Author: Maureen Santucci

Christmas on a Cambodia St.

By Jody Hanson The street was quiet. Almost deserted. There were only a couple of young women and kids under the tree at the usual spot. Street 108 in Phnom Penh in the Kingdom of Cambodia is a strange mixture. Fronting on the Tonlee Sapp river – which morphs into the Mekong – it begins with the night market on the right and then moves on to a bunch of shops on the left selling cheap goods. Across the street is a sort-of park with trees and concrete benches donated by a local bank. This is where the homeless...

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Three Days in Cajamarca, Peru

By Mike Gasparovic November 16, 1532. Just before sundown, a group of 6,000 Inca warriors parades slowly into the main square of a quiet town in the central Andes. They carry no weapons. Flushed as they are with victory in a recent civil war, who would dare attack? With them, borne on a litter adorned with parrot feathers, is their ruler Atahualpa, a six-foot goliath who has come to meet a tiny group of 168 bearded foreigners whose approach from the coast he’s been monitoring curiously for months. Atahualpa’s plan is simple: enslave the intruders, steal their horses. Little...

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Haunts of Lima, Peru

By Mike Gasparovic When Herman Melville called Lima “the strangest, saddest city thou can’st see,” he was definitely on to something. There’s the fog, for starters. In winter, the sun seems to abandon the Peruvian capital, leaving it prey to funereal mists that rise from the sea and drape the coastline in cloud. The day, too, never properly dawns here: gray daylight shades into murky half-light and imperceptibly into gloom. Then, at nightfall, there’s the drizzle: cold and insistent, it slicks the streets, streaking with wet the baroque churches and somber colonial mansions where the past continues to lurk,...

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Vietnam’s Mekong Delta: Garden of Asia

  By Andrew Kolasinski The delta’s brown silt-laden water has a rich pungent odor. It smells like growth, like life itself. Clumps of water lilies drift down with the current. Many of the tiny islands have floating gardens in front of float homes or stilt houses. The Mekong River is the world’s 12th longest river, running 4,350 kilometers from its source in Tibet. Each your 457 cubic kilometers of water empty into the South China Sea in the southeastern corner of Vietnam. Along with the water, deposits of nutrient loaded silt are added to the Mekong’s final span, enriching...

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Saigon’s Vibrant Riverside

By Andrew Kolasinski I arrived in the center of town on the back of a moto, a motor taxi. My driver wove through the crowded streets, around pedestrians, past cars, bicycles, rickshaws, and thousands of other scooters. Some scooters had rice sacks piled up over the driver’s head, others carried entire families; three kids riding the passenger seat behind dad, with mom perched on the handle bars. People crossed streets dodging vehicles. I was thankful my driver had given me a helmet. Up above, suspended between the shop fronts, a tangle of electric wires, most mere extension cords, ran...

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