Category: Collections

The Last Notes

A day in the life of an expat in Trujillo, Peru
A day in the life of an expat in Trujillo, Peru

Jessica Tiegs describes a typical day in Trujillo, Peru.A vendor passes by the open sliding glass door of the café, pushing his bicycle cart with his friend’s assistance.“Fresa, naranja, plátano, naranja, plátano, fresa!” muffledly resounds from his electric bullhorn.As I watch the cart slowly creak by, the pungent odor of cleaning products of bleach and chemicals masked by an imitation lavender scent attacks my nostrils and makes my eyes water.

Bacteria: A new gasoline alternative
Bacteria: A new gasoline alternative

Photo by: midorisyuScientists at UCLA may have found the solution to our fuel problems.Recently, supreme research brains at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science discovered a way to genetically modify a a type of bacterium to consume CO2 and produce isobutanol, a liquid fuel that can be used as a gas alternative.

Some thoughts about violence on International Women’s Day
Some thoughts about violence on International Women’s Day

Editor’s Note: A couple days ago, Matador CEO Ross Borden forwarded me this article by Nicholas Kristof about a 10 year old Yemeni girl who was married to a man three times her age and subsequently sought a divorce. It was too much for me to write about–the many forms of violence against women sometimes just become too oppressive to meditate on.

How To Free Tibet?  Lhasang Tsering Has A Plan
How To Free Tibet? Lhasang Tsering Has A Plan

Has the Dalai Lama lost his clarity of purpose?Lhasang Tsering la is no Dalai Lama. Born in Tibet and brought into exile at a young age, he forfeited an opportunity to study medicine in the US, joining the armed Tibetan resistance force instead.For the past thirty years, he has been fighting for Tibetan freedom non-stop.

Fishing the Atchafalaya
Fishing the Atchafalaya

Photos by authorRoy, a fisherman in his early seventies, pulls a foot-long catfish up on one of the lines he’s lain throughout the swamp.He hauls it into the boat, pulls the hook from its lip with a practiced yank.The catfish emits a guttural gurgle that Roy doesn’t appear to notice. He plops the fish on the shiny silver boat bottom, now speckled with blood.

Grand Central gets greener
Grand Central gets greener

Stroll through the Grand Central Terminal any afternoon and you’ll see impatient commuters eager to get home from work pushing past gape-mouthed tourists gazing up at the beautiful, star-dotted ceiling of the Main Concourse.The Concourse, restored and renovated between 1996 and 1998, is probably one of the city’s most visited places, included on walking tour itineraries because of its spectacular representation of the Beaux Arts style.

Five you’ve never: Nathan Larson, A Camp
Five you’ve never: Nathan Larson, A Camp

Feature photo by Amir Chamdin. Photo above by superbomba.Matador launches “Five You’ve Never,” a challenge in which we ask random people to tell us the five coolest things we’ve never seen, heard or read.First up: Nathan Larson of the band A Camp.1. Best Acid-Inspired Movie With Burt Lancaster Set in Connecticut: The Swimmer (1968)Truly a bizarre piece of film making, this 1968 release is actually a dark hallucinatory horror picture dressed up like a sunny domestic drama.

Patron saint of my round-the-world trip
Patron saint of my round-the-world trip

Tom Gates travels from Boston through Amsterdam, Paris, and Stockholm, where he finally meets the person who inspired his round the world trip, and reflects on the journeys so many of us have taken, and continue to take at Matador.May 20, 2001, Logan Airport, BostonI have blagged my way into the British Airways lounge by complimenting the check-in lady on her silver dollar-sized earrings.

How to green your 4th of July party
How to green your 4th of July party

Feature photo: gliuoo; Photo: chadmagieraJust because you waited until the last minute to plan your 4th of July party doesn’t mean it can’t be green.Holidays always sneak up on me. Tomorrow, I’ll be scrambling around at the last minute to throw together an impromptu party for friends who don’t have their own July 4th plans, but I’ll still be able to go green.

Freelancing in cafes: Is the honeymoon over?
Freelancing in cafes: Is the honeymoon over?

Photo: Matt BiddulphCafes are the favorite mobile office for location independent professionals. That may soon be past tense, though.Freelance writers and cafes have always gone hand in hand, but according to the Wall Street Journal, the relationship may soon suffer a permanent break.The romantic image of the freelance writer sitting in a cozy cafe, sipping a steaming latte and tapping away at their next National Geographic article or bestselling novel, is a common one.

What people are listening to in… Brazil
What people are listening to in… Brazil

Feature photo by Érre Ortega. Photo above by Prefeitura de Olinda.I thought my collection of Brazilian music was pretty impressive… until I went to Brazil.“Do you like our music?” someone asked me. “Love it!” I said, ticking off the names of Brazilian icons: Caetano Veloso, Joao Gilberto, and Astrud Gilberto.

Notes on teaching in Bahrain during the protests
Notes on teaching in Bahrain during the protests

Expat teacher Zeynep Bayraktaroglu utilizes literature and film to help her students open up about political developments in Bahrain.On the morning of February 17th, I noticed an unusual absence of hasty roaring engines and anxious tooting horns which normally would fill the streets during the rush hour.

Explore New Zealand’s Franz Josef glacier
Explore New Zealand’s Franz Josef glacier

Explore New Zealand& 39;s Franz Josef glacier - Our SiteWHAT/WHEREBackpackingMatt gives us the low down on enjoying New Zealand’s Franz Josef glacier on a budget or in high style.NETWORK CONNECTIONStep onto these shrinking behemoths before they are little more than a trickle. Many of the worlds great glaciers are in decline giving rise to glacial tourism.

Paying money to murder: Russian luxury yachts offer pirate hunting cruises
Paying money to murder: Russian luxury yachts offer pirate hunting cruises

In one of the tourism industry’s stranger developments, Russia begins taking money from tourists eager to help control piracy.The yacht tour promises photogenic sunsets… and heavy artillery. Photo: wirralwaterLast month, I talked with an official of the U.S. Navy and asked him about the military’s role in preventing and responding to piracy.

A “whites-only” pool in 2009?
A “whites-only” pool in 2009?

What about fun for everyone? Photo: havenholidaysAfter the election and inauguration of Barack Obama to the US presidency, some analysts suggested Americans were entering a post-racial era. Maybe they should visit Philadelphia’s Valley Swim Club. “A ‘Whites-Only’ Pool in 2009?” That was the subject line of an e-mail that landed in my inbox a few days ago.

Pueblo Inglés: Best volunteer experience in Spain?
Pueblo Inglés: Best volunteer experience in Spain?

Photo courtesy of Barbara HicksLisa Lubin explains how to enjoy a week of good wine and great conversation in the heart of Spain – for free.Habla Ingles??What if I told you that I just had a whole week’s vacation in a four-star villa in a small, beautiful village near Salamanca, Spain and it included three full meals a day with wine and it came with about forty new best friends …all for free?

The Story of Stuff: Conscious consumerism or anticapitalist propaganda?
The Story of Stuff: Conscious consumerism or anticapitalist propaganda?

Millions of people have watched “The Story of Stuff.” But not everyone agrees that it’s a perfect primer on conscious consumerism.Photo: YoshimaiMaybe you’re one of the millions of people who’s watched “The Story of Stuff.”If you’re not, then here’s the quick overview: “The Story of Stuff” is a video made by Annie Leonard, an environmental activist and former Greenpeace employee who is deeply concerned about mass consumer culture and its effects on the environment.

No kissing law passed in Guanajuato, Mexico
No kissing law passed in Guanajuato, Mexico

Jail time for kissing in public? For using slang in the street?Sound like Dubai?Try Guanajuato, a city in central Mexico, the world’s PDA capital.Eduardo Romero Hicks, the city’s mayor, recently passed an anti-obscenity law that bans kissing in public, “obscene” speech (including the classic Mexican slang word, “guey”), buying anything from street vendors, begging, and obstructing public space without a permit.

Expat life in Costa Rica: Ping-pong death match
Expat life in Costa Rica: Ping-pong death match

During the day, the landmark that best sums up life in Playas el Coco, Costa Rica, is probably the mammoth construction crane in the middle of a half-finished condo complex. Up on a razed hillside, it’s visible from almost everywhere in town. Locals tell me it hasn’t moved in over a year.At night though, the town’s emblem – at least for some expats – has got to be the mermaid outside of La Vida Loca bar.

When a part-time writing job in Korea became international fraud
When a part-time writing job in Korea became international fraud

It started with a random email worded like a banking offer from a Nigerian prince: “I have a business proposal you might be interested in.”It came from a grad school colleague, and it concerned an opportunity to do a job she could no longer do herself. Thanks to Facebook’s all-seeing eye, she knew I was living and working in Korea.