Category: Information

The Last Notes

Food without attitude: Eat like a local in LA

Food without attitude: Eat like a local in LA

AS A LONGTIME Los Angeles resident, it saddens me to hear from visitors who’ve had negative dining experiences in my city. Banishment to the bathroom-adjacent table for not looking “the part,” sneered at for requesting dressing on the side — these incidents are, in my opinion, exceptions to the general rule of fast and personable service, reasonable prices, and a reverence for our locally grown food.

24 hours in Tampa, FL

24 hours in Tampa, FL

MorningWe’ll start the day with a little exercise. Don’t worry. You’ll have a cocktail in hand by noon.Park on S. Delaware Ave in front of any of the restored American Craftsman bungalows or Georgian-inspired brick homes. As long as you don’t see a ‘five-minute parking’ sign, your car will be fine.Walk south toward the water.

On the iPod as the crucial roadtrip piece

On the iPod as the crucial roadtrip piece

Tim Arnold, drummer and vocalist for Good Old War, gives a rare look inside the tour van.I’m sitting with my legs outstretched on a bench in a very large gray van traveling at 70 miles per hour somewhere between Vancouver, BC and Edmonton, AB. This is the beginning of a twelve-hour drive, one that was preceded by a four-day drive from Jacksonville, FL to Vancouver.

Love and loss in the backseat of a Bangkok taxi

Love and loss in the backseat of a Bangkok taxi

I realized this would most likely be the last decision we’d ever make together.“What do you say?” he asked, shifting his backpack and turning towards me. “We take a taxi to my hotel to kill time until your friend gets back to her house?” I felt stuck. It was only three in the afternoon, two hours before my friend would get home, and I was standing at the northern Bangkok bus terminal on the brink of a downpour with my now-ex boyfriend, who I was thoroughly fed up with.

‘So you want me to hit you?’: Corporal punishment in Thai schools

‘So you want me to hit you?’: Corporal punishment in Thai schools

As an American English teacher in a traditional Thai school, I’m allowed a unique perspective. One which permits me to observe the way Thai teachers conduct their classes, but with the freedom to teach in any way I please. I’ve been given an insight into Thai teaching traditions — the way knowledge is taught, the way young minds are molded — and, thus, the foundation for the values and precepts that define Thai culture.

From side-taking to peace-making in the Middle East

From side-taking to peace-making in the Middle East

The minister was free to torture us because he was the minister, and this was his church, and the film that kept dying on his big screen, to our groans and our fury, was at his mercy. Every few minutes he would mouth his steely-eyed vow to resurrect the dead film, a documentary on Israeli-Palestinian dialogue called Two Sided Story.

How the Moscow Metro parallels the life of a nation

How the Moscow Metro parallels the life of a nation

My camera rested on its tripod, focused on a mosaic above the base of the escalators. The inlaid red, yellow, gray, and blue marble looked like a Picasso treatment of a hammer and sickle, the pieces of this once dreaded symbol of Russian Communism coming together only when I blurred my vision. My finger was on the shutter button, but right as I began to apply pressure the viewfinder went black.

How to eat conveyor belt sushi in Japan

How to eat conveyor belt sushi in Japan

If sushi restaurants were a family, 回転寿司 (kaiten-zushi) would be the fun-loving, laidback youngest brother. It combines one of Japan’s finest culinary styles with the user-friendly convenience that permeates the society. (And it’s cheap.)One of the many perks to kaiten-zushi dining is that you can scrape by without any extensive knowledge of Japanese.

Photography tips: Making the leap

Photography tips: Making the leap

Photography is about taking risks. Sometimes literally…THERE’S nothing more liberating than a good jump. A whoop is good; a boogie on a dance floor can be great. But thrusting yourself skyward is – unless you’re a stuntman, ballet dancer, hyperactive four-year-old, or astronaut – a vastly underrated activity.

How to piss off a Zimbabwean

How to piss off a Zimbabwean

We may not be the easiest people to piss off — all the same, if you wanna give it a go, you can’t go wrong with one of these clangers.ZIMBABWEANS ABROAD are fair game. They won’t be easy to piss off as they’re generally obstinately tolerant (though there are always short-fused exceptions). At first they may dimple up, humoured by your savage ignorance, audacity, and arrogance.

Sleeping rickshaw driver, Hoi An, Vietnam [postcard]

Sleeping rickshaw driver, Hoi An, Vietnam [postcard]

1Hoi An, VietnamI took this photo walking back to my hotel in Hoi An, central Vietnam. I was leaving the next morning, and after packing I would have only a few hours left to wander the artfully-lit streets. I& 39;d resolved, firmly, to put my camera away, determined to experience the place live and not entirely through a camera lens.

Living close to the land in Kauai

Living close to the land in Kauai

As a quiet warrior of a child, I secretly hoped I would be sent off to live with my godfather when my parents were being too strict. It was a secret pride I held knowing that I could escape to the jungle if need be. Memories of Kauai and my godfather / cousin Christopher Robin were like glowing childlike adventures from A.

When place becomes time machine

When place becomes time machine

Mom and I pay the toll and cross the bridge to Boca Grande, a seven-mile island off the Gulf Coast of Florida.The first time I crossed this bridge with my mom, I was six months old. Our family returned every Thanksgiving after that. Except last year. Last year I moved to Canada for my husband’s job and we missed it.

What you learn in the in-between moments

What you learn in the in-between moments

The in-between moments happen between inhaling and exhaling. Between serving tea and waiting for it to cool. Between an unexpected revelation and a thoughtful response. They are heavy, pregnant moments, held private and sacred.I spent hours lying in post-meal relaxation with my Argentine host mother, head on a pillow and fan turning above.

Ranges I would rather not explore

Ranges I would rather not explore

Nan’s first floor apartment is at the end of a long bare hallway. She stands in her doorway and waves me in. I can’t understand why she is not shattered by the effort. She has withered since the last time I worked with her in our writing class. We hug. I hold a bundle of cool sticks in my arms.The apartment is featureless, except for two finely woven sisal knots hanging on the white wall above the couch.

How to piss off an Aussie

How to piss off an Aussie

ALL IN EFFORTS to keep you fine, foreign visitors from putting your foot in it.Assume that Australians are all blonde-haired, bronzed, buff beach bunnies.We’re not. We used to market ourselves like that back in the ’70s and ’80s, but due to the fact that we have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, we’ve spent the last 20-odd years trying to keep everyone well-protected.

Deconstructing Orwell’s travel writing

Deconstructing Orwell’s travel writing

Creative writing professor Aaron Hamburger takes on the Great Master.When it comes to literature, I’m an Orwellian.And no, I’m not referring to 1984 or Animal Farm, two perfectly fine novels that are the sum total of what most American schoolkids know about the English language’s pre-eminent essayist, George Orwell.

We’re all here to fart around

We’re all here to fart around

I’m walking around Dusseldorf with a plastic cup of wine.It’s 9am on a Thursday.German class is about to begin but I’m not going today.Last time the teacher punked me out in front of the whole class.It’s like 4th grade all over again.But not this morning.No, today I’ve got other plans.Today, I’m going to fart around town like a wino.

Ganges River, Varanasi, India [postcard]

Ganges River, Varanasi, India [postcard]

Varanasi, IndiaOnce in every lifetime, an observant Hindu hopes to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Varanasi. Some come to wash away sickness and sin in the Ganges River. Others bring their dead to be burned or come to live their last days here, because to die and be cremated in Varanasi guarantees eternal release from the cycle of birth and death.

I kept the rhythm for Afa in Ghana

I kept the rhythm for Afa in Ghana

For a very brief period in my life in the spring of 2011, I lived in Klikor, Ghana. Don’t bother to look it up on Google maps, you won’t find it. I’ve tried multiple times and the only town name I can find that may be Klikor says “Kilkor.” This is probably a misspelling of the name seeing as it is located in the same place, in the southeast section of Ghana, right on the border of Togo.