Gecko In the Night

It wasn’t until I got back to New York that I found out many Chinese had moved to that area in the 1940’s to flee the repression of the Kuomintang.

Revealing Greece

When we departed for a ludicrously expensive multi-generational, guided, two-week tour to Greece, I imagined gaping at the architecturally perfect Parthenon, feeling spiritually-centered in Delphi, home of the Oracle, center of the Earth.

Reflections on the Freygish Scale

During my time in Andalusia it was music that came to symbolize the rich beauty and depth that is to be found in the blending of cultures. I didn't expect to start exploring a new genre of music—it simply happened.

Deprogram Ur Derrière

For six hours, stranded in thought, I sat on a bench on Broadway. On south Harlem's downward slope to the Upper West Morningside, I gazed at automobile flow above and below 116th street's horizon...

Die Einwanderin

There were millions of dart holes on the wall, which were soon covered up by dozens of colorful postcards. The green of the fucking plastic kitchen floor.

Growing up in Tehran

When I was 9 years old, living in an apartment with an open style kitchen symbolised modernism and fashionable taste. There were only two traditional Persian houses...

Kashgar II

There is none of the Ozymandian triumphalism of Uzbekistan’s Timurid, Shaybanid or Samanid skyscraping here, no imperial proclamation in stone of primacy of worship...

Kafeel Bhai

There was scarcely a long-distance hauler that did not bear this slogan. ‘Kafeel bhai ko salaam,’ it would say in the Nastaliq script.

Juan Andres’ Collectivo

The bus to Dzibichaltun, the Mayan site fifteen kilometers north of Merida that literally translates as “the place with writing on flat stones,” leaves from the second class station on Calle 69.

Jackfruit Season

The clouds leak constantly. I imagine someone doing laundry up in the sky, trying to wash dark smudges from the rain clouds, wringing them dry into white fluff once again. The clouds have no shame. They weep constantly, not caring that all eyes are turned towards them.
Shoe Shine Boy Oaxaca

The Shoe Shine Boy of Oaxaca

I was eating at an outdoor table on the zocolo when the kid approached me and stopped at my table, his words spewing forth, all business. “Mister, you want your shoes shined. Three pesos, mister, I shine your shoes. Okay?” It didn’t matter that I didn’t answer him right away. The kid with the San Francisco Giants cap that was too big on his head squatted and set up his kit. A rag draped over two fingers was ready to dip into the tin of brown polish.
Koniak (Konyak)

Trip to the Land of Borderland

Can you ever imagine your bedroom in India and your kitchen in Myanmar. Isn’t it bizarre and wouldn’t it be strange to know that your home is divided not between family members or even relatives but between two nations? As bizarre as it sounds they exists!
Kyoto Museum

The Tiger in the Outlines

Back to Kyoto four months later, after leaving it in that summer haze when I cycled through the streets and every sight and sound wove meaning into the larger scene. Saturated it. I found the temples by the sluice and its rock garden that rippled through me. I looked into its rooms at the dimly lit paintings, the tiger’s shimmering golden lines. I wrote a blog, felt renewed and re-discovered. I’m still in dialogue with those initial impressions of Kyoto.
Jawaharlal Nehru University Ambassador, JNU row, Anti national slogans

The University with an Immortal Ambassador

Such an imagined land might as well be the abode of idle lotus eaters, or the dwelling place of ferocious sexual fiends, with a propensity for red meat with their alcohol, and a fervent dedication to various modes of family planning. Sandwiched between the realms of fanciful imagination and mundane reality, the Jawaharlal Nehru University exists almost proverbially, like the folk song, it never was new, and it never gets old.
streets-bucharest

Roundabouts in Bucharest

The roundabout was so huge that it made my eyes roll, my head twirl, and then I would twist, a body in need of orientation, before the luggage handle jerked protestingly in my hand. It wriggled on the poorly paved ground, knocking against the slabs here and there like grumpy footsteps.
Iceland_Ice Desert

Glimpses of a Landscape: Southern Iceland

The dynamic geology of Iceland is intriguing. We drive along the perimeter of this volcanic island in a semi-circle: from Keflavík to Höfn along Route 1. We hope our geological time travel will reveal some events in Earth’s history. We are confounded.
Barber in Kaxgar

Chini Bagh

Avid and hopelessly anachronistic Great Game historians that we were, the city’s other offerings (few enough) were at best incidental, at worst inconsequential. In the annals of amateur travel (certainly in India)