Travel to Cuba Now: An Update with Jennine Cohen

Cuba has been making headlines recently as President Obama has announced the loosening of restrictions with the island nation. We sat down with GeoEx’s Managing Director for the Americas, Jennine Cohen, to talk about the effects and implications of the new regulations, and about travel to Cuba now. Before we dive into the new regulations, let’s put Cuba in perspective. What makes it such a special destination? Though it is just 100 miles from Key West, Cuba has remained one of the truly different places on the planet culturally, in part because of the US embargo. When many people think of Cuba, they think of a place trapped in time, of its glorious past, of old cars and crumbling buildings. But this is just the surface of Cuba. To understand the intricacies of what’s happening there right now,

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Scenes from a Silk Road Odyssey
A journey through time along the Silk Road with GeoEx

The Silk Road is one of the planet's epic trade and travel routes, pathway for a world-changing confluence of commerce, ideas, and culture. On a recent GeoEx journey, videographer Richard L. Camp shot this moving homage to the special riches and revelations of a journey through time along the Silk Road. The video was produced by GeoEx staffer Alysa Pakkidis. 

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Big Flavors from Tiny Bowls: A Taste of India

In the still-darkness of Varanasi’s early morning, my brother and I drank Masala chai from tiny terracotta cups. It was approaching dawn on his birthday, half a world away from home and half a day ahead of schedule. The narrow lanes of the old city were already filling with people and there was no good place to stand; we wedged ourselves into a doorway behind an obstinate cow. I paused to breathe in the tea's fragrant steam, bringing it close to my nose so it might win out over the alley's other pungent aromas.  Something about the little cup charmed me. It wasn't meant to be carried away, but to be enjoyed right where I stood. On the ground was a heap of broken crockery; clearly the custom was to smash the empty cup to bits...but also, to stand still, to pause and savor. So seldom do I do this, I realized. Maybe my portions are too large to fully appreciate. My brother and I stood together in the newly waking morning and tasted our tea. It was the first sip of the...

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A Surprise in Morocco: The Valley of Roses

Before arriving in Morocco, my vision of what awaited me there mainly included scenes from its cities: The twisting side streets of the souks and large medinas like Marrakech’s Djemaa el-Fna, brimming with people and bubbling with spices and exotic scents. But then I arrived in the Valley of Roses, six hours east of Marrakech by bus and more than a world away. Gone were the crowds and cramped spaces; in their place, the landscape opened up to reveal a beautiful, expansive gorge and dusty villages I couldn’t wait to explore. Through the center of the valley flowed the M’Goun River, feeding wheat fields, groves of olive and fig trees, and endless hedges of rose bushes. And yet the hills rising high above the river seemed almost lunar, with only a few shrubs growing here and there among the striated stone. I met a family in the valley one...

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Meltdown in Mumbai

With each step forward I drew more and more attention from the mangy dogs and ragged people inhabiting the sidewalk of this two-block street. My heart began to pound and the muscles in my shoulders tightened as the many pairs of eyes stared at me, wondering what I was doing there. It was just before 8 a.m. on Saturday morning on Nowroji Fardonji Road somewhere in the middle of downtown Mumbai. The streets were just beginning to stir. I knew I wasn't too far from my hotel, but it felt a world away. I scanned the street for the designated meeting spot, but I saw no signboard, no logo for the non-profit through which I'd optimistically arranged to tour Dharavi, India's largest slum, home to more than a million people. At this point, I'd been working and traveling in India on my own for the better part of two weeks. Though...

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Don George, Editor

Don George is Editor in Chief of Wanderlust: Literary Journeys for the Discerning Traveler. He has been Travel Editor for the San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle and Salon.com, and Global Travel Editor for Lonely Planet Publications. Don has published eight books, including Travel Writing, A Moveable Feast, The Kindness of Strangers, and Tales from Nowhere. E-mail him at [email protected]

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