roam freely in Switzerland (unlike the US, Swiss animal welfare
laws extend also to farm animals) so it is common to find cows, sheep,
and goats remarkably high on the mountain! The sound of cowbells FILLS
the air. it always sounds like you are surrounded by beautiful windchimes!
- April 2010
Table Mountain in Capetown
"Table Cloth" - Every morning a cloud forms over Table Mountain,
from water that evaporates from within in the hot African sun and
every night it disappears.
the top of Lion's Head Mountain
view of the coastline was breathtaking from Lion's Head!
- Dec 2010
we stayed in a treehouse cabin on the mountainside.
of Mount Meru from our treehouse, and on a clear day we could also
absolutely no indication that Christmas was approaching... no shopping,
no decorations. Finally on Christmas day, people from all over the
city began walking toward a park near the center of the city wearing
their best clothes for a Christmas celebration! Traditionally people
will take time off work until New Years Day to spend time with family.
- Dec 2010
National Park, Rwanda
lb Silverback Gorilla is vegan.
Yup. All that size and muscles... the protein comes from plants!
has known these gorillas for nearly 30 years. He actually worked with
Made a lot
of new friends from the East and the West traveling with Veg
a madrasa (a muslim parochial school). Malaysia is a primarily Muslim
country. Women are not required to, but prefer to wear a hijab in
public as a matter of modesty.
Did a lot
of hiking, snorkeling and EATING!
And learned that pineapples grow on the ground. I didn't know that.
India - Jan 2015
granite hills in Kanadukathan
the quiet backwaters of Kerala
rolling tea plantations in the Western Ghats
local customs such as eating on meals on the floor served on banana
...and eating with your hands.
blessings from a local priest.
by traditional Lao river boat
the mysterious Plain of Jars
and giving blessings in the traditional Baci welcome ceremony
to cook Lao cuisine
Secret War which was no secret in Laos.
The US dropped more bombs on the the Lao people than have ever been
dropped in all of human history. 30% of the bombs did not explode
on contact and still remain in the ground, killing over 20,000 Lao
since the bombing stopped in 1975.
proper Lao drinking etiquette.
traditional Lao dance
- January 2016
vacation on an exclusive island in El Nido, Philippines.
beaches where the sand was like confectionary sugar.
and more snorkeling! I love the corals and infinite sea life!
spend a thousand nights and never tire of the view.
Bali & Java - July 2016
Veg Voyage travelers reunited and made 12 new friends in Indonesia
for adventure and delicious vegan food!
in a 20,000 year old crater of the Batur volcano that simultaneously
destroyed and built parts of modern-day Bali. The new active volcano
can be seen rising from the center. It last erupted in 1926.
offerings at Pura Melanting, a temple for prosperity. The temple itself
was absolutely beautiful and the mountains surrounding created a stunning
I also get myself wrangled into dancing.
a local high school. Indonesia is the world's largest Muslim nation
and the world's 3rd largest democracy. The students had never met
westerners before and were excited to ask us questions.
At the top
of the Ijen Volcano on the Island of Java.
A very brave
barefoot fire dancer!
New Year's Eve 2017
Plaza, below Cuban Revolutionary and martyr Che Guevara reads "Hasta
la Victoria Siempre" (Until the Everlasting Victory)
in the iconic Hotel Nacional was a historic treat. Built in 1930 to
meet the demand of the American Elite, it hosted the likes of such
as Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner, Mickey Mantle, Marlene Dietrich, Gary
Cooper, Marlon Brando and Ernest Hemingway.
it was the site of a bloody siege instrumental in Batista's overthrow
the hotel hosted the "Havana Conference," the infamous mob
summit depicted in The Godfather II. Every mob boss in the Americas
was present, minus Al Capone who is said to have stayed home sick.
just outside of the Hotel Nacional, the United States erected this
tribute to the lives lost in the sinking of the USS Maine, the event
that provoked US involvement in the Spanish American War and led to
Cuba's independence from Spanish colonial rule.
Eagle was placed on top to "watch over Cuba."
in the decades that followed it became evident that Cubans had swapped
Spanish Colonialism for American Imperialism. The eagle "watching
over Cuba" was removed in 1961 and the inscription changed:
the victims of the Maine who were sacrificed by the imperialist voracity
and their desire to gain control of the island of Cuba. February 1898
– February 1961"
interesting thing in this picture is not the beautiful Cathedral of
the Virgin Mary, completed in 1777. It is that Old Havana is completely
paved in cobblestones from Boston!
lucrative molasses trade of the same period, ships bringing molasses
to Boston harbor were returned with cobblestones from Massachusetts
for ballast. When you walk around Old Havana, your feet are literally
on American soil!
mineral composition of the Viñales valley is ideal for tobacco
farming, but it also produces the most INCREDIBLE vegetables I've
ever tasted! This was the best food I had on the trip, and actually
the vegetables were the most flavorful I've ever had. Even better
than anything I've grown in my garden!
no modern machinery so everything must be done by hand. For this reason,
much of Cuba's farmland is unused. The workload and lifestyle is just
too much for the average person.
if a person wants own a farm, the government will GIVE the land to
the farmer. In leiu of payment, the farmer promises to grow one of
three government-owned cash crops each year: tobacco, sugarcane and
else grown on the land for the rest of the year is for the farmer
to keep or sell as s/he sees fit.
the tobacco drying house, our guide explains the cigar making process.
The government-owned brand-name Cuban cigars are fermented only
in water. But local farmers have family recipes that are handed
down thru the generations. Cinnamon, honey, lemon, etc. The finished
product smelled delicious!
course, we lit them up. I LOVE the smell of a sweet cigar!
cars have their heyday in the 50s when American investment (mostly
the mob) was at its peak. But suddenly all contact with the United
States ceases with the embargo in 1962.
biggest trading partner was the Soviet Bloc and you will find cars
from the 70s and 80s all over Cuba. But suddenly all contact with
the Soviet Union ended in 1989 with the soviet collapse.
biggest trading partners are China and Korea. You will find late
model Asian cars about, mostly owned by government businesses.
Cab?" I don't know where those death traps are from or when.
You won't catch a local in one for sure!
architectural styles permeate Havana. Each influence began and ended
as Cuba gained and lost trading partners.
Spanish Colonial, Early American Luxury, Mid-Century mob-built American
Minimalist, and Soviet Brutalism.
Cubans own their homes. In Havana these are 200-300 sq ft tenement
homes carved out of once grand homes or once hotels!
of terrific trovador music at a cool rooftop bar. Renowned singer
and songwriter Frank Delgado led a musical discussion on the history
of music in Cuba. His younger counterpart has a degree in classical
guitar after studying for 14 years. Watching his fingers fly across
the strings was intoxicating! (as were the mojitos)
a "cuentapropista" (self-employed entrepreneur) started
his business in 2010 with a single 1955 Chevy Bel Air that had been
in his family for decades. He refurbishes old American cars and
rents them as private cars at a premium price. (These cars are the
most pristine in Cuba!) One by one, he has refurbished and added
another car to his elite fleet. Today he has 11 cars in his own
fleet and contracts with 11 more private car owners to drive within
the business junky that I am, my calculator was running a profit
and loss in my head during the whole visit. Based on the math, Julio
is pulling down over $300,000 USD annually! The "American Dream"
is alive in Cuba!
the photos of his many high-profile customers, my two favorites
were Michelle Obama and Jay Leno.
New Years Eve, the boom of cannons (instead of fireworks) echoing
throughout Havana, and a toast to the best new friends and a hopeful
like real Habaneros, taking the party to the Malecón. (the
5 mile seawall that stretches the Havana coast and serves as the
city's favorite meeting place)
day in Cuba was spent recovering from NYE festivities. First to
the beach, which was exactly as it should be: sun, 90 degrees, sand,
bright blue water, and a sand bar to play in the waves. It was all
tourists: Americans, Europeans, Koreans and lots and LOTS of Russians!
half of the day I spent on the Malecón, the 5 mile seawall
that stretches Havana's coast and serves as a long, narrow park and
the city's favorite meeting place.
came alone, with their families, and some were clearly on dates. (Habaneros
are not shy about PDA!) I got the impression that they didn't know
each other, but it didn't matter... everyone was friends in the moment.
take-out and made a picnic, a guitar which prompted joyous singing
and dancing, and a bottle of rum that everyone was passing around!
sound of the waves crashing against the seawall and the fresh salty
mist in the air. Fish darting in the low tidal pools left as the waves
receded. And the pelicans float overhead like a kite on the air currents,
suddenly diving like a kamikaze into the ocean. Usually they came
back up empty, but when they caught a fish the people would clap and
this was my favorite day in Cuba.