A Steamy Day and a Missed Connection In Honduras

Thoughts after one journey and before another “Tell me,” she said, “why gringo women wear such ugly shoes.” She said it in Spanish, her tongue forming the precise syllables that I envied and still failed to produce after years of practice. Her name was Viviana, and she was my Spanish teacher. We were practicing my conversation… Continue reading A Steamy Day and a Missed Connection In Honduras

A Camel Named Tom Marley Made Me Choose: Be Right or Be Happy?

He was a racing camel “Tom Marley is a racing camel,” Ahmed said. “The fastest in all of the Sinai.” “Tom Marley?” I asked. “Not Bob?” Ahmed appeared somewhat surprised by my ignorance, but the stupidity of tourists is known the world over. Ahmed patiently explained that Tom Marley, the racing camel, was named after Tom… Continue reading A Camel Named Tom Marley Made Me Choose: Be Right or Be Happy?

How to Almost Run into Massive Hippos (Hint: Be Drunk)

Also: pay no attention to where you are going Three of us lurched down the narrow path carved into the dense forest.  Weaving our way from one side of the path to the other, we paid no attention to the various squawks and rustlings produced by the creatures surrounding us. Having consumed an intemperate number of… Continue reading How to Almost Run into Massive Hippos (Hint: Be Drunk)

The American Dream Costs You Your Life

I went to Guatemala to study Spanish. Guatemala City is home to no fewer than three statues of Christopher Columbus. All three show him standing atop the globe. Riding buses and reading newspapers, I saw pictures of presidents, vice presidents, and ambassadors who looked like the man atop the globe. Most Guatemalans are of Mayan descent.… Continue reading The American Dream Costs You Your Life

Dusty Around the Eyes

Names change colors when you are dusty around the eyes. Watch a gerenuk at sunset while listening to a Walkman. These two odd sentences are mnemonics I constructed to remind myself of chains of thought that occurred to me while learning to do anthropological fieldwork in East Africa. Searching the forests of the Semliki Valley… Continue reading Dusty Around the Eyes

Not Quite Canadian

I couldn’t figure it out. Was there something on my face? Was my fly open? I hadn’t made it halfway across campus from the bus stop and three friends had already stopped me to ask how I was doing.  I was fine, as far as I knew.  But I was starting to wonder. It was… Continue reading Not Quite Canadian