General

Welcome to our travels!

Join us as we take this exciting nine-and-a-half week around-the-world adventure through Africa and Asia . . . first landing in Casablanca, Morocco and taking our last steps in and around — well, just come along and see — with 19 flights, hours of railway, buses, cars, mopeds, and many, many miles of walking in-between over our 65 days of travel. Photographs have been captured through Frances’ thoughtful eye, and I will narrate, for the…

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Marrakech, Morocco

Magical Marrakech

Bob and Frances send you Greetings from Morocco.    We have been in Marrakech for a few days and have had some amazing experiences. After landing in Casablanca we flew to Marrakech and took a taxi to the Medina part of Marrakech — the medinas are filled with narrow streets, tiny alleyways, market places and historical mosques. The purpose of the medina was to keep out invading armies and each major city has one. Because…

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Fez, Morocco

Counting Sheep While Finding Our Way to Fez

After 4 memorable Marrakech days and nights we took a 9-hour train (not exactly the Marrakech Express) to the city of Fez. We stayed in a remarkable lodging Ryad Mabrouka built in 1926 run by French owners that was most impressive in its decoration and layout. There were 8 rooms in this hotel and the food was amazing. We had two dinners and all our breakfasts in the hotel and couldn’t have had more personalized…

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Cape Town, South Africa

Return to Cape Town

Our flight from Casablanca to Cape Town was eventful. We encountered an Air Morocco ticket agent who didn’t want to allow Frances to carry on her small suitcase containing her laptop, professional camera and lenses. This was the first of a few challenges with carryon baggage weight restrictions. It seems as if each airline we flew in Africa and Asia had different regulations for both carry on and checked baggage. Fortunately, we were able to…

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KwaNogqaza, South Africa

KwaNogqaza, the ‘Place of the Tall One’

Howick is Goodenough!  Between teaching at the Amy Foundation in Cape Town and the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, we were fortunate to spend the weekend with our dear friends Stan and Mary Goodenough in Howick, KwaZulu-Natal Province. Nearby Howick Falls is a waterfall approximately 95 m in height and lies on the Umgeni River. The Zulu people called the falls KwaNogqaza, which means “Place of the Tall One. We traditionally take a group photo…

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Durban, South Africa

Durban and the University of KwaZulu-Natal

Our visit to Durban had everything to do with teaching for my dear friend Chats DeVroop at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Chats and I have been friends ever since he arrived at my doorstep in the mid-1990s and introduced himself. I had met his brother at a Jazz Education conference and that’s how Chats knew about me and my interest in South African jazz music. Luckily, I was home when Chats knocked on my door.…

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Maldives

We Found Our Paradise in the Maldives

We had heard from our friends Stan and Mary Goodenough that the Maldives islands were a little-known jewel. This was an understatement. The Maldives is a country with hundreds of small islands near the southwest coast of India. With input from Stan and Mary, Frances found Malahini a resort that was only a 10 minute boat ride from the airport island and Male the major city, but galaxies away from the usual hustle and bustle…

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Singapore

Today’s Singapore — A Rich Tapestry of Arts, Culture, Green Sanctuaries and Serious Feasting

I was very excited to return to Singapore where I had visited on my first sabbatical. I remembered it to be the cleanest city I had ever seen and this did not change. The government has strict regulations which impose a fine and/or jail time about keeping public sanitation strictly regulated, therefore no chewing gum or spitting on the sidewalk; no drawing of graffiti; public transportation such as bus and subway are considered “non-food areas”;…

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Kuala Lumpur

Flashbacks of “The Terminal” . . . Kuala Lumpur

At one point we thought we would spend a few days in Malaysia hoping to connect with my 3rd cousin who often works in Kuala Lumpur. It didn’t work out, so since we had already booked a flight from Bali to Malaysia on Air Asia, we decided to book a continuing flight on Air Asia from Kuala Lumpur to Vietnam. This journey was certainly a work in progress. When we arrived in Kuala Lumpur we…

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Vietnam

Vietnam in Transition . . . Reflections on our Painful Past

On arrival in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon) airport, we were met by a representative from the visa company who helped us obtain our expedited visas. It was time consuming, expensive and we lost one of our day’s stay in Vietnam, but we made it. The ride from the airport to the hotel was harrowing. The density of cars, motorcycles and mopeds all competing for space regardless of the traffic lanes was…

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Thailand

The Majesty and Simplicity of Thailand

After an eventful flight from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok, it was a relief to easily and quickly obtain a free Tourist visa to Thailand. In fact, we were able to skip the long immigration lines that other passengers on our flight had. We got money at an ATM and this continues to be a challenge. With 31 Thai Baht equaling 1 US dollar, this was far more manageable than our recent currency exchanges.…

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China

Beijing and The Great Wall

I had the good fortune to visit China for 2 weeks in 1988 on my first sabbatical and for 6 weeks in 1992 as the chaperone for a Milton Academy Chinese Language program. Both times, I had the pleasure of spending most of my time with the Experimental Middle School attached to Beijing Normal University. I developed some wonderful friendships with two the schools’ teachers and I was hopeful Frances and I could re-connect with…

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Kyoto, Japan

Harmony, Tranquility and Tradition — Ancient Kyoto — 京都へようこそ

Konnichiwa! I have wanted to visit Japan for many years so this was a wonderful way to end our 9 week around the world journey. Thanks to the Tonegawa family, Thomas and Yuko Taylor, and Rene Huemer, photographer, for their help with travel ideas for Japan. We flew from Beijing to Osaka with a change of planes in Seoul. When we arrived in Osaka there were very long lines checking for people who might be…

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Tokyo, Japan

Modern Boldness Meets Tradition — Tokyo

Japan, and especially Tokyo, has long been on my bucket list of places to visit. I have always found Japanese culture fascinating and was excited about the opportunity to experience and be immersed in it. We left Kyoto on the extraordinary bullet train. What a treat to witness the amazingly efficient and comfortable rail travel in Japan. Riding in the first-class cars was wonderful. The ride was smooth and pleasant. As we were traveling from…

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Boston

Completing the Circle . . . Our Last Night of Flight

And now we are headed home. Our return flight was on American Airlines. This was the only US based flight since boarding our first flight on JetBlue from Boston to New York on February 22. Many, but not all, of the airlines we flew on in Africa and Asia offered more comfort, better food and better service than US based carriers but I truly welcomed the carry-on policy of American Airlines. Our initial descent into…

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