker men having breakfast of bread, butter and a thick lemon "jam." Even with their limited English and my non-existent farsi, we still managed to hang out, communicate and eat together I later found them in the washroom. One of the guys was the mechanic and had taken the intercooler out of the truck,and they were rinsing and cleaning it out with what looked like dish detergent My favorite thing about these washrooms is that they often have a massive tub of hand soap raised above the many sinks. From there comes a single plastic tube which passes by the many sinks, each with its own little dispenser unit coming out from the single tube. Talk about efficiency. Fill that giant container full over several liters of soap once, and you won't have to worry about running out for months and months Iran Everydayiran
Islamic art in the Yazd water museum You might think a water museum would be a watered down affair, but the way the Persians fed water from Wells under the mountains and into the cities was (and is) quite the achievement Hundred of wells were dug, and underground tunnels that run for dozens or kilometers were dug by hand. The workers wore white clothes, so they would be easier to spot in these small tunnels, and so if (or when...) they died due to a tunnel collapsing, they would all ready be dressed for their funeral Everydayiran Islamicart Architecture Iran Iran4real
Evening in Shīrāz Iran trip with my Mom is winding down Tonigbt we headed up to the hotel overlooking the city. Unfortunately I'm too exhausted to talk about it right now. That's why there is tomorrow Iran4real Everydayshiraz Everydayiran Yoiran
Cars flooded and getting carried down the street in downtown Amman during a flash flood Jordan
Lovely light in the Nasir-ol Molk mosque in Shīrāz It's a famous spot for photos because of the line of stained glass windows whose light falls inside the mosque. We shared the hall with just a couple of people. Come while there are still so few tourists... Iran4real Iran Everydayiran Everydayshiraz Islamicart Mosque
Back to Bagan It's been awhile (8 months), but I'm back in Myanmar / Burma Much has changed in this country in the past few years, but the quality of the Bagan sunset is something that is always pretty predictable. The way the golden light passes through the dusty and smokey air, and hits the green crops and the red-brick pagodas is always magical For the past four years, I've been making 2-4 trips a year to the country, and I may finally be wrapping up this four year project I've been working on In the meantime, I'll just enjoy a few more of these before I get back to work ThisMyanmarLife
Everyday Iran
Flash flooding in Amman Woke up this morning to heavy rain in Amman It doesn't rain all that much in Jordan . In fact it's facing one of the world's toughest challenges when it comes to freshwater But when it does, water rushes down into the valleys from above, and if you're in downtown Amman for example, your business could be flooded past your ankles
Cassettes of Amman Found these tapes while wandering around town in Amman, Jordan . Would have bought one if I had any ability to play it whatsoever :)
Back up Balloon It was a bit of a surprise. When I visited Wadi Rum two years ago, I went on my first ever hot air balloon ride. It felt incredible to float up in the sky above the mountains and the desert. And the photos I took from that journey helped inspire my Mom to come to Jordan as well But shortly afterward, the local club cancelled their flights. Since then, I had been watching online to see if something had changed, hoping I'd be able to surprise my Mom with a flight. And the night before, my contact in Wadi Rum, in his very thick Bedouin accent said that the balloon ride was arranged for the following morning. If he wouldn't have repeated it 8-10 more times, she probably wouldn't have caught it (it was that tricky to decipher) So the next morning, we were up at 4:30 AM, early enough to catch the amazing view of the stars before sunrise, and of course, the balloon ride over the Mars-like terrain of Wadi Rum But you can't fly up there forever, and someone needs to pack that giant balloon back in the bag...
More Islamicart in Iran . Couldn't get enough of shooting the shapes and the angles. Design here is perfect for math nerds
Day on the Olive Farm It's olive season here in Jordan , so I took my Mom up to the northern part of the country to pick them and see how the olive oil is made There are millions of olive trees in Jordan, out numbering people several times over. And people come from all over to get the oil from them We stayed with a lovely family in Orjun before heading to the Olive plantation to pick the olives. It's messy work, as you could imagine, as the olives are typically picked one by one. The goal is to not damage the leaves that will help bear the fruit next season Tarps of bags sewn together are put down under the tree, and the olives are picked and dropped onto them below. Then they are picked up from the tarps, separated from the leaves and any sticks, and tossed into a pail, like 11 year old Hebeah was doing here
Bagan by Sunrise Sunrise is still the best time to see Bagan. No tour buses, no chatty tourists, no horse carts dropping poo in front of you, no touts slinging their wares It's the way Bagan is meant to be seen. Quietly, like you would a walk in the forest. And while the daytime can busy and hot, and the sunsets can be shoulder-to-shoulder (if you pick the wrong location...), the cool air of the early sunrise will always keep the masses at bay Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife
Tea sipping in a Bedouin tent When you're not stomping on the rocks and in the sand of the desert, you're probably sipping the sweet tea in the cool protection in a Bedouin tent The tea, which is essentially sugar water with a hint of tea, is a staple around here. Toss the kettle on the fire (literally), heat up that water, drown an insane amount of sugar in it, then pop in some tea leaves for a short while. It's warm and sweet and yum Even if what you happen to be escaping is the heat of the sun anyways...
Another Day at Tazaungdaing (2 of 4) My second day at Myanmar's 2nd biggest festival, and there were many more people here tonight. In some areas, people were packed like sardines, or in other words, like a shared Myanmar taxi Some close calls with one balloon launching it's payload of explosives right after launch, and another dropping colorful lit candles attached to parachutes directly into a packed crowd But I still have both of my eyes and 10 fingers Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife Taunggyi
Attaching the Payload (1 of 4) After the fire balloons are inflated by huge torches at the Tazaungdaing festival grounds, the 'fuel' is inserted and attached to the bottom of the large paper balloon. This waxy substance helps keep the flame alive so the hot air can lift the balloon higher and higher As the fuel burns though, it begins to leak down and fall to the ground. A stick with a bucket is propped up to catch the leakage so it doesn't fall on (and ignite) the cargo of fireworks being attached below This balloon was about 27ft high (8m) Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife
One Last Bagan Sunrise I was up @ 4:30am this morning, and snuck out to catch one last sunrise here in Bagan It was a cloudy morning, but the clouds broke for long enough to let in some of that magically light this place is known for. The crops and trees glowed with the golden light of the sunrise as the balloons took off for their flight Nice work Mother Nature Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife Sunrise
Books for Sale A woman sits amongst a pile of books along the path to the festival grounds in Taunggyi for Tazaungdaing . The star of the show here is the fire balloon competition, but otherwise it shares many of the same traits of other festivals around the world. Ferris wheels, photo booths, carnival games, street food... albeit with their own Burmese slant I'll take you to visit them all over the next few days Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife
Led by a Bedouin I first met Saleh a couple of years ago on my first trip to the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan Over the course of those 4 days, I scaled sandstone cliffs and drove down desert paths in a truck stripped of all interiors. I watched a camel race with one of the princes of the UAE, and ate food cooked under the sand. I slept in desert camps, and under the bright stars of the night sky But times have changed in Jordan. What was a time of very low tourism in 2013, has plummeted even further You see, Jordan is a pretty stable country. The people like the king, and all religions are present and respected. They are sometimes referred to as the Switzerland of the Middle East. But their neighbors don't get along quite as well You have the Iraq to the east. Israel and Palestine to the west. And Syria and the whole ISIS thing going on in the north So yeah, even though Jordan is safe and rock solid, people are cancelling trips in droves, and you can kind of understand why So when I came back to see Saleh earlier this month, he wasn't guiding much anymore. He's gone into camel racing, something he told me two years ago was barely worth even doing because the costs were higher than the payouts But with the current racing season over, and his camel has a few months to rest, Saleh can find time to wander the desert again (his camel got 5th place btw)
Take Your Chances at Tazaungdaing If thousands of explosives firing down from 27ft balloons made of paper us not your thing, maybe I could interest you in one of a handful of rides at the yearly festival in Taunggyi instead? The list isn't too long Of course there is the tiny rollercoaster which I imagine is about 200ft, or the human-powered ferris wheel. But the most spiffy of all the rides is this one that the locals call in "The Pirate Ship" Speakers blast music at ear-piercing volume to attract riders, with bright and colorful lights attracting other onlookers to at least come near for a selfie. When it does fill up, it rocks back and forth, high enough to be a ride, and with just the right creaking sounds to make you fear for your life But if you have a health issue, you'll have to move on... People with a heart attack are not allowed Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife Tazaungdaing
Fire From the Sky (3 of 4) As the fire balloon lifts off, the fuse on the explosive cargo beneath is lit. When all goes according to plan, the fireworks will begin shooting outwards, and later down, once the balloon has reached several hundred feet in the air But not this time Seconds after launch, hundreds of fireworks begin to rain down on the crowd below. Everyone in the field ducks and runs for the limited cover available including myself, avoiding the little bits of fire on the ground along the way. I hear a loud whistle as one whizzes by my head. I've never been in a war zone, but the temporary chaos here makes me think this might be how people feel when you don't know what's going on and you're just trying to get to safety And in a few seconds, the worst of it is over, and people look back up to the sky as the balloon continues to fly away Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife Tazaungdaing Taunggyi
The Aftermath of the Launch (4 of 4) The fire brigade, complete with metal shields for protection from the firestorm raining from above, prepare to put out the fires on the ground Last year, there were several deaths at the festival, in large degree due to the cool and damp weather which prevented the balloons from taking off as planned. This year, there are barricades up to keep most from the main area where the fire balloons are launched clear. Still, outside of the fenced area, people are packed tight and often drunk, increasing the chances of injury or worse if a balloon launch goes awry Taunggyi Tazaungdaing Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife
Flame On After being doused in fuel, the torches that will heat the air inside the fire balloon are lit For each competing fire balloon at the Tazaungdaing festival in Taunggyi , there is a separate crew and tools. That includes the torches that will be used, ones that had been paraded through town the day of the launch When all goes according to plan, the team works like a (relatively) well oiled machine. And that's important, because when a guy is waving around a giant stick with fire on the end, you're going to want to make sure he has a path to get where he wants to go Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife
The New Glowing Faces of Myanmar Of all the visible changes in this country in the past few years, there are few that are as in-your-face as the rapid adoption of mobile phones. The country is one of the fastest in terms of growth in this regard on the entire planet Only 18 months ago, these guys would be chatting around the fire. When foreign investment brought competition into the mobile network space, the price of a SIM card plummeted from $125USD only a couple of years ago, to $1.25 now So whether wandering the streets late at night seeing guys hanging out on the corner, or keeping warm between fire balloon launches at Tazaungdaing festival in Taunggyi , it's not street lights lighting up their faces (there aren't many)... It's their phone Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife
Fire balloon up up and away! Tomorrow is the full moon, and the last day of the Tazaungdaing festival in Taunggyi . It's been getting noticeably cooler in the evenings as the week has gone by, and people are warming themselves with fires on the ground while they watch the balloons take off into the sky Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife Shan
Novice Gaze I'm not one for asking people to pose or stand still for me and for this young novice monk, I didn't need to worry about that at all Its customary for Buddhist boys to become a novice Monk  a couple of times in their life. Once, typically around age 7-10, and again around 20 years old. For a couple of days or a week, they'll stay in the monastery and live like a monk, learning more about Buddhism The event to get them there is called a novication ceremony, which is often a very public affair involving parades through village streets and food for everyone. This day, I was invited back in January by a family I met in a nearby village to see their son's novication ceremony on the full moon So I guess I'll be back here in 7 weeks or so... Myanmar Burma ThisMyanmarLife Indein