September 1, 2014 |
My wife and I went to Kruger National Park in June even though it was winter in South Africa. We chose that time to travel because it was the cool, dry season, with no bugs and no tall grass, which means the game viewing is better. Some people on safari do not see all of the so-called Big 5 (elephant, lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, and rhino), but we saw all of them in a single day. We saw so many animals, including lions mating every 10 minutes, that we become blasé about the sight. Unfortunately, the day begins at 5:30 a.m.; after a snack of muffins, fruit, and coffee, you go on the game drive in your open Land Rover with your ranger (who has a rifle)
August 24, 2014 |
The echoes of deep history were lying in the ground in front of me. As an archaeologist digging at a 10,000-year-old settlement on the outskirts of Bylany, Czechoslovakia, I held evidence of a long-gone culture gently and lovingly in my hands. A clay pot held by some young girl, a bronze pin worn by an ancient babushka, a rusted sickle blade swung by a calloused hand eons ago, they all spoke clearly to me. I had the wonderfully fortunate and fascinating opportunity to be a time traveler and to walk with the ancients.
August 18, 2014 |
Brendan McHugh suspected his competitive swimming career was finished. He was a 22-year-old Penn graduate. He was preparing to enter law school at Washington and Lee University. He had done well at the 2012 Olympic trials - 10th in the 100-meter breaststroke, 16th in the 200-meter breaststroke - but it wasn't as if he had just missed making the U.S. team. He also had a broken arm, courtesy of a pickup basketball game. "I wasn't sure, but I was thinking I might be done," said McHugh, who stunned the swimming world Aug. 8, setting a United States Open record with a time of 27.10 seconds and winning the 50-meter breaststroke at the national championships in Irvine, Calif.
August 18, 2014 |
Knowing when to trust your intuition can be difficult, especially in a foreign land. It wasn't our guide who made me suspicious; it was the bystander, a short woman with a vibrant dress and bananas in her hand. Our guide had been confident during our "tour" of Arusha, Tanzania, not the least bit shady. "This way," he said. "Right through here," as he pointed to a shoddy door on the side of a nondescript building. The woman, however, was shifty, her eyes twitching, her too-still body poised, begging, "Don't go you fools, it's a trap.
August 10, 2014 |
My father considered himself a Don Juan, although it's questionable if he really was that much of one, since he was married to my mother for almost 35 years and to his third wife for 30 more. But, like the literary Don Juan, my father also redeemed himself from the grave. He died four years ago and I find myself appreciating his most endearing traits. For example, I love to travel and I know it's because when I was a little girl growing up in Madrid, I treasured going with my dad on his Vespa motorcycle to some historic Spanish towns: Toledo, Segovia, Ávila, Salamanca.
August 8, 2014 |
WHEN INDIAN AND French cooks collide in the "The Hundred-Foot Journey," there are fireworks. Seriously. Fireworks. Every five minutes. Director Lasse Hallstrom uses them like Lawrence Welk used bubbles, as a kind of mood-enhancer when mere schmaltz is not enough. Hallstrom is known for movies of enchantment ("Cider House Rules," "Chocolat") and though he crafts some nice moments in "The Hundred-Foot Journey," his normally light touch gives way at times to a heavy hand, and full-on pyrotechnics (which given the Walt Disney imprimatur, may be Magic Kingdom product placement)
August 4, 2014 |
When Luis, our baby-faced driver and guide to the ancient Mayan city of Tulum, greeted us in his beat-up Chevy Aveo at the meeting spot - a dirt lot littered with beer bottles - I shot my husband, Brad, a look. "Come on, just go with it," he said. "It'll be fine. " We made introductions. Luis was the 26-year-old son of the beach vendor who sold tours next to our hotel. He spoke English well. I came to know that because as soon as we crouched into the dusty subcompact, Brad grilled him. "Is this your day job?"
July 27, 2014 |
After the unexpected death of a close family member, an uncomplicated, therapeutic vacation was in order. Knowing my husband was a fan of hot springs for their healing qualities, I proposed several locations: California, Colorado, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Berkeley Springs, W.Va. The last was selected because of its easy three-hour drive west down the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-81. Our must-haves included: natural beauty, the waters, and a significant divergence from our daily lifestyle.
July 21, 2014 |
'Did you make it to the bottom?" everyone asked when we got back from the Grand Canyon. "Of course we did," I answered - but it took five days and a father-son journey to get there. My son Ivan and I have enjoyed backpacking in the Pennsylvania wilderness, and our appetite for the Southwest was whetted four years ago on a family trip to Grand Canyon National Park. Ivan and I hiked most of the way down until an early sunset and common sense led us to pledge to come back to celebrate my 50th birthday with a father-son backpacking trip.
July 18, 2014 |
PREPARE TO leave cynicism at the door if you catch the Floacist at World Cafe Live tonight, or Michael Franti with Spearhead (and compatible support acts) at the Mann Center Tuesday. Both artists aim to have you singing along with their boldly uplifting, mind- and world-healing music - and also a physical warm-up option, in Franti's case. Feel the Flo Ever since the opening track ("Breathe") of her first album as a solo artist, Natalie "the Floacist" Stewart has been promoting the cause of taking charge and transforming your life.