Tagged with culture

GalleryBelleville Open-Air Market

If you're ever in Paris on Tuesday or Friday morning, the multiethnic Belleville market is worth a visit. The prices are quite cheap, but the real reason to go is to "take a cultural bath," as our French teacher Isabelle says. The market runs almost a kilometer south down the mid-strip of Boulevard Belleville to the Ménilmontant stop. I've walked in its wake a few times on a Wednesday or Saturday, strolling under the neatly rolled awnings that remind me of hundreds of toriis, and avoiding bits of rotted cabbage and fruit in my path. But until this Tuesday our schedules had not aligned.

By the time we arrived it was getting on 11:30am and the place was flooded. To give you a frame of reference, Paris produce markets usually setup by 8-9am, really get going by 11am and wind down around 1-2pm. I'd already read a few enthusiastic posts online by local bloggers, encouraging people to experience this colorful produce market. Because in the throes of so many people, that's all you can really do. The general recommendation was to start at the beginning and let the energy pull you forward like a tidal wave (or a raging river), getting a bit jostled and bruised along the way, but hopefully not splayed out on all fours by the end — and hopefully with your fruit still intact! View Gallery »


The bakers.

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Visiting one of Mumbai's slums was top on our list of things to do. We'd heard stories of hope and perseverance; of people building life from a few pieces of cardboard, corrugated steel and plastics. In fact, on our boat trip down the Amazon we met a Spaniard who had lived in a Mumbai slum and made a film about the fight over land. Over the course of his experience with the slum's inhabitants he ... View Essay »

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We went to an "unconference" with our yoga teacher, Devang, a few weeks back about two hours outside of Mumbai (read: only about 100km). I wanted to tell you all about it, but, well, I had way too much homework at the time (I think I was memorizing the alphabet or some such) and then, well, I felt like I was in school again! 

After a night out meeting expats, we woke up in the wee hours to ... View Essay »

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We celebrated a teeny weeny bit of Holi today, along with the kids in the building. From what we can gather, many of the Hindu holidays have come to mean different things for different regions, different towns, different people. With so many gods and such a rich history, customs are appropriated over time and evolve. But while traditions may change, this also seems to mean people continue to celebrate holidays with vigor - because they remain relevant. View Gallery »

I like you secretly.

— (Not in public.)
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Oh, the different sounds we make

In the first few weeks of being in Mumbai, we walked around saying Dhanyavad and Shukriya all the time. We'd get responses anywhere from a flurry of giggles to blank stares. Gracious people (or those used to Brits and other westerners) would respond with "Yaur Velcam." We also used, in greeting, the only other Hindi word we knew: Namaste. To which people would generally respond with "Halo" and "Bai" depending.

It wasn't until we started taking Hindi classes that it finally dawned on us that it wasn't our terrible pronunciation, but that our uses were completely inappropriate. In English, our Hindi teacher has not once said "Please," "Thank you" or any other such pleasantries. During our classes, he says "that's completely wrong," and "that's exactly right," respectively. When he wants ... View Post »


On Ko Tao the frequency of Americans is down there with Indians: 0.5%. And we have yet to see any Indians. It appears this island is a European and Australian playground.

ArticleAngry Birds invade Bangkok

These Angry Birds are everywhere - their scowling faces are on every type of product Bangkok has on offer. You name it, we found it. We've seen the plush "push me" versions back home, but nothing beats the variety here. Don't care much for stuffed animals? Do slippers, clocks, key fobs, shirts, pens, or aprons strike your fancy? How about a mini catapult? We braved more scowls from shop patrons to bring you a glimpse of the madness. The breadth of products and shops that sold them speaks volumes about the global domination of the Angry Birds brand. Only Paul Frank and Hello Kitty were better represented, and they have legacy.

As I type this, Matt is wreaking havoc on ice blocks and pig pens to my right. We're a long way from home and yet it feels like we haven't really traveled at ... View Article »