The Social Network

Several sleepy hours later, we pulled into the beautiful tourist beach town of Varadero. Running the length of a small peninsula in northern Cuba (Matanzas province), with around 20km of white-sand beach, it’s popular as a tourist destination, especially for those coming on package deals or for travelers that stay in resorts and high-end hotels. Read more about The Social Network[…]

Two Currencies, Two Worlds

I relieved myself for what was maybe the fifth time in a week. I’d never needed to pee in Cuba; any liquid entering my body immediately came out on my skin in my body’s pitiful attempt at staying cool. One soap dispenser was stocked, miraculously, and smelled strongly of gummy bears. I looked at the Read more about Two Currencies, Two Worlds[…]

On Cuba

Going on overseas adventures has sort of become second nature to me in the past four years of on-and-off full-time travel, and several American friends told me Cuba had been great, if not a bit expensive. While nervous, I was excited. Cuba hadn’t been (legally) open to American tourists since 1963 as part of the Read more about On Cuba[…]

Walking Tall

On Monday, January 30, I landed at JFK ready to visit a friend whom I hadn’t seen in several years. Like me, she’s from Missouri originally and went to Truman State University. Unlike me, she transferred out, translocated to New York City, and transitioned from “Mitchell” to Michelle. As it turns out, Missouri is not Read more about Walking Tall[…]

China, pt. 5: Friends and Hospitality

Despite a lot of distaste for Chinese politics and the state of the environment, I have to point out that the people are very hospitable and friendly, even if sometimes it comes across as creepy to someone with a Western background. It’s not hard to make friends if you’re able to communicate at all, and Read more about China, pt. 5: Friends and Hospitality[…]

China, pt. 4: Good food, bad food, spicy food, dog food

In Nanchang, southern-style food is the most popular, meaning spicy and salty foods made with lots of chili oil and lajiao (spicy peppers). I cannot emphasize enough that nearly everything is made with oil. Fried foods are in no short supply, and even fresh veggies come swimming in oil. Prepare to have your butt melted Read more about China, pt. 4: Good food, bad food, spicy food, dog food[…]

China, pt. 3: Education and Environment

The sound of chanting voices would often float up into my flat through the living room window. Below, groups of students would be there, standing in circles, chanting the same words over and over again. Sometimes while walking on the street to class or out for lunch, students would be alone, walking back and forth, Read more about China, pt. 3: Education and Environment[…]

China, Pt. 2: Politics, Racism, and Being Gay

To understand anything about China, you have to know a little bit about its history. China occupies one of the longest continuously inhabited spaces on the planet, and currently has a population of nearly 1.4 billion. China was governed under dynastic systems until the turn of the 20th century, and it was only in 1949 Read more about China, Pt. 2: Politics, Racism, and Being Gay[…]