Site hosted by Build your free website today!




8838 Memorial Drive

Pittsburgh,PA 15237-5346


e-mail to

The website is constantly being revised, so keep checking back. Note that on some browsers you may need to reload after you retrieve your bookmarked copy. Last updated June 10,2002-if you have questions-suggestions please contact us.


Lois and John have been married since 1986 and we live in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the USA. Lois is employed by a testing laboratory and she inspects grocery stores for health and safety conditions. John works as Director of an employment and training program that deals with American Indians and other Native Americans. We have both been working in these fields for over twenty years.

We live in a Pittsburgh suburb in a home that was built in 1926 from a kit purchased through the Sears & Roebuck catalog. (No we didn't build it ourselves) The area surrounding our home is tree covered and makes a great place for walking our dog Carter. Carter is a six year old Collie/Husky/Shepherd/Chow mix who we got a Animal Friends in Pittsburgh. He is the friendliest dog we have ever seen. He loves everyone and haven't found another dog who has been able to provoke him to anger-many have tried. Furry woodland creatures, ranging from mice to raccoons have not however found him too friendly. There was one unfortunate run in with a skunk about a year ago that provided weeks of unpleasant memories. Recently he encountered another skunk but he just sat down, about three feet away, and looked at it. The skunk looked at him and walked away, much to our collective relief.

We work a great deal with Animal Friends, which is a no-kill shelter for cats and dogs. Upon returning from Tibet in 1992 we helped in the founding and organizing of the Pittsburgh Friends of Tibet(PFOT). PFOT was able raise funds to build a solar powered medical clinic in a small Tibetan village.In 1999 PFOT was able to host a visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Pittsburgh. The events were all enormously succesful and brought an awareness to the plight of Tibet in Pittsburgh that we never expected possible. The struggle to maintain Tibetan culture will be a long one, but hopefully this peaceful and compassionate way of life will not be swept totally away in the future.

During our most recent trip we have prepared travel reports. Reports on our most recent trips can be found on the website under travelogues. 1997 Trip report covers Israel, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. 1998 Trip Report covers Thailand, Vietnam and China. 1999 Report covers Bolivia and Peru. The 2000 Trip to the Silk Road region of China. The 2002 Trip Report on travel to India.

One change that might be apparent to some of you is the fact that our name has changed. Following 9/11/02 we decided to once and for all rid ourselves of the Muslim surname (Hassan). This was a legacy of my grandfather who I never knew and who was a Muslim. My father ands his siblings were raised Christian as was I. The name Hassan has over the years caused numerous problems in travel and with 9/11/02 it seemed like this was a good time to finally change it. The legal process and the transition has been difficult, but it should make everything much simpler in the future.


Having spent the last thirty years traveling around the World thought that might offer the fifty top places that have been visited. They'll be presented alphabetically by country, as ranking them in any way would be impossible. Some of these places do not exist as they were first visited and many others are changing very quickly. Would urge all to see what they can as soon as possible for change is inevitable and change is seldom positive.

AFGHANISTAN-BALKH- Alexander the Great's capital of Bactria. In the north of the country its ruins are probably indistinguishable from most of the rest of the country now.

ALGERIA-DJEMILLA- A Roman city buried in the mountains-beautifully preserved and seldom visited.

BALI-Indonesia-TONAH LOT- A seaside Temple that at sunset seems of another world.

BOLVIA- ISLE DEL SOL-LAKE TITICACA-Incredible combination of the Incan ruins, crystal clear air and sky and the lake which is bluer than the sky

CAMBODIA-ANGKOR TEMPLE COMPLEX- A city of wonderous temples, lost for six hundred years, visit them before politics takes them away again.

CANADA-TORONTO-We feel it is the most enjoyable city to visit in the World-great restaurants, theatre, shopping, special events, sports, transportation and a diversity of population that appears to live so well together. Now if you could move it to a sunny/warm climate it would be perfect.

CHINA-So many places to visit. BEIJING- See it before there is a McDonald's on every corner. There is one on every other corner now. When we first visited back in 1987 there was only one KFC in the whole country. GUILIN RIVER VALLEY-every view is like a classic Chinese painting. XIAN'S TERRA COTTA ARMY a testimony to the skill, creativity and meglomania of China's first Emperor. DAZU-carved into cliffs of southwest China are the lessons of the Buddha. HEKOU-KUNMING RAILWAY-a narrow guage French built railway that cuts through incredible forests and river valleys.

ECUADOR-OTAVALO-The Saturday Market remains alive though the craftsmen of Otavalo now sell their textiles all over the World.

EGYPT-THE PYRAMIDS OF GIZA-There is no way to begin to grasp the scale of this accomplishment without standing at the base and looking up. TEMPLE OF KARNAK (Luxor) A complex of temples ,constructed over thousands of years, gives one a sense of what time and history mean.

ENGLAND-LONDON-A city with a thousand years of history,architecture,theatre, restaurants, music and any other diversion one could ever imagine. STONEHENGE-A magical place when you could wander alone amongst the stones. Unfortunately doing that today will get your head busted by a security guard, even if you are a practicing Druid.

FRANCE-PARIS-In June of 1968 it was a city without people as the student/worker uprising and martial law had driven everyone out. Alone visited the Louvre, Notre Dame and the Effiel Tower. Barring another Revolution one shouldn't expect to see Paris like that again.

GUATEMALA-CHICHICASTENANGO-The small market town of amazing craftsmen that centers around the Cathedral. Here one can see the blend of Catholicism and Mayan religions. TIKAL- The jungle has relinquished only a small part of the one of the ancient world's great cities.

INDIA-GOLDEN TEMPLE OF AMRITSAR-A Skih temple of gold floating on a lake, it welcomed all and provided a wonderous sense of peace. TAJ MAHAL-Many sites may disappoint but the symetery and beauty of this building is beyond comparison. Our latest trip(2002) merely confirmed this.

IRAN-ISFAHAN- Anicent Iran was still here before politics created a very different world.

ISRAEL- JERUSALEM-Three great religions meet in less than a square mile and the synergy is staggering. MASADA-Below the cliffs you can still see the outline of the Roman encampments and on top you can sense what this place means to the Jewish people.

ITALY-VENICE-There isn't any place like it, though Disney is probably building a replica. RAVENNA-One of the world's great small towns without an incomprable collection of small churches and magnificent mosaics.

JORDAN-PETRA-Your first glimpse of this "lost city" will send a chill through you even if the temperature is broiling.

LAOS-LUANG PRABANG-Southeast Asia before the wars and invasion of the Kentucky Fried Chicken. Forty Buddhist Monasteries and a peacefulness that cannot last much longer.

LEBANON-BALBEK-One of the great Roman ruins. A very hard place to visit as one must juggle the Hamas, PLO, Syrian Army and the Israeli Air Force to seize the opportunity. Pay very close attention to politics before you attempt to visit.

MEXICO-COBA-Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula where the jungle has only barely been beaten back. Here you can really feel the sense of adventure in exploring a site not on the tourist circuit.

MOROCCO-MARRAKECH- Jna el Fna Square will take you back to the time of the caravan trade. When first seen twenty five years ago it was more authentic, but it is still great fun, but watch your wallet. FEZ-Saved by UNESCO from development, the ancient pathways of the city, devoid of vehicles, feel what it must have been like to live in the Middle Ages.

NEPAL-KATHMANDU VALLEY-There are always tourists but so little else seems to have changed. A mixture of Hindu/Buddhist/Tibetan culture that provides endless fascination and sights.

NORWAY-NORTH CAPE-Visited in late September, long after all the tourists had left. It rained every thirty minutes, but in between one was treated to brilliant sunshine and more rainbows than you'd see in a year.

PAKISTAN-KHYBER PASS-Cutting through the mountains bordering Afghanistan one found all the beauty and adventure of Kipling. This excursion is not currently advisable.

PERU-MACHI PICHU-lost city of the Inca is fascinating but so little is ever said of the magnificent setting surrounding it. CHUCHILLA CEMETARY- burial place of the Nazca people it is an moving testament to the ravages of time.

POLAND-KRAKOW-The ancient city of Copernicus twenty years ago had charm and grime. Today I fear development and restoration may have altered it dramatically.

RUSSIA-NOVGOROD-This was a beautiful old city north of Moscow that had made great effort to retain a character that had been "purged" elsewhere in the then U.S.S.R. Have no idea what it is like after twenty five years, quite possibly it could even be better.

SOUTH AFRICA-KRUGER NATIONAL PARK-We stayed in a bush camp and had the most amazing opportunities to view nature as it has existed for millions of years. It is something that everyone needs to do before it is too late.

SPAIN- TOLEDO- Though restored and over touristed, it still have great architecture, art and history. Go off season.

THAILAND- BANGKOK-A city of such contrasts you cannot find anywhere. It has palaces and temples of great beauty and traffic and congrestion well beyond tolerance. If you observe the Thai people you will see how it is possible to endure anything.

TIBET- LHASA- Seek out what is Tibetan here. The Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of the Tibetan Universe and observing the faithful there will forever give you some understanding of their world.

TUNISIA-HADDAJ- Twenty five years ago visited Matmata, an underground village that preserved an ancient way of life. Many tourists were to follow and Matmata became very different. We found however that ten miles or so further into the desert you can find Haddaj which hasn't changed yet!

UNITED STATES- GRAND CANYON-Best seen from the much less accesible North Rim. MESA VERDE-Cliff dwellings in southwest Colorado that are in a most picturesque location. LAS VEGAS- A place you will either love or hate, but assuredly one that will make a lasting impression.

VIETNAM-HUE- In a country that has sacrificed much of its history to warfare, there still remains much to admire here. A city that moves on the river and the bicycle it unfortunately will soon give way to the automobile and motorbike, see it before that happens. SAPA-The far north of Vietnam is the land of the tribal people, high mountains and few traces of the 20th century, never mind the 21st. See it soon.

ZIMBABWE- VICTORIA FALLS- The Zambesi river a mile wide plunging into a narrow valley below is staggering. White water rafting awaits those willing to risk all for the thrill. The end of the rafting season comes only after the river claims lives, so the risk is very real. HWANGE NATIONAL PARK- Home to 40,000 elephant the experiences to be had here are tremendous. GREAT ZIMBABWE- Tribal ruins that forces all to reevaluate the history of sub-Saharan Africa.


A lot happened since we last updated our webpage (Sept. 4, 2001), as I'm sure all of you can tell by the date We obviously had to assess the advisablity of traveling to Kenya and Tanzania after 9/11. The prospects for military action seemed highly likely and was of course to eventually lead to the War in Afghanistan. It did not seem to be a good idea to be Americans traveling in East Africa, where terrorist action had resulted in the bombings of the USA Embassies in 1998. Hence we decided to cancel the Africa trip and instead took three weeks driving about the USA. We were able to see family and friends while driving exactly 5,555 miles. It was a very enjoyable trip.

PLAN for 2002- We had planned to travel to Turkey and Greece in April, 2002 but we have decided to avoid the Middle East entirely. Instead we are currently planning to travel to India in mid-March and stay for three weeks. Providing the situation between India and Pakistan does not result in a full fledged War. Those two countries have been adverserial forever, but they have fought three Wars in the past so it is not inconceivable they might do it again. The fact that both have atomic weapons at this time should give the World a pause to concern. We will monitor the situation constantly and will of course make a sound decision on going or not as the time draws closer.

PLAN for 2003-January/February planning to visit New Zealand- long-time friends, Louise & Warren Shave who met in U.S.S.R. in 1974 have invited us to watch New Zealand defend the America's Cup from their home overlooking Aukland harbor. That is an opportunity we don't want to miss.


LONELY PLANET-outstanding source of information, but even more useful is the Thorn Tree section. This is a bulletin board for travel information. There are separate BBs for each area of the World. If you have a question this is where to get an answer.

ROUGH GUIDE-great travel guides and the most amazing web site. This is the only place you will ever find the full text of each of their guides. These are not "teaser" excerpts to get you to buy the Guide but the entire Guide. Highly recommend their guides.

TRAVEL MAGAZINE- produced in England it gives you some very good and off beat info. The British have their own very interesting view of the World.

VAGABOND MONTHLY- information is on USA travel and is really off the wall. Entertaining even if you don't intend on going to "America's Cheesiest Resorts".

UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE SITES- the definitive list of 500+ UNESCO recognized wonders. Hard to go wrong picking you next vacation spot from here.

JOHN & LOIS' TRAVEL LOGS- can be found on under Travelogues.

HARD ROCK CAFE PINS TO TRADE- our "little" hobby-over 1,000 pins for trade. Now We have a Hard Rock Cafe in Pittsburgh and encourage all visiting collectors to let us know you're coming to town.


Lonely Planet Travel Page
Rough Guides
British Travel Magazine
Vagabond Monthly
UNESCO World Heritage Sites
John & Lois's Travel Logs
Hard Rock Cafe Pins For Trade