Archive for the 'Wandering News' Category

This Week’s Wandering News

It’s been a long time since This Week’s has run, but in an attempt to — once again — get things into a normal rhythm here at TDT, we’re bringing it back. This week we lead with another disheartening tidbit about fakery at the Olympic Games.

  • Remember the ethnic minorities? They were fake too, says Foreign Policy blog Passport. Linking to a piece printed in Britain’s Telegraph, FP says the boys and girls who supposedly represented China’s 56 ethnic minorities in the opening ceremonies of the Olympics were, in fact, all Han Chinese.
  • Canadian writer-gone-English-teacher Joel McConvey posts a witty piece of booze-laden journalism about expat bars from his corner of the world in Jeju-do, South Korea. He deftly observes that the most memorable foreigner-filled watering holes are those that foster a “sense of limbo, wherein the bar’s palpable detachment from the surrounding geography and the norms of both the society in which it exists and that which it strives to emulate mirrors that of its transient patrons.”
  • Despite food prices being on the rise, people are still Buying into ‘organic,’ ‘natural,’ ‘local,’ writes IHT journalist Aline Sullivan. From the under-the-bridge farmers markets to the aisles of Whole Foods, foodies from Orange County to Britain are putting their money where their mouth is.
  • The Head of the House Homeland Security Committee has labeled TSA screener testing ‘a waste’, according to USA Today. Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) was reportedly pretty peeved when he found out that no follow-up examinations were being made after personnel failed to discover guns and other contraband that made it through the screening process. “You have a system that’s supposed to strengthen airport security, but you don’t use the results of the tests to do exactly what you’re doing the tests for,” he said. “It’s obviously a waste of money.”
  • And last Sunday, the Independent‘s Gap Year Guide took readers to the scorched New Mexico desert to show them How to be a modern day Mowgli. Or at least, how they can volunteer at a wolf sanctuary, hopefully without getting bitten.

This Week’s Wandering News

  • I’ll lay it out plain: South Korea is pretty touchy when it comes to criticism from outsiders, and the flak the nation has caught recently over such oddball cultural phenomena as the mad cow scare and the Wonder Girls has made for some heated debate in the blogosphere. But criticism seems to be better taken when it is tempered with praise. Expat blogger Roboseyo, who has been living in the country since 2003, posts an insightful and sensitive piece, “The Magic Wand: Five Things I’d Change About Korea” that presents a balanced view of South Korean society’s thrills and ills — via ZenKimchi.
  • For frequent flyers, there is a sea of often conflicting and useless advice on how to avoid jetlag, but the BBC reported this week on a fresh take that seems to make sense — if you can stand starving yourself. According to recent study, going without food on your flight resets your circadian clock and can help you adjust to your new time zone more quickly.
  • Chinese wedding photographer Wang Qiang never planned on capturing a tragedy when he went to a shoot on May 12, but by the end of the session the French missionary church he was using as a background was a pile of rubble. New York Times Blog “The Lede” posts on his stunning perspective of the quake in “Disaster Caught in a Wedding Lens“.
  • It is perhaps the essence of travel blogging: sharing experiences so that others can roam vicariously. Nerd’s Eye View hosts the The Carnival of Cities, with writers taking us on a virtual tour from Portland to Nanjing and everywhere in between.
  • And on the gear front, Rapha Cycling is coming out with some really cool stuff for those who choose to roam on two wheels. Cool Hunting’s review of the 11-liter Fixed Backpack is really tempting me to buy one — with waterproof zippers and a snug pouch for your laptop, it looks like a travel writer’s dream.

This Week’s Wandering News

  • Starting out on the lighter side, People magazine made a terrific racial blunder last week when it featured South Korean pop star Rain and then accompanied the piece with a photo of actor Karl Yune — who also happens to be Asian. Oops. (via Lao-Ocean)
  • Allison Arieff asks why school buildings tend to resemble drab, prison-like institutions on the New York Times By Design blog, and talks about Waldkindergartens: forward-thinking schools in Germany that have replaced the classroom with the forest.
  • Bombings in the ancient Indian city of Jaipur left 63 dead on Tuesday, and caused the local government to enforce a curfew. The Guardian reports that a little-known terrorist group called the Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility, and apparently had the goal of disrupting the local tourism industry.
  • Mark Massara, a pioneer of surfer environmentalism and a defender of California’s coastline, speaks with the New York Times in this watch-worthy video piece, “Planet Us: The Coastal Warrior“.
  • The SF Chronicle reports that protesters donning black hoods and Guantanamo-style jumpsuits turned out at the graduation ceremony of UC-Bekeley’s law school Saturday, demanding that tenured professor John Yoo be fired. Yoo was the chief author of the Bush administration’s nebulous policies on torture

This Week’s Wandering News

  • Reports are coming out of South Korea today that at least eight people have died after a freak tidal wave hit the west coast near Boryeong City. Among those killed were five-year-old Park Sung-woo and nine-year-old Chu Seung-bin. My condolences to the families.
  • Following accusations of corruption and baby-selling, Vietnam is ending its adoption agreement with the United States. The US embassy in Hanoi released the report detailing shady practices by adoption agencies, provoking an angry response from Vietnamese officials. Despite flaring tempers, the embassy says it stands by its findings.
  • Shopping malls and Jesus may be the pillars of the American suburbs, but the two are coming together in an entirely unexpected way on the island of Java. The BBC reports that Christian congregations in Indonesia, fearing violence and persecution from Muslim groups, are seeking refuge in malls on Sunday mornings.
  • On the lighter side: It’s a traveler’s nightmare — an overseas flight with nothing to read, no iPod and no in-flight movie. The San Francisco Chronicle’s John Flinn wrestles on the wing with boredom, and gives tips on staying sane.
  • Break-ups are hard, especially when it’s with a city you’ve loved so dearly, but every now and then we get the call to wander. John Moe writes, “Sorry, Seattle – I’ve found somewhere else.

This Week’s Wandering News

  • Ex-presidents often retain their fame after leaving office, but few ascend to the status of tourist destination. Choe Sang-hun reports on how South Korea’s Roh Moo Hyun has become a popular sensation after returning to his hometown — never mind his poor ratings while he was commander-in-chief.
  • I might have to eat my words about the likelihood of Bush’s skipping the opening ceremonies; CNN says the White House has left the door open for a symbolic protest of China’s recent crackdown.
  • This is a few weeks old, but if you missed the NYT article about how Japanese Haiku is still being written in South Korea despite the taboo, it’s worth a read.
  • The IHT’s Roger Cohen explains why Europe wants a democrat in the US, while Asia is pulling for a republican.
  • And this just in from CNN, a former Lonely Planet writer brags to an Australian paper about how he plagiarized material, accepted free travel and sold drugs to supplement his income. Laziness, questionable ethics — does this guy think he’s cool?

This Week’s Wandering News

  • A new food blog is meticulously combing Seattle’s Chinatown restaurants in search of good eats. MSG150 has a total of 11 bloggers, each of whom takes photos of their meal, breaks down the good and the bad, and even copies their after-meal fortune. Via SeriousEats.
  • On the complete opposite of the food spectrum, shortages in North Korea are making political tensions worse. A poor autumn harvest, skyrocketing rice prices in China and Kim Jong Il’s rejection of South Korean aid are all culminating to create what could be a disastrous famine. From the IHT.
  • In the travel blogosphere, Nerd’s Eye View says she’s tired of all the on-the-cusp travelers whining about how tourists ruin everything. Her post, “The Thin Edge of the Tourism Wedge” cuts to the heart of the debate.
  • Marjane Satrapi, author of the Persepolis graphic novel series — now also major film — was interviewed by the Guardian last week. Journalist Simon Hattenstone talks about Satrapi’s precocious youth and her views on the way the world is heading.
  • A reminder to all us young writers and bloggers to keep perspective; there will always be someone who’s working harder.

This Week’s Wandering News

  • In a recent letter to The Morning News, Rosecrans Baldwin tells readers that Paris is bummin’ him out…and, you know, trying to kill his wife.
  • South Korea is worried about the price of booze — more specifically, soju. In a battle to keep low-income families afloat amid inflation, the government released a list of 52 items that it will price monitor; the potato-based distilled beverage made the cut.
  • Guidebook author Alastair Sawday talks about the Slow Travel movement over at the Guardian, and gives his picks for meandering around Britain.
  • The International Herald Tribune gives a public face to the five women who died during Tibet’s riots: He Xinxin, Chen Jia, Li Yuan, Cirenzhuoga and Yang Dongmei.
  • And finally, all this news might hardly matter if earth is eaten by a black hole.

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