Feb 172015
 
The Moment in Cuba That Opened Its Secret to Me

This is the last of my four-part series on traveling through Cuba, and in it I will share the shocking moment that revealed the dark side of the country. It all started in the town of Cienfuegos, on the very evening I looked out at the stunning sunset pictured below.

My travel partner, Oliver, and I were staying in a “Casa Particular,” a local Cuban’s home that is permitted by the government to take in travelers. As you can see [...Read More!]

Feb 102015
 
Photos of Boston Under 6 Feet of Record Blizzard Snow

Yipes! Over six feet of snow have blanketed my dear Boston in the past 30 days, demolishing all previous blizzard records. We have now had EIGHT snow days off of school, forcing Boston Public Schools to eliminate two upcoming holidays to reach the allotted 180 school days before July hits. (Oh July… sweet, warm July… The city aches for you.)

Meanwhile, our public transportation system (the “T”) has completely shut down for today as another [...Read More!]

Feb 082015
 
Do These Details of My Havana, Cuba Trip Surprise You?

As the possibility of Cuba opening fully to U.S. travel emerges, I keep thinking about my 2008 trip to that alluring island. Through these photos, let’s explore the surprises I saw in Havana, and what they suggest about Cuba’s future.

First on the list to change if Cuba opens is Havana’s waterfront, pictured above, with a close-up below of one house’s faded glory. “Ah!” a friend exclaimed when she saw these pictures upon my return to the [...Read More!]

Sep 072014
 
Did You Know This About Visiting the Taj Mahal in India?

Don’t slap me for procrastination, but I’m FINALLY writing about seeing the Taj Mahal during our 2012 India teacher tour. So without further ado, here are 12 things to know about visiting the Taj Mahal: the world’s most famous monument to love, built by emperor Shah Jahan in 1653 in memory of his wife.

1. Contraband. There are all sorts of items you are not allowed to take into the Taj Mahal. Study the sign above and see if you agree that some [...Read More!]

Feb 092014
 
The Original Exploration We ALL Took, Illustrated

One reason we travel is the thrill of seeing something we never thought imaginable. An elephant on a highway in India! A child balancing a hulking computer on his head in Ghana! Eating a giant fried spider in China! But chasing and seeing these foreign sights is so exhilarating, sometimes we forget the original exploration we all undertook: our own bodies.

As you see from the photo above, my sweet two month old [...Read More!]

Jan 302014
 
Wow! I Never Thought I'd See THAT On The Road...

As I re-learn to drive with a new baby in the car here in Boston, I thank my lucky stars I am not re-learning to drive in India, which has some of the most hectic roadways I have ever seen.

Check out these shocking (well, for my sheltered American eyes) vehicular sights from our teacher tour of India last year…

Wowza. Doesn’t India bring “diversity in action” to a whole new level? So, which of these modes of [...Read More!]

Dec 082013
 
Why Do New Parents Disappear? See This Graphic...

When humans travel to certain places, certain things inevitably happen. Folks who voyage to West Africa often return with a vibrant African print cloth shirt or dress. Travelers to Vietnam rarely leave without scarfing down Pho soup. And new parents who enter Newborn Baby world nearly always… disappear.

I witnessed this New-Parent-Vanishing numerous times over in the last decade, always from the outside. Coworkers who were models of excellent communication went utterly [...Read More!]

Oct 272013
 
Dealing With Smells During India Travel. (Yes, You Must)

I am REALLY glad that we traveled to India before I got pregnant. A bionic sense of smell is a major pregnancy symptom, and given the infamous odors of India, that would have been a problem.

Yes, it is true that India has more smells– both delicious and noxious– than any other country you may visit. Why? See the photo above for four reasons: street animals (and their resulting dung), vehicle traffic, [...Read More!]

Oct 022013
 
Amazing Fashion of Women Doing Manual Labor in India

India has the most beautiful clothing in the world. Its embrace of color, drape, and texture makes the heart dance! What I didn’t realize before our December teacher tour of India, however, was the fact that many woman in India wear these remarkable clothes even when doing arduous manual labor.

What this means is that wherever you go in India, there are female manual laborers — bricklayers, hedge cutters, roadside merchants, farmers, [...Read More!]

Aug 172013
 
Riding an Elephant Up to the Amber Palace in India

“Decide now,” said our India Teacher Tour guide last December, “will you ride an elephant up the mountain to the Amber Palace, or walk?”

We looked at each other, paused… then sighed: “RIDE!”

The long line of elephant-craving tourists moved forward smoothly. At the front, we saw why: an authoritative gentleman barked elephant assignments to each visitor clump and bid them rapidly jump off the staircase to the elephant-back-box. We hopped on, and [...Read More!]