Christmas Counterpoint on the Far Side of the World

Vexing religious issues, sometimes triggering savage cruelty, now figure weekly in world headlines. Indonesia (home to Bali’s refined culture and world-class beaches, the astonishing Borobudur temple complex, Java’s version of Angkor Wat, and a thousand natural wonders) has suffered its share of turmoil.  One winter, my wife, Mary Kay and I flew to visit our … More Christmas Counterpoint on the Far Side of the World

Doorway By the Sea

Beyond a sea of springtime desert flowers on a bluff overlooking South Africa’s Saldanha Bay, there stands an inn.  Its entryway is a colossal wooden door whose carving and rough iron bolts whisper tales of Tuareg caravans plodding the Sahara. You cannot help but wonder what travelers once found shelter from marauder or harmattan (West … More Doorway By the Sea

Once Upon a Train (1)

Some years ago over afternoon tea on our back porch, Mary Kay and I heard from a guest the outlines of a story set on one of the earth’s storybook islands: Sri Lanka. Its former Dutch and English masters called it ‘Ceylon’, a name that has become synonymous with delicate tea, temples with Buddhist relics … More Once Upon a Train (1)

Sundown on the Chobe

Few scenes in southern Africa are as life-brimming as Botswana’s Chobe river.  To leave the sere thorn scrub of the Kalahari and stumble upon such a plain – an alpine-like pasture with a sheet of water slipping eastward toward the sea – that is rare refreshment in a thirstland.  Life of every form, from the … More Sundown on the Chobe

#2 – River Lullaby: A Boatman’s Night Cry

            If you should have the good fortune in winter to visit the northeast Indian town of Bishwanath Ghat on the banks of the Brahmaputra River, you would find it much as it has been for generations: groves of bamboo, a hilltop dak bungalow (government rest house) where my best chum, Lokhi, lived, a Hindu temple, … More #2 – River Lullaby: A Boatman’s Night Cry