Literate

Escape the Go: Fiesta Island

You don't have to go far to travel, Mission Bay reveals.

We didn’t have anything like this in Chicago. We didn’t have a jutting piece of terrain you could drive out on, pull your car off the road wherever you felt like it, and set up ...

No sidewalks in northeast Georgia

Finding comfort in the slow pace of small-town Deep South.

This Thanksgiving, I took my usual once- (and sometime twice) a-year drive down south. After ten years of back and forth over myriad routes, specifically those avoiding the highways, I've seen and tasted a lot ...

Bangkok's kitchens

A culinary quest in the foodie promised land.

The sounds of a kitchen are like conversations. In the beginning, you hear the fracas of so many people speaking to each other, sometimes over each other. It’s the repartee against the quick pause and ...

Ringing of the bells: St. Petersburg, Russia

More than famous names in one of the city's historical treasures.

Cemeteries have always fascinated me, and I have visited them all over the world. On a recent trip to Saint Petersburg, Russia, I visited the Alexander Nevsky Monastery. Founded in 1710, it contains some of ...

Siem Reap: my gift in the jungle

Once-in-a-life experience off the tourist track.

I've always found travel to be its own reward, but on rare occasions it also gifts some of us with a life-altering experience. While visiting friends in Siem Reap, Cambodia, I hired a tuk-tuk driver ...

Spring in Afghanistan

Living in the combat zone.

When I think of what spring means in San Diego, baseball games and announcements of new animals from the zoo come to mind. Traffic and tourists who don't understand common-knowledge speed limit. It means more ...

Pago Pago, American Samoa

On the soggy trail of Somerset Maugham.

A thick drizzle soaked me one Saturday afternoon in Pago Pago, American Samoa. (Pronounced something like “Pango Pango.) But the drizzle was a welcome relief from the Deluge of Heaven that had just raced across ...

A lesson in Vietnamese road culture

For the Westerner, traffic invites mistakes and adventures alike.

How I ended up in Hai Phong, Vietnam, with 10 other teachers is somewhat of a mystery. Being the only tays (meaning “Westerner” in Vietnamese), we were pseudo-celebrities in this small town. It was not ...

Love in the Kingdom of Jordan

"Never before or since have I felt like such an honored guest."

It doesn’t seem possible, but my Jordanian friend insists that he is now married. I look carefully into Awad’s dark eyes, magnified by the thick lenses of his black framed glasses, to see if he’s ...

Cambodia: one mine at a time

A day in the life of CNN Hero Akira and his de-mining team.

Stepping into a mine field gives one a whole new appreciation for the word "concentration." Akira tells me to follow him closely, and I am practically in his back pocket. The sun is a swirling ...

About the beer: Oktoberfest in Munich

An American's take on the world's biggest beer festival.

I took another swig of crisp, clean German lager as I spied the nascent Oktoberfest fairgrounds across the street. Only the steel frames and brewery names were up – the stark beginnings of the world’s ...