Tag - the traveling wizard

Sloths, Mermaids and Things That Slither.

What’s the Deal With Houston’s New Zoo? Times have changed. As the world has shifted to accommodate our obsession with social media, entertainment for many of us has become less about just observing, and more about selfies, hands on and interaction.. We can watch practically anything we want instantly and virtually on YouTube, so why visit a zoo or museum full of...

Things Not To Do in an Irish Pub

One thing about Irish Pubs; they kinda look the same no matter where you go. However, in Ireland, they don’t FEEL the same. There’s a different commitment to the drink than you’ll find in their doppelgängers elsewhere. Where else are you going find a bar that has a basement below the tap so the beer keg is the shortest possible distance from it? Outside Temple...

Chilling at the Snow Hotel

As i looked upward, the clouds slowly parted. An iridescent green ribbon suddenly appeared in the night sky and danced above my snow covered cabin. Its’s my last night at the Snow Hotel Kirkenes and Mother Nature put on the ultimate finale send off, a vivid display of the Aurora Borealis.  A Themed Room at the Snow Hotel Kirkenes Photo: Bill Wiatrak The Northern...

Getting into The Kingdom

Visiting Saudi Arabia Four years ago it was nearly impossible to get a tourist visa to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). However, with sweeping new changes from the new king, women are now allowed to drive (woohoo!) and tourist visas can be had online in less than 15 minutes. The floodgates are now officially open.  The two most visited cities, Jeddah and...

The Most Awesome Airbnb in Texas!

HOUSTON’S MOST UNIQUE AIRBNB Airbnb has changed the world. There’s no doubt about that. All the things your mom told you not to do: Don’t get into a stranger’s car (Uber), don’t go to people’s houses you don’t know (AIRBNB) and don’t chew gum with your mouth open (okay, she was right about that) turned out to be wrong...

Sneaking into Saudi Arabia

I had a premonition before I even arrived at the airport. Saudi Arabia has never been an easy country to visit. I rechecked the airline’s website just to be sure I had every document I might be asked to produce. Five security checks and one shuttle bus later, I found myself in front of the counter amidst piles of giant plastic wrapped suitcases and robed figures...

My Date With An Egyptian Princess

Women can be expensive, but $100 for 10 minutes is too much to spend for just about anything. Spas and lawyers don’t even charge that much. Why should a 3000 year old princess get that kind of cash?  Nefertari is raking it in.  I’m not talking about Nefertiti, the goddess with a similar name and the Grace Jones haircut. Nefertari was Ramses II’s favorite...

The Search for Baptismal Site of Jesus Christ

I felt like I was in a scene from the film “National Treasure”. I was looking for a map, but not one printed on paper. I walked down the narrow street past the souvenir shops and asked a local for directions. He didn’t speak English so I mimed what I was looking for to the best of my ability until he suddenly grinned and pointed down the road. A century...

Mauritania in 2 Days

I’d been waiting for immigration to wave me through, but the police seemed much more interested in praying or looking at their phones for it even to register that I’d been waiting on them for nearly an hour.  I was the last one in the airport and my bag was lying 50 feet away on the other side of the stanchions. They joked with each other in Arabic, I tried...

Uzbekistan- The “New Improved” Stan.

Ask any American to point out Uzbekistan on a map or tell you one random fact about it and you’ll discover most know very little or nothing about this wonderful country. The “Stans” have always been a geographical challenge with their long names and confusing images. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my travels, stereotypes are almost always completely wrong...