York: Tradition Running Amuck

  “So this is where that miserable old hunchback seduced the widow over her murdered husband’s coffin?” I mused into the rainy morning.   “Huh?”  Andy muttered between her clattering teeth.   “I said, ‘So this is where—‘”   “I heard what you said,” she snapped, “but tell me said you said.”   Don’t judge… Continue reading York: Tradition Running Amuck

Angkor Wat: The Big One(s)

They come from all continents, cameras dangling from their sun-screened necks, sunglasses flashing, and hat perched atop their sweated mop heads. Yes, we are hopeless victims of the Angkor maelstrom, a couple more tallies to the thousands for the day, two more pair of flip-flops on the trail, another couple bikes in the parking stall.

Most come here, though, just to see where Angelina Jolie’s breakout hit Tomb Raider was filmed.

Quest for the Golden Rock

“Hang on!” Andy screamed as the truck crested another hill, lifted fifty crazed passengers skyward for a flash-photo moment, then crashed back to earth, flung a rooster tail of gravel over a cliff as we sped around a hairpin turn, and roared down the next incline. Seinn was squealing in glee, Kaori thumbs-upped the GoPro… Continue reading Quest for the Golden Rock

Golden Yangon

  I’d never met a Burmese rapper before, so of course I didn’t know what to do. Shake hands? Fist bump? Get jiggy with it?   What? People don’t say that anymore? You mean they never did? Are you sure? How about letting the dogs out—does that fit here?   Anyway, I only had a… Continue reading Golden Yangon

Gili Monsters

Gili Monsters   Late night, dark jungle, three foreigners under a dull yellow bulb in an un-walled bamboo hut—and they’re angry. They’ve been in sun all day, snorkeling, swimming, hiking, lounging—and now, with bellies full of seaside eats, with minds and bodies worn to a sunburned nub, they’ve come to their lodging, to a quiet… Continue reading Gili Monsters

Bali’s Mount Batur

  Andy’s version goes this way:   Hiking a volcano peak at 4am with flash lights is like walking in sand on your treadmill on a 30 degree incline on a pitch dark winter morning! Mt./Volcano Batur 1750m / 5741ft has been conquered, but the renowned sunrise preferred to snooze in the fluffy clouds. Sigh**… Continue reading Bali’s Mount Batur

Snapshots of Nusa Lembongan

  If you believe clichés, a picture’s worth a thousand words.   That’s actually an old newsman’s quip about the power of photography in the press—that a publishable photo ought to tell a thousand words’ worth of narrative. Now, though, people toss the sentence around as if to suggest a picture is infinite in wordiness.… Continue reading Snapshots of Nusa Lembongan

Pulau Seribu: Indonesia’s Maldives?

The Thousand Red Question Marks: We’d heard the horror stories: trash so thick that the beach was rendered useless; reefs a wasteland choked by the city’s rampant pollution; facilities more abysmal than relaxing. But we still had to go—we just had to.   Even before moving to Jakarta we had our eyes on Pulau Seribu—that… Continue reading Pulau Seribu: Indonesia’s Maldives?

Boon, Bond, and the Diva Nation

  We all know Mr. Bond—that charming assassin of Britain’s secret foes, that cold-hearted international killer, that well-groomed and deadly rascal in a tux—but let me introduce you to Mr. Boon, a shy man with a round face, a little English and a little car.   The sun had just risen, the dew was still… Continue reading Boon, Bond, and the Diva Nation

Sri Lanka 11: Colombo Daze

This was the city I almost forgot to photograph, the city of friends we’d vowed to visit, the city of whining motorbikes, scrambling tuk-tuks, and rainbows of fresh fruit swarming round busloads of elbows and shoulders hanging out windows barreling through intersections and coughing fog behind.   Colombo: city of such welcoming homes and such… Continue reading Sri Lanka 11: Colombo Daze

Sri Lanka 10: Notes on the South Coast

Sri Lanka 10: Notes on the South Coast TANGALLE BLOWHOLE “This is ridiculous,” I hissed. “This is the most—” “Smile and say, ‘Rupees!’” Andy snapped the photo of the feeble jet of water squirting from the rocks. “Relax. At least it’s not the gouging we got at Sigirya.” “Wait,” said the park ranger. “Another is… Continue reading Sri Lanka 10: Notes on the South Coast

Sri Lanka 4: The Sigiriya Report

Crumpled, stained with footprints, and pockmarked with red slashes, this document lay wounded in a back corner of the Sigiriya Museum. I don’t know why I did it.  Maybe because I was sweaty and thirsty and more than a little sunburned. Maybe because I was still tingling with the thrill of stomping through one of… Continue reading Sri Lanka 4: The Sigiriya Report

Sri Lanka 3: Baby Elephants

“It’s an elephant orphanage!” Andy was giddy with excitement.  “Will we get to pet them?”  She was bouncing in her seat. “Yes, yes, why not?” our friend Jaliya assured us. We were on our way to Pinnawala, a definite checkmark on the unofficial Tour de Sri Lanka, and like Andy’s already told you, an orphanage… Continue reading Sri Lanka 3: Baby Elephants

Jogja Part 3: Planned Anthem

The gamelan will ping and gently gong under a million piercing Java stars; the torchlight will flicker and glow on a thousand anxious faces; and, like a dew slowly soaking Papaya leaves in the still-shadowy dawn, a man draped in the crazy vines and tattoo lines of a royal batik will glide to the mic. … Continue reading Jogja Part 3: Planned Anthem

Jogja Part 2: Zombie Zen

We were the walking undead—moaning, grunting, shuffling lifelessly off the panting train and onto Jogjakarta’s storied soil. “Uuuuggghhhhh.” It was 4 AM.  This overnight train was not ideal for sleeping—too much clacking, too much sideways jerking around the curves, too much light in the aisles, and too cold, much too cold, air blasting from the… Continue reading Jogja Part 2: Zombie Zen