Travel Articles

Almaty, Kazakhstan

July 21, 2017 6:50 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Title Image: Almaty (Алматы) against the backdrop of the Tien Shan Mountains Linguistic note: Alma means ‘apple’ in Kazakh. Almaty once flourished with apple orchards. They still exist, of course, but now they’re farther out of town. Confession: Before going to Kazakhstan I had never heard of Almaty. Further confession:... read more

Kazakhstan II/Қазақстан II

July 14, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Title Image: A painting of traditional Kazakh life. National Museum of History, Astana Not every country with -stan in its name is a scary place. Kazakhstan definitely is not. Kazakhstan Nomadic life Traditional Kazakhs, like their Mongolians neighbors to the east, are nomads. Half of the Mongolian population today is... read more

Kazakhstan I/Қазақстан I

July 11, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Kazakhstan is the largest landlocked country in the world, the 9th largest in terms of area (1,000,000 square miles) and 65th in population (18 million) In 2014 after spending 6 weeks in Mongolia – which peeks into the map, below, at the northeastern tip of Kazakhstan – I developed a... read more


July 7, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

TItle Photo: The Ritz Hotel – Koshien/Nishinomiya This blog could easily be titled “Weird Stuff in Japan.” I’ll kick the weirdness off with a brief discussion of: Love Hotels The Ritz was the second hotel I stayed in during my two weeks in Japan. My son had the first inkling... read more

10 Things To Know About Sake

June 20, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Title picture: My son, Gerard, and his girlfriend, Rimi, opening a bottle of shōchū at Torisan, our favorite izakaya ‘neighborhood restaurant’ in Koshien When in Japan you’ll want to know that: Sake is the generic Japanese word for ‘alcohol.’ Everything alcoholic can be referred to as sake. The sake you... read more

Two Observations

June 13, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

日 ‘sun’ + 本 ‘origin/tree’ = Japan 日本語= Japanese Language I’m in Japan now. Sure, I can say ohayō gozaimasu ‘good morning’, arigatō gozaimasu ‘thank you very much’ and order basic food items, e.g. I have shōchū  rokku ‘(Japanese) vodka on the rocks,’ down. Beyond that, I make no claims... read more

A Great Boutique in Carmel

June 6, 2017 2:40 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Note: Addresses in Carmel do not have street numbers. The most accurate address for Ami is Delores between 5th and 6th. In addition to writing about the local sights and history when I travel, I love bringing attention to great local businesses. Last summer I wrote about my favorite restaurant... read more

Monterey County Part III

May 30, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Today is about the town of Monterey, which is on the Bay, so you’re looking at it. Just as Monterey County is rich in beauty, artistic endeavor, agriculture and fishing, so the town at its center has an equally rich heritage. Monterey has four historical layers.

Monterey County Part II

May 26, 2017 1:05 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

“Monterey County Part II” could also be called John Steinbeck Country. The places at issue are the agricultural communities of Salinas, Castroville and Watsonville as well as the town of Monterey. We’re into Grapes of Wrath and Cannery Row territory here. If Part I was about artists and Hollywood stars... read more