Author Archive

The Images in my Pocket

The Azerbaijani Airlines jet rumbles out across the sparsely lit tarmac to meet its assigned runway at Khomeini International Airport, giving a gentle jostle to the passengers in their seats.  The murmur of a few voices blend with the dull squeaks of the overhead bins.  Screens suspended from the ceiling play safety videos – small children taking the place

On the Breaded Trail

Many gauges exist to measure the varying heights of human success.  Some like to look for the writings of luminaries, some for the penetration of the arts such as painting and theatre, while still others list inventiveness in architecture or fairness in justice.  While these, and more, do attest to the magnificence of human endeavour there is

Caving In the Woolx Way

If you’ve ever been down under – and I don’t mean the “Australian under” – you know how cold and damp things can get.  The down under of caves is at once wet and chilling, calling for proper preparations that ought not be ignored.  I never thought about the possibility of caves in Iran, but that’s only

Racing the Roads of a Parallel Universe

The little Peugeot continued its upward climb out and away from the city of Hamedan, sweeping around small hills and along mostly dry stream beds, Masood shifting effortlessly from one gear to another in a race against the late afternoon sun.  The rocky, treeless hills, covered only in sporadic green grass and brush, seemed no place for any

Some Rose Water in my Ice Cream, If You Please

Why certain cultures take to certain things is sometimes obvious and at other times more obscure.  A Czech loves beer, the Turks a powerful brew of coffee, and the Dutch crave peddling a bicycle.  So it goes.  The patterns of culture are often shaped by the resources around them and how they use them in daily life.

An Artist’s Landscape

The beauty of an unplanned city is the fact that it is unplanned.  Free from rigid concepts of what a street is supposed to look like, or the style of a building, humans without authoritarian oversight generally let their creativity carry the moment.  In many places in the world there exist cities built on what came

A City on a Hill

The great wonder of wander in the world is stumbling into the physical wonders themselves. The idea of taking a sojourn to see the marvellous creations of civilization is a relatively new thing on this planet.  People didn’t rush out in droves to see the Pyramids or Ephesus until very recently. For instance, the people living around the

Headlong into Iran

The border at Astara lay behind us.  Ahead, only Iran.  Our driver and guide, Masood, an energetic young man who looked as if he could be a student in any American college, laughed at our enthusiasm.  Having Americans to drive across the Iranian landscape was something rare for any guide.   In Masood’s case, he’d only

Woolx Heads Towards Iran

At precisely 10:30 pm on a soft evening in May when the wind, for once, wasn’t blowing in Baku, the train to Lankoran, Azerbaijan, pulled out.   Weeks of preparation for this trip south finally reached culmination, giving us a great sense of accomplishment even before the train had left the station.  The old ex-soviet carriage

In the Arena with Woolx

It was with great interest that I follow Brian’s “Getting Fit at 50” Exercise Program.  The essential ingredient in any fitness regimen is dedication.  Dedication is a close relative of perseverance.  The exercise programs of many are strewn with the wreckage of best-laid plans as both dedication and perseverance vanish into thin air.  For a