Pachacamac: Animator of the World

Pachacamac: Animator of the World

Any itinerary of Peru worth the expense should include Pachacamac, one of the great cultural and religious sites of the Americas.  The name, which is of uncertain Quechua origin, translates loosely as “Animator of the World.” At this place the great civilizations of South America would pay their respects to the Earth Mother and her … Continued

Te Are Karioi: Searching for the Old Ways on Aitutaki

“Watch out for wasps,” Ngaakitai Pureariki calls over his shoulder as we dive into the underbrush.  My friend and guide has convinced me to accompany him to Te Are Karioi on the island of Aitutaki.  The site, which translates into English as “House of Entertainment,” has never been seen by outsiders.  How could I refuse … Continued

The Cham People and their Towers

I was fascinated to learn about the Cham, or Champa people of Vietnam.  Some theories state the ethnic group originally arose in Borneo and immigrated to Southeast Asia.  In the long run this may have not been such a wise move. They were victims of Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia and are ill-treated elsewhere in … Continued

Lima, City on a Binge

National Geographic Magazine once called Lima “a city on a binge.”  This was during the heady days of the 1970s and oddly prophetic of decades to come.  In the early days, the capital of Peru was still a run-down post-colonial town.  Street vendors choked the downtown old city, whose structures reeled from centuries of decay. … Continued

San Augustin and the Monsters Among Us

In southern Colombia along the verdant hills overlooking the Magdalena River, the National Archeological Park at San Augustin was once a major draw for both domestic and foreign tourists before the simmering drug wars of the 1970s turned into full-scale military conflict.   1) San Augustin town The park boasts a unique feature; its main … Continued

Climbing the Giza Pyramids

There is no reason to repeat the endless speculations about the pyramids of Giza that have circulated since the first visitors from Greece recorded their impressions 2000 years ago.  The gigantic stone structures were built, and they exist still.  These are the only two irrefutable facts. White stone originally encased the pyramids and they shined … Continued

Camping on a Deserted Island, Belize

Shortly after arriving in Belize City I discovered that the town held few charms.  Very few, to be honest.  Despite its quaint clapboard houses and tropically colonial British architecture, this city on the shores of the Caribbean was replete with unemployed young men who had little to do in life except prey on the unwary … Continued

The Hotel Contintental, Saigon

Back in 2005 at the end of our first trip to Southeast Asia, we washed up in Saigon, like countless foreigners and expats before us.  The 70s were long gone and the war but a distant memory, but we thought, if we can swing it we should stay at the Continental, famous during the American … Continued

From Pasto to Tumaco in Colombia

Hitchhiking in North America has now become a forgotten art, mostly due to our fears and insecurities.  It is no longer fashionable to trust strangers.  Over time, though, I have developed hitching into a high, if personal, method of travel.  Many songs have been written about thumbing the highway, but the sensations and benefits of … Continued

Fisher’s Island NY: When the Music Mattered

In the fall of 1989 I made a weekend trip with a friend to Fisher’s Island, NY.  I was looking for a place to visit for a one night jaunt, near enough to Poughkeepsie NY to facilitate a drive from Montreal to that unremarkable town, and then continue the same day to our final destination. … Continued

We Said Go Travel

We Said Go Travel