A trip back to rural wonders of yesteryear

By: Victor Block

The “T” intersection of two narrow roads that is the closest thing to the center of Syria, Va. (population 370) is the site of the Syria Mercantile Company. It was there that my recent journey into the countryside, as well as the past, began.Three gray-haired men rocked on the front porch dishing the local dirt. Tacked to a bulletin board beside them were hand-written notices... READ MORE

San Francisco’s Chinatown feeds the sens

By: Michelle Locke

Smack in the middle of San Francisco’s Chinatown, Portsmouth Square is a kaleidoscope of sounds, smells and colors. The cadence of Chinese dialects fills the air, and splashes of red and gold glow from shop windows to banners strung across the narrow streets.The rich smell of roast duck curls out of hole-in-the-wall eating places, blending with the faint smell of incense burning on... READ MORE

Palm Springs, California’s desert oasis

By: Troy Petenbrink

It is my favorite part of the show: A grand staircase appears on the middle of the stage, and among all the dazzling show lights the lovely ladies of the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies take to the stage one at a time, adorned in rhinestoned, feathered and flowered regalia.Watching Washington, D.C. native Joni Naber in her purple halo of a headdress gracefully descend the stairs with her... READ MORE

Visiting old and new Toyko on the cheap

By: Dan Strumpf

One of the most fascinating things about Tokyo is the way it combines both the ancient and the modern. Or rather, the way it doesn’t combine them at all, so the new and the old are side by side everywhere you turn.Take the metro to the Chiyoda Ward in central Tokyo and you’ll find yourself surrounded by a tangle of glass and steel skyscrapers — until out of nowhere appears ... READ MORE

Sun and rum lap the shores of Barbados

By: Norm Goldstein

ST. PHILIP, Barbados — George Washington slept here.Among the hundreds of markers that make that claim, the most curious is here on Barbados, the easternmost Caribbean island, off the coast of Venezuela.Washington visited Barbados in 1751. He apparently enjoyed his stay, despite a bout of smallpox, writing in his diary, “In the cool of the evening we rode in the country and were ... READ MORE

Nepal offers visitors unique experiences

By: Victor Block

The setting resembled a stunning picture postcard come to life. Soaring, snow-capped mountains provided a backdrop for green-clad terraces carved out of steep hillsides.In fields below, men and women wearing a rainbow of colorful clothing bent low to pick golden shoots and tie them into huge bundles, which they carried to a rickety wooden wagon pulled by a pair of water buffalo.Scenes like... READ MORE