M.G. Edwards's Blog
November 28, 2017
This is an update of an earlier article I wrote in 2010, in commemoration of Zimbabwe ’s historic political transition after 37 years of rule by former president Robert Mugabe. This is also available at MGEdwards.com.
I arrived in Harare, Zimbabwe at dusk after a long day on the road.
I had left Malawi in the morning and drove the last stretch of highway on my 400 mile (700 kilometer) road trip through Southern Africa. The journey through Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe offered fascinating glimpses of the continent through a car windshield.
I was exhausted by the time I pulled into the hotel in downtown Harare in my oversize sports utility vehicle (SUV), not only from the long drive but also from the eclectic scenery that passed before my eyes. I saw my life pass before my eyes when a semi-truck came at me full bore in my lane as it tried to pass another truck. I frantically pulled over to the shoulder in an emergency. When the dust settled, and I stopped hyperventilating, I thanked God for preventing a head-on collision or a rollover in the middle of nowhere.
I didn’t know what to expect when I arrived in Harare. Once known as Salisbury, the capital of the former British colony known as Rhodesia, Harare was at one time of the most modern cities in Africa. Three decades after Zimbabwe’s founding, however, Harare had fallen on hard times. I’d read cautionary tales in the newspapers and heard stories recounted by Zimbabweans in the diaspora. With its economy in tatters, the country had been wrecked by hyperinflation in 2009. The Zimbabwean dollar collapsed, denominated in the trillions before it was taken out of circulation and replaced with the U.S. dollar and South African Rand as the country’s de factocurrencies. I read about the lack of goods, including fuel and food, and the outbreaks of pandemics such as cholera. If one believed the stories told by the international media about Harare, one would think that it was a veritable disaster area when I arrived in 2010. I read so many negative news stories about Zimbabwe that I discovered preconceived notions had tainted my expectations, leaving me the impression that what had once been a shining star in Africa was but a shadow of its former self.
Seeing for yourself can temper your expectations. I was pleasantly surprised to find Zimbabwe, or ‘Zim,’ a beautiful country and Harare a livable city. My brief journey through Zim showed me a country with many challenges but in better condition than its reputation belied. As I drove west from the border to Harare, I learned that the media’s portrayal did not do the country justice. My eyes saw prosperity and poverty, stores open and stocked with goods, people going about their business and doing their best to make a living. I saw ingenuity in the form of private trucks used as public buses, houses built from available materials, vehicles kept running by any means possible, and $2 bills long ago taken out of circulation in the United States with tape over Thomas Jefferson’s visage. By the time I drove through a year after the Zimbabwean dollar had collapsed, there were no shortages or lines of waiting customers that I could see. When I stopped to fuel my gas-guzzling SUV in the rural eastern town of Mutoko, I filled up the tank. This was not the Zimbabwe I read about in the news.
After several days of travel in the African countryside, resting my head wherever I could find along the way, I checked into a nice hotel in downtown Harare. The high-rise building overlooked a city park that hosted the final concert of the week-long Harare International Music Festival, Zimbabwe’s premier music event. Cherishing a delicious Zambezi Beer, I enjoyed jazz, fusion, and reggae from my perch 15 stories above the festival venue. It was a rare treat and a melodious ending to my long, eventful road trip through southern Africa. I slept well that night.
I spent the next morning walking around downtown Harare and taking in the sights. The architecture was eclectic; modern yet dated with a subtle, African-infused style. The cityscape did not feature monoliths common in other cities around the world, indistinguishable concrete block buildings or overtly political monuments. However, I noticed broad brush strokes by the hand of public design. The locals went about their business as in any major city. Mid-size Harare held its own in the annals of urban metropolises. Even after years of hardship and neglect, it is still a beauty in southern Africa. Despite the political and economic difficulties it has experienced during the past three decades, Harare has endured. My time there was too brief to know what life was truly like for those who lived there. During my time in Zim, I imagined that life had improved for many since the days of hyperinflation.
After a tour of Harare’s city center, I departed for my home in Lusaka, Zambia. My stay in Zimbabwe’s capital was short but sweet. I was impressed enough that I returned with my family a few months. They too saw a place that exceeded their expectations.
More About Zimbabwe
Iguazu Falls vs. Victoria Falls
Filed under: Africa, Uncategorized, Zimbabwe Tagged: Africa, Economic collapse, Harare, Hyperinflation, Mutoko, Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe history, Zimbabwe politics
November 19, 2017
The political environment in Venezuela is unstable, and concerns about its economic viability are growing. No one knows what will happen in a year, perhaps longer, until the situation changes. More expatriates, including those who often brave tumult such as journalists and businesspersons, have left the country. Airlines and foreign companies have cut back on their local presence or ceased operations in the country altogether. Travel to Venezuela is inadvisable at this time.
I look forward to visiting Venezuela someday, but even a World Adventurer knows when they’re not welcome.
More About Venezuela
Have an Unrest, Venezuela
Have a Rest, Sr. Presidente Chávez
Filed under: South America, Venezuela Tagged: Hugo Chavez, Latin America, Nicolás Maduro, South America, Venezuela
August 25, 2017
Down Under? Not at all, mate! The Land of Oz is on top of the world. You see, it’s all a matter of perspective. When you’re in a place that looks like the bottom of the world, and you look up, it’s downhill from there. ‘Up Over’ may be a more apt moniker for Australia because any place that stretches from the Great Barrier Reef to the Outback seems to go on forever. A country sometimes confused for a continent, it’s certainly much bigger than the Mercator map gives it credit. One measures distance here in hundreds, even thousands of kilometers. In between well-known landmarks like the Sydney Opera House and Uluru, the fabled Ayer’s Rock, are scores of places to visit and things to see. It might be tempting to catch a flight from place to place and make a brief stop in a city with an airport like an electron orbiting an atom, but it’s easy to miss the molecule. Better to take the time to enjoy the incredible landmass that is Australia. Move beyond Crocodile Dundee and Vegemite to savor all that this fabulous place has to offer.
Sydney, New South Wales
Sydney Opera House
Cape Tribulation, Queensland
More About Australia
Down Under in Australia
Great Barrier Reef, Australia (Video)
Filed under: Australia, Oceania Tagged: Aboriginal culture, Australia, Australia cruise, Australia is big, Australia northern wilderness, Australia photos, Australia reef cruises, Blue Mountains Australia, Blue Mountains Katoomba, Blue Mountains photos, Bondai Beach, Cairns, Cairns adventures, Cairns atmosphere, Cairns backpackers, Cairns photos, Cape Tribulation, cheap transportation in Sydney, Circular Quay, Cow Bay Australia, Daintree Discovery Center, Daintree National Park, Daintree photos, Daintree rainforest, Darling Harbour, Dory Finding Nemo, Down Under, driving in Far North Queensland, Far North Queensland, Finding Nemo, Giant Steps Blue Mountains, Great Barrier Reef, Great Barrier Reef adventure, Great Barrier Reef cruise, Great Barrier Reef helmet diving, Great Barrier Reef photos, Great Barrier Reef scuba, Great Barrier Reef snorkeling, Great Barrier Reef swimming, Greater Sydney attractions, Jamison Valley, Jamison Valley Australia, Jurassic Park rainforest, Katoomba, New South Wales, Oceania, Queensland, Reef Magic tour operator, Sunday in Sydney Australia, Sunday is fun day, sunset on Sydney Harbour Bridge, swimming with the fishes, Sydney, Sydney at sundown, Sydney beaches, Sydney cruise ships, Sydney daytrips, Sydney dining, Sydney ferries, Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Harbour photos, Sydney Opera House, Sydney Opera House photos, Sydney photos, Sydney restaurants, Sydney Rocks, Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney The Rocks, Taronga Zoo, Three Sisters Blue Mountains, Travel, Travel Photos, Wally the Fish, world's oldest rainforest
April 18, 2017
India. The word evokes many images. A land of more than one billion people reaching from the vast Indian Ocean to the stunning Himalayas, India is awash in unparalleled color and beauty. Few locales in the world match its stimulating effect on the five senses — the exotic sights, a cacophony of sound, and exotic smells, tastes, and sensations of a vibrant place. The essence of “India” goes far beyond its exotic, and at times mystical, reputation. Its reality is far more complex that its ecologically diverse geography with dry deserts, towering peaks, and subtropical lowlands; ancient history spanning centuries of kingdoms and modern incarnation; and cultural and spiritual enclaves offer the casual eye at first glance. India is a country in the midst of change that honors its rich heritage as it establishes itself as one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing economies in the world. Millions of tourists journey to India each year to see it for themselves, drawn by the lure of Taj Mahal in Agra, the Golden Triangle, the Land of Kings, Rajasthan, Kerala, and elsewhere. Most soon discover that India is so much more than that. It is a home to countless languages, religions, and traditions — even gods. It’s impossible to absorb it all in just one visit. One must take a pilgrimage or a life-changing experience to begin to understand what India personally means.
Filed under: Asia, India Tagged: Adventure, Agra, Asia, Delhi, Earth, explore, fun, globetrotter, Golden Triangle, India, journey, Kerala, Land of Kings, nature, nomad, passport, photo travelogue, photograph, photographer, photography, Rajasthan, Scenery, Taj Mahal, tourism, tourist, Travel, Travel Photos, traveler, Travelogue, Trip, Udaipur, vacation, World
December 3, 2015
M・G・エドワーズ (著), 小澤 勉 (監修), 内田寿美 (翻訳)
世界冒険シリーズ第一弾『Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill』には、私自身がアフリカ最高峰キリマンジャロへ挑戦した記録が記されています。当事40歳だった私は、中年の危機に直面していました。そこで、生活を一新するためにキリマンジャロへの挑戦を決意しました。本書は中年になった私が挑戦したキリマンジャロ制覇までの道のりとその他の様々な試練を乗り越えた現実の記録です。当事、私は外交官としての仕事に行き詰まり、迷いとストレスを感じる日々を過ごしていました。そして2010年、新しい生活へ向かって飛び立つために、アフリカ最高峰であるキリマンジャロに挑戦することを決心しました。中年になってから、長年勤めた外交官を辞めて自分の夢を追いかけることには大きなためらいがあります。私にとっては巨大な挑戦であるキリマンジャロを制覇することができたら、著作業という自分の夢に向かって進んでいく不屈の精神を養えるに違いない。私はそう信じていました。2010の終わりに大いなる希望を抱いてスタートした登山ですが、すぐにキリマンジャロへ登ることがいかに困難であるかという現実に直面しました。「全ての人のエベレスト」として知られているこの山の山頂までの道のりは、これまで私が乗り越えてきた至難と比べ物にならないほど、想像を絶する試練でした。頂上に達するどころか、生き延びるために奮闘しなくてはならなかったのです。精神的かつ肉体的な強靭さを必要とするキリマンジャロ登山は、私の人生の最大の挑戦でした。この記録は、中年になったと感じ、困難に直面することがあっても生活を変える勇気が必要な人たちに是非読んでいただきたいと思っています。また、世界的に高い山々に登山しようと考えているアマチュア登山家達の参考にもなるはずです。キリマンジャロ登山への計画をじっくりと練ってから挑戦した私自身の考察やアドバイスが一杯詰っている本書は、キリマンジャロに登ろうと考えている読者に実行に踏み出す勇気を与え、様々な困難を乗り越えて頂上に達する助けになるでしょう。『Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill』は2012年グローバル電子書籍賞佳作賞を受賞しました。私自身が登った登山路の写真も60枚以上掲載されています。
ファンタジー、スリラー、トラベル・ライター。 2012年3月に『Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill』を出版。著者の「世界冒険シリーズ」第一弾である本書には著者がアフリカ最高峰キリマンジャロの登山に挑戦した記録が記されている。2011年には様々なジャンルの短編を編纂した『Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories』を出版。現在は心理スリラーと『世界冒険シリーズ』第二弾を執筆中。アイダホ大学で学士号を取得。ワシントン大学では中国研究とビジネス経営で修士号を取得。数年間、民間企業で働いた後、2004年にアメリカ合衆国国務省に入省。パラグアイ、韓国、ザンビアのアメリカ大使館で外交官として勤務する。2011年、執筆に専念するために国務省を退職。現在は妻ジング、息子アレックスと共にタイのバンコクに在住。家族で世界中を旅行した記録は、評判のトラベル・ブログ『World Adventurers』に記されている。
M・G・エドワーズ (著), 小澤 勉 (監修), 内田寿美 (翻訳)
Filed under: Asia, Books, Japan, Kilimanjaro Tagged: Africa, Amazon.co.jp, アドベンチャー, アフリカ, アマゾン, キリマンジャロ, キリマンジャロ男が山に求めたもの（上）, クライミング, タンザニア, トレッキング, ノンフィクション, ハイキング, Book, Change, Climbing, Crisis, 登山, E-book, Faith, Hiking, Inspiration, Inspirational, Kilimanjaro, Life, Midlife, Mount Kilimanjaro, Mountaineering, Non-Fiction, Tanzania, Trekking, 写真撮影, 回顧録, 旅行, 本
October 1, 2014
World Adventurers hit a major milestone today — 1,000 published posts! A thousand articles and updates later, this blog is still going strong.
I started World Adventurers in December 2004, as a way to update family and friends about life overseas. It has evolved in ways I never imagined when I wrote my first “Hello, World” post. Since then I’ve written about my books, writing, news and politics, humor, sports, finance, culture, thoughts and sayings, updates from around the world, and other topics. My travelogues have been by far this site’s most popular feature.
The early blog hosted by the now-defunct MSN Spaces Live had more than 350,000 hits and was featured regularly by Microsoft on its “What’s Your Story” page. At a time when blogging was far less ubiquitous, World Adventurers was — and remains — on the frontiers of digital media.
Readership declined when Spaces Live folded and I took a breather from blogging in 2008-09. World Adventurers moved to WordPress in late 2010, and made a roaring comeback since then with another 300,000 hits. Earlier this year the site moved to its new and permanent home on my website, www.mgedwards.com, and was rebranded as World Adventurers Magazine. This site hosted by WordPress and featured on Freshly Pressed has remained so popular that I haven’t shut it down; it’s still going strong and complements the new e-zine. All told, World Adventurers has had about 700,000 unique hits and tens of thousands of visitors since its inception.
Here are the 20 most popular and memorable posts published on World Adventurers:
Top Ten Things to Do in Korea (with Photos)
I Am No Longer A Foreign Service Officer
Top Ten Things to See in Zambia (with Photos)
Top Ten Things to Savor in Macau
Palio Khao Yai, the Italy of Thailand
The Plant Life of Kilimanjaro
What is a Foreign Service officer?
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Thailand
The Kilimanjaro Sign–Old and New
Iguazu Falls vs. Victoria Falls (with Photos)
“The House of Dancing Water” Show in Macau
100-day Birthday Celebration
Bangkok Flooding Update with Photos
I Survived Eating Pufferfish
Kayan Lahwi, the “Long-Neck” People
Top Ten Things to See in Zambia
Night Market in Hua Hin, Thailand
The Hallyu Effect
Farm Chokchai – The Old West in Thailand
Thanks for visiting World Adventurers. Here’s to 1,000 posts and many more!
Filed under: Awards, M.G. Edwards, World Adventurers Tagged: 1000 posts, Bangkok Flooding, best of, blog marketing, blog milestone, blogging tips, building blog readership, Culture, Damnoen Saduak, eating pufferfish, Farm Chokchai, Filadelfia, Finance, Foreign Service Officer, Freshly Pressed, getting blog hits, Hallyu Effect, hot blogging topics, House of Dancing Water, Hua Hin, Humor, Iguazu Falls, Italy, Kayan Lahwi, Khao Yai, Kilimanjaro, Korea, Long-Neck people, Macau, Microsoft, MSN, MSN Spaces Live, news and politics, Old West in Thailand, Paraguay, popular blog, Sports, Thailand, thoughts and sayings, Travel, travelogues, using social media to blog, Victoria Falls, Windows Spaces Live, Wordpress, World Adventurers, Zambia
September 25, 2014
Did you know that just $15 pays for a Cambodian girl’s healthcare costs for an entire year?
Did you know that just $30 pays for a monthly package of food and cleaning products for a Cambodian child living in prison?
Did you know that $60 pays for a vulnerable child to attend a social design school in Cambodia for two weeks to learn valuable craft skills?
The 9th annual Angkor Wat Bike4Kids! Race on December 6, 2014, in Siem Reap, Cambodia is designed to address these needs…and more. Event organizers Village Focus International and Terre des Hommes – Netherlands hope to raise $60,000 from this year’s race to support shelters and training programs for exploited, abused, and disadvantaged women and children in Cambodia.
2014 Angkor Wat Bike4Kids! Event
My son and I have committed to join this year’s race and will cycle 100 kilometers around the beautiful Angkor Wat temple complex to raise money for the women and children of Cambodia. I urge you to sponsor us for this year’s Angkor Wat Bike4Kids! event. Your support will help a great cause!
The race organizers’ ambitious fundraising goal cannot be achieved without your help. Please consider donating to this worthy cause. There are several ways you can donate:
For more information on ‘Angkor Wat Bike4Kids!’ and the causes this event supports, please visit the website www.bike4kids.org or download the presentations below.
What does it Cost? Item Wishlist
Powerpoint: Introducing the Angkor Wat Bike4Kids!
Powerpoint: Introducing the Angkor Wat Bike4Kids! to kids!
Powerpoint: What is child protection and trafficking? (elementary)
Powerpoint: One Client’s Story (secondary)
Angkor Wat Bike4Kids video, images and presentations courtesy of Angkor Wat Bike4Kids. All other images copyright MG Edwards. Used with permission.
Filed under: Asia, Cambodia, Helps Tagged: Angkor, Angkor archeology, Angkor bicycle race, Angkor bicycling, Angkor bike race, Angkor complex, Angkor cycling, Angkor Reclining Buddha, Angkor Ruluos, Angkor Ta Prohm, Angkor Thom, Angkor Wat, Angkor Wat Bike4Kids, Angkor Wat temple complex, Angkor World Heritage Site, Asia, Baphuon, Bayon, Bayon bas relief, best Angkor temples, best of Cambodia, Bike4Kids, Cambodia, Cambodia adventure, Cambodia best photos, Cambodia child abuse, Cambodia child exploitation, Cambodia children, Cambodia children’s rights, Cambodia donation, Cambodia fundraising, Cambodia giving, Cambodia Hindu temple, Cambodia human rights, Cambodia human trafficking, Cambodia NGO, Cambodia photos, Cambodia poverty, Cambodia support, Cambodia things to do, Cambodia top ten, Cambodia top ten photos, Cambodia travel, Cambodia travelogue, Cambodia women’s rights, Cambodian Center for the Protection of Children's Right, CCPCR, child abuse, child exploitation, children’s rights, cool Cambodia temple, crowdfunding, give a donation, holiday in Cambodia, Human Rights, human trafficking, JustGiving, Preah Ko, Preah Vihear, Ruluos, Siem Reap, Ta Prohm, Ta Prohm Buddhist monastery, Ta Prohm preservation, Ta Prohm Tomb Raider, Ta Prohm trees, Terrace of the Leper King, Terre des Hommes Netherlands, top ten things to do in Cambodia, Travel, UNESCO, UNESCO World Heritage Site, Village Focus International, women’s rights
September 16, 2014
Rise before the sun
Shuttle, cold darkness
Sound of traffic
Walk in the cold
Wait for the train
Frozen breath rises
Get on the train
Bell rings, doors close
Find a seat
Train is silent
Station down below
Crowds of people press
Bodies stir air
Will it end?
Filed under: Books, Musings & Wanderings Tagged: Books, commuting, Musings & Wanderings, Poem, Poetry, Writing
June 18, 2014
The Philippines is a land of contrasts. An archipelago of more than 7,100 islands with almost 100 million inhabitants, it is the most Hispanic nation in Asia but a place all its own. From shades of Spanish culture, Roman Catholicism and Islam, American-style malls and fast food, and its very name in honor of King Philip II of Spain, the country has long been shaped by foreign influences. Combined with its indigenous heritage, the Philippines has become a nation diverse and unique. From the millions of Filipinos who work hard around the world to provide for their families back home to the tragedy of Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) that devastated the central part of the country in November 2013, the Philippines is a land filled with resilience and hope. Poverty and an increasing sense that life is getting better for most. Beauty and bad traffic. Gorgeous volcanoes that wipe out cities and villages. Delicious food cheap and fattening. Warm and friendly people who live life and make the best of what may come, for better or for worse. If you have the chance to visit the Philippines, take it. But don’t simply head to a beach resort for scuba diving and a tan. Hop in a Jeepney and go off the beaten path. You’ll never know what you’ll find in this incredible archipelago.
More About the Philippines
Bataan Death March
A View of Taal Lake and Volcano Island in Tagaytay
Sunset over Manila Bay
Entrance Gate of Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila
Kilometer Marker 21 of the Bataan Death March and Mt. Samet on the Bataan Peninsula
Filed under: Asia, Philippines Tagged: 1942, 1942 World War II, April 1942, Armed Forces, Asia, バターン死の行進, Bagac, Balanga, Bataan, Bataan Death March, Bataan Defense Force, Bataan Peninsula, Bataan Provincial Expressway, Battle of Bataan, Batān Shi no Kōshin, Camp O'Donnell, Capas, Corregidor, crimes against humanity, Edward P. King, Filipino, Filipino culture, Filipino resistance, forced march, Fort Santiago, General Douglas MacArthur, General MacArthur, Imperial Japan, Imperial Japanese Army, Imperial Japanese Navy, Intramuros, Japan, Jeepney, Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright IV, King Philip II, King Philip II Spain, Luzon Island, Manila, Manila Bay, Mariveles, Martsa ng Kamatayan sa Bataan, Masaharu Homma, military forces, Military History, Mount Mariveles, Mount Samat, Mount Samat National Shrine, Pacific Rim, Pampanga, Philippines, Philippines 7000 islands, Philippines archipelago, Philippines Catholicism, Philippines culture, Philippines history, Philippines independence, Philippines islands, Philippines photos, Philippines religion, Philippines travel, Philippines video, Philippines war memorial, photography, prisoners of war, San Fernando, Spanish Philippines, Taal Lake, Taal Volcano, Tagaytay, Travel, Travelogue, travelogue with photos, Typhoon Haiyan, Typhoon Yolanda, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, United States, United States Armed Forces in the Far East, USAFFE, war crimes, war history, War of the Pacific, World War II, World War II battles, YouTube, YouTube video, Zero Kilometer, Zero Kilometer Death March Marker
June 13, 2014
1. Question this.
2. Live it up but let it down slowly.
3. It isn’t the end of the world, but avoid it like the plague.
4. This restaurant is notable. I can never get a reservation.
5. If nobody’s perfect, I must be a nobody.
6. Why can’t I move as fast as my brain?
7. It’s never dangerous until it is.
8. Why do people care if chickens cross the road?
9. Every day, millions of people have their cake and eat it.
Filed under: Thoughts & Sayings Tagged: accident, amwriting, apocalypse, apocalyptic humor, April, April sayings, avoid like the plague, baking humor, booked, brain, brain power, brainwashing, cake, cake and eat it, chicken cross road, chicken humor, chicken joke, conceit, danger, dangerous, dining, dining humor, disaster, disaster humor, drinking, drinking humor, Encouraging Words, end of the world, Events, exclusive restaurant, Facebook, freethinking humor, fully booked, Hangover, have it all, holiday sayings, Holidays, Holidays and Events, Humor, I am perfect, In Its Own Write, independent thought, irony, jokes, June, June Sayings, letdown, live it up, marie antoinette, May, May Sayings, memes, Month, monthly sayings, narcissism, narcissist, no table, nobody's perfect, notable restaurant, party, partying, partying humor, Perfection, plague, political humor, propaganda, psychological humor, questioning, quotes, Random Musings, reaction, reservation, Restaurant, restaurant humor, risk, risk taking, satire, Sayings, slogans, slow moving, table reservation, thinking, thought of the day, Thoughts, Twisted Words, Twitter, witty quotes