In the shadows of darkness, two young men sit with drums at their feet. They begin to place their flattened palms to the deerskin. Faster and faster. One by one women dressed in long pleated skirts and light gauzy tops emerge from behind them, as if they are floating across the sand. I try to watch their feet to gain some sense of the rhythm. Left, left, right, right? Is that how it goes? My eyes can't keep up. Failing to discern, my gaze returns to the boys hands. What sort of rhythm were they keeping? My thoughts were interrupted by a loud voice calling out from the darkness and the rest of the women respond in song. I give up trying to understand and turn off my brain.
A farmers market, in Beirut...why? Why invest in something like this when there are tons of green grocers and bakeries all over the country? I think the answers lie in quality food, sustainability, and community. Souk el-Tayeb (the Good Market) brings farmers, craftsmen, and producers from the various regions of Lebanon and plants them in a parking lot in Saifi, near the central business district in downtown Beirut. Reflecting the cultural and religious diversity of Lebanon the market features Druze, Sunni, Shiite, and Christian vendors from the Beqaa, the coast, the mountains, and the suburbs of Beirut.
Whenever I get my hands on a new National Geographic Traveler, I always look forward to reading the latest article by Daisann McLane. This month's, Traveling In Stride, touches on a simple, but overlooked, aspect of traveling: walking. One of the best ways to connect with the place you're visiting is by putting your feet on the ground and exploring. Daisann writes, quite eloquently, about all the beauty she's found, simply by taking walks wherever she goes.
If you've only ever encountered "Mexican" food in the United States, you'd be understandably underwhelmed by the prospect of eating it while you're traveling. However, the reality of Mexican cuisine is that it is as delicious, diverse, and amazing as anywhere in the world. Don't assume that it's the same all over; the food you get if you visit Mexico City isn't the same as you'll get in another province. If you're lucky enough to be visiting the capital city of Mexico, check out our list below and we'll help prepare you to take full advantage of this remarkable cuisine.
We've got some of the best readers out there. Sometimes we will get a comment that is so great, it don't deserve to be stuck at the bottom of a post. Our friend and frequent commenter, Kahlil, left such a thought provoking comment in response to Getting Ready: Change Your Driving Habits. He makes some great points about how driving in the Middle East really changed the way he behaved, both abroad and at home. For me, traveling in general requires many of the same considerations. Check out his thoughts below.
When you think of culture and travel, the first thing that comes to mind might be art museums, architecture, or music. But what about something more mundane, like the grocery store? National Geographic Traveler introduces the idea of a grocery store as a cultural resource, in an article titled "So What's For Dinner?"
Chances are, if you're near the water, you're near a place where people eat crabs. It doesn't matter what culture, from Japan to France, there is a place in the cuisine for everyone's favorite crustacean.
Above, you'll see some of our favorites, Maryland Blue Crabs; steamed and heavily seasoned with old bay, with some corn and beer on the side. For me, its the best way to eat crabs. But not everyone agrees. Click through to see how different cultures enjoy their crabs.