Dating Advice from Galapagos Birds (or, When Charles Darwin Meets Cosmo)

I've been out of the dating game for exactly 12 years, so maybe I'm not the best person to write about how to snag a man. However, during our recent trip to the Galapagos Islands, I observed the behaviors of various birds and something struck me: their mating habits reminded me of those dating advice columns I used to read in Cosmo.If memory serves, it's a cruel … [Read more...]

Why Pandas Need Air Conditioning

In zoos all over the world, crowds battle to catch a peek of one of the world’s most recognizable and rarest animals, the giant panda. During our visit to the Chendgu Panda Breeding Research Center, tourists were so few that the pandas actually invited us to join them and granted us an interview. Here’s what Jing-Jing, their spokesperson, had to say: … [Read more...]

Bogartin’ on Gordi

Lithuania music festival

"Bogartin' on Gordi!"That's what Russia is doing in Gori, Georgia - at least according to Angelo Moore, the lead singer of the ska-funk band Fishbone. Our conversation with Angelo takes place at the be2gether summer music festival , on the border of Lithuania and Belarus. … [Read more...]

When Georgians and Beer Mix

When you toast someone or something in Georgia with a beer, it's more like a curse than a traditional toast for good health and prosperity.I wonder, How many Georgians are drinking beers and clinking to Russia, Putin, and Medvedev right now? … [Read more...]

The Wine Bends: A Detour in the Austrian Countryside

Ah, Austria. We could wax artistic about Vienna’s museums, poke fun at the people in period outfits selling classical music concert tickets, tell stories about Euro 2008, or tempt you with impressions of Viennese coffee houses and flaky apple strudel.But what fun would that be? You can read about that in the New York Times Travel Section, Conde Naste Traveler or … [Read more...]

Hitching a Ride with the Chinese Olympic Spitting Team

All Aboard the Chinese Olympic Spitting Team Express

We were on another long-distance bus in the middle of nowhere, this time in heart of China’s Yunnan province. Heavy, sporadic rains danced on rice terraces whose luxuriant greens complemented the surrounding hills of red clay. It was just another iconic, beautiful moment on our journey through China.Then came the symphony of throat-clearing and … [Read more...]

An Ode to Street Touts and Hawkers

Too Many Choices!

I’m not normally moved to poetry, but India is a place of firsts. I wrote this in Kolkata (Calcutta), but was reminded of it today as I walked the streets of Thamel, Kathmandu's backpacker ghetto.This poem is for all who ceaselessly sidle up to me as I walk down the street, befriending me only for the sake of a sale. Although I’m certain those who inspired this … [Read more...]