Category: Interesting

The Last Notes

Notes on a Girl Walking the Tightrope
Notes on a Girl Walking the Tightrope

Robert Hirschfield finds a moment of grace in a street performance in India.THE FAMILY comes and stretches a rope between two trees on Sudder Street. The father bangs a drum to summon us from our run down hotels, and his young daughter, twelve maybe, stands poised on the rope, arms spread wide, as if she is about to fly away.

5 Essential Gear for Telemark Skiing
5 Essential Gear for Telemark Skiing

Before leaving telemark tracks along the slopes, make sure you’ve got the right gear.Telemark Skiing is less popular than downhill or even cross-country skiing, owing in part to the difficulty but also because of its niche status.That wouldn’t be a problem, except for the fact that it makes the gear a lot more expensive and difficult to rent.

Notes Going Overland from Iraq through Iran into Afghanistan
Notes Going Overland from Iraq through Iran into Afghanistan

The one and only Sandra Romain (2001 cream-colored MZ 251 Kanuni) as she leaned, gutted by bandits, against the wall of the Afghan National Police compound in Charikar, Afghanistan about 50 Kilometers from her final resting place in Bagram. Photo by author.Editor’s note: The following three vignettes are taken from Daniel C.

Four Senses and a Teahouse
Four Senses and a Teahouse

MY FIRST TRADITIONAL teahouse experience came half a block off the tourist trail, down a cobblestone path in Jeonju, South Korea. I was immediately hooked and have returned several times. On my last trip, I decided to close my eyes. I wanted to see what would happen.The SmellThe sweet, warm musk of smoldering sandalwood.

Visit to a Chinese Spa: Massaged with Flames
Visit to a Chinese Spa: Massaged with Flames

The Chinese ‘steam massage’ doesn’t turn out how Noah Pelletier expected it to.I was lying face down on the table when my masseuse whispered into my ear, “Hello.” Five minutes into a massage, it seemed like an odd time for a greeting. When I lifted my head, she was pointing to my wife, whose neck was on fire.

New Zealand: Your Safest Bet
New Zealand: Your Safest Bet

Some recent events have lowered Iceland’s peaceful ranking. New Zealand is there to slip into top spot.It’s nice to know that amongst the crime, corruption, and political dissent in today’s world we can rely on some places to go where we can feel relatively safe. The Global Peace Index 2009 has found New Zealand to be the most peaceful nation on the planet, usurping Iceland for top spot.

Budget Travel in Indonesia: A Revelatory Night On a Ship
Budget Travel in Indonesia: A Revelatory Night On a Ship

All photos: authorTraveling on a shoestring gave this traveler a sharp sense of life in Indonesia.How on Earth did I get here?The cramped lifeboat, rigged twenty feet above the ship’s main deck, swayed in the afternoon storm.I had been sandwiched between two families outside when the downpour began. Now, having followed a band of Indonesians up a ladder into the covered lifeboat, I hunched over, trying to calm my stomach as they sang a local pop song led by a badly tuned guitar.

Summiting Mount Doom in Bolivia
Summiting Mount Doom in Bolivia

Not too technical, Volcán Licancabur offers a relatively easy route to just under 20,000 ft. You get the views for free.Images of Tolkien’s volcano come to mind. Perfectly coned slopes loom over a stretch of desert so sinister it could be taken for Mordor itself.I always thought Frodo was a chump, but after climbing the 19,423 ft (5,920 m) Licancabur, I’m willing to cut him some slack.

Shinugu Matsuri: The Festival That Could Change the World
Shinugu Matsuri: The Festival That Could Change the World

Matador’s Ryukyu Mike travels into the far northern reaches of the Ryukyu Archipelago for this story and returns with a whole new perspective on the world situation.Imagine, if you can, a festival with no cotton candy, fireworks, rock ‘n’ roll bands, food tents, or people hawking overpriced trinkets.

Broken lines: Fly fishing in the Sierra Nevada
Broken lines: Fly fishing in the Sierra Nevada

Bank of Sotcher Lake. All images except feature by the author.Monica Prelle recounts seven summers working and fishing in the Sierra Nevada. On most mornings at Red’s Meadow Resort near Mammoth Lakes, California, there was a line waiting for me to unlock the door to the cafe. Backpackers, campers and fishermen wanted to get their day started with coffee and a short stack.

New Inca Road Discovered in Peru
New Inca Road Discovered in Peru

Those Incas sure had a thing for road building…Most people have likely only heard of one Inca road, the Inca Trail that passes over mountains, through the Sun Gate, and into the Wonder of the World that is Machu Picchu.But Peru and other Andean countries are riddled with the remains of hundreds, if not thousands, of Inca roads.

Tales From the Frontier of Expat Life: On Being An American Woman In Thailand
Tales From the Frontier of Expat Life: On Being An American Woman In Thailand

An American English teacher in Thailand navigates wildly different cultural standards for how women should behave.I am a teacher for a small school outside of Bangkok. I live in the close-knit community that surrounds the school.One of the most salient things I have noticed here is that within this society there is a reigning thought that women are vessels of sexuality.

Semilla Nueva: Planting new seeds in Guatemala
Semilla Nueva: Planting new seeds in Guatemala

Photos Courtesy of 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 one of several dispatches she is filing for Matador. We arrived to the sweltering Guatemalan coast expecting to see a blazing sunset.

Top 10 North American Resorts For Your 2008-2009 Ski Trip
Top 10 North American Resorts For Your 2008-2009 Ski Trip

Sunshine Village photo by Andy BellWhen it comes to choosing which mountains to ride and ski this year, remember that, “more famous” and “more popular” does not equate with “better skiing.”The following ten ski resorts have been selected based on two criteria more important than any other: consistency of good snow conditions, and quality of terrain.

First person dispatch from the Dominican Republic: Taking the long way around
First person dispatch from the Dominican Republic: Taking the long way around

A month in the Dominican Republic’s central mountains and my world feels small again.Kids I don’t recognize run up to me to play “Pollito Pleibe,” a hand game set to a song in which lovers get married in a restaurant and eat grilled chicken with a side of codfish. The fact that I don’t celebrate Christmas is a popular conversation starter with my bewildered neighbors.

My First Dalai Lama Experience… Meh.
My First Dalai Lama Experience… Meh.

I saw the Dalai Lama speak at the Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York on Sunday (just hours before the LOST finale that was weighing on my mind), and I have to say the experience was a little underwhelming.Let me start by saying that I’m not an expert in Buddhism, or a devotee of Dalai Lama (let’s just abbreviate it to D.

Squeegee Your Third Eye with Bill Hicks
Squeegee Your Third Eye with Bill Hicks

Comedian Bill Hicks had a way with words. His acerbic style made you either love him or hate, but one thing that was unique about his act was his spiritual bent.Hicks grew up in a Southern Baptist family in the Houston suburbs and started doing stand-up at the age of 15. Since dying of pancreatic cancer in 1994 at the age of 32, Hicks has been lauded as one of the country’s best comics.

Notes on a Picture I took in Haiti
Notes on a Picture I took in Haiti

Jared Krauss recently returned from several weeks volunteering in Haiti. When his friend and family asked “what was it like?” he found the best answer was this photo.THIS PICTURE epitomizes Haiti for me. This boy had just ran nearly a mile to keep up with our van in the stop-and-go traffic clogging the exits of Port Au Prince.

Notes on Temporary Homelessness in Italy
Notes on Temporary Homelessness in Italy

JoshyWashington recalls nights spent homeless while traveling in Italy.IT’S LATE. The lucky fuckers settling into sleep in the hostel lobby won’t meet your eyes as the desk girl tells you she can’t let anybody else crash in the foyer.She has to draw the line somewhere; right between you and a warm, dry, safe place to sleep.

Notes on The Calcutta Metro
Notes on The Calcutta Metro

Robert Hirschfield reflects on his vulnerability to off-chance encounters the further he travels.THE UNIFORMED woman at the Park Street Metro Station, with the standard issue black Indian braid, tickles my backpack to make sure I am not going to blow up the Calcutta subway system.Then she smiles, a crescent of supernatural white teeth just inches from my face.