What I imagined I’d see in a Taoist temple was robed monks and maybe some other really spiritual-looking people, the kind of people who sit around contemplating the mystery of the The Way.  And probably a lot of art with yin-yang signs on it.  This sort of temple would not be a place for a […]

It’s the artists I keep thinking about. There at least 6000 terracotta warrior sculptures, perhaps many more (their burial site hasn’t been fully excavated.)  These warriors were created during the Qin dynasty, 2200 years ago, when China was sparsely populated.  So how did the emperor Qin Shi Huang find and mobilize so many artists in […]

Oh look, a cute little pagoda: Yeah, cute alright, but it’s a minaret, not a pagoda. And this pretty Chinese arch inside a garden. This isn’t a garden, it’s a mosque.  Or maybe it’s better to call it a mosque complex. Anyway, the Great Mosque of Xi’an has been around almost since the beginning of […]

Here are some unexpected things about China: It is really clean!  We’re talking about the most populated country in the world, but none of these people are littering.  A small army of sweepers are constantly about looking to obliterate the smallest infraction of trash.  Also, there’s hardly any graffiti (I don’t miss the litter but […]

It was great being in Pingyao, China today because not only is it spectacularly beautiful: But I am also quite famous! All my fans want to have their picture with me! The food’s tempting too.  I briefly consider ordering the Manual cat ears but finally decided that I’m more of an Automatic cat ears sort […]

The top three things I miss while traveling are; My cat Taking a shower without wearing flip flops Cooking Happens every time:  HOB and I are in the midst of a fast-paced trip when we visit a local market and I’m overwhelmed with longing to cook all that beautiful produce. Now that Airbnb is a […]

Chicago was originally the domain of Native Americans, including the Pottawatomie, Illinois, and Miami nations.  In fact, in the name Chicago comes from a Native American word for wild garlic, which apparently grew all over the place (as a garlic fan, I wish it still did).  When the area was invaded by Europeans, native people were […]

Well I don’t know about you but if I read another Pinterest article titled Twelve Tips for Taking Insanely Great Travel Photos: Number 5 Will Blow Your Mind!!! I’m going to barf all over my cheap-ass digital camera. I have a more unique skill, one that doesn’t even require three exclamation points: I take terrible travel photos. […]

When I was fourteen I changed my last name.  It wasn’t legal until I turned eighteen and visited a judge, but that didn’t stop me from spreading the news of my changed nomenclature to everyone I knew.  I went so far as to use my school’s printing press to create hundreds of business cards featuring […]

The Yale Building is a survivor.  It was built in 1892 in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood to house visitors to the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition, but unlike the lame neoclassical architecture from the World’s Fair, the Yale Building is has an unexpected and exciting interior design. Sure, the exterior is a handsome but not particularly thrilling […]