Travel Letters

In the News: Ukraine and Sudan

In the News: Ukraine and Sudan

Jomtien Beach


May 1, 2023

In downtown Kiev, both sides of the main boulevard are lined with an assortment of busy restaurants and cafes. (I visited Ukraine in June 2018.)  

One outdoor restaurant is my favorite.  For lunch and dinner, I usually order a refreshing bowl of borscht, a salad overflowing with fresh vegetables, and a second plate with a generous portion of herring in cream sauce and onions.

For my entertainment, every afternoon, a stylishly dressed, posture perfect young couple proudly parades along the sidewalk as if they are auditioning for a fashion magazine and waiting to be discovered. Their smart outfits change every day.  Twice a day?

Kiev is blessed with marvelous residential architecture and splendid cathedrals.

Kashan to Tehran


Isfahan Province


May 30, 2022

Yes, that’s me, second from the left wearing a black shirt and scarf.

The man on my left is holding a 1000 Thai Baht note.  Two young men are holding books.

Here’s the story:

In Kashan, my guide Mehran and I stroll down a busy street in an area popular with tourists.  Outside an international book shop, I spot a rack filled with books in English.  A “must stop!”


Phra Nakhorn Si Ayutthaya

Phra Nakhorn Si Ayutthaya Province


January 2, 2023

“Dress-up Day” at Wat Chai Wattanaram


After he read one of my recent posts, a friend in Bangkok wrote, “I learned something.”  A comment like this is most rewarding.  The goals for my website have always been “To Entertain, To Educate, To Encourage.”

On my return trip to Ayutthaya, I also decided to learn something.   I carefully read the guide in the hotel lobby.  Here is a bit of history:

“Ayutthaya was founded in 1350 following a smallpox epidemic that ravaged the neighboring city of Lopburi.  According to the Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya, King U-Thong and his troops trekked for days before arriving at a river.  On the other side they found an island surrounded by rice fields and three merging rivers.  The king established his new capital there.  

Kharanaq and Nain

Kharanaq Village

Yazd Province


May 27, 2022


On the desert drive from Yazd to Kashan, I made a detour to the  4000 year old village of Kharanaq to see the 1800 year old Castle.

Then another detour to Nain for another castle, and lunch!


Kharanaq  Village

This 4500-year-old city is surrounded by mountains on one side and desert on the other. Many buildings in Kharanaq are completely collapsed and ramshackle. But the remaining mosque from the Qajar period, and a shaking minaret from 17th Century, and the caravanserai of the city have been reconstructed.

Yazd: The Pure City


Yazd Province


May 26, 2022


The historical city of Yazd was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017.

Because of generations of adaptations to its desert surroundings, Yazd has a unique Persian architecture.  It is nicknamed the "City of Windcatchers."  It is also very well known for its Zoroastrian fire temples, cisterns, underground channels, water coolers, Persian handicrafts, handwoven cloth, silk weaving, Persian cotton candy, and its time-honored confectioneries.

The Amir Chakhmaq Complex is a prominent structure in Yazd.  It is noted for its symmetrical sunken alcoves and a mosque.  It also contains a caravanserai, monastery, bathhouse, cold water well, and confectionery.  During the Iran–Iraq War and the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with the United States, many Iraqis and Afghanis came to inhabit the Amir Chakhmaq Square.