On The Back Of A Bike

When we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), we were given this advice on crossing the street in a Vietnamese city: “Hold up your hand as you step into the street to let the cars and bikes know you’re crossing. If that doesn’t work, close your eyes and just keep walking.” Continue reading “On The Back Of A Bike”

The Other Side Of Hoi An

The two fighters had just finished a round in the ring. Their handlers wiped them down, squirted cold water down their throats from squeeze bottles, and massaged their backs and necks. Both contestants had a look in their eyes—they were strong, fearless, undeterred by any injuries inflicted during the fight. Continue reading “The Other Side Of Hoi An”

Waiting For The Sun

The alarm clock jostled Yvonne and me out of bed at 3:50 AM but I was already awake, not yet adjusted to the nine-hour time difference between San Francisco, California and Siem Reap, Cambodia. We wolfed down bananas and yogurt and headed out the door to meet our guide in a waiting tuk-tuk. By 5:15 we were walking in the dark past shuttered food stalls, up ancient stairs and across a field, finally planting ourselves at the edge of a 200-meter-wide moat. A half hour later, hundreds of people had joined us and the hundred earliest risers who were already there when we arrived. I set up my tripod and waited, struggling to get my camera leveled by flashlight. Newcomers jockeyed for position and we guarded our territory as the light grew slowly, slowly. Less than an hour to sunrise. Continue reading “Waiting For The Sun”

Visiting El Chapo

Heading up to El Chapo’s place. Look at those naive smiles.

Seven of us followed Pico up the rock-strewn path for about half a mile until we got to where his pickup truck was parked. We were going to see a moonshine operation near Chacala, in the mountains above Yelapa, Mexico. My head was filled with wild fantasies. I imagined a well-dressed El Chapo-like mobster and armed guards eying us as we entered his jungle stronghold, searching us for weapons or badges with their automatic rifles pointed at our chests. The only reason we were even getting in was because Pico, our driver, knew the moonshiner and had gotten permission to bring us up. Continue reading “Visiting El Chapo”

Volunteering in Yelapa, Mexico

Students from the 6th grade class at Escuela Primaria Juan de la Barrera waited eagerly for me to begin reading them a story. Aline Shapiro, an American librarian whose dream had been to build a children’s library at the school, introduced me as a guest reader from California and handed me a book entitled Coyote: Un cuento folclòrico del sudoeste de Estados Unidos. I was a little nervous as it was my first time reading a book aloud in Spanish. In the middle of the story, after stumbling over just a few words, I asked the children “Me comprenden? Do you understand me? I was happy to hear them answer “Si.” Continue reading “Volunteering in Yelapa, Mexico”

My Life As A Caveman

José had dug out most of the cave himself.  Carved into the mountain like a big doughnut, the front door led into a bright, beautiful family room and kitchen. A short tunnel of white plaster led out of the kitchen through two bedrooms, a huge walk-through closet, a bathroom, even a laundry area, all with electricity and running water, and back around again into the family room. It was nothing like what I imagined when I heard the word “cave.” If the door had been round, I could have mistaken it for the entrance to Bilbo’s hobbit hole. Continue reading “My Life As A Caveman”

Moroccan and a Half

I just had an essay published in a beautiful online magazine called Hidden Compass! I’m thrilled to sit in the company of some really great writers. Click on the link below and scroll down to find and read my essay called “Moroccan and a Half” but afterward, read the other pieces too!

http://hiddencompass.net