Several years ago I went to Greenland on a travel writing assignment. Getting there was a trip in itself. First I flew from New York to Ottawa, then from Ottawa to Iqaluit, Canada on commercial airliners. In Iqaluit, I hopped an eight-seater charter jet for the journey over the Greenland Sea.   It was an exciting flight. Halfway there, at 25,000 feet or so, one of the baggage compartments popped open, releasing the Canadian pilot’s gear into the cold, cloudless skies. I couldn’t see what was happening from my side, but I heard him groan, “Oh shit!” and I thought we were...

Penang, Malaysia When Eric, the manager of the Cheong Fatt Tze mansion guesthouse in Penang, invited me to go with him to the Penang fish salon, I didn't hesitate a beat. We drove there--the salon is located, of course, in a shopping mall--parked in the lot, and headed to the salon. It looked a lot like a sushi bar inside, with raised wooden decks and smooth pebble paths.I'd heard about these pedicures by "doctor fish", (their biological name is garrarufa) that feast on dead human skin, leaving your toes and soles clean and soft. (The technique has allegedly has been used...

Langkawi, Malaysia     I've been allergic to cats for as long as I can remember, which is probably why I've never liked them much. But last month, during a stolen weekend on the island of Langkawi I got completely blindsided by a new, unexpected relationship.   This is "my" cottage at Langkawi's Bon Ton Resort. Actually it belongs to the little guy in the lower right hand corner. He's one of about a hundred cats on the property who've been rescued by the Bon Ton's animal loving Australian owner, Narelle McMurtrie.   In addition to her resort and restaurant, Narelle runs and funds an animal rescue...