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Make Hummus Not Walls

On the morning we set out to cross the Israeli-Palestinian border for a day-trip to Bethlehem, we heard what sounded like a baby crying in the open foyer of an apartment building on Jaffa Street. Investigating, we discovered a tiny kitten huddled in a corner on the cold, marble floor. Her, champion of hungry and…

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“The hummus will set you free!”

“The hummus will set you free!” This was yelled at me by a very aggressive hummus vendor who then flashed a wide grin and pointed at several pots of hummus (pronounced hoo-mus) set on a counter in front of him. Her and I were deep within the Mahane Yehuda Market. We had already purchased some halva (a…

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Burning nipples, papier-mâché Moses and the baptism site of Christ

What do burning nipples and a visit to the baptism site of Jesus have in common? For me, the two experiences were separated by only a few miles. From our hotel in Madaba, Jordan, we drove our rental car west to explore and have a swim in the Dead Sea, completing our journey from the…

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Kala Patthar: The coldest we’ve ever been

Day 9 – April 6, 2013 – Gorak Shep to Kala Patthar to Pheriche Climbing Kala Patthar, by Him: “Lakpa?” I called into the dark room of bunk beds where several Sherpa guides were sleeping in what seemed to be a giant pile — completely understandable given the below 0 temperatures. The hour was nightmarish, just…

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An avalanche at Everest Base Camp

Day 8 – April 5, 2013 – Lobuche to Gorak Shep to Everest Base Camp “Hotel” is a generous word to describe Sagarmatha National Park Hotel, a ramshackle collection of plywood boards resembling a child’s self-constructed tree house. The ceiling of our room sagged like the cloth ceiling of a decades-old minivan taxi, and the…

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From extreme ironing to blow-up dolls

Day 7 – April 4, 2013 – Dingboche to Lobuche After spending two nights making multiple trips to a bathroom exposed to the frigid night air of Dingboche, we packed our backpacks once more to move on. We left Hotel Family about 8:15 a.m., heading west over the hill we climbed the day before to…

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When the “yaksit” hits the fan

“IS THIS NORMAL?!” Her shouted to our guide, Lakpa Sherpa, as the plane bounced violently in an updraft. In fact, it was very normal. We had just crossed a mountain ridge (only a couple hundred feet separated us from the trees below), and the windy updraft on the far side of the mountain ridge jostled…

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Some Kathman-do’s and don’t's when planning your Everest Base Camp trek

I peered around the corner. The band of marauders seemed to be turning away from me, so I crept out from my hiding spot and walked flat against the wall to stay out of view of the snipers on the rooftops. In this fashion, I crept closer to my destination — an ATM deep in…

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Tiger! Tiger!

Sweat beaded on my forehead as we sat silently in the back seat of our safari vehicle, an Isuzu Gypsy with no roof and two rows of bench seats in the back for passengers to play lookout. We had been parked, engine off, for several minutes now waiting, watching…listening. The penetrating silence was interrupted only…

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I’m not an ATM

“Can I have 100 rupees?” asked the young boy. He appeared no more than 7 though he assured me he was 13. He and his friends had just finished playing cricket in the field behind our abode in Khajuraho, the Hotel Isabel Palace. “No, I don’t think that would be OK,” I responded, taken aback…

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