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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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Rome: fuoco nelle vene

"The Italians have a name for their rapturous approach to life: Fuoco nelle vene, fire in the veins." —Danielle Pergament

The women in my yoga class were only the beginning of my schooling. Everywhere I went—to the Piazza Trilussa for my morning caffe macchiato, to the newsstand where I bought my paper, to my favorite enoteca by the river—I saw these creatures, my Italian counterparts. And I began to study them, like a zoologist observes a pride of lions. Their eyeliner looked like scrawled-on crayon, their jewelry glittered from neck to wrist, and their hair fell in gloriously messy tangles around their shoulders. The young, sexy women who strutted through the Campo dei Fiori at night didn't teeter over the cobblestones on stilettos—they wore hefty motorcycle boots with paper-thin miniskirts. The older women who walked down the Vai dei Coronari left contrails of expensive perfume in their wakes. There was no attempt at subtlety. They were all slightly rough around the edges, as if they had stormed out of their apartment after a fight with a lover. At any given moment—the store, at the bar, at the gym—the women in Rome were wearing every piece of jewelry in their collection, or so it seemed to me. Plus eyeshadow. Plus lipstick. And that was just during the day.

From Allure [November 09] pp 100, 102, 171:
Roman Holiday
Sipping chianti and seeing the Colosseum are lovely. But when in Rome, dress (and apply eyeliner) the way Romans do.
By Danielle Pergament

Read the article:
page 1 >>
page 2 >>

[image and text © Allure magazine]

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BH.net: new writing from Paris, Korea, New Mexico and India

When you want something, ask.

And oh, you (shall) (might) receive.

1. We wanted more fiction, and thanks to new contributor T. Paul Buzan, we got it, in the form of words that taste like the sugar crystals on our tea.
Dragonflies on stained-glass wings skim over a lake. Their reflections flash like finely cut jewels on the surface of the water. Ancient creatures, unchanged for countless millennia, the sound of their flight vibrates in the air as a song.
Read "The Song of the Dragonflies" >>

2. We also have asked for more reviews, and voila, Elaine Tassy delivered her thorough Chennai-diner experience:
The restaurant, called Hotel Aakesh, was a hole in the wall neighborhood haunt that soon became my "Cheers." ....After a short wait, the server, a 20-something guy who looked much older, brought us banana leaves cut from trees and washed for culinary use. The banana leaves were dotted with a range of sauces and toppings that came with the rice, which was also on top of the banana leaf, served in a metal tin. Then he used his bare hand to plop a fistful of raw red onions onto each of our leaves. No fork, no knife, no serving spoon.
Read "Chanceless: Masala Dosas at Hotel Aakesh" >>

Tassy also delivered us another present in edible packaging: her sushi metaphor for practicing balancing postures during yoga:

When I started practicing yoga in the mid-90's, I was so irked with my clench-toothed efforts to get through balancing postures—usually T-pose, dancer and tree—that I pretended to need to go to the restroom when my instructor got to them. Mandy noticed me scooting to the door mid-class one morning and said jokingly, "We'll wait until Elaine comes back and then we'll keep going with the balancing postures."
Read "The Sushi of Yoga" >>

4. And the feast doesn't end there. Enter Farrah Sarafa, resident poet and food-lover.
Warm Pandoori naan bubble with sparks of Fontbrieul '01 in my belly,
I wait for the words to come.
Bare, plain warm bread, wine and poetry
Intra vein this here evening in Paris
where stark romance is as abundant as
the tiny squares of chocolate bar—
78% cocoa noir.
Read "Night Alone in a Parisian Hotel" >>

5. Sarafa spoon-feeds the fragile but fearless soul:
Seine-lit and wearing evening's black, he sits on the step behind
drawing pictures with his eyes
on my back.
Read "French Spectral Romance" >>

6. Just as Mike Marino serves up the spirit, cut and dry:
The western sun journeys high above the deepest of blue skies of the pastel paradise of New Mexico. A massive hydrogen and helium power plant resembling a giant yellow piñata stands in the town square in the center of the human village that has made "go green" the new mantra of New Mexico.
Read "Taos Music Festival: The New Mantra of New Mexico" >>

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Morocco: journey into the desert (part ii)

It was about a year ago that we started our tale of Journey into the Desert (if you missed it: read here).

And it was about three years ago, to this month, that our characters did in fact complete their journey. So, to continue down memory lane...

After a long day's drive through the mountains, the barren, desert South (with the occasional oasis or two), the travelers arrived at the edge of the Sahara at dusk.

As the half-moon rose above the horizon, they rose on top of their camels, and headed off into the moonlit desert.

For an hour they trekked, an hour so dark their cameras could not capture a glimpse. In the distance was a glowing light emitting from their destination: a Berber tent. And a small furry friend to cuddle with.

As nomadic as his people, this feline was no stranger to strangers, and made himself quite at home in a new lap as they shared their stories and songs.

Most rich and beautiful of all: the rhythmic song of the Berbers, which they beat into plastic carton drums.

The singing and sharing went on into the early morning, such that they relocated to a nearby dune, under the moon. For, as the Berbers insisted, No sleeping in the desert.

Around - well, who keeps time in the desert, anyway? - some early hour, a soft light spread across the sand.

In rapid timing, it engulfed them all, creatures large and small.

It was their first desert sunrise.

And it certainly warranted some morning photography.

And so they chased their footprints throughout the dunes, remarking on this wondrous, sand-filled land.

Until it was time to clean up, tow the blankets, and collect their few belongings,

rouse and mount the camels,

and in bright morning light, head towards home.

The End

[photos by Jamila & Brett]

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Oaxaca, Mexico: Zapoteo Rug Weavers

Joining our photography archive today are photos we just have to brag about.

This past year, contributing photographer Joseph Schell arrived in the puebla of Teotitlan del Valle (~30 minutes out of Oaxaca). There he and his camera held witness to their intricate and famed process of rug weaving; and there he also met Francisco "Paco" Gonzales Vincente and his 84-year-old mother, pictured below. Over Mezcal and Coronas he listened and learned (and snapped):

View more of Schell's photos of Mexico >>

Learn more about Schell in our Artists section >>

Read his original blog post and see more photos >>

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