Mandela* Moment of Truth: Rite of Passage to Calling and Glory

The treeless hills of South Africa’s Eastern Cape roll down to the Indian Ocean where they form the Wild Coast: the sea, the wind and spray pounding a rocky shore.  Here and there lie pocket beaches where rivers tumble down to meet the surf. That beauty has attracted seaside resorts and casinos for the well-heeled, … More Mandela* Moment of Truth: Rite of Passage to Calling and Glory

Mother of All Roadtrips XI: Herati Hookahs and Heady History

In a class by itself as historical crossroads go, within Herat’s crumbling walls and precincts hangs a brocade of culture with few equals in the world.  Where else might you find cheek by jowl a citadel of Alexander the Macedonian, records of Nestorian evangelists, tombs of Timur’s martial descendants, traces of Persian poets and philosophers, … More Mother of All Roadtrips XI: Herati Hookahs and Heady History

Mother Of All Roadtrips – X: Majesty of Tower and Tunnel

National Highway 1 from Kabul to Kandahar, will bring you under the walls of the storied, but now humbled, city of Ghazni.  Its ramparts once sheltered brilliant Persian poets the likes of Hakim Sanai, the ‘eyes of Sufi poetry’ and inspiration to Rumi.  The memory of that elegance now in tatters, the city suffers one … More Mother Of All Roadtrips – X: Majesty of Tower and Tunnel

Mother of All Roadtrips (IX) – Mirage on the Road to Kabul

There is a traveler’s proverb in southern Africa, “Tsela e kgopo, ga e latse nageng.’  (The crooked road will not leave you sleeping in the wild.) It applies on the road to Kabul just as readily as elsewhere. True to the proverb’s implied wisdom, the tarmac – but, gated – highway at Surobi (see previous … More Mother of All Roadtrips (IX) – Mirage on the Road to Kabul

Mother of All Roadtrips (VIII) – Khyber: Rite of Passage and Prayer

High in the Maluti mountains of southern Africa, there is a pass for ponies and trekkers called ‘Molimo O Nthuse’ (God help me!), the prayer of mountain travelers everywhere.  Thin air, vagaries of sleet and snow, rude slopes, snake-like footpaths, solitude; all can conspire with lethal effect. Prayer is sometimes the traveler’s only recourse. Such … More Mother of All Roadtrips (VIII) – Khyber: Rite of Passage and Prayer

Mother Of All Roadtrips – VII: Qissa Khwani, Old Quarter Peshawar

If you should think the city of Peshawar is just another edge-of-the-mountain town, dust-blown, tattered and gusty with bluster and intrigue, consider this: the very heart of the old quarter is called ‘Qissa Khwani’, the Storytellers’ Bazaar.  Not the bazaar of carpets or of silks, not of walnuts, spices or dried fruit, not of camels, … More Mother Of All Roadtrips – VII: Qissa Khwani, Old Quarter Peshawar

Mother Of All Roadtrips (MOAR) – VI: Grand Trunk Road

On the cusp of summer monsoon, but still swirled in dust and heat, our caravan assembled in the town of Raiwind outside Lahore.  Behold! a three-passenger, improvised roof-rack atop the little red VW station wagon, a small trailer with hitch, an assortment of personal and camping gear, four school-leavers, two adults, their young daughter and … More Mother Of All Roadtrips (MOAR) – VI: Grand Trunk Road