TRAVEL NOTES

These sketches are drawn from my travel journals and are only slightly edited so as to preserve a sense of immediacy.

Madagascar

2007

 

Sometimes I do think it would have been better had the Jewish state arisen in a place less embattled than the Middle East. A place like Madagascar, a relatively pacific republic adrift in the Indian Ocean. Jews have migrated around the world, but until very recently they only lived as a minority dispersed among larger, often hostile, populations....

 

Grand Island, NY

2007

 

I arrive in Buffalo two hours later than expected. Thank you, Amtrak. So I tear off in my rented cherry-red Mustang towards the meeting of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society at RiverLea, an old farmhouse on the southern tip of Beaver Island Park—land once purchased for Noah’s Jewish “city of refuge"....

 

Suriname

2008

 

Mike and I fly on a small Cessna to visit Karel Dawson, a Jewish hunter-turned-environmentalist who owns a jungle retreat on the Kabalebo River. There’s barely any sign of human habitation below during the entire flight deep into the interior. Only snaking waterways break the monotony of the undulating green...

 

Kenya

2009

 

My Kenyan friends, the Da Gama Roses, host me on this, my second trip to Kenya. Horatius, the family patriarch, arrives for breakfast in a dressing gown. He lights a cigarette, smiles crookedly, and pronounces the journey Mike and I have planned to Uasin Gishu “bloody mad"...

 

Tasmania

2009

 

I’m drinking beer in Knopwood’s Retreat, an old Hobart tavern. Stained glass panels over the burnished wood bar depict rocky coastline, ice floes, and rough seas. But outside, the waters of Sullivan’s Cove are calm. It’s December, summer in Tasmania...

 

Angola

2011

 

The first president of independent Angola was a Marxist poet, Augostinho Neto. The country pays lip service to its socialist roots and is now a petrodollar fueled kleptocracy. The capital city, Luanda, is a post-apocalyptic nightmare of a modern city. It makes Nairobi look like Toronto...

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