The Golden Ring: Vladimir, Yerev-Polsky, Suzdal



September 18, 2011

Dear Family and Friends

Vladimir Vladimirovich was my driver In Vladimir.  He spoke not one word of English.   Somehow we managed to communicate.

Vladimir Vladimirovich and I scanned my map of “Russia’s Heritage Cities.”  We decided on a circular clockwise route:  Vladimir, Yerev-Polskoy, Suzdal, Bogolyubovo, and back to Vladimir.

The Heritage Cities are best known as “The Golden Ring.”  North and east around Moscow are more than a dozen ancient cities with unique Russian architecture dating back to the 12th to 17th Centuries.  

Vladimir Vladimirovich picked me up at 09:00 at the Monomakh Hotel (named for Grand Prince Vladimir Monomakh (1053-1125).  Vladimir sped through the green-to-slightly-golden countryside.  The towns were lovely.  Monasteries, cathedrals, churches, markets, private homes and small shops called супермаркеты were the stops for the day.


Slices of Time, Fes, Morocco



April 21, 2013

Dear Family and Friends,

The Medina in Fes is probably the world’s largest contiguous car-free area. 

The medina is a neighborhood of about 9000 narrow streets where people live and work and go to school. The tour guide doesn’t let us out of his sight for a moment.  If I get lost, young boys are available for a “small fee” to lead me out of the maze!

Jonker Walk, Melaka, Malaysia


24 April 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

At 9:30 am on the dot, Joowee picked me up at my hotel in KL.  Together with her friend Michelle, we drove south to Melaka, the ancient city-state and historic port city strategically located on the Selat Melaka – the Strait of Malacca.

I missed Melaka on my first trip to Malaysia four years ago and I was anxious to see it.

Melaka is a great place for a daytime stroll.  Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Indian, Arabic and native Malay architecture all stand together and line the narrow streets:  forts, churches, mosques, temples, tombs, fountains, along with plenty of clothing, antique, porcelain and chachka shops. 

Stabroek Market, Georgetown, Guyana:

Georgetown (pop 235,000)

Co-operative Republic of Guyana (pop 773,000)


January 20, 2018


“Let’s take a photo with the white guy!”

Just outside the Stabroek Market, a group of taxi drivers are curious about me.   I approach them with my usual big smile, and one of them hollers, “Hey, let’s take a photo with the white guy.”  We all have a good laugh as we pose together.

The guidebooks caution against visiting the large and complex Stabroek Market.  Dodgy characters, beggars, pickpockets, unpleasant sights and treacherous walkways, etc.  White guys are a rarity.  Naturally it is my first stop.  Is there a market anywhere in the world sans dodgy characters?

Market, Kampong Thom, Cambodia

Kampong Thom


January 27, 2019

Hello from Central Cambodia,

Kampong Thom may be a small city.  But it’s also a city of lively contrasts.

A constant flow of determined traffic crosses the steel arch bridge that spans the Steung Saen River.  In the shadow of the bridge, a lone fisherman silently casts his net from a tiny wooden boat.

The traffic across the bridge is brisk.  Vehicles vary in size and speed.   Yet without the assistance of traffic lights at the four-way intersections, the trucks, buses, cars, vans, and motorbikes sort themselves out, effortlessly, courteously and safely.