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 …

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 …