March 14, 2017: Vinales, Cuba – There’s an angry horse tied up on the road ahead.

Cuba is one of the most challenging places I have ever traveled.  Little about the way this place is transparent.  People are very thorough, checking every box, but not necessarily in order. Continue reading “March 14, 2017: Vinales, Cuba – There’s an angry horse tied up on the road ahead.”

March 13, 2017: Hemingway’s Havana

This morning, my mission was clear.  Find passage for tomorrow to Vinales, by reputation the most beautiful countryside in all of Cuba.  The state-owned bus company was no help – the only bus there being full and sold out online weeks ago.  Thankfully, the lady behind the counter at Infotur, the state-owned tourism office was able to work a little private sector magic and get me set up in a shared taxi for just five dollars more than the price of the sold out bus.  And apparently I owed her nothing more for this service than a sonrisas grande e un muchas gracias. Continue reading “March 13, 2017: Hemingway’s Havana”

March 12, 2017: Havana, Cuba – Daylight Savings in the Time of Revolution

I slept nearly 11 hours last night, which is unheard of for me.

I woke up this morning and took my breakfast in the street, a shot of thick, syrupy sweet coffee decanted and consumed in a crumbling doorway.  Caffinated and high from an unhealthy dose of sugar, I proceeded to the Museo de la Revolucion.   Continue reading “March 12, 2017: Havana, Cuba – Daylight Savings in the Time of Revolution”

March 11, 2017: Havana, Cuba – “This city may be beautiful to you, my friend, but not to me.”

I bought my tickets almost the minute that Southwest Airlines announced direct service between Tampa, my home base, and Havana, Cuba. Continue reading “March 11, 2017: Havana, Cuba – “This city may be beautiful to you, my friend, but not to me.””

November 20, 2016: Living History in the UAE

If you look around Openendedsocialstudies.org, you’ll find that I love history. Continue reading “November 20, 2016: Living History in the UAE”

November 19, 2016: Grand Mosques and Grand Desert Adventure in Abu Dhabi

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, and is the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates.  It holds up to 40,000 worshippers, has four massive minarets, each 106 meters tall with designs incorporating elements from major periods in Islamic history, and 82 domes, each inscribed in gold with verses from the Holy Quran.   Continue reading “November 19, 2016: Grand Mosques and Grand Desert Adventure in Abu Dhabi”

November 17 and 18, 2016: The Burj, the Palm, and the Dubai Brand

I haven’t been able to write much since I arrived in Dubai.  This place is a sensual onslaught of glamour – colored lights and stunning views, rich food and richer cars, hot sun and cool AC, full burka and lots of leg.  I’ve been overwhelmed. Continue reading “November 17 and 18, 2016: The Burj, the Palm, and the Dubai Brand”

November 13, 2016: Alive and Well in the Kingdom of Bahrain

After a truly heroic 24 hours of travel – from Florida to Atlanta, Atlanta to Amsterdam, Amsterdam to Qatar, and Qatar to Bahrain – I am proud to report that I am alive and well in the Kingdom of Bahrain.  I’m here with a dozen other teachers on the TEACH Fellowship sponsored by the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce. Continue reading “November 13, 2016: Alive and Well in the Kingdom of Bahrain”

Unrecognized Potential: Terra Preta, Ancient Orchards, and Life in the Amazon

Until relatively recently, it was widely believed that the Amazon Rainforest was incapable of sustaining large scale human development.  New findings have challenged this view, and evidence of ancient agriculture suggests that humans once developed this fragile region in ways so subtle that – in the form of carefully managed soils and prehistoric orchards – they have been hiding in plain sight all this time, challenging the basic tenants of “agriculture” as western eyes tend to recognize it. Continue reading “Unrecognized Potential: Terra Preta, Ancient Orchards, and Life in the Amazon”