Backpacker Befriends Bukhara, Part 1

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Backpacking in Central Asia

“The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” Shirley MacLaine. My cell phone alarm rattled me awake just after dawn, interrupting dreams of Bukhara’s Silk Road glory. Yesterday I caught a glimpse of that past in the city’s mosques, madrassas, and minarets. Today I wanted to get Read More …

Spectres & Spectacles in Holy Bukhara

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Backpacking in Central Asia

The ghosts of history sometimes speak to us in spectacles and marvels, sometimes stay frustratingly silent, and the art of travel often lies more in the imagination than the destination itself. “Bukhara! For centuries it had glimmered remote in the Western consciousness: the most secretive and fanatical of the great caravan-cities, shored up in its desert fastness Read More …

How to Defy Time: Camping in Amatlan

“Beauty is unbearable, drives us to despair, offering us for a minute the glimpse of an eternity that we should like to stretch out over the whole of time.” Albert Camus.   Downtown Cuernavaca was nearly empty on Saturday morning when I found Neko and Honga huddled at the feet of a weary General Zapata. Read More …

Undercover in Underground Mexico City

For a naïve gringo living in provincial Cuernavaca, the “#ClubQueers” party by Fiestas Bomba in Mexico City had been a big gay whiff of fresh air. I got to meet my favorite American queen Raja and watch some of Mexico City’s talent up-and-coming DJs and drag performers. Most importantly, it was the first event I’d ever attended where Read More …

A Lonely Fool and a Mirage in Tashkent

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Backpacking in Central Asia

“Our knowledge is a receding mirage in an expanding desert of ignorance.” Will Durant.   Blinding light and stifling heat pushed against the curtains of the tall French doors. I awoke with a start.  Dazed from jetlag, I headed to the courtyard to fuel up for the first day of my journey, excited yet anxious. Read More …

Fear and Foreboding in Tashkent

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Backpacking in Central Asia

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” Soren Kierkegaard.   Scattered dim lights twinkled over the flat, unremarkable cityscape as we landed in Tashkent. My heart pounded.  At the end of my long crawl to the diving board’s edge, it was time to jump. Seeing the serpentine immigration line at the end of the long, grim Read More …

Liftoff to Central Asia

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series Backpacking in Central Asia

“Travel brings power and love back into your life.” Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi.   Hushed voices and muffled footsteps seemed to boom through Dulles Airport on Sunday night. Despite the late hour, I was wide awake. I was finally leaving on a one-month trip through Central Asia.  Choosing the destination was easy. I wanted to go Read More …

Finding Our Tribe at Club Queers

“…You have to be a deviant or die of boredom.” William S. Burroughs.    “I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I Read More …