Category: Miscellaneous

The Last Notes

Notes on Storm Traveling
Notes on Storm Traveling

Sara B. May, “After the Storm (with TTV framing props to seriykotik1970 on flickr)”Prudent folks bolt the shutters, make a pot of tea, and settle in to watch the Weather Channel. Others head out into the goods.I’d snuck into Los Angeles from the west, over the water, in a twin engine turboprop piloted by professional madmen.

Notes on The Jewish Cemetery in Calcutta
Notes on The Jewish Cemetery in Calcutta

Robert Hirschfield visits the Jewish Cemetery in Calcutta, thinking of the last Jews left in India, and of last places.WE ARE driving up and down Narkeldanga Main Road looking for tombstones.All I see are storefronts. The heat is roasting the car windows and my stubby pencil.The driver is throwing up his hands, which I take as a good sign.

Notes on a Saigon Motorcycle Pimp
Notes on a Saigon Motorcycle Pimp

With no Tesol, no plan and no clue, Josh moves through Saigon to find a job teaching English.I STEP from my permanent residence at the MiMi guesthouse in District 1 of Saigon and for once I greet the endless propositions for a ride from the loafing motorbike men with a hearty ‘Youbetcha’!THE NEGOTIATION“How much for an hour?

Coming to Goa for ‘None of the things Lonely Planet can offer me’
Coming to Goa for ‘None of the things Lonely Planet can offer me’

Robert Hirschfield digs through the layers at Baga, Goa.Biting into my Mediterranean sandwich at Baba Au Rum (feta cheese, black olives, sun dried tomatoes spilling from the sides of French bread), I think of the party I went to last night at one of the Yoga centers around Baga.A dressed-in-white party.

Sweden by the Numbers
Sweden by the Numbers

Every few weeks we bring you a place by the numbers. This week, Anna Brones has a scorecard from Sweden.Number of SAABS and Volvos on the road: too many to countFamily members visited: 9Family members that own a SAAB or Volvo: 8Number of times I’ve traveled alone with my mother since the age of 15 before this trip: 0Times my mother and I were frustrated about not being able to talk about people in public because they spoke Swedish too: 26Cities visited: 5Hours spent in Stockholm: 7Hours spent walking in Stockholm: 6Number of times I consulted a Stockholm map: 1Total hours spent on trains: 9Cost of buying Karlstad to Stockholm train ticket at last minute: 600 SEKCrayfish consumed in one evening in Gothenburg: 7Days spent in Sweden: 10Days someone mentioned threat of Swine Flu: 10Jokes made about Swine Flu: 2Swedes I know who think they’ve had Swine Flu: 1Minutes between landing in Gothenburg and seeing an IKEA: 11Bags of Swedish candy brought back in suitcase: 6Meals that included potatoes: 10Meals of blood pudding: 4Days with less than two fika (coffee break): 1Starbucks sightings: 0IKEA sightings: 3Postcards sent with photos of topless sunbathers: 3Topless sunbather sightings: 0Articles read in newspaper about the Swedish Royal Family: 3Times I’ve been to Sweden: over 15Number of bright green, marzipan covered Princesstarta (Princess Cake) eaten: 1Fast food restaurants visited: 0Age that I first learned to speak Swedish: 0Times I had to speak English: 0Pictures taken with bikes in them: 53Time in the morning people started buying liquor at Stockholm Airport Duty Free: 6Cans of reindeer pate snuck through customs: 2

Haiti volunteer trip: we asked, you (all 250+ of you!) reached out
Haiti volunteer trip: we asked, you (all 250+ of you!) reached out

UPDATE: 1/16/10 2:15 AM EST: Please read most current update: Haiti Volunteer Project: Evening Update 1/15/10 Special Note 1/14/10 @1:54 EST We are working to connect qualified volunteers with reputable and well established NGOs on the ground. If you are someone wanting desperately to help but don’t have these qualifications, we strongly encourage you to donate to the following:– UNICEF.

Notes on Oaxaca Since the Swine Flu
Notes on Oaxaca Since the Swine Flu

Normally at this time of year–the low season for tourism in Oaxaca–120 tourists visit the Zapotec ruins at Mitla every day.These days–since swine flu hit–on a good day, twelve people show up. On a bad day, the guides and ticket takers wait out their shifts without seeing a single tourist. At the nearby artisans’ market, it’s the same story.

How Travel Saved my Life
How Travel Saved my Life

Image h.koppdelaneyWhen the surgeon took the golf ball sized tumor out of my father’s head he apologized and said my father would be lucky to see two more months.As a family we dug in for a fight to the finish that would last 500 long days. Slowly, the disease stole all my father’s faculties until he sat shuddering in a wheelchair, one arm limp around my shoulder as I hoisted him up and carefully walked him to the toilet.

5 Amazing Time Lapse Travel Videos
5 Amazing Time Lapse Travel Videos

Travel through time and space with these time lapse videosThere is something magical about time lapse. Time lapse captures time and motion, presenting an environment in flux from a perspective that is not possible otherwise. Enjoy these exceptional time lapse videos I found on Vimeo.London Timelapse by Xtrax LondonEclectic 3.

From Mumbai to Northern India by Train
From Mumbai to Northern India by Train

Photos by the author.Notes and photos from Divya Srinivasan, a student in Mumbai and frequent Matador contributor.The train began to move and my friends ran along. They were almost jogging and I watched as the train overtook them, watched my mom stand and watch me go.Soon they were all out of sight and so was the station platform.

An Awkward Hug and No Chocolate
An Awkward Hug and No Chocolate

Sometimes a hug is the wrong thing.Photo: A National AcrobatWe’re in the middle of our English lesson when a bright white car pulls into the dirt yard and a woman strides across the yard calling out loudly in fluent but heavily accented Spanish. Don Faustino goes out to meet her.Her hair is an unnatural shade of orangey-red—not unlike the color Doña Ludi obtains for the yarn by mixing cochineal with lime juice—her pants are blinding white, her blouse is translucent neon pink, her earrings are enormous hunks of neon pink plastic.

10 Tips to Improve Any Trip to Brazil
10 Tips to Improve Any Trip to Brazil

Photo by Fábio PinheiroBrazil is different from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and its other neighbors. Besides the language differences between Spanish-speaking South America and Portuguese-speaking Brazil, a noticeable cultural divide exists.Brazil, a place where batucada and jazz, beach and jungle, and bikinis and Jesus coexist peacefully, seems to lie on a planet of its own.

Notes on Burning Man
Notes on Burning Man

Photo: mr. nightshadeThey don’t call it Burning Man for nothing. Virgin burner Joshua Johnson takes us for a walk beside the flames.Tonight the tents and RVs and camps are empty.Tonight ice melts in unattended coolers. Filthy lawn chairs hold silent counsel over vacant plots of dust.Tonight 43,000 burners gather in ever widening, concentric circles.

Big Brother Mouse: A Book for Every Child in Laos
Big Brother Mouse: A Book for Every Child in Laos

Photos courtesy of the author.Imagine a place where there are no books; where most people have never seen a book, except perhaps a dry and dog-eared textbook shared by a classroom of students in the village school.Imagine children learning to ‘read’ by looking at letters and words written on a chalkboard – if they have the luxury of attending school at all.

Dr. Ken Yeang designs Turkey’s first bioclimatic development
Dr. Ken Yeang designs Turkey’s first bioclimatic development

All photos by authorMatador Editor-at-Large Paul Sullivan was invited on a press trip to Istanbul recently, to preview the latest project from Malaysian eco-architect Dr. Ken Yeang.Yeang has been building ecological and bioclimatic premises for almost 40 years.A prolific writer of books about ecodesign and a visiting scholar at various universities, he has designed over 200 projects since 1975, including the Menara Mesiniaga Tower in Selangor and the National Library of Singapore, which received the Green Mark Platinum Award.

India’s Pink Chaddi Campaign
India’s Pink Chaddi Campaign

Photo: helgasms!One day in late January 2009, some young women in a pub in the city of Mangalore, in Karnataka, India, were beaten up by members of the group that calls itself the Sri Ram Sena. This political group, headed by a man named Pramod Muthalik, felt the women were degrading traditional Indian values by being in a pub where alcohol and the company of men were easily accessible.

Home at Papa’s House
Home at Papa’s House

All photos courtesy of the author.If you’re lucky, just outside of Kathmandu, you might look up on the roof of a terra cotta colored house and find a herd of boys chanting, “Chet! Chet!” Vinod has cut another kite.It wasn’t long ago that some of these boys had never seen a kite or felt the warmth of a loving adult.

First Person Dispatch: Why I wake up early on Saturdays
First Person Dispatch: Why I wake up early on Saturdays

Photos courtesy of author.MatadorU student and contributor Linda Golden explains how the memory of a woman in Togo compels her to wake up early each Saturday.It’s 7:20 on a Saturday morning.Three couples huddle under the Louisville clinic’s awning, waiting for the doors to open. Across the property line, several protesters implore the clients to change their minds.

Blog to follow: Taxi gourmet
Blog to follow: Taxi gourmet

Matador managing editor Julie Schwietert eating in Oaxaca. Photos: Francisco CollazoWe’ve featured Layne Mosler before on Matador. But if you’re not keeping up with her blog, you should add it to your reader. Now.The Matador editorial tribe is a diverse group of folks, but if there’s one thing we share (besides our love of travel), it’s a love of food.

Jonas Elrod wakes up to a different world
Jonas Elrod wakes up to a different world

Jonas Elrod / All photos courtesy of Wake UpThe filmmaker and director takes time from his busy schedule to answer some burning questions about his latest documentary, Wake Up. Note: Before you dive into this insightful interview, you may want to check out my film review of Wake Up first. BASED IN NEW YORK CITY, Jonas Elrod has been working in film for over 10 years now, many of those in commercials and music videos.