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Notes on Ceremony and Nochebuena (Christmas Eve)
Notes on Ceremony and Nochebuena (Christmas Eve)

On Christmas Eve, David Miller ponders ceremonies, music, snow, and as usual, transcendence.NOCHEBUENA is the “good night” before Christmas.Here in Argentina it’s also when Santa comes–the kids staying up until 12 when it switches to actual Navidad and a family member dressed as Santa appears pillow-stuffed and possibly wine-drunk at the door.

How to Find Your Way when You’re Lost
How to Find Your Way when You’re Lost

It’s a pretty common story. You’re walking through a new town or patch of forest, certain of your path. You panic as everything begins to seem unfamiliar. The light is fading. You need to find your way and you need to find it now.Study a map Look at where you’re going, and where you’re going to be. Look for anomalies, particularly large ones.

10 common gestures easily misunderstood abroad
10 common gestures easily misunderstood abroad

Frequent travelers must be great at charades. When you need to communicate and you don’t have the luxury of a shared language, body language is invaluable. A skilled traveler can negotiate a taxi, buy food in a market, and get directions from a stranger through hand motions alone.Things can get lost in translation, though, when a typical gesture from your country means something completely different in other parts of the world.

Islam’s largest nation disgusted by the judgment of its holiest
Islam’s largest nation disgusted by the judgment of its holiest

The hardline, Wahhabist followers of Islam in Saudi Arabia bump heads spectacularly with the government of Indonesia.THE FUROR BEGAN with the beheading of Ruyati binti Satubi, a 54-year-old Indonesian grandmother, after she was convicted of stabbing her employer by a Saudi court. In truth though, the seeds of the anger that saw Indonesia recalling its ambassador to Riyadh and suspending nationals from leaving to work in Saudi Arabia go much, much deeper.

Chevron: The toxic tour
Chevron: The toxic tour

Photo by Antoine Bonsorte; remaining photos by author.Manuel Ignacio Salinas was so proud to repeat his name when I asked him a third time.“Manuel…Ignacio…Salinas.”Standing just over five feet tall, the aging Señor Salinas had graying hair, a discolored left eye, and rashes visible where his tattered light-blue button-down shirt failed to cover his dark Ecuadorian skin.

Twitter contest: Tuff ‘n’ Tiny USB drive
Twitter contest: Tuff ‘n’ Tiny USB drive

Enter to win Verbatim’s super small, mega durable 2GB drive.Seriously, this thing is insanely small.Back in my teaching days, I had a glorious set of keys. It was massive – I couldn’t fit it in my purse. House keys, car keys, school keys, office keys, drum keys, a drumstick key ring I got when I was fourteen, random plastic stuff and one of those curly phone cord wristbands my students would use to slingshot the key monstrosity across the room.

Coke’s Campaign to Set the Travel World A-Twitter
Coke’s Campaign to Set the Travel World A-Twitter

Photo: Slumdog Thousandaire; Feature photo: Michael PickardThe Coca-Cola Company is sending a team made up of three young explorers on a year-long quest to find out what makes people happy. Which makes Tom Gates cranky.Somewhere, a marketing executive must have smoked a bowl and watched “The Amazing Race.

How I learned Mexican Spanish
How I learned Mexican Spanish

Photos: authorHow one American came to master Mexican Spanish.I first arrived in Juarez, Mexico in 2001 for an “interview” which I found out later was merely a formality. My company had already decided to transfer me from Michigan to the Mexican plant.I wanted the international assignment so I could learn to speak Spanish like a native.

11 tips for winter desert camping
11 tips for winter desert camping

Photo above by ChadicaWinter is upon us, and snowbirds are alighting on the American Southwest for moderate temperatures and world-class hiking. And why not? The searing heat has dissipated, the monsoons and dust storms are over, and the scorpions and rattlesnakes have retreated underground, inviting travel and exploration throughout the Sonoran, Chihuahuan, Great Basin, and Mojave deserts.

10 Tips to Improve Any Trip to Brazil
10 Tips to Improve Any Trip to Brazil

Photo by Fábio PinheiroBrazil is different from Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia and its other neighbors. Besides the language differences between Spanish-speaking South America and Portuguese-speaking Brazil, a noticeable cultural divide exists.Brazil, a place where batucada and jazz, beach and jungle, and bikinis and Jesus coexist peacefully, seems to lie on a planet of its own.

Kiwanis Club Burning Man bike program closed for 2011
Kiwanis Club Burning Man bike program closed for 2011

If you’re heading to the playa this year, you’re going to want a bike, but the man burns in less than 2 months and many of the bike rental places have already run out.There are three main sources I know personally for renting bikes for Burning Man. The Kiwanis Club of Reno Sparks, Da Rat and Black Rock Bicycles.

Surfing Morocco
Surfing Morocco

All photos: AuthorThe small town of Taghazoute is surfing ground zero in Morocco.Where to stayTaghazoute is 45 minutes from Agadir’s international airport and home to the famous righthand point breaks of Anchors and Killers that come alive in the winter months.It’s not the prettiest of towns with its surf ghetto vibe, but it does offer accommodation for all budgets: from small, bare rooms for $10/night to luxury apartments with pools.