Travel Letters

Nara: Daibutsu


(pop 369,000)



The Daibutsu beckons the pilgrim to Nara.  

Daibutsu or Great Buddha sits quietly in the Todai-ji Temple, his right hand raised in the position of protection, reassurance and blessing, 

The Buddha is surrounded by respectful throngs of travelers, tour groups and children who converge on Nara – a large city about thirty minutes by train from Kyoto. 

Lijiang: The Old Town and Market


Yunnan Province

People’s Republic of China

Elevation 2400m 7900 ft.

June 2, 2014

Dear Friends and Fellow Travelers,

I can never resist a market.  Can you?  Always lively, colorful and surprising, the market is a core element of daily life.  What is more essential than food, clothing and household goods?   And what is more fun? 

So after our early morning stroll through the Old Town of Lijiang that included an invitation to a tea ceremony, my guide Illian and I head over to the main market.  I took about “a thousand” photos, and finally stocked up on a half kilo of fresh, sweet green plums for the ride ahead.

Shaxi: Ancient Tea Horse Road


Yunnan Province


June 6, 2014

Dear Friends,

During my brief visit to the livestock market in Shaxi, I recalled the ditty “Mules” that I learned at Boy Scout Camp.   As I trod the grounds among horses, cows, bulls and other assorted browsers, I paid strict attention to the lyric.*

Shaxi is an historic town along the Ancient Tea Horse Road that connects China to Burma to Tibet to India.  But Shaxi is unlike Lijiang, another caravan stop to the northth.  Lijiang boasts an airport that dismounts herds of visitors.  Shaxi retains an “ancient” atmosphere.

Bangkok: Punk Rock Girl



June 20, 2014

Today I participated in the “Punk Rock Girl Shoot.”

Along with eight other amateur photographers and our leader, professional photographer Dennie Cody, we spent three hours this afternoon photographing the unique model Tanya, the Punk Rock Girl. *

The shoot took place at a vacant lot/playground/graffiti park at Ratchathewi in downtown Bangkok.

Tanya changed her outfit four times.   She was creative, emotional and beautiful.

Please see for yourself.


Lijiang: Ethnic Minority Markets

On the Road

Yunnan Province


June 4, 2014

You ever see a pig on a leash?

You ever see a lady smoke a pipe?  Did she have tattoos on her forearm?

Somewhere between Tiger Leaping Gorge and Shaxi, we were lucky enough to pass through a large town with a colorful weekly market in progress.

The ethnic minorities were welcoming and friendly and pleased to pose for a photo.

Many, if not most of the women were dressed in their finest outfits.

Shaxi: Shibaoshan Cave Temples


Yunnan Province


June 6, 2014

Dear Friends,

I should have known better.   I should have looked at my map.  I should have been more aware of my surroundings.  I should have taken my hiking stick!

My guide Ilian and I decided on an early morning drive to the remote Shibaoshan Cave Temples – a complex of grottoes just north of Shaxi.  We invited Nicole to join us. 

A grotto is a small cave or cavern or a man-made shelter that resembles a cave.  Did I assume that the grottoes are easily accessible?