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Massive mineral deposits discovered in Afghanistan
Massive mineral deposits discovered in Afghanistan

In what may be the most unexpected news out of Afghanistan in a long, long time, the US discovers massive mineral deposits.Gold. Cobalt. Copper. Iron. Lithium.The “bleak Ghazni Province seems to offer little,” noted the caption on the header photo leading into the article in Sunday’s New York Times, and the photo itself seemed to confirm the observation, a spectrum of grays and browns on a flat, rock-pocked landscape.

Book Review: Walking to Guantanamo
Book Review: Walking to Guantanamo

There’s no shortage of travelogues penned by restless travelers on journeys they hope will help them resolve a midlife crisis.A few that immediately come to mind? Rosemary Mahoney’s Down the Nile: Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff, Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, and John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley.

Notes on Longing at the Kali Temple
Notes on Longing at the Kali Temple

Robert Hirschfield finds: “In disordered Calcutta, I feel a vulnerability that could lead me anywhere. Every morning, it leads me to the Kali Temple.”SOMETIMES, in the day’s white heat, you see them lined up a block long outside the Kali Temple.They are faithful and meek before the Black Goddess, before the terrible Kali Ma of skulls.

How to find and keep your perfect travel companion
How to find and keep your perfect travel companion

Off-the-radar activities are just the way to attract the attention of fellow romantic travelers.Photo by Andy SchellI met Mia in New Zealand, while on a bus that was taking us sky diving. I was only along to take photos for my friends, for I had gone skydiving twice before and wanted to save some money.

How being apart can strengthen a relationship
How being apart can strengthen a relationship

Want to test a relationship? Try traveling apart.Two weeks into my four month trip to Australia, I was sitting in Mission Beach with some guys at my hostel talking and playing drinking games.In between rounds were the usual questions about countries of origin and travel plans, where we were from and where we hoped to go.

World Orchestra tour commemorates War and Peace
World Orchestra tour commemorates War and Peace

For Playing for Change, it’s Marley; for the World Orchestra for Peace, it’s Mahler.Either way, the message is the same: peace through music. This week, the World Orchestra, made up of 95 musicians from 35 countries, will be playing both to commemorate World War II and to celebrate 200 years of peace.

No More Easy Money for English Teachers in Japan?
No More Easy Money for English Teachers in Japan?

English teaching in Japan is still a lucrative gig, but the days of easy money and great benefits might be coming to an end.After teaching English in Japan with the JET Program for two years, I saved enough money to travel in Southeast Asia for over a year and launch my career in travel writing.I lived rent free, didn’t work very hard and sent home about $1,500 per month.

Volunteer Voice: Learning More About Sustainable Bolivia
Volunteer Voice: Learning More About Sustainable Bolivia

Photo: Hal AmenDuring the last six weeks volunteering through the Cochabamba-based Sustainable Bolivia, I’ve come to know its small but friendly and dedicated staff, some of the 30 local foundations it supplies with funding and volunteers, and a bit about its business model.Less clear to me, though, is how the organization developed.

Capture the color and beauty in Venice
Capture the color and beauty in Venice

WHAT/WHEREVenice boasts, above all, a vibrancy not only seen but sensed.NETWORK CONNECTIONTo some, Venice is a capital of romance. To others, it harbors stench and snooty people in an over-romanticized setting. Whether you love or dislike this Italian port city is irrelevant. There’s no denying the architecture stuns and the colors strike the eye with fantasy.

Houston har gow
Houston har gow

Valerie Ng explores a side of Houston where the familiar fallbacks of BBQ and Tex-Mex are strangely absent.Cruising Houston’s Bellaire Blvd, Adriana and I watched as the English and Spanish of storefront signs gave way to Chinese and Vietnamese.We pulled into one of the shopping centers lining the street, and found ourselves before an imposing Asian supermarket, wedged between a Halal Chinese restaurant and a Korean tofu and barbecue joint.

Delinquents of a Hasidic underground
Delinquents of a Hasidic underground

In which Robert Hirschfield says no to drugs and observes a conversation in Jerusalem.I ENTER Chaim’s living room thinking this can’t be. The old Hasid in his long black coat has invited over a friend for Torah study and a toke. Chaim extends his roach to me. I refuse. Seems too much like a bribe. If I take it, I will feel obligated to study with him.

How I learned Turkish
How I learned Turkish

Photos: authorI was in Turkey for three months this past autumn to train with Fire of Anatolia, an iconic professional dance group in the country. Fire of Anatolia holds the Guinness World Record for fastest dance performance at 241 steps per minute.I think the dancers should hold another world record: speaking Turkish at a million words per minute.