Archives for October, 2012

Safe in Egypt #RTW

On the morning we arrived in Cairo, someone threatened to kidnap me. Not me individually, but all of us, in fact. Like some distorted welcome nod, on the same day our private jet landed in Egypt’s capital, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri posted a video online urging Egyptians to kidnap Westerners. Frankly, I am flattered…

Thoughts on Thebes #RTW

I am relieved to discover that King Tut’s tomb is smaller than my apartment back home. Now, when I return from this transcendent circumnavigation, I am less likely to suffer from any serious bouts of post-travel claustrophobia. After freely roaming around the gargantuan sphere of Earth, I expect my home in the city will seem…

Serengeti Safari #RTW

We speak of the blue planet, and praise the beauty of our living green Earth, but I am swiftly discovering that much of our world is simply brown. This is not a bad thing. Brown can be beautiful when it goes on forever, as it does on the plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania. The…

The Clouds of Kilimanjaro #RTW

This voyage feels like I’m flying through the pages of the National Geographic Atlas. I love it. Every other day we move many inches across the map, jetting away from one intricate landscape of the Earth, soaring high overhead, taking in the scenes of mountains and rivers and sea below and then coming back down…

Honk If You Love India #RTW

From the air, India is an immense puzzle— –a hazy puzzle of dusted field and clustered village, with broken beige roads like sun-bleached branches on a dead tree. Down below, pixelated city blocks resemble the square doodles I draw and fill in mindlessly when I am back at home, sitting on hold and waiting for…

Panda Love #RTW

How do you get a panda to sit still? With lots of honey. This is what I learned while visiting the Chengdu Panda Base during a morning layover on this, my extraordinary expedition around the world by private jet. That’s right. I got to cuddle a baby panda on my private-jet layover in southern China.…

Real Chinese Food #RTW

Not once while I was in China did I eat rice. Perhaps I was ordering wrong but I also don’t remember seeing it on any menus. Instead, I was fed a steady diet of delicate dumplings and noodles so long it took me ten seconds to slurp a single spoonful. Chinese food may have already…

Two Tombs #RTW

In China, it’s all about the gift shop. Since arriving in the Middle Kingdom, nearly every destination we visit comes equipped with a well-stocked gift shop manned by an English-speaking staff all ready to grant us, their new friends, at least a twenty percent discount. Even a callused traveler as myself is susceptible to the…

A Day in Cambodia #RTW

I enjoy being a tourist. Too often, the word tourist becomes an unfavorable accusation—perhaps understandably but not always fairly. Frankly, I find the whole tourist/traveler debate to be tiresome, and I am the first to admit that in most cases, I am nothing more than a tourist. Tourism demands different priorities than mere traveling. Instead…

Angkor Dawn #RTW

Sleep is entirely overrated—travel is not. While both sleep and travel share priority status in my life, the latter tends to beat out the former in every case. For instance, after flying more than 18 hours from San Francisco (with a water and wi-fi break in Korea, as it were), I touched down in the…