Gung Ho

What is it like living in a country with no guns? Well, there are guns in China, usually in the hands of guards at the airports or in kids like at this virtual reality sniper game at a local Kunming mall. And oh yes, the military have guns, too. Armed soldiers marching in goose step are as common as roasted […]

Pho-get the pho.Try the…

  How can you describe Hanoi in five bites or less?  Put it this way: I passed thirteen coffee shops (all equally as funky as any in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood) before I found a hole-in-the-wall that dished up pho, the trademark noodle dish. Hanoi–just like Ho Chi Minh or Da Nang–is about teeny little cups that’ll keep you buzzing […]

The Second Time I Thought I Was Going to Die

I always wonder if once you get to heaven, if God shows you a video of all of your close calls. Skydiving. Horseback riding in Scotland. Hitching a ride from a toothless woman in the middle-of-nowhere-Thailand. Add to the reel yesterday’s mishap in Sapa, Vietnam. It started in a small Black H’mong village tucked away in the rice paddies surrounding […]


I didn’t want to stare. His head was as big as his straw hat, hanging over his neck the way a beer belly does a belt. His face was not like a face at all. The medical term is lymphatic filariasis, swelling caused by the bite of a rare mosquito. You might know it by the vulgar name elephantiasis or […]

Show Me The Money

It’s the photo that every Chinese tourist takes when they travel to Guilin:  their holding a 20 RMB in front of the actual scene Etched on the back of the bill. So why didn’t I take the money shot at Guiling that the rambling tour guide suggested? I couldn’t stop staring at the dead  pig floating in the Yi River.  […]