Big Splash: Following the Whales Off Gloucester [video]

You wouldn’t know that whales are threatened with extinction watching this show. I am in a Whale Watching Boat on the Stellwagen Bank, a national marine sanctuary southeast of Cape Ann, Massachusetts, watching a performance of hefty gymnasts: humpback and fin whales. I have spotted a couple gray whales off of the coast of California but never any this big and up close. Here, whale watching boats offer a money back guarantee. You WILL see whales. I do.


Sri Lanka: As Green as it Gets

The video takes you from the sea at Negombo to Vil Ulyana , a stunning eco-friendly resort on the plain near the rock fortress Sigiria, with its lusty lady cave paintings, the ruins of the ancient kingdom of Polonnaruwa, the Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage, the Temple of the Tooth at Kandy, a look at ficus the size of a house, then up into the mountains at Hunas Falls and the tea plantatons of Nuwara Eliya. 


Big Trees

Stout RedwoodsStout Grove — Photo & Review: Russell Johnson

On this Fourth of July I am looking out my window at something that transcends our brief, troubled time, a being whose living cousins were born before Jesus, who have survived the scores of scoundrels that have spread misery across the earth in the name of patriotism, faith, greed and getting the trains running on time, who will live long past the time when St. Peter will put Bush and Cheney in a lineup of “usual suspects” and Kim Jong Il keels over into a vat of rotten kimchi.

I am looking at a California Redwood. I feel its quiet presence: comforting and permanent. I want to hug it…but it is Big Momma ten times over.


Lost in Tschotskiland: An Essay on Souvenirs and Crafts: Audio

Sedona, Arizona – Batik Paints, Bali

I am at the dump with a truckload of…STUFF: a rusty old Weber barbecue with a missing wheel, two CD players that cost more to fix than replace, a typewriter table (remember those?), old tax receipts, and souvenirs, boxes of worthless STUFF that is given or sent to me because I am a travel writer and therefore deemed an easy mark for bribery.

AUDIO STORY: Lost in Tschotskiland