The Great Fall of China

We didn’t know that it was illegal. Kat and I set up our tent on top of The Great Wall of China. It was late fall and the air was chilly. There were scraggly orange bushes surrounding the wall on all sides, and the fog rolled in just as we finished setting up camp. I shivered, but not because of the cold. The Great Wall of China had a dark past. The wall had been built over the dead bodies of the workers who had died there. As a result, we were sleeping on top of millions of human bones. “Do you think we’ll see a ghost tonight?” I asked Kat. I was only half joking. Kat rolled her eyes. “Let’s play cards,” was all she...

Here Comes The Judge

In 1998 I was too inept to drive a harness racing horse, too poor to own one, too green to train one, but I was pretty good with details and a good observer. In May I was licensed by the United States Trotting Association as an Associate Race Judge. Of our fifteen-member licensing class I was...

Danger! The Airport

Overall, I’m a pretty cautious traveler, though an adventurous one. I like to research my destinations and know what I’m getting myself into. Learning about what to do, what to not do, places to see, and what to watch out for can be helpful when heading to a new culture in a new part of...

Trek To The Top

WE BEGIN our two-day trek in the Swiss Alps after a family lunch at a charming mountain café.  My brother, my two adult kids, my partner, and I then say goodbye to the rest of the family and peel off to start our climb. We hope to reach the Swiss Alpine Club hut near the Col des Chamois,...

Hope & Sherpas

KICK-STARTED by the desire to give something back to the people and communities of unsung heroes in the Khumbu Valley, the Khumbu Climbing School started nearly 10 years ago. A non-profit named in honor of beloved climber Alex Lowe, the organization fulfills his wish to bring education and...

Shoe Shopping In Del...

OUR FIRST MORNING in India, my grown kids—whose father is from New Delhi—and I go shopping in the market nearby for chappals (sandals). The air is new-morning fresh with a hint of burning trash. Around us, shopkeepers are unlocking the padlocks on their shop fronts, rolling the garage-like...

The Taj Express

I stand in the open doorway of the train, watching the dusty villages and bright yellow mustard fields of India whoosh by. My soon-to-be husband and brother-in-law have finally given up on trying to get me to sit down with them in the seats we snagged when we got on the train earlier that day....

Speaking Chinese, Al...

Last week I had my first, scheduled, online discussion with “Amy” from Rosetta Stone. When I finished, I wished I knew how to say “Oy vey!” in Mandarin. A “scheduled online discussion” in Rosetta World means that for thirty minutes you get to talk to someone who is a native speaker...

Monsoon Watch

I am fully preparing to jump into a monsoon in two weeks’ time. That is to say, I will be traveling with sixteen fellow backpackers and Calvin Sun, whose rousing story and headstrong travel philosophy –-’monsooning’-– were recently featured in USA Today. The trajectory of...

The Snake & The Pyramid

Along we went, a tiny black ant and I, baking under the Mexican sun.  Walking in my shadow, it carried an insect over its head to some unseen destination.    Other ants came marching in from the forest, by the hundreds, falling into formation like freeway traffic.  But in short time they came upon their colony, the dirty pyramid that marked the labyrinth below, the ants’ monument to civilization.  Around it they gathered in a frenzied pile of black, no one different from any other. From up ahead my aunt called my name, waving between passing people in the middle of the trail.  Down the path lay the ruined Mayan city of Chichen Itza...

Chinese Experience

The year was 1980, just two years after President Nixon opened the doors of China for the United States to engage in trade negotiations.  Of course, the whole world was anxious to begin trading with China, since the massive country had closed itself off since 1945 and the rise of Mao Zedong....

Boulderites

I’d been away from Boulder for a while.  Busy with some travelling and a brief stint in the big city, I hadn’t dropped into the valley for over a year; but coming over that hill and seeing the Rocky Mountains rise up behind town made me forget why I ever left.  After driving...