Round the World – October 2015 – 23,643 miles.

  lst Sector ALPINE to LOS ANGELES by Amtrak. 1,036 miles. $100. 19. 5 hours. 9.7 c per mile.     With the back fully reclined, and the leg supports extended, using both seats you have a small platform on which to curl up. Don’t expect a pillow or blanket, however.         […]

Anna Badkhen, from Russia to Boquillas

Pictured on August 23, 2014 outside the Park Bar in Boquillas, Mexico is war reporter, author and adventurer, Anna Badkhen.  She had just given book readings in Marfa and Alpine, highlighting her most recent book: The World is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village. Rory Stewart, author of the popular The Places in Between, […]

Transatlantic air fares, Why so high?

I recently checked on September-October air fares from Houston to London. In the old days, fares during the “shoulder season” would drop appreciably from summer’s peak prices. Sometime, you could also save $100 or so by buying a ticket by a roundabout route (e.g via Minneapolis), or leaving and arriving at inconvenient times. No longer. […]

Airlines in Asia – Air Asia

Air Asia, the Malaysian low-cost airline, could not be more different from Druk Air. Together with its six subsidiaries it flies to 78 destinations in 25 countries, reaching as far as Australia, Saudi Arabia, Japan and China, the largest low cost carrier in the region. Its main hub is the Low-Cost Carrier Terminal near Kuala […]

Airlines in Asia – Druk Air.

Bhutan (population 750,000) is a Himalayan kingdom, a protectorate of India, with which it shares a border. Small (half the size of Indiana) and remote, it has become a popular with hikers and outdoors types due to its remoteness, scenery and relatively untouched condition. Access by tourists is by air, using the national airline, Druk […]

Tourism Pioneer in Cambodia

  In May 2012 I was at Bangkok’s Hualamphong station, waiting for the 7.30 pm  departure of the overnight train to Chiang Mai. This station was where I arrived by train from Bangkok’s old airport in 1988, and then followed footsteps marked on the sidewalk outside the terminal, which took me to a clean, inexpensive […]

Kazakhstan 2004, Peace Corps

< I applied to Peace Corps in 2003 and, after telephone interviews and medical tests over three months, was accepted. I was offered a posting to Kazakhstan, where the first-ever Peace Corps group with business experience was due to arrive in 2004. I accepted and, after a two-day orientation in Washington, DC, our group of […]

Revisiting Saigon

Bus No. 125 was still running from Saigon’s airport to downtown when I arrived recently off a 90-minute Air Asia flight from Bangkok ($84). The airport had been spruced up since I last visited in 2007, and the severe-looking immigration officers in high-peaked Soviet-style military caps had been replaced by more pleasant-looking female officers. Before […]

Upcountry Vietnam

  At 9 AM on a May morning, I boarded an “Open-Tour” bus in the Pham Ngu Lao backpacker area of downtown Saigon. From Saigon´s humid heat I was headed for the cool mountain air of Dalat, elevation 4,837 feet, in the Central Highlands. The orange-colored, double-decker bus which I entered was a “sleeper bus”, […]

Cooking Up a Storm in Chiang Mai

The bustling university town and tourist center in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai (population 160,000), formerly capital of the northern Thai kingdom, receives 5 million visitors annually. In addition to offering cultural and tourist attractions in-town, it is a jumping off point for local excursions: trekking to see the nearby hill tribes, trips on elephant back, […]