Still Life with Cranes: Sunrise in Abu Dhabi fog

I WAS WRONG, AGAIN, OF COURSE. I thought my most-recent adventure/ extravaganza to the Maldives and the coast of Kerala would be my last journey in which I would not need to consider the cost of things: like $42 hamburgers or houseboat rentals. Turns out, I will soon be embarking on a trip to Burma (OK, Myanmar), Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. Ahem…you may have noticed my kinky little widget to the right displaying a countdown of days till departure.

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1 Duncan 4-15 2561 ESM

IT WAS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN LIKE THIS. THE YEAR IS 2003. Casablanca suffers terrorist attacks. Al Qaeda bombs Riyadh. GW Bush and British forces invade Iraq with the approval of pretty much no one. Saddam Hussein finds himself rolling downhill into some pretty-deep kimchi. Serena Williams beats Venus Williams in the Australian Open. Serena Williams beats Venus Williams at Wimbledon. The final “original-style” VW slips off the assembly line, in Mexico. Arnold Schwarzenegger becomes governor of California, drives a Hummer, smokes Cubanos. The world is having a bad-hair day. Continue reading


THERE ARE FOUR DIFFERENT WAYS to look at the concept of “careful” when traveling. ONE: carefully observing carefully-constructed structures and artwork, meticulous in design displaying thought and attention to detail. TWO: being cautious of potential dangers around you, being prudent, guarded, protective. : THREE: doing or observing something done in a mindful fashion, unhurried, deliberate, measured. And FOUR: …um…OK, so maybe there’s only three.

  1. CAREFUL OBSERVANCE: observing carefully-constructed structures and artwork, meticulous in design displaying thought and attention to detail

Machu Picchu: Inca stones cut to fit without mortar, technique called ashlar

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3 DOORS OF PERCEPTION: Procrastination, Patience, Decisions

1 AQUARsign 3579 E1SM

I SHOULD NOT BE WRITING THIS, mostly because of one of my more formidable faults—I’m a procrastinator, world-class. If there were an Olympic event for procrastination, and a gambler wanted to place a thousand-dollar bet, every bookie in the book would list me as the favorite. I shouldn’t be writing because writing this is a passive-aggressive form of resistance: I have other things I need to do. I’m leaving the country in just a few days, and I’m not even close to getting packed and tying loose ends, and I need to find someone to water my plants and feed Duncan, my hermit crab. And because I recently procrastinated doing other things, I’ve morphed into a sluggish blogger: I haven’t written a post in almost two weeks; I haven’t kept up with comments; I haven’t been reading new posts by others; I’ve taken only a few photographs; I’ve been offline, scurrying down the space-time continuum, and procrastinating on everything along the way. Continue reading

2 Good Reasons for Everything: On the Way to Where?

Antique Iranian Travel Chest

Antique Iranian Travel Chest

THERE IS ONE THING I DON’T LIKE about living in a modern, high-rise apartment in the Middle East. No—there are two things. One thing is that in some of these apartments, there are no windows that actually open. You breathe re-circulated refrigerated air every single minute you are home. They say it’s fresh air, but you know they say lots of things. Luckily my apartment has one window in the bedroom that opens, so I can at least let in some fresh air in the mornings before the temperature roars into the high 90’s F (low 40’s C) or the simoom roils into a sandstorm so thick you can’t see two feet in front of you…if one, you’re stupid or unlucky enough to be outside in the thing. Or two, stupid or unlucky enough to leave your window open when the sand starts obliterating a normal day (been there). Continue reading