On my birthday, I go to the village of Santiago Atitlan to pay homage to Maximon - a Maya god that smokes + drinks.
Markets - Villages - Tribes - Festivals - Music - Cities
Part #2 of story heading into outer Indonesia to Papua in search of my GF -Erica's, long lost father that she hadn't seen for 30 years.
Glowing psychedelic skulls grin at me. Today is the Day of the Dead. What the Maya call Hanal Pixan also known as The Day of the Dead in Mexico.
On the edge of the Sahara in Algeria, five ancient fortified villages in the M'zab Valley preserve a unique Islamic culture lasting more than 1000 years.
Visiting a fishing village of the Muslim Cham people on the Mekong River, amid the high fishing season in Cambodia.
Making a prayer at the Meiji Shrine in Tokyo. Careful what you wish for...
Traveling across Eritrea in 1995 it seemed like a land of peace and hope. People were enthusiastic about the new beginning after their war of liberation.
The self-proclaimed Republic of Somaliland is safe to travel. And while there's not much in the way of tourist sights, Hargeisa is the gateway to Somaliland.
A letter home from my time in Ainaro in the mountains of East Timor, living with a local family and working for the United Nations in 2000.
Djenne is famous for its surreal mud mosque that dominates this ancient trading town, once an important stop on the Trans-Saharan route and today's Monday Market is also a must-see.
The colorful, Maya San Francisco de Asis Festival in Guatemala is held over a period of days in early October.
To escape slave-grabbing raids by the neighboring Benin kingdom in the 17th century, the people of Tamberma Valley built these fortified houses.
Kang village climbs the mountain in a stack of earth walls, balconies and roofs and this settlement, in northeast Iran, has been inhabited for over 3000 years.
The Marsh Arabs of Iraq are a unique Middle Eastern culture that have thrived in the marshlands of southern Iraq for millennia. I visited them in 1989.
Meet Daouda Diabate - a Baye Fall singer/songwriter from Senegal, who lives in an old military bunker on Goree Island offshore of Dakar.
Traveling the capital of Ashgabat, with all the security and surreal architecture, I understand why Turkmenistan is dubbed - “The North Korea of Central Asia”
Hiking in northern Laos to stay in an Akha Hill-Tribe village near the Chinese border.
Traveling Syria in 1989, encountering classic Islamic hospitality on a bungled hiking trip to the desert ruins of Halabiye on the Euphrates River.
The hike thru rainforest to the volcanic crater lake of Laguna Chicabal takes about 2 hours. But don't expect to swim as it's the sacred center of the Mam Maya cosmos.
I hitchhiked amid the Maramures Region of Romania to the idyllic peasant village of Botiza. Homestays are available and the tranquil countryside is great for walks. .
Visiting the Kurdish village of Palangan, its houses stacked on top of each each other while stepping up the mountainside.
Basílica de Nuestra Señora del Cobre is Cuba’s most-sacred site, a place of miracles attributed to the "Black Virgin".
Video of traveling Sierra Leone in a bus crawling amid a crowded, early-morning market spilling onto the roads of Freetown.
Watch the exciting Friday ceremony of the Sufis gathered at the Hamid El-Nil Mosque in Omdurman, in Sudan.
Discovered in 2005 and yet 5000 years old, Las Geel is one of the world's greatest prehistoric art sites.
The ancient town of Shaxi in Yunnan was a market for trading Chinese tea and Tibetan war horses on the Southern Silk Road between India and China.
Women with lip plates and killer warriors - yeah these Mursi tribe traditions still exist in Ethiopia. But today, the Mursi also pose for tourist dollars.
Looking at the women of Minab Market reveals the ancient trading routes that once connected southern Iran with the Arabian Peninsula, Pakistan, and beyond.
Xinye is a time trip - reaching back 100s of years, this ancient Chinese village remains intact from the Ming and Qing eras.
I was walking the streets of Taizz in Yemen, when suddenly this folk musician stops and offers to play a tune for me as crowds gather around.
Video of a Mexican Mayan shaman performing a traditional ritual with words, drums and incense to cleanse, bless, and protect me. In Spanish, he wishes good health, luck with family, and my travels.
Memories of backpacking around Syria, talking my way into Syria by getting a visa on the border, exploring ancient sights while hitchhiking the desert, and visiting a restricted military zone on the Israeli border, and more.
In the mountains of Vietnam, I stay with a Hmong family living an ancient lifestyle (barely touched by the modern world in 1994), which included the accepted use of opium.
Traveling to Sirigu Village known for geometric designs and folk art painted on the houses by the artistic women of northern Ghana.
Video of traditional Mongolian folk music - with throat singing - recorded in a tent in Karakorum, Mongolia, once the capital of Genghis Khan's empire.
The tiniest village in Bulgaria is Melnik - seemingly lost amid the eroded hills, yet it's famous wine was once the toast of Europe, for over 600 years.
Journeying thru "The Land of Fire" to "the world's southern-most city" and visiting the Yaghan - the vanishing indigenous people at the end of South America.
If you're looking for a ragged, end-of-the-earth place - go to Berbera. This old Red Sea port has dusty streets, crumbling architecture & wrecked ships.
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Old Sanaa is an Arabian Nights vision - straight from the tales of the 1001 Nights. And it's one the oldest continuously-inhabited cities in the world.
Exploring the desert mountains of Gansu and meeting Yugur nomads while van camping a few days at a waterhole used by their flocks of sheep. In this wilderness, I celebrated my 54th birthday.
Visit markets, see tribes, hike the weird-humped Taka Mountains and explore the ruined Khatmiyah Mosque.