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 …

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 …

Powerhouse Women of Kampala’s Literary Scene

I’m on the back of a boda boda, Uganda’s ubiquitous motorcycle taxi, worried about being late for a meeting.  In a traffic jam, my boda driver passes cars and other bodas in a way that should make anyone scared for their safety.  The drivers have helmets but there are none for the passengers.  I am …

The Thrill of a New Country

If they’re worth it, like Lebanon, Turkey, or Georgia, I love returning to places I’ve already been to over and over, but still there’s nothing quite like going to a destination for the first time. Recently I got to experience this thrill in Guatemala.  While I’ve been to neighboring Mexico many times, Guatemala was different enough …