It’s Crummy, But We Love It: Welcome to Revere Beach

Posted on Dec 17, 2014 in Culture, USA | No Comments
It’s Crummy, But We Love It: Welcome to Revere Beach

Did you know that Boston has beaches? No, I’m not talking about Cape Cod, or Rockport, or Martha’s Vineyard. I mean city beaches, accessible by public transportation. There’s one in particular on Boston’s North side, and it’s not Gloucester. It’s called Revere Beach, and it’s crummy, and we love it. I grew up visiting Revere […]

Go To Hasankeyf Before Hasankeyf Goes

Posted on Oct 3, 2014 in Culture, Turkey, Turkey (excluding Istanbul) | 9 Comments
Go To Hasankeyf Before Hasankeyf Goes

In March, I dreamed I went to Hasankeyf. It was one of those vivid dreams that seem like prophecies, dreams that don’t reflect what has happened, but what will be. I pay attention to my dreams. I would go to Hasankeyf, and I would go soon. Because soon, I wouldn’t be able to. I knew […]

Hidirellez: Istanbul’s Most Raucous Night

Posted on Jun 23, 2014 in Culture, Istanbul, Turkey | No Comments
Hidirellez: Istanbul’s Most Raucous Night

Last year, I heard about a festival on Istanbul’s Golden Horn full of gypsy bands and all-night dancing; it’s the sort of mad event that I can’t resist. At the time, I was planning to return from Amsterdam and be back in Istanbul early enough that evening to go to the festival. Well, I never […]

Whirling Through Konya, Turkey’s Mystical City

Posted on May 8, 2014 in Culture, Turkey, Turkey (excluding Istanbul) | 2 Comments
Whirling Through Konya, Turkey’s Mystical City

Come, come, whoever you are, Wanderer, idolater, worshiper of fire, Come even though you have broken your vows a thousand times, Come, and come yet again. Ours is not a caravan of despair. -Rumi Konya is not like other cities in Turkey. It’s the most conservative city in the country, smack in the middle of […]

Melaka’s Living History

Posted on May 4, 2014 in Culture, Malaysia | 3 Comments
Melaka’s Living History

I’m always fascinated by the influence of cultures in a city. Even if the original population is long gone, a mark is left, a city is shaped. Melaka historically was a great port in Malaysia, which brought many different colonizing cultures to its banks– from the British, who ruled over Malaysia until 1956, to the […]

Gaudy Lights & Jetty Feasts: Chinese New Year in Penang

Posted on Apr 8, 2014 in Culture, Malaysia | 2 Comments
Gaudy Lights & Jetty Feasts: Chinese New Year in Penang

Incense, oranges, fireworks. Temples gaudy with sparkling lights. Quiet days. Mad red nights. I didn’t know I would find these things when I went to Penang. I didn’t realize I’d be in Malaysia for Chinese New Year when I booked my trip, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. Penang was a mixed blessing […]

Street Art and Chill Vibes in Penang

Posted on Apr 3, 2014 in Culture, Malaysia | 9 Comments
Street Art and Chill Vibes in Penang

I had to escape the overwhelming heat. I’d been walking for hours under the bright Penang sun, and I desperately needed a seat, a cold drink, shade. I wandered dazed down Lebuh Campbell and turned into a small dark alley that was filled with people. I’d like to pretend that “stand in the middle of […]

The Ecstatic Food Experience of Penang

Posted on Mar 17, 2014 in Culture, Malaysia | 4 Comments
The Ecstatic Food Experience of Penang

I only had one plan in Penang, Malaysia: eat. The island is known as the food paradise of Southeast Asia, full of street food stands and ethnic delicacies from the large Chinese and Indian communities. The city of George Town would be the map of my scavenger hunt. Upon arrival, I found out that I […]

I Went To A Camel Wrestling Festival. Yes, Really.

Posted on Feb 24, 2014 in Culture, Turkey, Turkey (excluding Istanbul) | 24 Comments
I Went To A Camel Wrestling Festival. Yes, Really.

I stood in the middle of the sunny pitch, surrounded by dancing old men quaffing raki. Frothing camels were decked out in red and pink and gold finery. I was eating sausages made out of camel. The animals glared at me, I imagined, accusingly. Sometimes life is so delightfully weird. On a sunny Sunday in […]

Nicosia, The Divided City

Posted on Jan 16, 2014 in Culture, Cyprus | 3 Comments
Nicosia, The Divided City

Everywhere I turned, I bumped into a wall. Crude concrete creations blocking sidewalks. Barbed wire atop gray monoliths. That ubiquitous sign: Forbidden Zone. Do Not Enter. The Berlin Wall fell in 1989, but the walls are still alive and well in Nicosia, Cyprus. Nicosia is a divided capital, split in two by a peacekeeper’s Green […]