A sea-side disco in the Comoros Islands

It was a breezy Saturday night and me and a Comoron friend Abdul were sitting at a wooden table at a sea-side disco, sipping warm beer by a make-shift sand dance floor, watching colorful garbs fluctuate to strobe intensity. Illuminated in the glow of a red bulb, we slouched behind a clutter of empty glasses…

A strange chapter in the history of the Comoros Islands

When the Comoros Islands gained independence from France in 1975, Ahmed Abdallah became the first president. A few months later, a young revolutionary named Ali Soilih, hired the French mercenary Bob Denard to stage a coup and overthrow Abdallah. A laid-back idealist, Ali Soilih was inspired by the student revolts in Paris in 1968. The…

A bike ride around Kathmandu, Nepal

Eager to explore the dark alleyways that had intrigued me since arriving in Kathmandu, I rode my rented bike down the winding, cluttered streets of Dilibazar. A brown canvas-hooded tricycle-taxi beeped as it brushed by and a passing truck belched black smoke that enveloped me. I cursed at the driver, breathing back into my lungs the…

Hiking the Banaue rice terraces in the Philippines

One morning I took a jeepney to Banaue. The town center was already crowded with buses leaving for Baguio and Manila and backpackers wandering among the curio shops that sold woodcarvings and monkey-skull headgear. I was fortunate to get in with a local named Manuel since he knew the area well, could give me insight…

On the beach in Boracay, Philippines

After a short flight and a jeepney ride to the coast, I was taking an outrigger boat to the white sand beaches of Boracay. Along the coastline, the sun splashed impressionist shades of light against the leaves of coconut trees swaying in a hula breeze. I sat at the front of the banca, my feet…

Tracking a lion in Kenya

Kumi and I were driving through Kora reserve in a Landrover. He was a camp assistant to the conservationist George Adamson and was tracking Cyclopes, a lion who’d lost an eye in a fight for a lioness. Kumi often drove for days with tent and supplies, scouring the dusty country for the lion’s prints. He showed me how…

Driving around the Comoros Islands

A lone bird of prey glided over swooping hills of ylang ylang and coconut trees on the black volcanic island off the coast of Mozambique. Rows of palm leaves swayed in dance when startled by a breeze. A wave of rustled trees flowed down the hillside toward the ocean where a shoreline of volcanic rock…

A festival in Yangon, Myanmar

At the festival grounds in Yangon I headed to a colorful fair of food stalls, game booths and carnival rides. A giant Ferris wheel was powered, not by a motor, but by three muscular young men doing death-defying leaps around the wheel. They jumped from one rung to the other in the direction of the…