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 ...
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Spam, and Other Drugs

"We're here for just two and a half weeks, and then I have to go back to the Netherlands for a battle of the bands. My band qualified for a competition, and I play bass," Ophir beamed. "Jealous!" I announced ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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La Vie en Vert

  Every movement of my body felt like I was breaking through plastic wrap. I was surprised when my arm lifted up to grab a fork from the table, and turning my head to the side sent a little jolt ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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China, Pt. 1: Accommodations

**Disclaimer** If you love China and are easily angered by dissenting opinions, you may not want to read any further. You have been warned.  First, let me preface all of this by saying that an entire country is not defined by ...
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The Liberal Mafia

“You’re very handsome!” the driver repeated in Chinese, rolling the window down to let the tropically humid air in. “Thank you,” I said again, without a clue how else to respond to such a statement. In the front seat, my ...
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Shove our shackles

It’s always painful to leave your favorite people behind, and I’m going to seriously miss my colleagues (and the few others I’ve managed to befriend here), but if I never had to return to this place again, I wouldn’t complain ...
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Tabetaifun

Since probably no one but me gets this pun, I’ll explain: “I want to eat (it)!” In Japanese is “tabetai.” Typhoon is written like “taifun” in Japanese. So it’s like a typhoon of things I want to eat. Get it? ...
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Feel All the Things

I wasn’t going to write about the train journey back to Tokyo, but I had too many interesting revelations while reading Paul Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar, and a few interesting conversations with Yuuki. Iwate saw us off with some ...
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Life is good

My week in Karumai has been fantastic and fascinating beyond compare. Now I was finally doing what I loved– staying with locals not in a capital city but in a place that was more analogous to the small city life ...
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The Great Railway Bizzare

So there’s this cool thing in Japan called the Seishun 18 Kippu, which is a group of if tickets you can buy for the national rail system. With one ticket, which is about 2370 yen/$20, you get all day until ...
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Kawaii desu ne?!

Before writing this post I realized I only have 13 days left to travel and enjoy myself before going back to school in the U.S. I’m not looking forward to the reflections post– it’s going to be enormous, and there’s ...
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Yatta!

If constantly being on the move was feasible, I would do it all the time. In the right mood and with the right people, what would have been a very boring car ride or flight can become the highlight of ...
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The Sweetest Thing

I thought I was going to be able to get away with skipping a post about my last three days in Bangkok, but of course a lot of nice things happened in that time and maybe it’s best I write ...
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