Climbing Cariocas

I went to Rio de Janeiro last November and I’m happy to tell you that every single stereotype about this energetic city is true. The beaches are packed with people wearing bathing suits that would get you arrested for public nudity in many US states. The city of Rio shouldn’t bother painting lanes on the…

The roots of wisdom

My garden on Salina is a place of joy and magic. Many friends and guests have sat mesmerized amongst the trees, flowers, bushes and vines looking out toward the sea. This poem is dedicated to Maurizia and her son, Roberto. entwined, the branches dance together the beat is slow inaudible, incomprehensible to me the ancient…

Things you should know about your climbing Sherpa

In western society we have carefully cultivated unwritten rules governing social engagement. Many of these rules are on display riding the Tube in London. For example, you really shouldn’t talk to anyone unless you need them to move so you can get off the carriage. Sometimes these rules are challenged by circumstance. The concept of…

The fish are still laughing

In 1897 Salomon August Andrée, a Swedish engineer, believed that he could reach the North Pole by flying in a hydrogen balloon. Not long after Andrée and his fellow explorers took off on their adventure, things went miserably wrong. Fog froze on the balloon dragging it down as they ‘flew’ only feet above the ice…

Running out of the crater

My house on island of Salina is in the village of Pollara, famous as the setting for much of the film Il Postino starring Massimo Troisi, Philippe Noiret, and Maria Grazia Cucinotta. It rests beautifully in a volcanic crater that erupted violently 13,000 years ago blowing a portion of itself into the sea. Imagine an ancient…

The roof of Africa

For six days my daughter Lindsay and I trekked upward from the Lemosho Gate of Kilimanjaro National Park heading to Uhuru Peak, the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, sitting 5,895 meters above sea level. The adventure began in rainforest, moved through heather-moorland, until we reached the alpine desert. One final change in ecosystem awaited as we…

Hamdan, the Arabian barber

On the way to climb Mount Kilimanjaro with my daughter Lindsay, we stopped in Abu Dhabi for several days to break up the journey from Rome. The day before we left the desert emirate for Tanzania, I visited a barber shop to minimize the potential nesting area for whatever might crawl into my hair on…