The Atlas


7 Nov

Khodorkovsky’s Impassioned Plea

Let me start by saying, as Cathryn Collins, a friend of mine and the writer, producer and director of Vlast (Power) said at the LAFest where her film on Khordorkovsky was screened, “I don’t know if he’s guilty or innocent…but …if this can happen to him, it can happen to anybody.” It is common knowledge what has transpired...

25 Jul

Meditations #12

It is the journey that’s important, be it a pilgrimage for the soul or a caravan for the coffers. The earth is marked with the tracery of ancient trade routes along which feet and hooves have trod. They tell stories of war and love, of human toil and weariness.  Stretching across continents and back through time, they echo with campfire conversation...

2 Jul

Prime Real Estate

Former Burmese Palace, perfect for hotel or getaway.  Interested buyer needs imagination, a fleet of small lake boats and a passion for Southeast Asia’s most beautiful country.

14 Jun

Bagdad Cafe 66

Midway on the road between Palmyra and Damascus – on the road that runs true through a desert landscape direct to Baghdad – is the Bagdad Cafe 66.  Actually built and named after the movie of the same name, it is a most welcome stop for lunch, mint tea or just a change of view. We stopped for lunch – a delicious offering of the...

12 Jun

Aramaic – Talk about Old…

Thirty miles north of Damascus are the rock girt Christian villages of Seidnaya and Maloula, important places of pilgrimage for the Christian faithful.  Seidnaya’s Greek Orthodox Convent, dedicated to the Virgin Mary, is supposedly the oldest continuously occupied convent in the world; Maloula’s  St. Taqla and Mar Sarkis Monasteries are...

9 Jun

Fresh, Seasonal, Delicious – Syrian Gastronomy

Just as Syria is a cradle of human culture, its cuisine impressed me as a star of world gastronomy along with Chinese, French or Italian gastronomy. As with any complex gastronomy, there is no single Syrian cuisine but rather a mosaic of regional cuisines produced, and responding to, the geographic position, the soil, the climate and the culture...

9 Jun

Aleppo Soap

Aleppo soap , along with Ghraoui chocolate, are without doubt the two best purchases in Syria!  I had done my usual blog search prior to our visit to Syria to see what we would find in its famous souks and to think about my luggage requirements.  Soap was definitely high on the list.  Made of olive oil and laurel, I knew that, as with any good olive...

7 Jun

Syria’s Treasures – Aleppo & Beyond

  When Rome was built in 750 BC, Aleppo was already 2500 years old. UNESCO has registered Aleppo as a human heritage site along with other cities like Florence, Pamukkale and Cairo.  It is also a World Heritage Site: its walls being the best-preserved in the Middle East after those of Jerusalem; its Citadel – the wold’s largest – never...

11 Feb

Taj Gone Wild

One of the great traps that travel designers fall in to when planning trips in countries with solid gold reputations is to do the same old, same old.  India is a case in point. The vast majority of Americans head to Rajasthan while second-timers might feel intrepid enough to navigate the cities, plains and ghats of the South.  But India is huge and...

27 Oct

Meditations on Travel #4

We travel for this: to settle in to our body and connect with our heart; to savor diversity; to be surprised; to remain flexible.  We travel to remind ourselves that compassion must overwhelm narrow–mindedness and fear, and that we are a part of the human community.

Follow the road

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