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Revisiting Thailand
Revisiting Thailand

Five years after a teaching stint in Thailand, Anne Merritt searches out old haunts there.IT WAS MIDNIGHT when we got to Bangkok. I was expecting a wall of humidity when we stepped outside to the taxi queue, like opening an oven door. I was expecting some profound moment when I arrived in Thailand, for old memories to stir up from the smell of orchids and motorbike fumes.

Honduras By The Numbers
Honduras By The Numbers

Matador Contributing Editor Juliane Huang gives us a by the numbers overview of medical volunteering in Honduras.Panoramic view of Tegucigalpa, Honduras. All photos: Global Medical BrigadesHours on the plane, round-trip, including delays: 16People seen and treated for medical concerns: 1,000Medicines brought by volunteers.

My Hometown in 500 words: Oakland, CA
My Hometown in 500 words: Oakland, CA

Oakland. City of Dreams. Photo by anarchosynUnderstanding what makes you love a place, what makes it feel like home, can happen at the weirdest moments. I glare into red brake lights and sigh. Rubberneckers stare across the center divide at the solemn funeral procession.Six days ago, in the middle of a spring afternoon in East Oakland, a wanted parolee resisting arrest opened fire on police, killing four cops.

What happened to Wiwa v. Shell?
What happened to Wiwa v. Shell?

Wiwa v. Shell has been postponed indefinitely.As Matador reported on May 6, the case Wiwa v. Shell was scheduled to be heard in a New York City federal court on May 27. The case–almost 15 years in the making–involved Nigerian plaintiffs who suffered human rights and environmental abuses at the hands of Royal Dutch Shell, the mega-oil magnate extracting crude in the Nigerian Ogoniland.

Confessions of a serial couchsurfer
Confessions of a serial couchsurfer

Photo by meigooniIs there a Couchsurfers’ Anonymous? I have become seriously addicted to couchsurfing and have a dire need to discuss this dependency with others…WHEN I TOOK THAT FIRST STEP out of Australia almost four months ago I was a girl on a mission: to travel, entirely supported by couchsurfing, for as long as possible.

A Traveler’s Guide To The History Of Death
A Traveler’s Guide To The History Of Death

Death wasn’t always so scary. Learn how the changing face of death has varied across time and cultures.Little girl at Day of the Dead / Photo by Senor CodoUpon hearing the word “death” one instantly thinks of war, grieving, burial or cremation, Heaven and Hell, and for more than a few, fear.Many Westerners consider death a taboo subject and considered a social faux pas when broached in conversation, especially when it refers to someone who has recently died.

A day in the life of an expat in Gunpo City, South Korea
A day in the life of an expat in Gunpo City, South Korea

Expat life in one of the world’s most popular teaching destinations.MorningMost mornings, my alarm clock rouses me from sleep, but at least a couple days a week, I’m awakened early by the fruit propagandist. Today is one of those days.From dawn until noon, the fruit propagandist yells out the day’s deals on pears and persimmons, his rhythmic, authoritarian voice booming through the PA speakers strapped to the top of his fruit-laden truck.

Twitter contest: Ethnotek handwoven backpacks
Twitter contest: Ethnotek handwoven backpacks

Matador is giving away three backpacks courtesy of Ethnotek.A few weeks back we announced that Matador community member Jake Orak’s awesome new company had launched. Ethnotek creates backpacks with beautiful, removable front pieces, called THREADS, that are handwoven and dyed by indigenous tribes – and we’re giving three of them away.

How to learn Chinese: Student vs. teacher
How to learn Chinese: Student vs. teacher

During my first class teaching English in Taiwan, my student Christine came up to me with an armload of Chinese books, and hand-calligraphed New Year’s scrolls.She also provided an invitation for language exchange and a smile, which can only be described as the Cheshire cat’s official welcome to Asia.

America The Ex-Boyfriend
America The Ex-Boyfriend

Unexpected meetings with ex-boyfriends become ways to measure oneself against the passing of time and against former selves, the ones we embodied when we were with _____ . They become ways of seeing how much the person we remember through the eyes of the ex-boyfriend has become someone else, has reconfigured her previous conglomeration of personhood into a new one.

Book Review – Fuera de Cautiverio (Out of Captivity)
Book Review – Fuera de Cautiverio (Out of Captivity)

I continue to be astonished at the alacrity at which the visible underworld of forgery fastens itself parasite-like to the newest publication in the Colombian marketplace.Over the past few years of living here in Colombia, I have seen all of the Harry Potter novels presented to me at intersections and stop lights in major cities, but last week, remained surprised when the vendor approached our window with a copy of Fuera de Cautiverio (Out of Captivity) translated into Spanish just a week and a half after it was shipped here in English.

Now Boarding: Why the Airport is a Metaphor for Life
Now Boarding: Why the Airport is a Metaphor for Life

Feature photo by Christopher Chan. Photo above by shimonkey.It’s possible to learn about life from something as simple as waiting at the airport.How many times have I done this – 30, 40, or even 50 times?It is simple, isn’t it? I wheel my bags to the airline ticket counter, show my ID to the agent, say goodbye to my friends and family, pass through security, find my gate, and away I go.