Travel Letters

Duqm: The Mountains and the Sea

Duqm

Oman

January 25, 2015

Dear Fellow Drivers,

On the road from Salalah to Duqm, across mostly flat and nondescript desert, I encounter a canyon of inspiring beauty and grandeur.    

In Duqm, Abdullah, my host at the Duqm City Hotel, recommends I make a day trip along the coast to Ras Madrakah.  Ras-Al-Madrakah – a wondrous combination of jagged rocks, rough seas and vigilant sea birds.

So, fill up your tank.  Travel with me across the desert and through the mountains to the sea.

Jan

The Sinaw Souk

The Souk

Sinaw

Oman

January 29, 2015

On my drive to the north coast of Oman, I stop in the city of Sinaw.   The guidebook lists the population at about 10,000, but on this Thursday Market Day, the city explodes into a multi-colored array of buyers and sellers from around the region.

Unlike the Nizwa Goat Market where the participants are all men and boys dressed in the traditional white dishdasha,  the souk here in Sinaw is crowded with both men and boys and women and girls. 

Bahla: Two Castles and a Souk

Sohar

Sultanate of Oman

January 30, 2015

As I drive through the mountains on my way to the north coast beach resort  of Sohar, I visit two castles and a market.

The castles are described in my guidebook and clearly marked on my map.  I find the market (souk) by “accident.”   It is the best site of the day.

Monemvasia and the Sea

Monemvasia

Laconia

Mani Peninsula

Peloponnese

Greece

April 29, 2015

 

So, here I am, halfway up “The Rock,” looking out over the Gulf of Epidaurus.  The alternate nickname for this fast fortress is “The Gibraltar of Greece.”

Founded in 583 CE and derived from two Greek words meaning “one entrance,” Monemvasia has been settled, besieged, conquered and re-conquered over the ages by every Mediterranean power.  Now, after we drive across the narrow causeway, the island town is mostly besieged by tourists.

 I climb up through the narrow streets past the souvenir shops, coffee shops and restaurants to find the actual town – homes, churches, flowers, cats … and a sparkling view across the blue blue sea.

Bukittinggi: "On the Road in Sumatra"

Bukittinggi
West Sumatra
Republic of Indonesia

July 5, 2008

Dear Family and Friends,

It would have been a long, bumpy ride so I opted for the short, uneventful flight from Medan, my base in North Sumatra, to Padang in West Sumatra.

Padang is the coastal gateway to the Mentawai Islands, an archipelago that draws a younger crowd for jungle trekking and surfing in the Indian Ocean. My own less vigorous route, however, was inland from the coast and into the mountains to Bukittinggi and the surrounding lakes and villages.

Hong Kong: "The Giant, The Peak, The Park"

Hong Kong
April 16, 2009

Dear Family and Friends,

It's about an hour's ferry ride from Central Ferry Pier to Lantau Island, the largest of all of the Hong Kong islands. The ferry is filled with pilgrims to Tian Tan Buddha.

The impressive Giant Buddha, the world's largest seated outdoor bronze Buddha is 30m (98 ft) tall and weighs 250 tons. To reach the terraces surrounding the Buddha, there's a climb of 260 steps. And the stairs are crowded. Everyone and every group poses for a photo or two. Or three.

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