The stories below are a “Best of” selection from my travel blog, Among Buddhas and Babas, with entries from Asia, Africa, Central and South America. If all I could do was travel and write, I would be living my dream.

Why Nomads Can’t Drive (Mongolia)

Mongolians and horses go together like fish and water. Seriously. For more than five thousand years, Mongolian nomads have been riding from one end of their country to another, across steppes and deserts chasing camels, goats and ostriches. Emperors have come and gone, but the lifestyle has stayed the same. The majority still travels home to their ger at the end of the day, ties up the horse and dines on dried yak meat and fresh yogurt. As if it were 2013 BC ‒ not CE.  More

I’m Not Your Girlfriend, I’m A Hooker (Cambodia)

A man walks into a bar. Instantly, he’s surrounded by twenty beautiful young girls, all vying for his attention, grabbing his hand, showing some leg.

“Hello, Mister. How are you, Mister?”

He looks around at the gorgeous nymphs. Which one will he choose? Tonight, he is more popular than James Bond. He is The Man. And he loves it.  More

Where Women Must Not Enter (India)

“You must finish your drink and leave.”

The young man looked like he wanted to kill me. He wasn’t joking, and he wouldn’t back down. The feminist in me itched to laugh in his face and keep drinking, just to annoy him. Ever since we had entered the bar, he and his friends had made it clear that they did not want me there. It was a guy-kind of bar, a hide-out. And of course, there were no other women in this bar. More

Lagos – Fela Kuti’s Heritage Lives On (Nigeria)

Elvis may be the King of Rock, Michael Jackson the King of Pop and Bob Marley the face of Reggae. But few people have influenced contemporary music like Fela Kuti, the founder of Afrobeat.

In the seventies, international megastars like Paul McCartney and James Brown made pilgrimages to Lagos to soak in the vibe of Afrobeat. This was an entirely new sound,. Even today, bands like Brooklyn’s Antibalas, Akoya, The Budos Band and the London Afrobeat Collective still pay homage to the now deceased Fela Antikulapi Kuti. And the musical “Fela!” is currently making waves on Broadway. More

Arba Minch – Protecting Our Rights As Tourists (Ethiopia)

“Yes, I’m rich! And I don’t mind paying more at a restaurant than everyone else here. Please bill me as much as you want!”

No, I didn’t say that. And I never will.

At Soma, a fancy seafood restaurant in Arba Minch, Southern Ethiopia, they think that foreigners don’t mind being overcharged. In fact, they have posted their two menus side by side. One in English – for tourists – with higher prices, and one in Armaric writing – for locals – with lower prices. As though all foreigners would happily pay up to 50 percent more than the people at the next table.

Would an Ethiopian be treated the same way in New York? Never. More

Hello Fat Girl! (Peru)

Hola Gorda! Que dices Narizon? Oye Enano!

In Peru, if you are fat, you’ll be called Fatty. If you have a big nose, they’ll call you Narizon (Big Nose). And if you’re short, they’ll call you Midget. And it won’t be your enemies who will call you these names — it will be your lover, your best friend, your mother. In fact, being called Gordita (little fat girl) is a term of affection, even though any European or American girl would probably slap the person who said it. More