How a Dam Works

Abay is not just the name of the river which springs from the heart of Ethiopia, cuts through Sudan and Egypt, and ends in the way of all rivers big and small. It is also the name by which I best knew my grandfather. Officially, he was known by the more intimidating Shaleka – chief … More How a Dam Works

The Twisted Edge

I can be a flirty type as long as it doesn’t involve people. Ideas is where the chemistry happens. There’s one in particular, which started off as a little harmless flirtation, then bloomed into a full blown on-again off-again thing that’s been going on for years. It never works out, of course, for reasons x, … More The Twisted Edge

Middle Ground

After a year’s almost nonstop assault of Wenzhou-nese scowls and stone-cold stares, one would think that the effortlessly bright faces and smiles of the Laotians would be a relief. And, for a time, it was. The difference in the two personalities was clear from the moment we hopped off the bus in Nam Tha. Well, … More Middle Ground

Seeing Red

Through minimal effort on my part, I found myself on the Great Wall with a friend last week. The sheer physical stamina required to hike the steep inclines and slopes didn’t exactly invite restful contemplation, but I managed to be still for a few moments, feel the wind and absorb the history beneath my feet. … More Seeing Red

This Way

I can do it but I prefer to point. It doesn’t take nine months to learn how to open your mouth and say “I want this one.” or “I want that one.” or “How much is it?” or “It’s to go.” or “Turn left.” or “Turn right.” or to count to ten, for that matter. … More This Way

Tourist Me

Most of the time, I belong to the category of people who, when they are visiting a place as a tourist, do everything in their power to not appear to be a tourist.  That includes not walking around with a camera dangling from my neck or wrist, not taking snapshots of every damn thing with … More Tourist Me