This entry was originally written in 2012. As the crow flies it is only 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Danang, where I’m staying, to Hué, another coastal city that served

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Saint-Malo is a town, stronghold and harbor, a compact square of stone mansions, churches and cobblestoned streets surrounded by a thick wall, all jutted out to sea, and surrounded by islets capped with forts. Today it is postcard perfect, a big tourist draw on the northern coast of Brittany. For much of its history, it was an autonomous enclave whose sole purpose was to shelter privateers (pirates granted license by the king); it became the center of France’s activities in settling the New World.

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My friend Stefan Geens once showed me panoramic images he had taken on his iPhone. I was amazed by the 360 degree view, including ground and sky. His representations of places such as Sanaa and Urumqi delivered a striking immediacy

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