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 …

The Sulfur Baths of Tbilisi, Georgia

How many capitals in the world are named after hot springs or something to do with bathing? I should know the answer, being the bathhouse traveler I am, but only one name pops immediately to mind: Tbilisi, Georgia. The ancient capital was named after and built around its sulfur baths, at least according to a …