In zoos all over the world, crowds battle to catch a peek of one of the world’s most recognizable and rarest animals, the giant panda. During our visit to the Chendgu Panda Breeding Research Center, tourists were so few that the pandas actually invited us to join them and granted us an interview. Here’s what Jing-Jing, their spokesperson, had to say: Continue Reading »
Category Archive: Humor
“Bogartin’ on Gordi!”
That’s what Russia is doing in Gori, Georgia – at least according to Angelo Moore, the lead singer of the ska-funk band Fishbone. Our conversation with Angelo takes place at the be2gether summer music festival , on the border of Lithuania and Belarus.
While sifting through papers tonight, I found this Kolkata (Calcutta) newspaper clipping from our time there in April 2008. I couldn’t have made this up if I tried.
Man swaps wife for goat
A Bulgarian farmer has swapped his wife for a goat – because she couldn’t give him kids. Stoil Panayotov exchanged his third wife with Elena, the eight-year-old goat at a livestock market. The extraordinary deal was concluded in front of a stunned crowd in the market town of Plovdiv, central Bulgaria. “The day before, a friend told me that he has had no luck with women and that he really liked my wife,” says the 54-year-old. “The deal was reached when my wife gave her approval. The goat has given birth to three kids and my wife to none. So this deal was more profitable to the goat owner, I got a secondhand goat and he got a brand new wife.”
Ah, Austria. We could wax artistic about Vienna’s museums, poke fun at the people in period outfits selling classical music concert tickets, tell stories about Euro 2008, or tempt you with impressions of Viennese coffee houses and flaky apple strudel.
But what fun would that be? You can read about that in the New York Times Travel Section, Conde Naste Traveler or any other travel magazine.
Instead we’ll share how, with the help of an Austrian friend and an unplanned turn of events, we discovered the real Austria in the country’s Weinviertel (Wine Quarter) about an hour outside of Vienna. Continue Reading »
We were on another long-distance bus in the middle of nowhere, this time in heart of China’s Yunnan province. Heavy, sporadic rains danced on rice terraces whose luxuriant greens complemented the surrounding hills of red clay. It was just another iconic, beautiful moment on our journey through China.
Then came the symphony of throat-clearing and phlegm-dredging; pools of mucous-laden saliva slowly crept along the metal crevices in the aisle. Continue Reading »
Unfortunately, the rumors regarding Gemma’s identity didn’t begin circulating until the final days of the trek. “I think she’s a model. I’m sure I’ve seen her on Fashion TV,” echoed among the young Israelis – fresh from military service – trekking with us. [Aside: Fashion TV piped into Israeli military barracks?!]
And we only truly believed them when we connected to the internet and found the photo above. By then it was too late to play alpine paparazzi. But we did get a peek. Continue Reading »
I’m not normally moved to poetry, but India is a place of firsts. I wrote this in Kolkata (Calcutta), but was reminded of it today as I walked the streets of Thamel, Kathmandu’s backpacker ghetto.
This poem is for all who ceaselessly sidle up to me as I walk down the street, befriending me only for the sake of a sale. Although I’m certain those who inspired this poem are unlikely to ever see it, I offer it just the same. Continue Reading »
Wondering where we’ve been and what we’ve been up to? Our recent Twitter updates from the hills of Sikkim were all a facade.
We ran out of money. So Audrey went looking for work in Varanasi, India’s holiest city. And this is what she found.
So there we were: Audrey was sketching an amorphous menagerie – a sheep, a cow, and a chicken – along with a simple carrot, all on small pad of paper, while Dan offered a few charades and barnyard audio cues – a chicken dance, a moo, and a hearty “baaah” – to help bring the animal farm to life. (Thankfully, charading a carrot was beyond Dan’s abilities.)
Had the Chinese wine we consumed turned on us? Continue Reading »