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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.

Southwest Airlines: Still cool after all these years
Southwest Airlines: Still cool after all these years

Since its beginning almost 40 years ago, Southwest has been known as the airline that’s a little kooky, a little unconventional.Rather than conservative, pressed, navy-colored uniforms, flight attendants used to wear hot pants. Today, they’re dressed in khaki shorts.Instead of boring, predictable safety announcements, the crew tends to make the delivery of even the most rote information an opportunity for entertainment.

World’s steepest roller coaster opens in Japan
World’s steepest roller coaster opens in Japan

Takabisha, the world’s steepest roller coaster, accelerates to 100 km/h in 2 seconds, has a 43m drop, and a 121-degree free fall.From Tech Cruch: Opened at Fuji-Q Highland amusement park, the Takabisha beats out Le Timber Drop in France as the world’s steepest roller coaster with a 121-degree freefall (Le Timber Drop’s freefall is 113.

Lather Up With Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
Lather Up With Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps

Rubbing soap all over has never felt so good.Taking a hot steamy shower is enjoyable. Taking a hot steamy shower and lathering up to Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap Bars takes it to another level.Believe me.I’m an addict. I have seven of these soap bars sitting on my bathroom window sill, waiting to be used.

The fate of Tibet according to Rinchen Khando Choegyal
The fate of Tibet according to Rinchen Khando Choegyal

It’s nearly 9:30 am in Macleod Ganj, and I haven’t even had my coffee yet, and for a Canadian, this is a serious predicament. Even the backpackers and the trendy young Tibetans are up by now, enjoying a morning latte at the Malabar café.I have just woken my driver from sleep with a desperate howl: “Move it!

Reporters’ Center Helps Citizen Journalists Find and Tell Great Stories
Reporters’ Center Helps Citizen Journalists Find and Tell Great Stories

Reporters’ Center is a YouTube channel dedicated to help users understand the power of citizen journalism and offers practical tips from the world’s best journalists.Ever captured a natural disaster or a crime on your cell-phone camera or filmed a political protest? Then you’re part of the enormous community of citizen reporters on YouTube, and this channel is for you.

Paul Theroux on ‘Ghost Train to the Eastern Star’
Paul Theroux on ‘Ghost Train to the Eastern Star’

Would it be too dramatic if I said that ‘Ghost Train to the Eastern Star‘ is the most anticipated travel book of the year?Maybe. But for me at least, dramatic or not, it’s certainly true.It’s been nearly 35 years since Theroux’s travel classic, ‘The Great Railway Bazaar‘, was first released – and in those years, I can’t be the only reader to have been electrified by those famous opening lines:“…I have seldom heard a train go by and not wished I was on it…”In the intervening years, Paul Theroux has covered plenty of other ground, in well-loved books like ‘The Old Patagonian Express‘ and ‘Dark Star Safari‘.

No More Easy Money for English Teachers in Japan?
No More Easy Money for English Teachers in Japan?

English teaching in Japan is still a lucrative gig, but the days of easy money and great benefits might be coming to an end.After teaching English in Japan with the JET Program for two years, I saved enough money to travel in Southeast Asia for over a year and launch my career in travel writing.I lived rent free, didn’t work very hard and sent home about $1,500 per month.

Notes on Personal Space: A Canadian Expat in Turkey
Notes on Personal Space: A Canadian Expat in Turkey

Sometimes we don’t realize how much we value our notion of personal space until we live abroad.Before travel, I never realized how little I like to be touched. Sure, hugs are fine. I don’t even mind a cramped car ride or overstuffed elevator. I thought that in terms of physical contact, my comfort zone was average.

A French couchsurfer talks of food from home
A French couchsurfer talks of food from home

St. Goustan in Brittany, France. Photo: Tc7 / Feature photo: jmhullotCouchsurfer extraordinnaire Delphine Mazars is currently traveling around Australia. My wife and I had the pleasure of hosting her for a couple of nights here in Melbourne.Since she left us, she’s trekked the entire 8-day Great Ocean Walk solo and has gone unplugged for a month and a half in Western Australia.

Beginner’s Guide to Dumpster Diving
Beginner’s Guide to Dumpster Diving

If there was ever a mantra from the Great Depression, it was “Waste not want not.” If there was ever another time that the statement holds just as true, it’s now.Photo: inhisgraceI grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, and in my youth there were one or two days a year for “Big Trash Pickup.” The entire town put bulky items that weren’t worth holding onto out on the curb; the wilier citizens were free to comb through the discarded belongings before the garbage men picked them up.

First person dispatch from the Dominican Republic: Taking the long way around
First person dispatch from the Dominican Republic: Taking the long way around

A month in the Dominican Republic’s central mountains and my world feels small again.Kids I don’t recognize run up to me to play “Pollito Pleibe,” a hand game set to a song in which lovers get married in a restaurant and eat grilled chicken with a side of codfish. The fact that I don’t celebrate Christmas is a popular conversation starter with my bewildered neighbors.