how the world sees america

Part II Plans, and DC Drinks

It’s time.

Hamidiye Souk in Damascus

We're moving again. First to Syria. That much I know. Then, perhaps: From Damascus north by car (past a burning nuclear site?), to talk to Kurdish communities. Then onward by road to Istanbul, Turkey.

Next, board a plane headed to Jakarta, Indonesia. Island hop, and then move to the Philippines. Venture south for separatists.

After that, take the long flight to Colombia. Travel past FARC-infested forests to Medellin and then move swiftly up to Mexico. Up, up again to the border with good ol' Texas. Linger there, then cut across it, and drive back to D.C., returning home soon after New Year's. 100 more days.

That’s the preliminary plan. It'll unfold organically, as they say.

I'm still taking suggestions from editors, mentors and readers. When October arrives, I'll post the thought process behind the (relatively) final itinerary. Next week I’ll be preparing, not posting.

In the meanwhile, two important things:

*If you all have pieces you've written on how America is perceived where you sit that you want me to consider running, please email them to me.

*Let’s meet. Next Thursday the 27th from 6:30 p.m. till 8 p.m. I’ll be at Gazuza off Dupont Circle and I'd love to see some of you regular D.C. readers there. I'll cover the first round of drinks. Let me know if you can make it by emailing me at amar[dot]bakshi[at]gmail[dot]com.

Looking forward to seeing some of you there, and reading the rest of your thoughts online as the second phase of this project begins.

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Comments (13)


If you come through Adana Turkey on your way to Istanbul, please let me know so that I can provide you with bed and breakfast. You can contact me through my blog

Have a great trip!


amar, don't neglect africa.

FH Malik:

I just got back from a similar trip through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia. It can be interesting to see that local mindsets and opinions remain the same about their perceptions of America and Americans regardless of where you are in the world. In villages with no electricity, you will find people who not only know what is happening but also have a deeply rooted opinion about it.

Good luck,

FH Malik


Wow. You're getting to all the hotspots Amar! Any chance we'll get a book out of your travels?

You'll have to give some places in Africa a go, and perhaps Eastern Europe or Eurasia? Japan might be interesting. A lot of the places you're traveling to would find themselves in conflict with the US, but there's a degree of good will in Eastern Europe so for a bit of balance I'd try there.

Nazain Ghasemian:

Have a great trip Amar. I can't wait for the updates. Thanks for reading my blog.

Nazain Ghasemian:

Have a great trip Amar. I can't wait for the updates. Thanks for reading my blog.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:


As soon as you get to Syria, let me know whether, in all sincerity (but the "good ol' Texas" phrase does not bode well for that one!), you think that Bashar is the bully or a beleaguered, scared-American-puppy Olmert> I am, of course, referring to the recent incursion into Syrian and Turkish territory of Israeli military aircraft.

And, why don't you also hop over to the Vatican and, on my behalf, ask the very liberal-minded Pope (or do you think otherwise) whether he will draw a comparison for you between the reception given to him by Turkey's PM Recep Teyyib Erdogan and that given to President Ahamdi-Nejad by Bollinger and Bllomberg?

Have a nice trip!

missing out:

i would come but i am in China

visit here!


Just RSVPed


I'd consider some of the bigger fish like Russia, Japan or China. And I think you should do a round three to mainland Europe and Southern Africa.


I want to come!


Just emailed you. I'll be there.

Shalini Razdan:

Wow! What an exciting set of countries. I'm trying not to be envious. For this round, I hope to hear from a different set of religious voices than last time. More specifically, I feel inundated with Christian/Muslim/Jewish perspectives of America and would love to get a glimpse of how Buddhists, Zoroastrians, B’ahais, etc. perceive us.

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