1-Apr-2018

MOROCCO  

In the spring we traveled to Morocco, in North Africa.  As our plane came in to land at Casablanca I was surprised at how green the countryside was; I hadn’t done my homework.  Morocco has a broad coastal plain of rich farmland.  It’s a regional oasis with a Goldilocks climate, a Shangri-La that is cut off from the rest of North Africa by snow-capped peaks of the High Atlas Mountains.  The coastal plain is where most Moroccans live and where you’ll find the country’s legendary cities of...

1-Oct-2017

SAKRISØY, NORWAY 

We visited family in northern Norway in the fall.  That country is justly famous for its beautiful scenery – deep fjords with steep rock walls jutting hundreds of feet above the sea.  Through geologic time it experienced multiple episodes of thick glaciation.  Massive ice sheets hundreds – even thousands – of feet thick covered the entire Scandinavian Peninsula and shaped its geography.  The heavy, flowing ice slowly ground down and flattened the mountain peaks, while carving de...

1-Jun-2017

HOUSTON, TEXAS  

It’s been a long and winding road.  Or borrowing instead a term from a Dutch friend, if nothing else our journey has been travelous.  Sølvi and I spent years living in each other’s home countries of Norway and the US.  And then places completely foreign to us -- West Africa and South Asia.  We had a hunger to experience more of the world.  And it was a choice we made for our children, based on a conviction that they would benefit from growing up knowing more than one culture, geo...

1-May-2017

HIGH ISLAND, TEXAS

Little more than an hour from Houston by car, east on the coast, sits High Island.  It’s not high and it’s not an island.  What it is, is a rest stop on the great annual spring migration of birds from South to North America (er, fall migration if you’re Antipodean).  In April and May every year, this small town of 500 souls is a riot of color and sound as it hosts a bazillion migratory birds, give or take, on their long journey north.  

If you’re a bird it’ll...

1-Mar-2016

CALCUTTA (KOLKATA), INDIA 

The mighty Himalayas drain into two major river systems on either side of the world’s greatest mountains.  To the south, on the Indian side, is the sacred Ganges and its tributaries, which work their way southeast to eventually push their way out to sea in the Bay of Bengal.  To the north, on the Tibetan side, is the Brahmaputra.  It flows east for a good ways then improbably takes a sudden turn south cutting right through the mountains and empties into the Bay of Benga...

2-Nov-2015

BATESHWAR, INDIA 

The Yamuna River flows south out of the Himalaya Mountains, past Delhi then Agra (home of the Taj Mahal) where it turns southeast in search of the most-holy Ganges.  The unholy Chambal River comes up from the southwest, at the edge of the Thar – India’s Great Western Desert, to join the Yamuna near the small village of Bateshwar.  

Bateshwar is a quiet backwater of a place.  The village and the Chambal River are in a less-developed part of India, handicapped by legends of ba...

2-Apr-2014

BHUTAN  

We flew into Bhutan with some friends who were visiting us in India.  As the plane came in to land, it dropped down below high mountain peaks to follow a narrow, winding river valley.  The walls of the valley drew closer and closer as we descended along that sinuous route, nearly scraping our wingtips.  Or so it seemed.  The airport has a hard-earned reputation for being one of the toughest on the planet for takeoffs and landings.  There’s just no place that’s flat and straight in that c...

1-May-2013

GURDWARA BANGLA SAHIB, NEW DELHI, INDIA 

The Sikh religion was founded in northern India in the fifteenth century.  (Hinduism and Buddhism also got their start on the subcontinent.  What is it about India that lends itself to seeking God?)  It was a breakaway from Hinduism, started in part as a rejection of the caste system.  Sikhism is little known outside of South Asia, but even there it is a minority religion.  It’s followed by just 2% of India's population; “We are the salt that gives taste t...

1-Dec-2012

PUSHKAR CAMEL FAIR, RAJASTHAN, INDIA 

In the northwest of India lies the Thar – India’s Great Western Desert.  And every year for a couple of weeks in the fall, ranchers come from far and wide to the remote desert town of Pushkar to buy, sell and trade livestock.  It’s a sight.  

Think of the cowboy days of the US and the huge cattle drives.  Except instead of ten-gallon hats and six-guns, it’s men with bright turbans and women in colorful saris.  And camels.  Lot’s of ‘em: some 50,...

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