"I'm going to give you a present," says the young monk and hands me a string of mala beads (prayer beads). They look like the kind of mala beads you could buy at any market for about ten cents. He then looks at me expectantly. "Can I ... umm..
The rental car is safely back without a scratch and filled with gas, and the hold on our credit cards is off. So the story can be told. We were SUPPOSED to drive to the main checkpoint leading into Bethlehem, which is located just across the border,
I stood in front of the largest wooden structure in the Caribbean, Latin America, the Western Hemisphere or the world, depending on whom I talked to. Verifiable facts are that the St Peter and Paul cathedral is 161 feet long, 54 feet wide, 48 feet
Dark red bricks stand out against a stark blue sky. Long shadows peter out over fields, the soft light of the late afternoon giving the ruins an air of mystery. Who was that saint draped in a robe, holding a staff in his right hand? Or that elegantly
"One more photo. Please??" I wrap my arm around the young girl's tiny waist and smile. It is barely 9 am, but I have already posed for at least 20 photos that will soon decorate homes around Myanmar. Everyone around me is dressed in their Sunday
My drum is meant for royalty. It has a sleek black calfskin drumhead, and the cords that keep it taut are carefully knotted in precise geometric patterns. There is something pleasing about the proportions of this drum. I bought it at a road-side
We stare at the dazzling white columns surrounding the courtyard of the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque, the sunlight forming pools on the marble mozaic floor. The effect is mesmerizing, a play of light and perspective that renders us momentarily
Michael’s shtick is designed to make us feel smart. We are smart to be on his tour, smart to ask the questions we pose. Most other tourists don’t notice that, he insists, as we gape at the trompe l'oiel on the ceiling of the Vatican’s Hall of