Wildebeest Migration, Kenya

August 6, 2012 Nairobi, Kenya Dear Friends, Sometimes the much awaited second novel or record album (am I showing my age?) is a disappointment, the first was so good.  Suzi had some fears that if we returned to the Mara after the wonderful safari of discovery we had last April it would be like a second novel.  I shared some of those apprehensions but wanted to go anyway, seeing the same land in a different season. As it happened it was spectacular.  We arrived just as the annual wildebeest (we called them Gnus when I grew up) arrived.  Had we … Continue reading Wildebeest Migration, Kenya

Nairobi National Park

May 6, 2012 Shihipol, the Netherlands Dear Friends, When we got back to Nairobi from Mt. Kenya and still had not seen a lion I thought I would give us one more chance.  I booked game drive through Nairobi National Park, which is just on the outskirts of Nairobi, for dawn on Thursday.  It seemed like a good idea at the time but our flight from Zanzibar was canceled and we had to book a later flight getting us into Nairobi too late for dinner and too late to get a good night’s sleep before the dawn trek to the … Continue reading Nairobi National Park

Roadside Kenya

This is a letter about the drive from Mt. Kenya back to Nairobi. April 28, Nairobi, Kenya Dear Friends, After rain most of Friday, Saturday Morning was gorgeous.  I got up at about 6:15 to watch the sun rise behind Mt. Kenya, and while the day stayed sunny the mountain progressively pulled its cloud shroud around its peak until about 8, while we were eating breakfast, the peak was completely gone.  By 10 we were on the road back to Nairobi. Our first stop was the equator out on the highway where a tourist trap has grown up around “The … Continue reading Roadside Kenya

Mt Kenya

This is the second half of that family letter from Mt. Kenya. We’re on the second half our safari now, at the Mt. Kenya Safari Club in Nanyuki, 7,000 feet up the slopes of Mt. Kenya, which is 17,000 feet high.  Yesterday morning I stood, jacket on, outside my room, 75 feet north of the equator, looking up at snow. Snow in the equator.  The equator runs through the bar.  The dining room is in the Northern Hemisphere, reception, the gift shop, and services are South of the line.  The Safari Club was started by the actor William Holden and … Continue reading Mt Kenya

Masi Mara, Kenya

This is the first half of a letter from Mt. Kenya National Park.  It deals with our trip to the Masai Mara.  The second half of the letter will be in the post from Mt. Kenya.   April 27, 2012 Nanyuki, Kenya (Mt. Kenya National Park) Dear Friends, Victor, the deputy chief of the radio project for South Sudan, asked me why Americans want to come to Africa to see animals.  It’s people he is interested in.  I gave some feeble answer about how we had seen elephants, (Barbapapa) lions (Lion King) and hippos (Hungry, Hungry Hippo) in kids’ books … Continue reading Masi Mara, Kenya

Telc, Moravia, Czech Republic

We have been to Telc several times.  It has a nice outlet store for Bohemian crystal, even though it is in Moravia.  Each time it was overshadowed, in the letter, by other places or, in one case, by a traffic accident.  A Lada hit me while I was stopped an intersection, no one hurt.  So the pictures will have to tell the story.  The first time we were there in 1990 it was rundown but you could see the beauty under the dust and in spite of the faded paint.  The last time we visited in 2002 it was gloriously … Continue reading Telc, Moravia, Czech Republic

Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

April 27, 2002 Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic Dear Friends, We’re spending the night in Ceske Krumlov on a drive between Bratislava and Zagreb.  Ceske Krumlov is nowhere near the direct route from Bratislava to Zagreb.  Suzi and I have not often taken direct routes and we are the richer for it.  Ceske Krumlov is a fortified city protected by a meander in the Vlatava (Moldau) River.  We were last here in spring 1990 during the election that legitimized the Velvet Revolution.  The city was not yet a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  That came in 1992 along with some restoration funds.  In … Continue reading Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic

Rovinj, Croatia

October 1, 2011 Belgrade, Serbia Dear Friends, A week ago in Rovinji, Croatia, I went to sleep and woke up to the sounds of waves lapping at the sea wall three floors below our apartment window.  As the morning progressed I could hear gulls calling, flocking around the boats that had been seining all night for sardines, now coming into port, their wakes made the slap against the sea wall more pronounced.  At 7 AM the church bells at St. Eufemia called the city to wake. If you go to the window, just then, you can see the sun rise … Continue reading Rovinj, Croatia

Zagreb, 1997, Operetta at the Presidential Palace

This is from 1997.  I threw in the picture of the necktie shop in this tranche of photos, just because it seemed to go with the uniforms. May 11, 1997 Zagreb, Croatia Dear Friends, We’re in our eleventh week of wandering Europe after the evacuation.  We had planned to be gone two.   We’ll be in Zagreb another week before traveling to Vienna to get visas and then to Serbia as IREX plans our alternative lives for us. I still enjoy being awakened by church bells at 6:00 AM.  Since it’s summer they seem louder with the windows open. Earlier in … Continue reading Zagreb, 1997, Operetta at the Presidential Palace

Zagreb, Croatia

This letter included my first impressions of Zagreb. I took the pictures in this post in 2001 and 2011.  We had been evacuated from Tirana and had been traveling for two months on only the carryon bags we got out with.  We were working TDY jobs for our IREX as needed.  We had just come from Prague. Zagreb, Croatia April 25, 1997 Dear Friends, Sometimes something you learn in the first hours visiting a place can prejudice you against it before you have a chance to really get to appreciate it.  That could have happened to me in Croatia.  According … Continue reading Zagreb, Croatia

Mali Ston and Ston, Croatia

May 23, 2004 Mali Ston, Croatia, Dear Friends, Mali Ston is on a cove, not spectacularly beautiful, but restfully pretty.  Mali Ston is not distinctive compared with other historic towns along the coast.  The reason to go to Mali Stone is to eat.  Big busses bring eating tours to Mali Ston.  This weekend a busload of French Tourists came to sample local seafood and wines.  The cove has oysters and mussels and the local wine is from the next valley.  The town makes much of its income from seafood wedding feasts.  I’m allergic to seafood but everyone assured me that … Continue reading Mali Ston and Ston, Croatia

1000 years of Hungary

August 20, 2000 Budapest, Hungary Dear Friends, One thousand years ago today Hungary was established when King Stephen was granted the crown by Pope Sylvester.  Today there’s a party going on.  One week ago Suzi and I were sitting on the beach at Milocar in Montenegro, with no idea we would be here.  Since then I’ve been in Bosnia, Croatia, and Italy.  Today Suzi goes back to Podgorica while tomorrow I go to Bosnia, Austria and Romania.  Don’t ask. At the end of the week I was feeling pretty punk.  When I got back from a meeting with an ambassador … Continue reading 1000 years of Hungary

Szabor (Statue) Park, Budapest

These are paragraphs from a 2003 letter: In Hungary the Internationale is best represented in Szabor (or Statue) park, a collection of Socialist Realism artifacts outside Budapest.  While the park is not difficult to get to it’s sometimes difficult to find.  I asked the Concierge to mark it on a map.  She couldn’t find it and wondered why it was not in the center of town.  I said; “Well, I don’t suppose you would put it in the middle of Hero’s Square,” which is where some of the original work really did sit.  She laughed.  Finding the road is not … Continue reading Szabor (Statue) Park, Budapest


This is an excerpt from a 2003 letter. Budapest has always been a “comfort city.”  The first place hit after our first sojourn in Albania was Budapest and it seemed like Disneyland, even though it was only four years out of Communism itself.  We had water, we had heat.  We put them together and had long hot showers.  During Milosevic it is the place we went to for refuge when things got too hot in Montenegro.  We maintained a flat here for four months, and that was a comfort.  But the food was the real part of the comfort.  The … Continue reading Budapest


Suzi and I had a flat in Budapest for, perhaps, 100 days in 2000.  We had a flat there because that is where USAID was coordinating aid to Serbian independent media and civil society during the election that unseated Milosevic.  I spent only 22 nights in that flat, Suzi a few more.  During that time I was using Budapest airport to travel between Kosovo, Montenegro, Romania, Bosnia and who knows where else.  Suzi was traveling too.  At several points one of us arranged to get to the airport early because that was the best way for us to see each … Continue reading Hungary

Sarajevo, BiH

This is from a May 2004 lettet. Suzi was not sure she wanted to go back to Sarajevo.  We had been there before the war and had pleasant memories.  I’ve been back since but Suzi has not.  It didn’t help that two weeks ago a woman we both know who had been in Sarajevo before the war and who recently went back says she cried for three days.  But I had been to Sarajevo several times in 2000.  Things were not so bad.  The war in Bosnia has been over almost nine years. You can tell there has been a … Continue reading Sarajevo, BiH