cultural observations

This tag is associated with 26 posts

Of haunted hotels and serious sightseeing…

I confess that aside from the thrill I felt after booking my plane tickets, my first jolt of excitement came when I heard we’d be staying at the Grand Hyatt in Taipei on the first part of this trip. The Grand Hyatt is one of the top-10 most haunted hotels in the world. Imagine: a … Continue reading

Uniquely Balinese

I wasn’t exactly sure what I would find when I came to Bali. I booked the trip with less forethought and research than my normal trips, so there was a lot I didn’t know. Even though I’ve always been intrigued by Bali, I tried to prepare myself for the very real possibility that I would … Continue reading

A Thanksgiving in paradise

We are now in Benoa, a little place in the south of Bali. On our first day we had our first true taste of the rainy season when a thunderstorm thwarted our morning beach plans. Thankfully, it ended in time for us to get in a few hours of kayaking at a nearby beach. Yesterday … Continue reading

A day in the life of a tourist

Author’s note: Now that I actually have a traveling partner, I have someone present who occasionally reminds me of the things I don’t write about in my blog. Such as mundane day-to-day details that I normally reserve for when I’m volunteering and only for the purpose of describing what it’s like to volunteer in a … Continue reading

That whole ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ thing…

One of my guidebooks describes Ubud as an artist’s community and “the most Balinese of towns”—descriptions that drew me here. However, as of the last seven years, it is probably best known as one of the sites featured in the book “Eat, Pray, Love”—a book that, despite its status as an international bestseller, I thought … Continue reading

Leaving the land of pura vida…

After several days of relaxing on Costa Rica’s west coast and enjoying both paddleboarding and body boarding, our final day has approached all too quickly. Pura vida: the pure life. In Costa Rica, you’ll see this saying everywhere. T-shirts, billboards, and everything from surf shops to coffee shops. Ticos will bid you “pura vida” in … Continue reading

The super-sensory internal GPS theory

With David’s travel illness combined with incessant rain showers, we were never able to hike Arenal. Instead, we continued with our plan to pick up a rental car and head to the Guanacaste region of the country, an area that is known to be both drier and hotter than other parts of Costa Rica. This … Continue reading

Leaving the land of Eretz Yisrael

A day late and several hundred dollars short, we finally prepare to leave the ancient land of Eretz Yisrael, the land of Judea and Samaria, home to seemingly opposing religions and nationalities that have more in common than anyone cares to admit. As I was writing my entries on this trip, I intended to eventually … Continue reading

Bidding India namaste

Today is my last day in India. After three weeks, I feel I’ve seen and done enough to fill twice that amount of time, yet I find myself no closer to answering the perplexing and inevitable question, “What is India like?”. I cannot presume to know how to answer this question adequately in three weeks’ … Continue reading

On Bundi, Jaipur, and common threads

We’ve left behind the city of Bundi and are preparing to leave Jaipur. Each city that I’ve been to has its own vibe. Bundi is a smaller city with a slightly sleepier feel and a picturesque palace (Bundi Palace) that looks as though it just emerged from the side of the hill. Jaipur is a … Continue reading

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