As the rain pours down on the silent and serene city of Assisi....

- Mag Dimond Age 12 (April 11 )

We motored off to Hemingway’s abode - Finca Vieja - an elegant cream colored structure surrounded by trees, grass, walkways... Stately but homey. Filled with Hemingway memorabilia. Most impressive was his vast collection of books. There were books in every room including the bathroom.

On the wall in the bathroom a daily log in his own writing of his weight. He was preoccupied with his weight, apparently. A separate little lookout tower where he apparently went when he could not face being with the many people who made the pilgrimage there to find him.... He was a man who carried a lot of suffering, clearly. I wonder if writing made him feel more normal, less depressed.
— Havana, 2018

My heart opened when I first saw the lumbering creature come up the beach from the ocean, her huge form becoming larger and larger in the darkness. It was breathtaking to me. Another mammoth turtle crawled up the beach in the distance, moonlight casting a sparkling reflection off her elegant shell. For such huge beasts, they actually move quite quickly with no hands or feet... just those massive flippers. The whole experience was epic, sweet, and moving. I wanted to rest on the beach with them and be able to see the whole process, as these grand females finally returned to the ocean after laying their precious eggs...

I think I will be haunted by that mama turtle last night, laboring in the ancient rhythm of procreation, dropping gleaming perfectly white ovals into the vast hole she had dug for herself.

How is it she and all her kind have survived all these millions of years? I want to know so much more about her, about all of them. And when it’s finally time, I want to see the babies run into the sea in their desperate effort to seize life. Can words possibly capture the magic of giant ancient tortoises crawling out of the dark ocean, their beautiful bodies illuminated by the moon, then finally placing the precious eggs in the deep wet sand? I think not.
— Tortuguero, Costa Rica, 2012


Yesterday was a blur, in a way.
Arriving in Amangebad after an almost sleepless night... 

Mag Dimond, Age 64

The ride was very peaceful and quiet, and the fog dense. I kept waiting for the city to appear ... we came in not by the Grand Canal, but a much smaller canal, gliding past dark, dark houses, the sound of water lapping against the sides, and moored boats tossing in the water. A lonely feeling.

Up the Grand Canal then, under the Rialto, eventually pulling into a mooring very close to my beloved Flora hotel. I clambered up a stone walkway passing by boarded up restaurant that I remembered from years past, taking a turn as I lugged my gear behind me (too much, too heavy). Then there it was with sparkling lights out front: the Flora.

Ate dinner in the little bar as I was too fuzzy to figure anything else out, and it was close to midnight. Lovely meal: bresaola with arugula, and tagliatelle with porcini, and a local red Pinot Nero to sip. The comfort of the food made me immediately weary, but instead of listening to my body, I ventured forth to stroll on San Marco square, and see for the first time the emptiness of Venice in deep winter. It was grand: cold, misty, lonely looking. Scattered anonymous visitors wandering about, perhaps looking to take the odd, arty nighttime photograph all misty and mysterious.

I wandered aimlessly, and eventually found myself headed back to the Flora as the cold of night seeped into my bones. I thought ruefully that it was a shame I hadn’t brought one of my many adorable handmade knitted hats with me...
— Venice, January 2011

In a word, overwhelming. The 500 architects, 37 years, and god knows how many builders... reminding me of Chinese tomb making .... the heroic epics on the side galleries while finely executed, only magnify the egotism of the structure itself. Am I being irreverent? Perhaps. Not enough sleep— too many early morning glasses of champagne before sunrise certainly didn’t help..... A Cambodian woman asked me where I was from and was I happy. Love that.

I’m looking now through articulated columns at a little family asleep on a side portico on a red cloth - out cold - all lined up beautifully together, the two older ones with shaved heads, the little one with hair. They’ve probably been here all night...... Must now make the trek out of here into the sun past all the terribly maimed beggars. No matter how down and out I feel, I have no experience comparable to theirs....
— Angkor Wat, January 2000
There is a village called Ava that you reach by noisy, smelly ferryboat, and then proceed in cute horsecarts over bumpy country roads, off to see a few temples and gaze at life unfolding in old Burma. Goats, chickens, woven bamboo houses ... rice paddies of brilliant green. Picture perfect little moments — like the first temple of marvelous old teak wood that felt grand to my tired bare feet..... Brilliant sun piercing the darkness of the inner room, all of it in deep dark teak. Sun splashing warmth in a direct line... Little slates on wooden desks, and many manuals of Buddhist scripture in Burmese. A tabby cat lying in the sun. It felt like a painting in the making... crafted by someone like Vermeer or Rembrandt with their rich interplay of mysterious dark and soft warm light dancing through. The scene was poetic, and painterly — this place had a used and good feel...
— Mandalay, January 2000