Rediscovering Persia: Iran awaits

Amir Chakhmaq Complex

Iran, former member of the “Axis of Evil” and a country still deeply mistrusted by the United States, is not generally known by Americans to be a tourist destination. The Islamic revolution of 1979 and the subsequent hostage-taking at the U.S. embassy in Tehran basically killed that idea. But those of you who follow the news have probably seen that there has been a warming of relations (however small) between the two countries as of late. These developments got me […]

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Kabul, Afghanistan (2007)

Kabul Afghanistan MMMC circus

I was going through my old photos on Google and Flickr and realized that I had enough pictures from my trip to Afghanistan in 2007 to create a blog post. Looking back, going to Afghanistan for a graduate school thesis research was probably not the best idea–I admit it, Mom–but it was an exciting and eye-opening trip that I will always remember. In the winter of 2007, Afghanistan (at least Kabul) was generally at peace. The Taliban insurgency had not […]

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Seychelles (Honeymoon Part 2)

Seychelles sunset on Mahe

We were in need of a relaxing end to our two-week honeymoon, so we chose a beach destination not too far away from Tanzania, the island nation of the Seychelles. Not many Americans go there since it’s on the other side of the world, but we were already in the general neighborhood so it made some sense. I knew of the Seychelles before so when our travel agent recommended it as option I was sold. Mahe, Seychelles We flew into […]

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Tanzania and Kenya (Honeymoon Part 1)

Giraffes in Tanzania

We just returned from our two-week honeymoon to Tanzania, Kenya, and the Seychelles (June 21 – July 5). It was the trip of a lifetime. The 1,800 pictures I took don’t, and the selection of them you’ll see below, are not enough to convey the beauty of Africa. I’ll split the post up into two parts: the first for Africa and the second for our island getaway to the Seychelles post-safari. Arrival Our door into Africa was Tanzania’s Kilimanjaro airport, […]

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Hatra, Iraq ruins

Hatra Iraq ruins 2003

One of the most memorable and exciting travel experiences I’ve ever had was the hour I spent walking among the ruins of Hatra, an ancient city in the desert of northwest Iraq, about 200 miles northwest of Baghdad. Our visit A UNESCO World Heritage site, the 2,000 year old Hatra was a major city in the Parthian Kingdom. If you recognize the scene in the pictures, you’ve probably seen the movie The Exorcist, which used the city as a backdrop […]

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Mexico City

Pyramid of the Sun Mexico

I was a little apprehensive about going to Mexico City for vacation. I got quizzical looks from my friends and family when I told them I’d be going there. Mexico City? OK. I felt their concern, I admit. I’ve  followed the Drug War for a few years now and know the violence has gotten out of control. But I knew better than that. I wasn’t going to be visiting the northern border areas and running  drugs, so my chances of […]

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Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires fountain

Buenos Aires, a gem of a city in the Western Hemisphere’s Down Under, captivated us with its gorgeous architecture,  bustling streets, cafe culture, and sophistication. While the city is enormous, we thought that five days was enough to see most of the major attractions and get a feel for what the city has to offer.  Red wine and meat lovers will revel in the endless selection of restaurants serving top-notch fare at ridiculously low prices due to the weak Argentinian […]

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Ecuador

Cotopaxi Ecuador wild horses

Ecuador is a beautiful country with varied landscapes ranging from dense Amazonian jungles to snowy peaks topping 20,000 feet. Its cities are museum pieces in themselves, reflecting the ingenuity of their indigenous founders and their Spanish conquerors, who fashioned little bits of Europe all over the Andean highlands. If you’re looking for a 5-6 day itinerary, you can’t go wrong by following this one: Day 0 and 1: Quito Quito’s airport is really far away from downtown. I bet it […]

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Budapest, Vienna, and Bratislava

Széchenyi budapest bath

Though I lived in Germany for almost four years, I never made it to this corner of Central Europe. My friend and I visited three European capitals in this one-week trip:  Vienna, Budapest, and Bratislava. All are within a couple of hours of each other via rail or riverboat on the Danube. We began our trip in Budapest, the edgy Hungarian capital with great restaurants and cafes, un-renovated buildings from the 1800s and a more “foreign” feel than Western European […]

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Vietnam

As a U.S. Army veteran, part of the reason I wanted to go to Vietnam was to experience in a way some of what our soldiers experienced being deployed to a mysterious country 12,000 miles away, a country so foreign in every way possible, from the weather to the language, food, terrain, etc.  On our 12 day trip, we flew into Ho Chi Minh CIty, saw the central part of the country next, and then flew to the northern part. […]

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