Do Me a Fava, Pass Me the Falafel—and More

I ignored it in Egypt for the first few days, not so much that I don't like falafel (I do), but I can get it in Seattle where I live. How many ways can it be made, I figured. That's before I knew there was a distinctive Egyptian version. How is it different? Instead of... Continue Reading →

The Valley Temple and Osireion: Echoes of a Bygone World Culture?

Seeing is believing. It was deja vu all over again, as a famous American Yogi once said. I gawked at the Valley Temple of Khafre in Giza and the Osireion in Abydos. Though they are in Egypt, they reminded me of monuments I saw in Peru, halfway round the world. Cyclopean blocks of unadorned stone... Continue Reading →

Temple of Karnak (Luxor)

The Temple of Karnak in Luxor rivals an amusement park in size. The grounds are so big that it can easily surround the great cathedrals of Europe: Notre Dame, St. Peter's, Milan and more. Started in the Middle Kingdom and added to over a period of 2,000 years into Ptolemaic times by thirty pharaohs, it... Continue Reading →

Curiosities of the Temple of Seti I (Abydos, Egypt)

The hypostyle halls were the first I saw in Egypt. For that reason, the Temple of Seti I will have a special place in my memory. What for me conjures up ancient Egypt as much as the Giza Plateau are these halls and their towering and beautifully inscribed columns, bathed in mysterious, diffuse light. Seti... Continue Reading →

Cruising the Nile in Egypt

It was almost dusk when we arrived at Luxor Airport from Cairo. The Temple of Luxor was illuminated by the time we got to the hotel. The city was the start of our journey up the Nile to see the temples and tombs of New Kingdom and Ptolemaic pharaohs. (When I say "up the Nile,"... Continue Reading →

Tips for Sprucing Up Beer

We were driving past groves of Sitka spruce, Alaska's state tree that's everywhere in SE Alaska. The bus driver/guide made the remark in passing: "A tavern in town serves a local sour beer made with the tips of these trees." I was immediately intrigued. Spruce buds in the making of beer? He added that this... Continue Reading →

Creek Street, a Walk on the Wild Side

Strolling along historic Creek Street is not much different than any modern-day boardwalk of shops and restaurants. It has obvious appeal to tourists who pour through here in the summer, the cruise hordes numbering nearly a million this year alone. It's conveniently located only a few blocks from the cruise terminal. You would never know... Continue Reading →

Hubbard Glacier is Defying Global Warming Trends

The first I saw Hubbard Glacier was from the upper deck of the cruise ship. The captain announced its approach over the PA system. Passengers positioned themselves wherever they could get a good look. I estimated that the vessel got no closer than a few miles because the glacier, the largest in North America at... Continue Reading →

Shakes Glacier Is Receding at a Fast Clip

At the end of a jet boat ride on the Stikine River is Shakes Glacier. It has the unfortunate reputation for being one of the fastest receding glaciers in Alaska, at a current rate of 350ft/yr, according to the Shakes Glacier Survey Team. Because of this, icebergs regularly calve from the terminus, some of which... Continue Reading →

Eagle Eyes

There are terms we use about which we don't give much thought. On the face of it, their origin seems obvious enough, it's just that we have no personal experience to give the expressions much tangible significance; they're part of the common vernacular. 'Eagle eyes' is one of them. I was on a boat tour... Continue Reading →

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