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Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat
Fela Kuti: Father of Afrobeat

Feature photo by Nikola Plejic / Above, photo of Femi Kuti and dancers by flykrGrowing up in Nigeria, I remember how parents deemed the Afrika Shrine off-limits. Shrouded in mystery, with rumors of being a hedonistic drug haven during the eighties, there was an air of mystique that hung around a 20 mile radius of the club.

Why Hindi-Urdu is one language and Arabic is several
Why Hindi-Urdu is one language and Arabic is several

Linguistic analysis is not always politically correct.Confusion over the linguistic heritage of Urdu is evident in the comment section of our recent article about the world’s most beautiful languages. While more than one person remarked that the Urdu language is poetic, nobody could agree on where it came from.

What’s In Your Backpack, Tom Gates, Matador Editor?
What’s In Your Backpack, Tom Gates, Matador Editor?

Matador Life Editor Tom Gates liesamidst the innards of his backpack.Matador Goods is starting a “What’s In Your Backpack?” series and I’ve been asked to take it for a road-test, since I’m about to do a lap around the world.The innards of my bag are currently spilled out on the floor and I’m about to make decisions about what stays and what goes.

10 Spiritual and Philosophical Books to Take Traveling‏
10 Spiritual and Philosophical Books to Take Traveling‏

Fuel your inspiration and spiritual core with these books while on the road.Some say that the best books to take on your travels are light, easy reads that don’t require much brain power.While it’s definitely easier to concentrate on the latest crime thriller while waiting for a train, there is also a place in your backpack for more meditative or reflective books that can stimulate the inner journey.

Wifi in the friendly skies
Wifi in the friendly skies

Depending on your point of view, this news will either revolutionize your flight experience or make it even more revolting:WiFi is now available in the friendly skies. Late last month, airlines began rolling out on-board wireless internet service for passengers who just can’t bear to be disconnected while in flight.

Gonzo Traveler: Breaking Down In Ethiopia
Gonzo Traveler: Breaking Down In Ethiopia

Robin Esrock heads to Ethiopia, where he learns the value of patience when he’s stranded over plane malfunctions.Our Fokked Up Fokker 50. When a replacementplane finally arrived, it broke down too.The Nigerians on board the flight from Dubai to Addis Ababa were losing their minds.Pushing, shoving and screaming at each other at the check- in counter, one woman ran her overloaded trolley directly into my legs, another woman shoved my back while waiting in line at security.

Don’t Pay Bribes: Strategies for Border Crossing
Don’t Pay Bribes: Strategies for Border Crossing

Photo by Andrew Miller It has long been known that land border crossings can be anxiety-provoking affairs. I first learned this sad fact of travel life as a backpacker in the mid-1970s.Although I had not anticipated this particular problem in advance, I found that I had stumbled on a solution when seeking a way to avoid shakedowns by Mexican police and other corrupt law enforcement personnel.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K 9MP with 10x Wide Angle Zoom
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K 9MP with 10x Wide Angle Zoom

Wanna know what the backup digital camera is for many amateur and professional photographers?Look no further than the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ5K digital camera. In fact, any of the Panasonic models will do.Spitting out images that rival digital SLRs, its 9-megapixel resolution supports poster-sized prints.

Election 2008: Who are you watching tonight?
Election 2008: Who are you watching tonight?

There’s more televised election coverage airing tonight than you can shake a stick at – but not all networks are equal.A recent study attempted to track the American public’s knowledge of current affairs, and to find out whether there was any correlation between the average citizen’s level of knowledge and their preferred news source.

Hidden Kingdom: Understanding Womens’ Rights In Saudi Arabia
Hidden Kingdom: Understanding Womens’ Rights In Saudi Arabia

For women in Saudi Arabia, much of their lives are hidden behind the shadow of men. But how do they judge Western society?“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have just entered Saudi airspace, if you need to change into the appropriate clothing, now is a good time to do so.”I had heard this announcement would be made on the flight, but I had cast it aside as one of those travel myths; when visiting other cultures, the reality rarely matched what the media, or other people told you.

After Copenhagen: Can travel spur a new green philosophy?
After Copenhagen: Can travel spur a new green philosophy?

If we want to have the choice to continue traveling, we must forge a new path.Following the whole Copenhagen meeting was quite depressing (though not at all surprising).Touted as the consensus-building answer to our Earth’s woes (uh, us), it merely exemplified that almost every country will put their ability to make money above the future of the planet.

Obama’s gift gaffe
Obama’s gift gaffe

Perhaps you missed the story that was a mere footnote to many newscasts the week of March 6.During British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s visit to the U.S., President Obama presented the PM with a rather untraditional gift: a set of 25 DVDs representing the best of America’s film culture. The set included “The Wizard of Oz,” “Schindler’s List,” “Citizen Kane,” and “Psycho.