My niece Ayla, who is almost four, has travelled to Taiwan three times, so I asked her advice about what we do during our trip there.  “Jump on the couch with Kai Kai and Chen Chen!” she replied with a giggle. Kai Kai and Chen Chen live in Chutung, about a 20 minute ride from Hsinchu City in Western […]

People, I am loving Taiwan so much.  Not only is this country busting out all over with gorgeous cultural heritage, but it is a traveler’s dream.  THERE ARE PUBLIC BATHROOMS EVERYWHERE.  Clean, safe, public bathrooms (heart heart heart smiley face exclamation point).  The transportation system is a snap with low prices and an easy-to-understand system […]

After a day with our extraordinarily nice relatives in Chutung, we have checked in to our hotel in Hsinchu, on the North East side of Taiwan. The décor of our room is a bit…surprising.  And while the room is small, it comes with lots of freebies.  Such as condoms. (Cough “Peak Warrior” cough). People, we […]

Today we spent with temples and dumplings in Taipei: both are exquisite.   I’ll have to wait until I have more time to write about the temples, but here’s a taste of the enchanting Baoan temple. My sister-in-law is Taiwanese, so I am really lucky and have the insider scoop on where to eat.  This afternoon we ate […]

Dear HOB, How is it possible to sleep for 16 hours straight, waking up for meals and then instantly–poof!– back to slumber?  It is a cruel time to desert me, your insomniac wife who suffers from fear of flying.  Here I am, wearing knee high compression socks and watching an insufferable movie about wedding dates.  My […]

Followers of Picnic at the Cathedral will recall that this fall my husband HOB and I spent two weeks in the country of Albania.  If you haven’t had the chance to visit, allow me to highly recommend it.  Albania has spectacular (surprisingly mountainous) geography, an interesting mix of classic Ottoman architecture and Communist era monuments, and a […]

In the early 1990’s I was working at performing arts center on the campus of  a Midwestern university.  I worked a lot, more than was ideal for a full time student, but I was paying my own way though school and needed the money, and besides that, I loved my front of house theater job.  As a […]

I needed a bit of cheering up today so I decided to research my end of year blog stats on the WordPress admin site.  I ignored the numbers and charts and went right to the juicy part: search terms.  These words and phrases that curious web searchers type into their search engines never fail to restore […]

The people of Korçë are proud of their tolerance and I like it in them.  “We are a tolerant people” we heard several times and surely this is true.  After all, this Southeastern town is famous for having the first girl’s school in Albania and still has an intellectual and cultured vibe (bookstores and museums, hooray!) […]

Our rushed day in Durrës went like this; rain, walk, rain, walk, rain, where the hell is the amphitheatre, rain, walk, oh there’s the amphitheatre, oh there’s the archeological museum, oh man am I ever hungry, torrential rain, thunderstorm, emergency picnic, walk, rain, salad, mosquitoes, vagina lamp. I have the impression that Durrës, due to […]