Some of the best things I did in Madrid last week were totally free (or so cheap they might as well be). Eating African hot peppers and 6€ Senegalese stew in Lavapies (Madrid’s version of Queens), a week’s worth of free museum nights standing in awe in front of Guernica and Las Meninas, and staying out until 3AM with friends (and all the rest of Madrid).
Athens was all protest art, the glow of the Acropolis at night, ancient ruins next to concrete apartment blocs, olive oil, homemade souvlaki, cold coffee, and nearly suffocating in an elevator with my husband and Greek colleague. Here’s a guide to surviving the Greek capital. Continue reading “Athens City Guide”
No one ever talks about what it is like to land in a place like India for the first time. I had to write about this exhausting, disorienting, and totally thrilling experience. One thing is for sure: you only get to go to India for the first time once in your life.
No matter where you find yourself in the world these days, whether in the middle of the Ecuadorian rainforest, on a lonely mountain road in the Caucuses, a desert dune in the Sahara, or on a scuba boat in the Andaman Sea, chances are, you will cross paths with a German. And in many cases, a slightly-off-their-rocker but highly competent and well-prepared German eager to speak German with you as soon as they learn you live in Germany.
I’d never seen a sunset like this.
Romania came out from behind the Iron Curtain over 25 years ago, but it’s still a country with one foot in the past as it moves resolutely into the future. It’s all factories and multinational corporations and big box stores and neo-Gothic McMansions built by Roma families next to crumbling grey apartment blocs and roads clogged with flocks of sheep and an inscrutable bureaucracy that would make Kafka’s head spin. We experienced all this and more during our last visit to Romania, where my husband and I were setting up a new factory. Here’s a story about doing business in Romania, the new land of unbridled opportunity.
“We have a map,” the man at check-in to our backpacker bungalow hotel told us, lowering his voice slightly, his tone conspiratorial. “A map to the secret beach. It’s not that easy to get there, but it’s not far.” Right, I’ve seen that movie. So has everyone else in Thailand. I didn’t believe him until we followed his map to a perfect secret beach, and now I’ve got the pictures to prove it. Continue reading “A Secret Beach”
Beaches. Island hopping. Kayaking. Snorkeling and Scuba diving. Visiting Buddhist temples. Monk chat. Night markets. Street Food. Elephant sanctuaries. Hiking. White-water rafting. Zip-lining through the jungle canopy. ATV tours. Massage. Exploring ancient cities. Whizzing through traffic on a scooter. Finding the perfect beach. The Kingdom of Thailand is the top destination in Southeast Asia, and for good reason.
One night in Bangkok, at least for us, and surely for most people who come here, is nothing like the song. It probably was, three decades ago, but Bangkok seems to have since cleaned up its act and grown up. Here’s a story about arriving in Thailand and falling under the city’s spell in no time at all.
Continue reading “One Night in Bangkok”
How does that song go? “One night in Bangkok makes a hard man humble, not much between despair and ecstasy.” The same goes for Phuket.
One night in Phuket is one night too many.