Erbil, Kurdistan


Autonomous Kurdistan Region

Republic of Iraq

March 27, 2022



Erbil, also called Hawler (Kurdish: ھەولێر ,Hewlêr Arabic: أربيل, romanized: Arbīl, Syriac:  and known in ancient history as Arbela, is the capital and most populated city in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. There is no current census of the city and official population statistics are not available, its population is estimated to be around 1,200,000.

Human settlement at Erbil may be dated back to the fifth millennium BC.  At the heart of the city is the ancient Citadel of Erbil and Mudhafaria Minaret. The earliest historical reference to the region dates to the Third Dynasty of Ur of Sumer, when King Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum. The city was later conquered by the Assyrians.

Federal Iraq


Nineveh Governorate.

Republic of Iraq

March 19, 2022


My journey in Iraq is a daily calendar of Highlights:  Dramatic ancient sites, abundant flavorful food, and the best of all: a population of welcoming, helpful, dependable men and women along with swarming, energetic children.  Everyone is pleased to meet an American.

Unfortunately, today, in the old city of Mosul, I find the heartbreaking skeletal, charred remains of the recent ISIS - Iraqi Army battle.

Scenic Isan

Nang Rong District

Buriram Province


November 20, 2021


This recent trip with Jenjira to three Isan provinces - Nakhon Ratchasima, Buriram and Surin in the northeast - reconfirms for me that Isan is the true “Heart of Thailand.”


The Elephant Parade

Tha Tum District

Surin Province


November 19, 2021


In all my years traveling and living in Thailand, I have never attended the Elephant Round-up in Surin.  The huge celebration takes place in November and is one of the most popular events in Isan.

But today, just by accident, Jenrira and I found ourselves on an elephant parade route through this small community.  I suppose this Elephant Parade is associated with the Loy Kratong festival today.

After all the excitement, I will certainly add The Elephant Round-up to my “Thailand Must See” list.


Two Ancient Khmer Temples

Nang Rong



November 18, 2022


Prasat Muang Tam

Prasat Muang Tam (Thai: ปราสาทเมืองต่ำ, pronounced [prāː.sàːt mɯ̄a̯ŋ tàm]; lit. 'lowland castle') is a Khmer Hindu Temple in Prakhon Chai District, Buriram Province, Thailand. It is primarily in the Khleang and Baphuon styles, which dates its primary phases of construction to the late-10th and early-11th centuries. The primary deity was Shiva, although Vishnu was also worshipped there.

Like most Hindu temples, Muang Tam is oriented towards the east. It has a flat concentric plan, with a central sanctuary and two surrounded successively by an inner enclosure, ponds, and an outer enclosure. The ponds between the enclosures are an unusual feature of the temple, as is the central sanctuary, which is not elevated and has its towers arranged in rows of three and two. All the towers except the central one have been restored.