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.  […]


  I did that time warp thing over the weekend otherwise known as a high school class reunion. For some reason, I thought the class of 1979 would class preserved in time like a loaf of Velveeta. Well, surprise, surprise, surprise. My life took a left turn from what I had planned, my 401 K downsized to a 4, my […]

Life Before Instant Messaging

I’m sick of it all. I’m so sick of it, I don’t want to write about it. We live in a thumb happy society, where thumbs need muzzles before they tweet to the masses, before students text their English teachers with happy faces instead of words. Really students? If you want me to help you with your grammar, start writing […]