We had great fun last night on a podcast about Ireland. If you’d like to hear Linda Watanabe McFerrin, Patricia Furlong, Joanna Biggar, and others talking about Ireland, click on in. In order to listen, you need to have Windows Media Player installed ahead of time. You can get it (free) here. There are both Mac and PC versions. For more info about the writing seminar in Ireland, from June 25 to July 4, 2007, click here.

Here are Stephanie Elizondo Griest’s tips for traveling in communist/post-communist bloc countries. Her books look good, too.

“Japanese tend to have a fairly strong kind of inherent belief that genetics and biology really matter in terms of people’s behavior. So I think Japanese might be much more predisposed to thinking about a kind of genetic basis for personality than most Americans would.””Japanese popular culture has been saturated by blood typology for decades. Dating services use it to make matches. Employers use it to evaluate job applicants. Blood-type products — everything from soft drinks to chewing gum to condoms — have been found all over Japan.”
Read the rest of this NYT article, Blood, Sweat and Type O: Japan’s Weird Science, by David Picker, here.

Burma or Myanmar?

October 10, 2006 | Comments Off on Burma or Myanmar?

From the Globetrotting Gourmet: a brief explanation of the history and use of words Burma/Myanmar, Pagan/Bagan, Rangoon/Yangon, pagoda, wat, chedi, stupa. Also, an explanation of the reasons behind the Globetrotting Gourmet’s decision to travel there, and a link to Lonely Planet’s editorial Should you go to Myanmar?

Culture California

October 3, 2006 | Comments Off on Culture California

Thanks to Diane LeBow for sending this link to the Culture California website, with information about upcoming events around the state. Great way to get ideas for articles!

Middle East Delegations: Meet the People, Learn the Facts, Make a

September 11, 2006 | Comments Off on Middle East Delegations: Meet the People, Learn the Facts, Make a

Thanks to Diane LeBow for sending this information about Global Exchange’s upcoming Middle East Delegations:

“Dear Friends,

I would like to let you know about several important up-coming delegations to the Middle East. With the recent invasion of Lebanon and siege on the Palestinian Occupied Territories, it is crucial, now more than ever, to examine the role of U.S. foreign policy within the region.

Through connecting with people and engaging with civil society organizations, U.S. citizens are able to bear witness to the wide range of ramifications resulting from the Bush Administration’s vision of a ‘New Middle East.’ The delegations also serve to present the diversity of opinions among Americans not represented within our government.

Mine Thauk Pan Ethnic Orphanage

September 3, 2006 | Comments Off on Mine Thauk Pan Ethnic Orphanage

The Peoples of the World Foundation invites you to preview their most recent travel story, Mine Thauk Pan Ethnic Orphanage, Burma (Myanmar), here.

Tales From Earth

September 3, 2006 | Comments Off on Tales From Earth

Kathy Ketman’s radio show, formerly known as “Traveling Music,” has moved from Sundays to Wednesdays at 7:30 pm, and renamed “Tales From Earth.”

“Tales from Earth” is a radio show that explores the world through stories, poems, history and music. Guest authors in coming months include novelists Holly Payne on Croatia and Annie Wang on contemporary China, poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti on the USA, humorist Alan Black on his native Glasgow, and journalist/film producer Joshua Davis on his adventures as a contestant in the world’s most outlandish competitions, such as Northern Italy’s backwards running race.

Business for Diplomatic Action

May 19, 2006 | Comments Off on Business for Diplomatic Action

“The alarming rise in anti-American sentiment represents a looming crisis not only for U.S. businesses and brands marketed abroad but for future generations of Americans as well. Even though much resentment of our country currently centers on our foreign policy, much does not. Other root causes include the perception that we are arrogant and insensitive as a people, that our culture has become all-pervasive, and that the global business expansion on the part of U.S. companies has been exploitive.”

Bigger and Uglier

May 19, 2006 | Comments Off on Bigger and Uglier

Thanks to Michael McCarthy for sending the link to this article. “What caught my eye about this story,” Michael says, “is that this new research contradicts the excuses many people have been making for the past few years – at least, since the Bush administration got into power – that people around the world don’t dislike us, it’s our foreign policy (Bush and Co) that they dislike. Not true at all, says this new report. It’s the ugly behavior they dislike. And rightly so. Americans tour the world like they are touring a zoo, talking loudly and pointing fingers and dressed like they may have to clean out the manure from the monkey cage.”

Leaving the Wild, and Rather Liking the Change

May 19, 2006 | Comments Off on Leaving the Wild, and Rather Liking the Change

The New York Times, by JUAN FORERO, Published: May 11, 2006
Don’t miss this article: A group of tribespeople left the Amazon in Colombia and declared themselves ready to join the modern world.

“Are they sad? ‘No!’ cried a Nukak named Pia-pe, to howls of laughter. In fact, the Nukak said they could not be happier. Used to long marches in search of food, they are amazed that strangers would bring them sustenance — free.

What do they like most? ‘Pots, pants, shoes, caps,’ said Mau-ro, a young man who went to a shelter to speak to two visitors.

Peoples of The World Foundation

February 11, 2006 | Comments Off on Peoples of The World Foundation

The Peoples of The World Foundation has published their 2005 annual report.

“Summary: 2005 was an excellent year for the Foundation. We continued to fulfill both parts of our mission and we met or exceeded most of our goals. We completed our work with the Cherokee, we wrapped-up our work in Southeast Asia and we began new work in Central America. We also began postproduction work on our first feature-length documentary. Donations were up by 42% over 2004 — in a year when charitable giving in general was, once again, down.”

Soul Of America

December 18, 2004 | Comments Off on Soul Of America

“Soul Of America publishes information that addresses cultural travel, primarily in America and the Caribbean. We orient information to Black online travelers, an underserved market before we arrived. Drawing inspiration from our African American ancestors who invented Soul Music, we like to say ‘Soulful Travel Begins Here.’

Our website, Soul Of America, welcomes ALL visitors who wish to broaden their cultural travel options by exploring editorial and photographic treasures overlooked by mass media.”

Thanks to Eva Schlesinger for sending this info.

Child Labor and Food Distribution

April 3, 2004 | Comments Off on Child Labor and Food Distribution

Here’s a thoughtful article by Nicholas D. Kristof, Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times, about the realities of child labor in developing countries. It includes an excellent suggestion for improving the situation (not just a self-righteous rant). Definitely worth a read and a conversation.

It reminds me of the situation I saw in Madagascar, where education served only to take able (children’s) hands away from the rice fields that produced food; education there was certainly not a promise of employment.

Do-It-Yourself Book Tour

March 25, 2004 | Comments Off on Do-It-Yourself Book Tour

I came across an excellent article by Jeannette Belliveau about how she set up a west coast tour for her adventure travel book, An Amateur’s Guide to the Planet. Jeannette covers everything from logistic advice to setting up and managiing bookstore events (including audience size and number of books signed) to the indirect benefits of her tour (including honing her message and learning to sell better). You’ll find other “insights for thoughtful travelers” on Jeannette’s site, including information about cultural and sexual geography, ecology and environmental studies, and intercultural communication.

Closet Anthropology

February 24, 2004 | Comments Off on Closet Anthropology

One of the things I love about travel and travel writing is exposure to multiculturalism — to ways of thinking and acting, dressing, eating, and celebrating, that are new to me. But one needn’t travel far to experience a cultural whup-up-side-of-the-head. I recently came across an article by educational visionary Marc Prensky about the “Nintendo Generation’s” cognitive style changes — new ways of thinking such as active, graphics-based, “twitch speed” parallel processing. Read the article if you’d like to communicate better with the under-30 crowd, or to remind yourself about the importance of illustrating your travel articles with photography or other graphics. And if you have any doubts about the author’s credibility, get this: he has designed training games for the U.S. Department of Defense.

Foreign Substance

February 19, 2004 | Comments Off on Foreign Substance

From dg: “In June of last year, after spending six months in Italy, I returned to LA and had a chance conversation with a Belgian friend just back from a year in Korea. Our experiences were similar. During our extended travels we’d each discovered revealing aspects of foreign cultures that elude most Americans. How unfortunate, we thought, that there isn’t an online space to get unusual and timely insights from likeminded people around the world, a place where people can share perspectives, compare one lifestyle to another, or even map trends as they evolve around the planet …

We decided that as America becomes increasing isolated, increasing unaware of what the rest of the world thinks, there just might be value in such an undertaking. With that realization, Foreign substance was born.

Body language

February 2, 2004 | Comments Off on Body language

Click to learn about body language in other cultures. Here is some info from the site:

* For a Japanese person, waving one’s hand in front of one’s own face with the palm facing outward can signal that the person doesn’t know or doesn’t understand something. (This may also signal the person feels undeserving of a compliment.)

* The American head signals for “yes” and “no” are reversed in Bulgaria. A Bulgarian nods to signal “no” and shakes the head from side to side to signal “yes.”


January 29, 2004 | Comments Off on Parisiana

Parisiana e-zine, The Lovers Guide to Paris. Thanks to Michael and Laurie M. for mentioning this site, and for their story therein, “Sex at Last – First Tango in Paris.”

Lynn Ferrin on Cuba

January 11, 2004 | Comments Off on Lynn Ferrin on Cuba

January, 2004: Lynn Ferrin is just back from Cuba, and we chatted briefly about her trip (which sounded wonderful!): “I wanted to get there before January 1, when Bush Two enforced further restrictions on Americans traveling to Cuba…. I went with Elderhostel–which turned out to be a lively and wise group of old Lefties.

Global Disfluencies

January 5, 2004 | Comments Off on Global Disfluencies

If you’ve resolved to learn all about about global disfluencies in 2004 (or even if you haven’t), a New York Times article by Michael Erard provides the scoop: “People around the world fill pauses in their own languages as naturally as watermelons have seeds. In Britain they say uh but spell it er, just as they pronounce er in butter. The French say something that sounds like euh, and Hebrew speakers say ehhh. Serbs and Croats say ovay, and the Turks say mmmmm. The Japanese say eto (eh-to) and ano (ah-no), the Spanish este, and Mandarin speakers neige (NEH-guh) and jiege (JEH-guh). In Dutch and German you can say uh, um, mmm. In Swedish it’s eh, ah, aah, m, mm, hmm, ooh, a and oh; in Norwegian, e, eh, m and hm.” Erard explains how to reduce one’s ums (drink alcohol), and provides a comparison of overall disfluency rates of men and women (I’m not giving that away!). Read all about it at http://www.nytimes.com/2004/01/03/arts/03TANK.html?th

George Lakoff

December 30, 2003 | Comments Off on George Lakoff

If you love language (and who among us doesn’t?), don’t miss this fascinating interview with George Lakoff, a UC Berkeley professor of linguistics and cognitive science. It happens to focus on politics, but Lakoff’s premise applies to many other disciplines, as well as to our own writing. http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/10/27_lakoff.shtml

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