A Test Drive of India’s New Electric Car

The boxy little Mahindra e2o I drove around Bangalore back in January.

Back in January, I got the opportunity to test drive the Mahindra e2o, the first new electric car to be built in India in more than a decade. This wasn’t something I expected. On a visit to the new Mahindra Reva factory […]


To Be Young and Cosmopolitan in Chennai

The Raintree is a high-rise luxury hotel on St. Mary’s Road, just a few dusty streets away from where I stay. From the polished lobby, one boards an extraordinarily quiet elevator and emerges onto a rooftop bar with a swimming pool, dining tables, and a perimeter bar underlit by blue neon and with an airy view of the city. The effect is striking because the bar is sleek and modern, while the street is strewn with piles of rubble. I was here to meet a new acquaintance, Ben, an thirty-something American who has been living in Chennai for a year and who took eagerly to my suggestion of the Raintree as a place to meet — a little too eagerly, I thought, considering that I had suggested it only because I knew of nothing else. I figured Ben would know of grottoes and pubs much cooler than a hotel bar. […]


A Board Meeting with Tim Geithner

The blonde surf instructor clinched the deal with an offhand comment. We stood outside her shack a few blocks from the beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico, just after New Year’s Day, as I sized up a surfboard I might rent. “Tim Geithner rode this board just yesterday,” she said casually. The United States Secretary of the Treasury rented this thing, seriously? The man at the reins of our creaking economy, whose signature is on every freakin’ dollar bill, had spent New Year’s…surfing? […]


Me on KQED: Wilderness Yes, Cellphones No!

The piece, “Wilderness Calling,” is part of KQED’s Perspectives series, where regular people make their best case on a topic of the day. While some might question if I’m a regular person, I have formed an emphatic opinion about the growing use of cellphones in the great outdoors, based on a jarring experience I had in Yosemite National Park last summer. Listen to the whole thing below. […]


New story in Sierra magazine

Today Sierra magazine published a story I wrote about those bizarre ice pinnacles I saw on Mt. Aconcagua earlier this year. The penitentes are a fascinating phenomenon, and even better, they may play a role in saving the glaciers of the Southern Andes. Have a look…




City of Eagles

Just as I visited Libby, Montana, the town was putting a bold new face on its tragic past, a face with beady eyes and a curved beak. The morning of July 4 saw the official inauguration of Libby as “The City of Eagles.”

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Libby does have real, blood-and-feathers eagles, as evidenced by the […]


This Town May Cause Cancer

Storefronts can reveal how a town makes its living. On a sunsplashed morning in early July I drove slowly down U.S. Highway 2 through the mountain town of Libby, Montana, tallying enterprises that together made no sense.

Six tiny casinos, none of them any larger than a Denny’s, and two or three state health offices […]


Head-Banger’s Ball

Today I would like to take a moment to thank the heavy-metal band AC/DC and its unique assistance it has lent to drunk white people who can’t dance. I am, of course, talking about the 1980 anthem “Back in Black,” which is legally required at wedding receptions in 28 states.

Our collective debt to this […]


It Grows As It Goes

Driving out of Santa Fe, my girlfriend Anjali and I made one final stop to see the New Mexico state capitol building. We stopped in the middle of the street – no traffic anywhere – and looked around expectantly.

“It’s supposed to be right here!” Anjali said.

Photo Credit: Corbis

The capitol, we concluded, […]


Babes in Treeland

My girlfriend Anjali loves trees and this weekend I took her to see my favorites: the coast redwoods of California, the tallest and most venerable on the planet.

We drove to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, the oldest state park in California, which is accessed by curvy roads shaded intimately by pines and oaks. […]