QUICK! Send $2,000!

“You wire money now,” he said anxiously. “I can’t, Steven,” I said, “It’s 10:30 at night here, and I live in a small town. Everything is closed.” “Travel Agency need immediately. Right now.” “I can do it first thing tomorrow. You’ll have the two thousand dollars in the morning. Is that good enough?” I tossed…

Toucan Tango

The toucans were dive-bombing my shoulder as I listened to Danny, my intrepid tour guide, explain that all of the enclosed birds had been rescued and brought here. I counted at least two keel-billed (rainbow) toucans, maybe a dozen of their less dramatic brethren, the yellow-throated toucans, and a couple colorful mini-versions, the collared avacari….

Slothy Kisses

Since watching a sloth documentary a number of years ago, I have been in love with sloths, and hoped to one day get up-close and personal with these mellow mammals. So, when planning my trip to Costa Rica, a place sloths call home, my main goal was to kiss one of those bad boys. My…

The World at my Fingertips

Buster was my office mate and neighbor for over twenty years, and while we each enjoyed a fair amount of privacy, our walls were quite thin and our lives held few secrets. Buster had a computer, which he used to conduct most of his insurance business, but he used his trusty IBM Selectric typewriter for…

A Lonely Christmas

At 98 years old, my great-aunt Lena was like a child when it came to holidays and decorations. She was looking forward to having me decorate her apartment for Christmas…I’d been doing it for her since she moved from San Francisco to a local retirement facility six years prior. So on the Saturday after Thanksgiving,…

Hancheng, China’s Crown Jewel

After traveling through much of the Shaanxi Province, I discovered its crown jewel…Hancheng; a perfect blend of ancient remnants juxtaposed with modern living. This quaint (by Chinese standards) city of 500,000 (including the rural area) welcomes you with a blast of color on the horizon as you drive up the Jingkun Expressway, with enough neon and LED to…

Heart Floating In China

Want to feel like a celebrity? Just hop on a plane to China, and prepare yourself to have cameras pointed at you day and night…and numerous requests to join selfies. It is abundantly clear that the folks in Central China are fascinated, joyous, and curious about those of us who don’t look like them…and they…

Free Toilet Paper?

For those of us ladies who have a difficult time getting down into a squat, China is a challenging country to visit. Virtually all of their public toilets are of the squat variety. My recent trip to China involved a great deal of bus and train transit, in order to visit a number of counties…

African Safari – Intro; Pack Your Fears, But Leave that Bag Behind

JOURNAL ENTRY, JANUARY 24, 2016: There’s a different feeling in the air here. Is it the constant fear in the animals? Is it that we’re on the equator? Is it that there are no pollutants? Is it the continuous birdcalls? The vastness of space? The thrill of wondering who will pop their head out of the…

African Safari – pt 1; DIS IS AFRICA

Africa was never on my bucket list, as I’ve usually traveled alone and simply harbored too many fears of the country: getting eaten alive by lions; malaria/eboli/meningitis/yellow fever; and only knowing how to say “Hakuna Matata” in Swahili. Yet there I sat with my hand in the air, when the handsome actor told his audience…

African Safari – pt 2; It’s A Small World

Jet-lag vanquished, on the third day we traveled to the regional Wilson airport to board a small plane for a one-hour flight to the Maasai Mara. This drive had me peeking into my bag of terror, as there was no rhyme or reason to the chaos of the Nairobi road we were on. Granted, it…

African Safari – pt 3; A Wildlife Haven

Arriving at the Sentinel Mara Camp, we were greeted by more of the Maasai warriors and other men in the requisite khaki safari-wear, along with Peter, our host. They served us passion-fruit juice and warm towels. Strolling into camp, which is situated directly above the rushing Mara River, we could see and hear about thirty…