Archive for the ‘Travel Tales’ Category

Pink flamingos in Kenya

Lake Nakuru flamingos

We stood there for long minutes on the edge of the lake, thousands of pink flamingos forming a dreamlike picture in front of us, and we breathed in the sweet smell of rain on a warm African afternoon.

Impressions of Cambodia

Buddhist monks in Cambodia

“Cambodians have three rules for life,” she said. “Eat well, grow up, and take care of family.”

Athenians, buses and automobiles

Acropolis in Athens

The landscape of greater Athens may have been somewhat drab but no one could accuse the Greek drivers of being anything but colorful.

“We don’t eat people, we’re vegetarians!”

Blue Mosque in Istanbul

“It was just a few days later in Istanbul that we heard one of the funniest lines ever from a man who was trying to entice us into his store. We initially walked past him, pretending not to hear his plea. But then we couldn’t help but laugh.”

Impressions of Calcutta

Calcutta traffic

It was all part of the Indian paradox. Every impression had two sides. There was uplifting spirituality and abject poverty, technological know-how and confounding disorder, vivid beauty and dreadful filth, and all of it was blended together in a staggering mass of humanity.

Life as a Buddhist monk in Thailand

Buddhist monk Thailand

It was in Chang Mai that we had one of our more memorable travel experiences during a morning chat with a Buddhist monk.

Turkish baths and backflipping pigeons

Turkish bath

“A Turkish man whom we just met drove us 20 minutes to a tiny village and left us here. I jumped in a pool of ice water. I laid down on a stone table that was so hot it nearly cooked me. And now I’m having my skin scrubbed off by a guy who is dressed a blue loin cloth. The things we do for travel experiences.”

Memories of Egypt

Pyramids and Sphinx

This is the tale of our interaction over several days with an Egyptian university student during a trip to Egypt. Though the story is a bit humorous, you will see Khalil here discussing his dreams for the future and his economic challenges. Since this is relevant to the historic events now taking place in that country, it’s a good way to remember the dreams of all young Egyptians.

Learning about Buddhism at a Himalayan temple

View from Thiksey Gompa

An elderly monk walked up to the spot where we stood, slowly spinning the prayer wheels and chanting words under his breath. He stopped in front of us and smiled. “Om mani padme hum,” he said, in a soft, slow cadence.

Ferry adventures on the Red Sea

Aqaba, Jordan

Sometimes travel is a dazzling collage of sights and wonders, and sometimes it’s an exhausting, sigh-inducing day of trying to get from one place to another. If you’re lucky enough to be traveling, though, then even the sigh-inducing moments can be memorable.

Two woman and their luggage in Jerusalem

Jerusalem skyline

What happens when you take an American female traveler, an elderly nun and a taxi filled with luggage, and throw them into the middle of a gay pride parade in Jerusalem?

Praying while crossing the street in Vietnam

Hanoi street traffic

There we were, standing on a corner in Hanoi, trying to gather courage to cross the street. It was our first day in Vietnam and it didn’t take long to discover that crossing a street in that country was not the simple exercise we were accustomed to at home.

    Meet Bob Riel


    Bob Riel is a writer and a traveler. Go here to read more about Bob, his work and the Travels in the Riel World blog.


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