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  noun 1. The act of immersing oneself in other cultures without crossing national borders. 2. Local cultural diversification. 3. Traveling on a budget. 4. A website that will allow you to accomplish all the above from the very seat in which you sit.


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Exotic destinations: and lighting their scents in your own home

While you may decide to settle for a penny tea light to add a little ambiance - and by all means, any amount of fire will do - there is always the option to go a little overboard and buy that boutique candle. Glade doesn't want you to believe that $45 is a necessary expense for a good smell, but, we think these candles might be something out of this world. Or, from across the world...

Vie Luxe has a line of location-inspired scents for both candles and bath crystals, including: Tuileries, Buenos Aires, Capri, Cote D'Azur, Maldives, Palm Beach, St. Moritz, Istanbul, St. Barths. For sale in select retailers, or online. Try candleluxury.com or thefind.com.

According to Vogue, they are a favorite of designer Tory Burch, who loves:

Buenos Aires - blends wild jasmine flowers, exotic ceibo petals, lush ombu leaves and white pepper & Istanbul - blends exotic Turkish tea, amber, blue iris and black orchid.


We are ready for our bath.

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New writing: a South Korean island mountain, lonely in Paris, Prague's rebels, bridging NYC, Quebec and Palestine

A bevy of new pens.

1. First, welcome Lori C. Brown to our archive. She makes a grand entrance with words evocative and emotional:
Through metal bars and green cemented roofs
I gaze out into a world, yet, still unknown, but comfortably suited
The haze covers the mountain's news but I do not sit still in awe for them
Read "Jeju Island; Building 104" >>

2. Extending our greetings also to Farryl Last, who has shared these lonely but beautiful thoughts from Paris:
If I tell you Bastille,
you'll know the place and breathe images
of Parisian streets damp like just-licked envelopes,
skies dim with chattering clouds.
Read "Ledru-Rollin" >>

3. And Gene Levin, whose observations of the rebels in Prague makes us want to grow up in 60s:
I descend a concrete staircase into a dense fog of cigarette and marijuana smoke. A fifty-fifty mix of Fernet Stock and cola, running its course through my body, makes me feel unusually top-heavy and disoriented. Strobe lights, bursting to no particular rhythm, scramble my brain to the tune of some of the trippiest fucking music I've ever heard. Dub DJs, sampling and distorting instrumental tracks, weave a musical tapestry that's part prayer blanket and part mind-bending magic eye landscape.
Read "If I Can't Dance to It, It's Not My Revolution" >>

Farrah Sarafa strikes again with her bold images and dreamy reveries.

4. Riverside:
Deep Sunset over mustard colored bridge
Is made into a smile
for me
Read "Riverside" by Farrah Sarafa >>

5. Sunrise Over George Washington Bridge:
Justin reminded me this morning
Of the comforts and high
Of firm, long run
To the Washington bridge sky
Read "Sunrise Over George Washington Bridge" by Farrah Sarafa >>

6. Acrylics and Soil:
You are the bullet,
I am the sound
that love makes when your eye dances
around my field of poetry and movement creation.
Read "Acrylics and Soil" by Farrah Sarafa >>

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Syria: the art of Khaled Al-Saai

Thank you Maryam of My Marrakech for turning us onto Khaled Al-Saai (1970–), a Syrian artist and calligrapher.

"He grew up in a household surrounded by painting, music and calligraphy."

His work is heady in both word and image, bursting with the spirit of landscape. A master of calligraphy, his profile on kashyahildebrand.org explains the styles he uses:

The Thulth style of calligraphy is the strongest of the Arabic calligraphy styles, created during the Abbasid period in the 9th century in Baghdad. Most of the letters in this style are the shape of a triangle at the top and the vowels are added as decoration.

The Diwany Jalii and the Thulth styles are the most decorative. They are influenced by three Islamic schools of calligraphy (Arabic, Persian and Ottoman). Diwany evolved during the Ottoman Era (1670 to 1700).

The style was used to write official documents of the Sultan to other kings. It conveyed the artistic standards of the Empire at that time. Usually, the text would be written in three different thicknesses of pen.

P.S. You can read Maryam's blog post about her encounter with the artist here >>

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Beijing: Instant Hutong mapping a city by means of abstract sculpture and textile

Marcella Campa and Stefano Avesani are focusing on the urban growth of Chinese cities and their transformation since 2003. They curated the monographic issue n.78 of the international magazine AREA about Chinese contemporary visual art and architecture. In June 2005 they won the international Archiprix prize in Glasgow with a project for the Hutongs in Beijing. In October 2005 they moved to China and started working on the Instant Hutong art project and on a parallel research on contemporary Chinese urban habitat. After studying and working in China and Europe, they established their own architectural practice in Beijing

Instant Hutong on the Behance Network

An ancient architectural typology has been used to build the entire city of Beijing. Every single building is considered part of the whole, that is harmonized in a kind of great horizontal monument. Like the Hutongs, also the Siheyuans were built according to a project that has remained almost unchanged since the time of the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-220 A.D.). The buildings forming each Siheyuan, organized in a sequence of courts, may house an extended family of up to three or more generations. The size and number of the courts originally depended on the social status of the owner. But regardless of the dimension, even a humble Siheyuan, that had low fences and doors rather than tall walls, featured the same plan as the residential district of the Son of Heaven in the Forbidden City.

Instant Hutong

Carpets are representing different maps of Hutong areas with a size of approximately one square kilometre and a population of 30000. Each of them has been isolated and presented as autonomous town within the big city. They are embroidered by hand with the same technique of the propaganda slogans on large fabrics used by the communist party during the seventies. The carpets have been filled with white wire wool insertions.

Urban Carpet by Instant Hutong

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BH.net: and nostalgia in Paris, poetry still sultry and savory, bidding Senegal goodbye, and an Indian zen-quest

All good things must come to an end, the saying goes. And in their wake, new voices are heard.

1. First we take you to Mali, where Eva Peskin detours from her series surrounding Senegal. Here she learns something new: what it means to be a female tourist, and to attract the men like moths to a flame:
But this other guy, from last night, he won't stop talking. He is wearing the same clothes, I wonder if he is homeless. They don't have homeless people here, not ones that I have seen, but this guy is pretty weird. And he smells awful. I wish he weren't sitting so close to me. I wish he didn't look at me like a puppy who has found his mother.
Read "Hotel de la Jeunesse" >>

2. For a final reflection on St. Louis, Peskin is spiritual, even out-of-body:
Ash-hadu anna Muhammadan rasulullah

The world stops now. From my window, I see familiar faces trickle into the courtyard.
Read "Adhan" >>

3. Clayton Violand is a new writer to our archive, and a nostalgic one. Who would have thought that ravioli at a Parisian café couldn't satisfy a moment?
Paris is the antithesis of this farm, a thesis of harshness and congestion that is impossible to take lightly. This is the pain, but thank God, also the beauty of Paris. Cities inspire self-inflicted pain, but healthy pain, and I think I'm addicted to this pain.
Read "From Paris to the Farm and Back" >>

4. Mapping the inspiration of poet Farrah Sarafa is always broad and varied. With two more poems (for the first two, go here), she now touches on Asia and Europe, still paying special attention to the cuisine - the plate between two people:
Black berried cocktails exist to
extract eye colors, icy diamonds
needed to put
into flame hot lovers'
volcanic fights
Read "Buddha Bar" >>

5. Indeed, the space between, distance and travel pervades her words. Border hopping (or not) can happen within a relationship, after all:
Bumpy and bare
This road that we share
Forks into two—
I don't see you.
Read "Desert Dry Oasis" >>

6. Continuing a third piece from a body of work on her travels in India (here are one and two), Elaine Tassy relays to us her quest to find the ultimate experience of zen in the world's capital of meditation:
My college friend Cassandra, an Albuquerque artist, traveled to a Native American reservation about fifteen years ago to research an art project. When she got back she described her bliss while sitting on a hill under a tree with an elder. As she got up to leave he'd said to her, "You're leaving me, my child?" Getting love from one of the reservation's most honored members moved her.

I was on a mission to have a similarly moving experience during a month-long trip to India, only mine would have an Eastern, body-mind cleansing, spiritual theme. I thought I'd happen upon yoga classes with poses I'd never tried, temples with Zen meditators, Ayurvedic masseuses whose hands would rock my world.
Read "Rewire My Soul" >>

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BH.net: taking you to Iran, UAE, Algeria, NYC... and the poetry of Farrah Sarafa

Heady, elegant and savory: these words can only begin to describe the decadent beauty of Farrah's poems. We are privileged to share some of them with you on Border Hopping.

A border hopper in body and spirit, she fuses the Middle Eastern and NYC culture, with a flair for food and drink.

1. Champagne:
An excellent, needed evening
began with my working in Soho,
ended with chocolate raspberry song.

You'd been calling me all these days,
but I've been too selfish to give praise
to the company of another man
Read "Champagne" >>

2. Persian Morsels in Dubai:
Hamburger buns sink
Into her desire
To fit into rose,

Persian, purple rose
Platter of fresh-basil
Pomegranate seeds
Read "Persian Morsels in Dubai" >>

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Trinidad: bathing in the river

photo by Jason Gardner

BATHING IN THE ARIPO RIVER, TRINIDAD, FEB. 28, 2009 Brian Kinzie, a 34-year-old engineer from Montreal working on a rail project in Port of Spain, relaxes in what local Hindus call Aripo Datta Ganga, or sacred river. “I’d learned about some caves near Aripo, where nocturnal birds called oilbirds live. I went up there to hike and find the caves, and I came across the sign for the Aripo Datta Ganga. There’s definitely an energy to the place. I felt privileged to discover it. I’ve been back a few times; the Aripo area is beautiful, and bathing in the river is definitely a grounding experience.

Read more from "Why We Travel" at newyorktimes.com >>

[images & text © New York Times]

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BH.net: Nebraska to Senegal, more new writing

1. And finally, to Nebraska, for a slice of politics you probably haven't heard. By Stefanie Wasserman:
It was 1988. Lorenzo's town council, the descendants of Italian tomato growers, voted by a show of hands from the original Godfather's Parlor, that thick-crusted pie was too culturally elite.

The result was a little-known law, drafted and signed by Dole.
It regulates that pizza West of the Mississippi will be replaced by thin red-stained corrugated cardboard. Cheese is optional.
Read "The Retro Republicans: Dole's American Pie" >>

2. If you aren't up-to-do date with Part I of new writing, you might want to read here and learn about Eva Peskin, our voice from Senegal. She continues to parts 3 and 4 of her series, starting with a cup (or 3) of tea:
You put the mint in too early.
No she didn't, you have to let it steep for a bit in the pot.
No, no, no. You put it in right before you serve it or else you steam off all of the flavor.
You don't know what you are talking about!
Me? You don't know anything.
Read "Ataaya" >>

3. In addition to being an excellent tea-maker, Eva is also a gut-wrenchingly honest person.
And then Maurice comes in. I look down, trying to seem engrossed in my food, hoping he hasn't seen me. My bubble of private enjoyment has burst, and I have to sit soaking in the wetness, for everyone to see. I am privately embarrassed for trying so hard to avoid socializing with someone who is probably very nice. I am publicly embarrassed that I let myself have such an intimate moment in such an obvious place, for now I have been found out.
Read "The Resto" >>

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Mali: Photographer Malick Sidibé


Best known for his 60s portraits, Malick Sidibé is an award-winning photographer who is still working. And winning; most recently he has received the PHotoEspaña Baume & Mercier 2009 Award.

Watch a video with more images and quotes from Sidibé on euronews.com >>

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BH.net: words from India, Senegal, Maroc, India

Where to start? Senegal? Dubai? NEBRASKA?


We do not joke.

We'll start with Senegal, and split this writing update in half.

1. First, Eva Peskin takes us on a 6-part journey through her Senegalese adventures. But - before those 6 parts - she reflects on Dakar: dinner-and-a-movie, treacherous island coves, and old women partying 'til 4 a.m.:
Remember how I had fairly low expectations for the food I would be served? Boy was I mistaken. We were brought platters loaded with the most beautiful seafood and salad and french fries! on placemats the size of small bicycle tires. And delicious bruschetta to share! Honestly, this was the best meal I have had in years probably. I had ordered the brochette fruit de mer, and I successfully finished off three enormous skewers of delicious tender fish and onions, two skewers of calamari, an enormous crawfish, and most of the bruschetta. There was no rice or mysterious gooey sauce in my life that night and I was a very happy camper.
Read "Three Stories from Dakar" >>

2. She moves on to St. Louis, but takes a moment to remark on the ride over. Poignantly:
What if I die in this taxi?
Read "Going (Coming) Home" >>

3. We have to wonder which is worse, though: the taxi ride of death, or the bridge:
I am walking down the street and everyone is looking at me. I am sure. I am sure of it. Or is that hugely narcissistic? Why would everyone be looking at me? Am I ascribing some kind of culturally ingrained sense of importance or authority to myself? I am not so special, they don't care about me. They don't care, maybe, but they are looking. I can feel it. The bridge is coming and the bridge is the worst.
Read "Centre-ville" >>

4. Moving northbound, Garrett Haake takes us to his dreams:
I stepped ashore in Tangier in my dream
On a ship from Gibraltar I came.
A hold full of dates and Toledo steel
I risked Barbary pirates to trade.
Read "I Dreamt Last Night of Morocco" >>

5. After all that traveling, we're a bit hungry. But according to Elaine Tassy, Mamallapuram is not the best place to get a speedy plate:
His matter-of-fact tone of voice knocks me off my pedestal of impatience. I'm losing interest in keeping score on the service at this restaurant, and Dave's continued questions – What have you learned here? Why do you need for people to be on time? – bring me a moment of clarity. Since arriving in India, whenever I hurry to meet someone, that person is generally not around, and unconcerned I've been waiting. I can do nothing to control things to go as planned because I'm always at the mercy of people whose schedules and choices are out of my hands. We continue talking as if we are on a park bench and the acquisition of food is not on the agenda.
Read "The Seven-Fold Path to Waiting for Take-Out" >>

For more updates on new writing, come again.

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