Category: Miscellaneous

The Last Notes

Book Review: Café Life Venice
Book Review: Café Life Venice

Café Life Venice is a remarkable hybrid: part guidebook, and part coffeetable book. Written by Joe Wolff, and beautifully illustrated with photographs by Roger Paperno, the book profiles 17 traditional, family-run establishments in Venice.The cafés, trattorias, pasticcerias and bacari (Venetian-style wine and tapas bars) listed in the book are scattered across Venice: some in tourist-thronged San Marco, and some in the lesser-visited — and totally magical — sectors of the city, like Cannaregio or Dorsoduro.

Little Passports: Growing Young Explorers
Little Passports: Growing Young Explorers

This company has developed a fun and completely innovative way to get kids interested in other countries and cultures.Even in the digital age, is there anything more exciting for a child than a package arriving in the mail? And if that package is from an exotic, far-off country, all the better! The creators of Little Passports use a combination of real, tangible items and interactive online games that are guaranteed to get kids excited to learn about our neighbors around the globe.

Get Your Pen Moving: FOOD
Get Your Pen Moving: FOOD

We’re kicking off a new feature this week at The Traveler’s Notebook: every other Monday, we’ll give you a prompt, exercise, or topic to get your pen moving.You’ll send us whatever you come up with: a story, a description, a ramble, a collage, a limerick, a review—no restrictions on form, as long as you stick to the prompt of the week and, of course, the overall theme of travel.

The Ultimate Spiritual Awakening: How Going to the Moon Changed the Astronauts
The Ultimate Spiritual Awakening: How Going to the Moon Changed the Astronauts

Most of the astronauts who have been to the moon say the experience affected them in a profoundly spiritual manner.Many of you have probably seen coverage of the 40th Anniversary of the first moon landing.Undoubtedly an amazing feat, the article that interested me most tackled how traveling to the moon changed the lives of the 24 American men (yes, no women) who went there.

To Coup or Not to Coup?
To Coup or Not to Coup?

Photo: Yamil GonzalesWas the military’s action in this weekend’s removal of Honduran President Zelaya a coup? Many analysts say yes. And many–including some Matador readers–say no.After publishing a breaking news article about the military raid of Honduran President Zelaya’s home, his ousting, and subsequent pajama-clad plane ride to temporary exile in Costa Rica, Matador editors received some thoughtful comments and e-mails about the developing political situation in Tegucigalpa.

Guns, Germs, And Big Brother: 60-Year Anniversary Of 1984
Guns, Germs, And Big Brother: 60-Year Anniversary Of 1984

The future is here.It’s been 60 years since George Orwell wrote 1984, his forward-looking satire of a sad and dysfunctional society.The country of Oceania has a government who monitors every aspect of its people’s lives, participates in a never-ending world war, and rules over a society overrun by poverty due to sacrifices being made for the war effort.

Escape From Iraq: A Muslim Family Finds Solace In Ramadan
Escape From Iraq: A Muslim Family Finds Solace In Ramadan

Young kite flyer in Aden / Photo authorOn a visit to Yemen, Sarah Shourd is invited to an enlightening dinner with an Iraqi family.It’s a few minutes before 6 and the light in the port-city of Aden in South Yemen is beginning to fade.As the sun sinks behind jagged cliffs the city takes a deep, full-bodied breath.

Dayenu: Ceremony Notes from Passover / Easter Week
Dayenu: Ceremony Notes from Passover / Easter Week

Layla. Champion rock thrower. Photo Laura BernheinA few notes / musings on Passover songs, Easter fixie bike races and what it means to reinvent ceremonies.1. Over the weekend my bro Segundo left a message on my phone where he sang this passover song Dayenu.Segundo is not Jewish but half-Italian which is close.

How To Fight With Your Host Family
How To Fight With Your Host Family

Home stays can be tricky. Find out how to fight in a way that’ll add to your experience, not take away from it.Two weeks into my home stay in Japan, I came home five minutes late. To myself — an independent young American woman who has never had a curfew — this was par for the course. To my host family — a traditional, middle-aged couple — my little bout of tardiness was enough to convince them that I had potentially been robbed, kidnapped, or hurt.

Nectar Of The Gods: The Cultural History Of Chocolate
Nectar Of The Gods: The Cultural History Of Chocolate

Once reserved only for Aztec royalty, the origin of chocolate weaves a mysterious (and delicious) web throughout history.“Black gold,” as chocolate has been called, has a control over a majority of Westerners.It’s always in the back of one’s mind, or in the front of one’s mind when obtaining some becomes more acute.

First Person Dispatch: Casa de Paz Orphanage, Ensenada, Mexico
First Person Dispatch: Casa de Paz Orphanage, Ensenada, Mexico

Photos courtesy of author“Are those tears in his eyes?”We were a Be the Cause volunteer group visiting Casa de Paz, an orphanage just outside of Ensenada, Mexico. During the impromptu welcome tour, the director, Jonatán Lopez Sánchez, had quietly noticed young Jesus drinking from a plastic soda bottle.

Homeward Bound: How Travel Brings You Home Again
Homeward Bound: How Travel Brings You Home Again

Sometimes, going home is all you need to see how far you’ve come.Ninth grade partying / Photo: Ashley SebrellI spent this past weekend surrounded by old high school friends. One was getting married (the one sitting in the chair in the photo to the right), and his wedding brought quite a few of our old “group” together.

Indifference Abroad: An Expat’s Battle To Keep Her Compassion
Indifference Abroad: An Expat’s Battle To Keep Her Compassion

A Cambodian expat faces the daily reality of poverty and suffering – and wonders how it has affected her ability to cultivate sympathy.This morning, I was making tea, and I read the name on the tea canister—the Thai company Phuc Long—and I didn’t even smirk, didn’t even think about making a joke about it.

Notes on Shoplifting from American Apparel
Notes on Shoplifting from American Apparel

In a new series, Notes on Writing, Matador editors examine different books and writing styles. We begin with Shoplifting From American Apparel, a new novella from novelist and poet Tao Lin.Synopsis: Shoplifting from American Apparel is a short (103-page) novella about Sam, a young writer living in Brooklyn.

Twitter Contest Giveaway: iMainGo2 Portable Speakers
Twitter Contest Giveaway: iMainGo2 Portable Speakers

As part of the Matador Twitter contest, we will be spotlighting cool gear we’ll be giving away to lucky readers.One of the sleekest portable speakers out on the market, the iMainGo2 not only provides high quality “room-flooding” sound when hooked to your MP3 player, its hard casing helps protect it too.

How are writing conferences relevant to travel writers?
How are writing conferences relevant to travel writers?

A brief Q & A with Trisha Miller on conferences for travel writers.I’ve never been to a writing conference. I have a strong aversion to most hotels, conference rooms, food-service by Sysco™, and one person on stage talking to a big group of people sitting in chairs.This, of course, may or may not even be how conferences are, but it’s still how they reside in my imagination, perhaps a byproduct of OD’ing on Bar Mitzvahs as a kid.

NaNoWriMo – Anyone writing a novel next month?
NaNoWriMo – Anyone writing a novel next month?

What’s up with writers just sitting down and blasting out 50,000 words as fast they can? And is that ass-to-chair time ‘well spent’?EVERY NOVEMBER, a large group of people (there were more than 100,000 in 2007) who have signed up with NaNoWriMo begin writing with the goal of completing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Whatever happened to travel poetry?
Whatever happened to travel poetry?

A couple of weeks away from visiting Neruda’s house, David Miller wonders what ever happened to travel poetry.It all started with Neruda. Ten summers ago I read Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon, a bilingual edition translated by Stephen Mitchell.At the time I knew nothing about Neruda or the way poetry and language could ‘define’ a place in time.

Getting Hassled In Top Travel Spots: Preventable or Inevitable?
Getting Hassled In Top Travel Spots: Preventable or Inevitable?

Where do you get hassled most abroad?I still remember the sinking feeling I had getting off the train in Guangzhou, China, at 1 a.m. You think that perhaps arriving in the middle of the night in the middle of winter might spare you from the onslaught of shouting pushy people waving laminated fliers, but no.

‘Against All Prejudices’ Photo: Just Your Average Stereotypes?
‘Against All Prejudices’ Photo: Just Your Average Stereotypes?

The picture above is a popular photo that made its way around the internet this week. It was titled, Against All Prejudices.Cute and happy photo, for sure. But what does the title imply, exactly? That those with mohawks are usually racist? That small children are usually homophobic?Enjoying the photo for their winning smiles, excitement, and human connection is one thing.