Literate

An American in Dalat

(Before Americans were allowed in Dalat.)

“Welcome to Dalat. Please give me your passports. You are American? How do you come here?” Not an unusual greeting from the young female receptionist in a white ao dai local dress at the Dalat ...

Reality Shift in Hyderabad

As much as we see globalization happening on every continent, I have seen a place as-of-yet unaffected. Hyderabad, India, has yet to be conquered by McDonalds, Wal-Mart or Starbucks. You won't find much tourism there ...

Lopez Island, Washington

Z and I arrive by evening ferry at the nondescript dock of Lopez Island. A sign by the terminal advises that “All at large dogs will be detained” – curious, to say the least. We ...

How to Hunt a Lion

(As told by Moses, a Maasai tribesman.)

After two years of invitations, I finally made it to Africa to visit my friend Moses, a Maasai elder, at his village in Kenya. That first night, while sitting around a fire, he offered to ...

Into the Heart of Magic Realism Country

The world of García Márquez's novels.

There is a family somewhere near the Colombian Caribbean coast who have a novel way of caring for their elderly, infirm grandfather. Supposedly, along the banks of the river Magdalena, the very same river that ...

One Night in the French Quarter

Before Katrina devastated New Orleans, the State of Alabama sent me and two other newly appointed law clerks to attend a conference there. We were given a pre-paid twin room at the Hotel Monteleone (for ...

Giving Face in Kashgar

It was my final day in Kashgar, China. I had all the photos I needed and was ready for a good meal before catching my flight out, when I noticed a tiny man sitting outside, ...

Breakfast in Macon

A tale from the road.

When the plane landed in Macon, our manager had to create a little disturbance to throw us off balance. Sometimes, I think he felt it was his job. “You know, this is the largest card-carrying ...

Benin, West Africa: Begging for an Education

In the first century A.D. a Christian mystic named Augustine said, "The world is a book, and those who do not travel read but the first page." Those words have guided a great deal of ...

Tonlé Sap, Cambodia: What's in a Word?

Winston Churchill once said the Americans and British are two peoples separated by a common language. The more countries I visit, the more this seems to be true around the globe. For better or worse, ...

Thirsting for Knowledge in Macau

A visit to the city's Wine Museum.

In the former Portuguese colony of Macau, the tourist office pamphlet promoting the wine museum offered an incredible enticement. Admission with wine tasting costs 15 Macau patacas (U.S. $2), and “of the new wines, about ...