Mary Clark, Traveler

Tuesday Mornings at 7:20, during Morning Edition

Writing a travel column for the Paris News has brought together my life experiences and my life outlook. After 29 years of practicing law, I was ready for this change and it's been fun. I didn't want to manufacture the usual travel column with a few hotels, restaurants, and sites thrown in (although I'm told that's what most people want). What I wanted was to personalize cultures with stories. These encounters are not limited to foreign countries. The United States is richly diverse and reflective of the world and is a great source for the column. And, interestingly, I consider Paris, Texas itself a microcosm of the world and some stories will reflect that.

My essays are now being read on my new show and podcast, Mary Clark, Traveler, on 88.9 KETR, public radio for Northeast Texas.

Ceramic pots representing the many gods of the Santeria religion, on display at the Yoruba Cultural Center in Havana.
Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

Santeria, or "devotion to Saints," is a practice still utilized in Cuba. Originating from Cuban slaves' African heritage, it is a blending of Yoruba mythology mixed with Christianity. Orichas (deities) are paired with Catholic Saints to form this meld of beliefs, known as religious syncretism.

Statue of Dr. Martin Luther King at the MLK Center in Dallas, Texas.
Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

Fair Park in Dallas is known for The Cotton Bowl and the annual State Fair of Texas, but the historical site is also home to fascinating exhibits and museums.

Taxi drivers waiting outside Hotel Nacional in Havana, Cuba
Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

Although times and regimes have changed, the iconic 1950's cars synonymous with Communist Cuba are still prominent.

The view of Mount Rainier is revealed though the clouds
Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

People come from near and far to catch a glimpse of the tri-peaks of Washington State's Mount Rainier, a towering formation of rock and ice.

Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

When you think of racing, tugboats might be the last thing to come to mind. But each year in Olympia, Washington, the tugs fill the start line at the Annual Harbor Day Festival.

Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

From their vibrant, artful downtown area, to nearby Eisenhower State Park, Denison serves as an ideal weekend destination.

After traveling the globe on various different international airlines, Mary has noticed some distinct differences between the providers.

Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

Since 1946, film festivals have been held all over the world -  from Cannes to Venice to Toronto to Sundance. Mary Clark's cousin took his Mountain Film Festival on the road to where viewers are most likely to be.

Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

At the southern most point of The Americas lies the city of Punta Arenas, the capital city of Chile's southern most region. A meer 900 miles North of Antarctica, it is by most accounts at the edge of the earth.

Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

When seeking a nearby destination with activities for the kids and the adults, look no further than Alexandria, Louisiana.

http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com

Far from the glitz and tourist traps, lies a more intimate, up-close and personal means of accommodation - hostels.  Mary Clark and her family roughed it during a trip to Chile, staying in tiny rooms with bunk beds, and sharing space with strangers.

http://benwheelertx.com/

Nestled between Canton and Tyler are a pair of small East Texas towns in which culture and the arts are thriving. Edom and Ben Wheeler make up for their small populations with big time charm and culture.

Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

Scores of penguins choose Magellan Island on the Magellan Straits of South America for their summer getaway, despite the crowded conditions and human onlookers.

Mary Clark Traveler Blog (http://thetravelinggene.blogspot.com)

One expects to find livestock, sprawling country vistas, and quaint little towns in Northeast Texas, but not a Hindu refuge! Mary found just that at Siddhayatan Tirth & Spiritual Retreat in Windom.

http://crystalbridges.org

Alice Walton, daughter of Wal Mart magnate Sam Walton, noticed a distinct lack of art and culture around her family's hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas.  She decided to change that by founding a world-class art museum in The Natural State.

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