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Green Planet Dubai: a review

If you’ve ever been to a world-class zoo – the Bronx Zoo comes to mind – you’ll have seen an indoor tropical rainforest before. Visitors walk on prescribed paths and bridges, while the birds and other animals fly or roam where they choose within their building-sized cages. The Green Planet Dubai is one such indoor…

Ruminations on Auschwitz, Part 2

NOTE: This post is the second of two parts. The first is “Ruminations on an Auschwitz tour.” It would probably make more sense for you to start there. Problems of Auschwitz tourism I have some issues with how the tours of Auschwitz are conducted. I’m not criticizing the Krakow Shuttle’s conduct: their part of the tour…

Ruminations on an Auschwitz Tour

When I was a kid – six or seven years old, I’d guess – my parents decided I was old enough to see a documentary about the Holocaust. With no idea what it was about, I was delighted to be allowed to stay up past my bedtime. If my parents explained it at all, before…

A Yellow Boat Tour in Dubai

For a moment or two, as the boat sped up, I wondered if this had been a bad idea. The rigid, yellow, inflatable hull plowed through the water, throwing up spray on either side. The slightest wave and the bow would rise up alarmingly, only to fall again with a spine-jolting bang. (Disclosure: I paid…

Al Ayn UNESCO site: A day trip from Dubai

“We go to camel market?” Nishad asked, glancing over at me. I had, contrary to custom in Dubai, chosen to sit in the front seat of the taxi, explaining that I could see the scenery better from there. “No, thank you.” “Souk?” “No, not that either.” I had hired Nishad as a driver for the…

One Day in Dubai: Things to do!

Dubai is a land of superlatives: biggest, tallest, first. I would also add: oddest. Dubai is often compared to Las Vegas, and I agree: its sheer brashness and artificiality are very like Las Vegas. Like Vegas, it’s a big, shiny city plunked down in a desert. And although there aren’t any casinos – at least…

The Dubai Frame, in this picture, looks like it's just behind the palm trees, and only two or three stories high!

A visit to the Dubai Frame

The Dubai Frame was not what I expected. In the flurry of publicity when it opened recently, the media showed just what its name promised: a picture frame. That’s what I thought it was: a large picture frame, outsized, like everything in Dubai. It was two or three stories tall, I figured, perfect for taking…

Hacı Bayram mosque in Ankara, Turkey. The small section under the minaret is the mausoleum, and looks older than the rest. One Day in Ankara, Turkey.

One day in Ankara, Turkey

The last time I tried to visit Turkey was more than 30 years ago, and my attempt failed. I’ll tell that story at the end of this post. I will tell you, though, that I finally managed to get there recently when I flew to Ankara to lead a workshop. I tacked on one extra…

The California seal inlay at Hoover Dam

A Hoover Dam Tour and a Dam Tour Guide

“My name is Arcelia and I’ll be your dam tour guide.” This was our introduction to our tour of Hoover Dam. Arcelia milked the joke as much as she could – “this dam wall,” “these dam generators,” and so on – but somehow, it worked, earning a chuckle from the visitors every time. Her cheerful…

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