Part One (Uno) Nuccio – or Niko, as he’s known to his friends – was born and raised in Carlentini, Sicily in 1961 or 1962. Even though I had four months to study Italian, my class of one didn’t make it to rapid fire numbers over “20.” I met Nuccio four years ago by pure […]


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Oaxaca (pron. “Wuh-HA-kuh”)

Uno First you hear the cow’s joyous “MOOOO!” Then comes a recorded human voice over the same loudspeaker, an excitable man shouts something or other about propane gas tanks. Then the cow moos again. That’s how you know you’re in Oaxaca City, Mexico. That’s also how you know it’s 7:35 am, the bastard. Backing up […]

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Montreal: Fake Paris

montreal My “frenemy,” as he likes to say for some reason, was scheduled to be married across the Hudson from West Point one June afternoon. Even though he uses that moniker, I was to be a groomsman. On my way to New York from Texas, it occurred to me that, because my job lets me […]

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Toronto: It’s Just Kind of There

Toronto sure is something. You ever see people looking at movie posters for other movies before their theater opens? Or standing semi-uncomfortably in a random lobby, not really paying attention to anything, just kind of existing, checking their phones repeatedly even though we all know no one has texted? That’s how Toronto struck me at […]

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Vancouver: Nĭ Hăo!

Though the train ride from Edmonton to Vancouver sounded too good to pass up, I found a $60 plane ticket. At this point, getting there sounded better than a once-in-a-lifetime trip through the most beautiful land imaginable. I turned in the rental, trusted an airline I’d never heard of and sat next to an Indian […]

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France: Oui

paris When I was roughly 11-years-old, a friend and I found a stack of nudie magazines near the dirt bike trails by the highway. I remember to this day that one of them was called “O-U-I” and that’s how we said it, as if you were saying “F-B-I” or “C-I-A.” It would be at least […]

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Barcelona: Not “Barthelona”

barcelona “What are all those flags I keep seeing?” you may ask yourself upon arriving in Barcelona – if, like me, you didn’t read much about it before you arrived. They hang straight down off of balconies all over the city. Yellow with red stripes, a blue pennant at the top end, a white star […]

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The Balearic & Tyrrhenian Seas

ferry fun After spending two full days somewhere, I start putting serious thought into what the next town will be. Then it’s time to check flights everywhere, train schedules or, as was the case in Barcelona, the ferry schedule to North Africa or Rome. The following evening, I was boarding a huge ferry boat/small cruise […]

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