Category: Collections

The Last Notes

Banksy bails out graffiti artists who tagged a giant penis on a drawbridge (PIC)
Banksy bails out graffiti artists who tagged a giant penis on a drawbridge (PIC)

How far can a graffitied image of a penis get you? In Russia, it can get you an award.The Russian graffiti group named “Voina” (War) received a prize for “innovation” in the visual art category sponsored by the Russian Culture Ministry for painting a penis on a drawbridge in St. Petersburg.Two members of the group–Leonid Nikolayev and Oleg Vorotnikov– were arrested for a stunt last September (they overturned several police cars in a protest called Palace Revolution) and have spent four months in prison awaiting trial.

Paris in 100 Macarons
Paris in 100 Macarons

MACARONS are not cookies or cakes, but something in between. They are crispy (but only just barely) and smooth. They are not toothache-sweet or dense or rich. They are small, two-and-a-half bites, exactly.PistacheWe visit the rainy Champs-Elysees on a Tuesday at dusk when everyone is hurrying, wearing pumps, and trouncing their own slick reflections on the sidewalk.

Notes on “Lush Hidden Gardens”
Notes on “Lush Hidden Gardens”

Mary Sojourner “discovers” a place far off the desert West of magazine ads, then returns years later and finds what’s left.She come clean from naked country.She come clean where the land don’t lie.—New Machine, Chris WhitleyTHE VISIT PHOENIX ad in The New Yorker magazine jolted me. The headline read:THE DESERT IS A MYTH.

Dispatches From One Tuesday In Iraq
Dispatches From One Tuesday In Iraq

Photo: authorIf a rocket hit, I decided I would run north half a block, up the hill.There was an alley where a fallen concrete slab made an ‘N’ with the walls. I couldn’t see the alley anymore but in my head blazed a red-hot letter ‘N.’Norte, habebe.A gibbous moon hung low over the four-lane artery soldiers called Route Rat, where a cluster of sidewalk stores ended a long stretch of rubble and crushed buildings.

Singing Karaoke in Japan
Singing Karaoke in Japan

With just the right amount of Jack Daniels, anything is possible…Way back before Karaoke hit the Western world, where it somehow turned into Carry-O-Key, there weren’t 5 or 6 monitors mounted on the walls of the bars.There were no videos accompanying the music and no words streaming across the bottom of the screen.

Melbourne Vs. Sydney: The Debate Continues
Melbourne Vs. Sydney: The Debate Continues

New York vs. Los Angeles. Vancouver vs. Toronto. Sydney vs. Melbourne. I do love a healthy big city debate.It’s quite natural to claim your home city as the best and to look down your noses at the heathens in your rival city. Sydney has held Australia’s spotlight for some time now as the “place to be”.

Chile’s Rigid Importation Laws And Why You Should Be Wary of Them
Chile’s Rigid Importation Laws And Why You Should Be Wary of Them

“Peanuts, almonds, trail mix?” The woman muttering this louder and louder behind me is disturbing me. After an overnight flight from JFK (“home”) to Santiago’s SCL (home base), I’m on autopilot.I walk down a hallway with timeless, placeless airport carpet, ride the escalator down past the reciprocity counter, zip through international police, put blinders on in the duty free shop we have to walk through, pick up a cart and my luggage, and hear it again – “peanuts, almonds trail mix.

Hg2 Travel Guides releases iPhone app
Hg2 Travel Guides releases iPhone app

Hg2 (A Hedonist’s Guide to…) which publishes high-end travel guides covering 41 destinations – from Berlin and Marrakech (both cities written by Matador Contributing Editor/MatadorU Faculty Paul Sullivan) to Baku and Almaty – has just launched its mobile iPhone app which gives you access to its destinations within a single master app.

Explosion in Marrakesh Cafe Leaves 14 Dead, 20 Injured
Explosion in Marrakesh Cafe Leaves 14 Dead, 20 Injured

This morning I heard the news that a blast went off in Marrakech leaving over a dozen killed and more wounded. The explosion happened at a popular cafe, Cafe Argana, located in the city’s main square, Djemm el Fna. The Moroccan government believes the blast to be the result of an attack.I lived and studied abroad in Morocco for a year and passed through Djemm el Fna a number of times.

Learning Experiences: Dancing Cueca in Chile
Learning Experiences: Dancing Cueca in Chile

Swing that handkerchief! Learning Chile’s national dance.Clap, clap, step, step, swing handkerchief overhead… don’t fall, step again, now circle your partner… forward, back and think like a hen…When most people think of dances from Latin America, visions of tango and salsa come to mind. While living in Santiago de Chile, I learned that these are not the only two options.

Twelve Ways to Experience Rio de Janiero Like a Carioca
Twelve Ways to Experience Rio de Janiero Like a Carioca

How to get to know Rio like the native cariocasAs summer in the northern hemisphere is coming to a close, booking a ticket to Rio de Janeiro for a warm, boozy winter escape sounds like a perfect idea.Magazine articles, travel guides, and that friend of your parents have all told you what to see and do.

13 Additions to the UNESCO World Heritage List (and One Deletion)
13 Additions to the UNESCO World Heritage List (and One Deletion)

World Heritage Site chasers rejoice: you now have 13 more destinations to add to your list. And one to remove.Fresh off the World Heritage Committee’s press, 13 new places around the world have been granted the status of UNESCO World Heritage Site. There was also one subtraction from the list, and a few were shifted over to the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The writers we carry: Agi Mishol
The writers we carry: Agi Mishol

The first in a new series that looks at the books and writers who inform our travels, Robert Hirschfield notes the place of Israeli Poet Agi Mishol in his ongoing narrative.I TOOK HER BOOK when I visited my daughter in Virginia.I take it with me on my walks to the river.It will be the first thing I pack when I travel to Nepal this fall.

Luxury Cruise Ships Still Stopping At Haiti’s Private Beaches
Luxury Cruise Ships Still Stopping At Haiti’s Private Beaches

What does Royal Caribbean’s decision allowing cruise ships to continue docking in Haiti imply for the future of the tourism industry?The fact that Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is still docking luxury cruise ships at Haiti’s privatized beaches is grotesque; but sadly, taking a wider view of international tourism, it’s not shocking.

Notes on White Levis
Notes on White Levis

In the basin-range of Nevada, Mary Sojourner finds discarded clothes, a rusted-out car, threads of stories that lead her to reflect on gambling, loss, and meaning.IT’S SEVEN A.M., LATE OCTOBER. Nevada basin-range stretches pale olive in all directions. Last night I lost everything I played, slept in the back of the truck, woke long before dawn to see Orion moving across the black sky, silent, reliable, his prey crouched in eternal safety at his feet.

Caste Vs. Class: How Status Plays Into India’s Social Media, and Ours
Caste Vs. Class: How Status Plays Into India’s Social Media, and Ours

Groups on Orkut, India’s Facebook equivalent, are often divided by castes.I’ll often join a group on Facebook, without much thought, when a friend requests me to do so. I wanna share the love, and don’t necessarily take the time to delve deeper into the meanings of of groups like, “Hot Chocolate” “F-ck Gluten, I’ll Punch Gluten In the Face” and “Those Who Enjoy + Partake In the Distribution and Acquisition of High Fives” (yes, all groups I am a part of).

Tracking black howler monkeys at the Community Baboon Sanctuary
Tracking black howler monkeys at the Community Baboon Sanctuary

Photos by the author Editor’s Note: Megan Kimble was a writer selected to travel with the Green Living Project to document environmental and community sustainability efforts in Guatemala and Belize. This is the first of several dispatches she is filing for Matador. We wait by the river. Soon, the guttural cough-bark of the black howler monkeys roars from the north, warning their approach.

With Aryeh Under the Bodhi Tree
With Aryeh Under the Bodhi Tree

Robert Hirschfield visits the Bodhi Tree, where “one breathes first and asks questions later.”I BREATHE him in. I breathe him out.Under the Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, one breathes first and asks questions later.Everything loses itself in currents of breath, in small measures of sanity.Where the Buddha sat, I can almost feel the calm waters that opened to yank his hiking feet (Swimming was another story.

Kung Fu Fighting Gives Nepalese Nuns a Voice
Kung Fu Fighting Gives Nepalese Nuns a Voice

A sect of Nepalese nuns is taking concentration to a whole new level.Most of the people I know who have learned any martial art became entranced with the practice. Building concentration and powering up in a functional way seems to make people strong not only in body, but mind.Which is why it’s pretty damn cool that some Nepalese nuns are practicing kung fu for up to two hours a day.

Notes on the Other Side of Hawaii
Notes on the Other Side of Hawaii

In which David Page navigates the tweakscape, eats wild pig stew, meets an agent of the King, and witnesses creation (from a “safe” distance).Pu oo crater, Big Island. Photo: exfordyI’M ON THE BIG ISLAND doing a story. Or rather, I’ve done the story, as best I could, have blown my entire accommodations budget on one muffled night at the Hilton Waikoloa (the Mauna Kea being closed for renovation), and am now over in Puna, on the wet side, in a rental car, with 36 hours to see what Hawaii is really all about.