Alone in Namibia with Martha Gellhorn

“You are alone?” the attractive young woman at the Hobatere Lodge reception asked.  Her raised eyebrow gave away her surprise. It was Christmas Day and I had just driven 10 miles on a gravel road turning onto it from another unpaved road. I didn’t see any other cars the whole way.   “You don’t have children?” …

A Useless Doctor in Eswatini

When you travel a lot you become impatient with hotel check-in forms: I play the game of how little information I can get away with.  After all, do they really need my address? At a midrange lodge in the western hills of Swaziland, now called Eswatini, the receptionist returned my form. She insisted I should …

Singing the National Anthem in Iran

A vivacious, middle-aged woman in a swim cap is just finishing a Farsi song with her mother, cousin and our guide Miriam.  The small room is filled with their proud, strong voices, which echo in the tiled dome above us.  I’m immersed in the moment, marveling at my luck for being there, when Miriam suddenly …

Beyond Tacos and Burritos: Mexican Food Globally

Mexican food’s popularity reaches far. Once, when traveling in Uganda, we were looking for a late night dinner in a town called Masindi. After a long day of traveling on dusty roads, we were absolutely ravished. Luckily we found a dark, little corner restaurant with barely two lighting fixtures, ordered some Bells (a Ugandan beer), …

Taking Arabic Classes in Beirut

I had just spent two and a half weeks in Jordan, but nothing came out of my half-hearted efforts of taking Arabic classes there.  One course I tried to sign up for ran too long for my travel dates.  Then I just traveled (secretly happy that I had at least tried to take a class), and learned about Jordan …

She Stares at Me – A Confrontation in Dakar

She’s on the third floor, next to a statue from Cameroon.   She’s young and beautiful, just a girl really.  Her expression is difficult to interpret.  We pass a loudly chatting group of Senegalese women, all dressed in a medley of primary colors. I wish I’d understand what they’re saying, what they think of the recently …