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… that’s what I’ve always wanted to do (among other things). A slight variation to Bob Segar’s lyrics have been going through my mind for weeks now as I am poised to do just that- go to Kathmandu. I’m headed to Nepal after dreaming of it, studying and planning for more years than I can remember. Visiting such an exotic, rugged but beautiful part of the world has been on the big… Read More

So what do you wear to a visit to Saudi Arabia?  That was the first question that needed answering when I decided to attend the conference (see Part 1 post).  It turns out that the answer was quite simple for women- an abaya. The abaya is a long black robe and is used as outer clothing to cover females when they are out in public.  They were required for all female guests…. Read More

Recently I had a chance to attend a conference in Saudi Arabia and I went, of course, since the opportunity to travel to such an exotic location, especially as a single female, is exceedingly rare.  In addition the conference was being hosted by a member of the royal family so I knew we would be well taken care of.  The conference, covering topics in science and technology with emphasis on space, highlighted… Read More

The 25th annual Art Car parade was held this weekend in Houston.  It is fitting, somehow, that in the city home to Big Oil, a movement has grown over the years to turn automobiles into art.  I was not living here when the tradition got started but having lived here for the past 15 years, I have seen it grow every year as the participation increases, even drawing enthusiasts from different states… Read More

When you travel around the world you realize that we take a lot for granted here in the United States. Take water fountains, for example.  Everywhere you go in the US you can find water fountains; in airports, schools, public parks, almost anywhere you are you can pause and take a drink of fresh, if not cold, water.   For many of us living in the US, and other areas of the… Read More

After seven weeks of volunteering, taking some side trips and a grand adventure on the Inca Trail, it is time to say good-bye to Cusco and head back home to Houston.  Today (Friday) was my last day.  Tomorrow I am off to the airport for the marathon voyage home.  The time has flown by and I have had a wonderful time experiencing life here in Peru and meeting so many people.  The… Read More

Having made the decision the day before that we were going to get up early and get in line to beat the crowds we were mentally braced for the 3:20am wake up call, but nonetheless it seemed to come early.  As we moved about and packed up we heard sounds from the campsite next door so we were not the only ones getting an early start. It was dark, of course, but… Read More

Even though we had an early wake-up call, 5:30am, we could start a bit more leisurely since we only had about 9 km to hike. We had the third pass to get through but needed to climb only 200m or so to reach it.  The big challenge of the day would be the 1000 meters (a little over 3000 feet) in altitude we would be descending. The third campsite, a mere four… Read More

We were all exhausted from the climb of day before and slept fairly well but the 5:00am wake up call seemed to come early.  It was cloudy and misty when we crawled out of our tents.  A layer of clouds covered the valley below and most of the peaks surrounding us, although some stubbornly poked through.  As the sun rose the light glanced off of both the peaks and the clouds causing… Read More

Finally after being in Peru for almost six weeks it was time to go hike the Inca Trail and see Machu Picchu, one of the reasons I had come to Peru in the first place.  On Tuesday night, the day before the trek started, the company I had booked with, Enigma, had a meeting to go over logistics and schedule.  It was there that I met our guide, Erick, his assistant, Elbin,… Read More