A safari in Kenya

Anna, Kurt and I were on the way to Masai Mara to follow the mass migration of wildebeest. Kurt’s Landrover, packed with luggage on the roof rack, drove along the red-earth road and past the hillside shambas of the Rift Valley.  Soon we were on some rough road, being jarred whenever the Landrover hit a large pothole. The drive was slow as the…

A trip to Miami Beach

My friend Jim and I went on a trip to Miami. We’d driven down from Atlanta to check out the beaches, driving with all the windows down to get the breeze as beach towns and high-rise condos blurred by. Elderly men wearing Bermuda shorts and black socks padded along the sidewalk to the shuffleboard courts. By the pool of…

Latin nights in the Magic City

On the second day in Miami, Jim and I started the morning off with a Cuban coffee, strong and thick, served up in thimble-sized cups. Beside us a blond women in designer shades sipped an iced coffee while talking on her phone about shopping and beauty treatments. There was a warm balm from the sun being out…

A journey into Korean pop

Seoul, South Korea In the late morning I went on a shopping excursion to Myeongdong. Throngs of shoppers were going by in the street. I meandered through the crowd, past cosmetic boutiques that sold Korean beauty brands. Across the way was Cat Playground, a cat cafe where young Seoulites drank coffee among playful felines. Mall-going school girls frolicked along. I walked…

Korean pop music in Seoul

One evening in Seoul I snagged a ticket to a Hallyu pop festival. Crayon Pop was set to be the opening act. I started off for the venue beneath a neon skyline. From a long way off I could hear the noise of the concert. As I hesitated at the entrance, I could see the concert was…

The temple town of Bagan, Myanmar

When we arrived in Bagan, my friend Tin Win wandered over to a horse-cart driver for a talk and a betel chew. We hired him to take us around to look at the temples and soon were riding along the dusty plains strewn with crumbling ancient stupas, passing numerous jumbled heaps of bricks in the…

Driving into downtown Yangon, Myanmar

I  took a bus into downtown Yangon which had a right-sided steering wheel, even though people drove on the right side of the road in Myanmar. I’d heard that many second-hand vehicles were imported from countries like Japan where they drove on the left, but this was the first time I’d actually ridden in one and…

Exploring the ancient temples of Bagan, Myanmar

In Bagan, my friend Tin Win hired a horse-cart driver to take us around to look at the temples. We were coming along a trail when we heard the faraway sound of bells. Soon we came in sight of the Ananda temple. Gazing up at a sikhara-topped, white-washed pagoda with receding terraces, I could understand why…

A serene boat trip on Inle Lake, Myanmar

In Nyaung Shwe I hired a narrow, long boat to take me out on Inle Lake. The boat headed towards the shallow lake, out across the water. The boatman wore a white shirt and traditional Shan loose pants. He talked about going somewhere, but it was hard to hear what he was saying from the noise…

Browsing the open-air markets of Yangon, Myanmar

I meandered along Shwedagon pagoda road and came upon a procession of barefoot monks carrying their alms bowls. Their red umbrellas protected them from the blazing sun as they passed a building surrounded by bamboo scaffolding. A man sat watching them pass by the side of the road, smoking a large newspaper cheroot.  I walked to an outdoor tea…