Travel Letters

Prologue to Iran


On May 2, 2022 when I arrived at the Immigration desk at the Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport with my United States of America passport and the Electronic Visa document that was issued in Bangkok by the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran (after patiently waiting six weeks for the approval of the thirty-day visa from the Ministry in Tehran), I am escorted to a separate area where another Immigration officer scribbles information and makes copies of everything.  He then hands me a form printed (with questions?) in Arabic script that I assume is in Farsi and points me to a nearby desk where another officer is on the phone.  He never looks up. 

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 The earliest historical reference to the region dates to the Third Dynasty of Ur of Sumer, when King Shulgi mentioned the city of Urbilum.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.