Travel to Colombia: First Impressions

Hiking along the ancient Camino Real to reach Guane, a cute colonial village in the hills of Santander. Colombia.

Call it my imagination. While I looked forward to our visit to Colombia, I harbored the occasional image of thuggy bush-mustached Colombian narco-gangsters and aggressive gold cap-toothed street thieves shaking me down in the back shadows of Bogota or Medellin. (Yes, I realize I’ve probably watched one too many bad airplane movies.)Colombia, thankfully, was … [Read more...]

Next Up: Exploring Colombia and Finding The Lost City

Cartagena

We're headed to Colombia tomorrow. We're off to see a country we were supposed to visit five years ago. We'll be on the trail for Colombian culture -- from the Andes to the Pacific to the Caribbean -- and to find The Lost City along the way. Colombia. It's one of the countries that got away during the 15 months we traveled through Latin America a few years ago. … [Read more...]

Bassin-Bleu Waterfall — Jacmel, Haiti [360-Degree Panorama]

Bassin-Bleu Waterfall - Jacmel, Haiti

Life is a continual exercise in expectation management. Witness our journey to the Bassin-Bleu waterfall outside of Jacmel in southern Haiti.Haiti, it turns out, possesses quite a many blue pools, all quite aptly if not unimaginatively named Bassin-Bleu or “blue pool.” The most famous of these, pictured below, is outside the town of Jacmel. If all the photos of … [Read more...]

Travel to Haiti: First Impressions

Fishing Boats at Pointe Sable - Port Salut, Haiti

Haiti. It’s a country that most people today still associate with earthquakes, coups, and unrest – a sort of irretrievable chaos. Before traveling to Haiti, we knew very little about the country. Even after performing our own research -- let’s face it, there’s little information on Haiti beyond the headline news – we weren’t quite certain what we would find, … [Read more...]

Next Up: Exploring Haiti

Waterfalls of Bassin Bleu near Jacmel.

Why we’re going to Haiti later this week. A view to a different side of the country, including its re-emergence -- and we hope, a path to sustainable tourism development. It’s also about our pursuit of Haitian culture, landscape and cuisine – and the unknown. … [Read more...]

The World Doesn’t End With The Blue Sky

maasai woman

“You can call me Airport,” Esupat said, laughing.She sat atop a Maasai hut with her legs crossed, straddling a half-built chimney. Small piles of bricks surrounded her; wet cement fell from her hands.She was dressed colorfully, ornamentally. But this is how she goes to work. When she smiles, it is wide. Wide from unforced practice. Wide with pride, wide with … [Read more...]

Gorilla Trekking in Uganda: A Beginner’s Guide

Kakona, the Silverback Gorilla - Bwindi National Park, Uganda

I followed just behind our lead mountain gorilla tracker. In the hush of the moment under the canopy, I remembered our guide’s advice earlier that morning: “On your way to the gorillas, don’t forget to enjoy the sound of the jungle. There’s nothing like it.”My focus had been on climbing through the tendrils, on getting there. I could feel the heat around me, … [Read more...]

Ethiopian Food (An Overview of Ethiopian Cuisine)

Ethiopian food

When we headed to Ethiopia recently, I went packing with high expectations of the food. Years ago, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to Ethiopian food fresh out of university. In Washington, D.C., just new to world cuisine, I clearly recall my first pull of a round stretchy pancake-like injera bread, beautifully colored mounds of what looked to me like … [Read more...]

Travel to Ethiopia: First Impressions

Ethiopian monk

When I was growing up, I remember Ethiopia having a long run on the nightly news. Unfortunately newscasts all pointed to the grim. Newsreel images featured fly-ridden babies with distended bellies, drought-ruined landscapes and a ravaging famine made only worse by civil war.Sounding familiar?Prior to our visit, we figured some distance between the Ethiopia … [Read more...]

The Ancient Rock-Carved Churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia [360-Degree Panorama]

Lalibela churches

The story goes: almost 900 years ago in Ethiopia there lived a visionary king named Lalibela.Lalibela traveled far and wide, including an extended pilgrimage he took to Jerusalem, after which he brought back home to Ethiopia all he'd seen and learned.When Muslims conquered Jerusalem in the late 12th century and it became too dangerous for devout Ethiopian … [Read more...]