the weekend is here…


… and I have a few links — all from the New York Times — burning a hole in my inbox pocket. So before I leave you to your weekend adventuring, here they are:

This is science fiction come to life. Since I was a little kid frustrated by having to put my ideas into words, I have yearned for a tool that could read my mind and transfer my pre-verbalized thoughts into another person’s brain, and vice versa. I never, ever thought it was actually possible. Well, this comes pretty close:

Meanwhile, this is the story of the last three years of my life, and perhaps it resonates with your life story as well?:

I’ve been thinking a lot about “fair trade tourism” recently, and I intend to write about it here as soon as I have time to compose my wide-ranging thoughts in a somewhat organized manner. In the meantime, I found this article on ethical travel thought-provoking — especially how narrowly they defined the term for the purposes of the article.

When I read the article below, it sounded highly familiar. I searched my blog and lo and behold, four years ago, in a blog post with an almost identical title to this one, I linked to an earlier New York Times article about this same exact subject. It remains fascinating.

the weekend is here!


My big plans? I’ll be eating Cape Verdean food while listening to Cape Verdean music, before buckling down for a weekend of editing. I wanted to go to either the park or the beach but I’m feeling a bit behind on my work, so the park and the beach will have to wait.

Here are some interesting and relevant-to-this-blog articles that I read over the past couple of weeks:

Is Spain saying adios to siestas? This makes me sad.

I like the concept of segmented sleep and I love that the French have a word for the in-between times.

Sweden has a Chatroulette-like hotline. It sounds neat.

More swoon-worthy words from Teju Cole, a man whose writing I have never not loved.

My father’s homeland is having an identity crisis. (Its distinctly absurdist perspective appears to remain intact.)

We are now living in the future, thanks to Japan (of course).

The paradox of finding motivation through fear.

A British TV show host on the French: “The language is useless and their achievements are long past.” (I find British-French feuding adorable.)

Advice for women on the road.

Good news for people like me in Paris.

New Yorkers: Youssou N’Dour will be back at BAM in May!

Enjoy your weekends!

post-weekend update


I tried to post all my weekend links on Friday, then on Saturday, then on Sunday, but Senegal’s circa-1996 Internet had other plans. (This place has given me such a sharpened appreciation for the impact of the digital divide.) Oh well, at least now I can share a photo from yesterday’s referendum (my neighborhood polling station, above) and a video from the Cheikh Lo show at Just4U on Friday night:

Three thoughts:

  1. Latin-West African fusion has produced the most amazing sounds on the planet.
  2. Cheikh Lo and the thousands of other stately gentlemen walking around this city put America’s hipsters to shame. The combination of tunic, leather slippers, beanie, aviators, and ornate silver jewelry is just about the coolest thing I have ever seen. I don’t know why the Sartorialist hasn’t gotten around to visiting this place.
  3. I really do want to leave everything behind and learn how to play that over-the-shoulder/under-the-armpit drum.

The weekend is now over but here are some weekday reads. They are all from the New York Times, because now that I’ve traveled to a far reach of the planet, I can no longer travel to a far reach of the Internet.


Bilinguals have superior social skills. 

How to find a local guide when traveling solo.

Six of the ten least happy countries in the world are ones I am really hoping to travel to this year. :S

There are only two cruises I want to take: this one and the one that tours Alaskan glaciers with the elderly.

Americans: get yourselves to Cuba, stat. Look at this if you need convincing.

How to travel with an eye to settling down.

Have a good week! As for me, I’ll be returning to Kaolack tomorrow to shoot some pick-ups in the 100 degree heat, yippie!


toasting the weekend

UNGA Luncheon

This week, I walked into a room to find Bono and Angela Merkel chit-chatting, stood ten feet away from Barack Obama as he joked around and waited for his staff after a speech, mistook a be-capped Daniel Craig for Vladimir Putin, and minutes later rode an escalator up two floors with the real Vladimir Putin. (All the while marveling at how neither the American nor Russian Secret Services saw fit to tackle me.)

Those are just the highlights from a very, very exciting week that I hope will now be followed by a very, very quiet weekend.

I leave you with some interesting items I’ve come across over the past few days:

Stop googling, start connecting

The world’s five most posh hostels

Idioms of the world, illustrated

This guy fulfilled a quest to travel to every country in the world

31 smart travel hacks

Anthony Bourdain’s international food market is taking shape in New York

What happened when Paris went car-free for a day this week

8 things to never do while traveling alone

Finding a health insurance plan that travels with you

Germany prints its constitution in Arabic for refugees to learn

America/Jewish tourism in Iran

A handy guide to the agendas of the various countries intervening in the Syrian conflict

And a delicious-looking recipe for Catalonian caramel rice flan, described as “rice pudding for sophisticates”

Have a great weekend!

[Photo: UN Photo/Amanda Voisard]

riding into the weekend

the Pope visits the UN

I’m coming off of a 14-hour day and will be working both Saturday and Sunday, but for those of you lucky enough to have access to your personal lives this weekend, here are some interesting reads:

Why we cry on planes

Voyages: visual journeys by six photographers

What Americans will sound like in 2050

Queer tango brings its liberated style to New York

The SDGs, or Sustainable Development Goals, were officially adopted today. They are the blueprint for a world that doesn’t go down the toilet, so I really hope we hold our leaders to them.

And now I am off to do my only weekendy thing this weekend: watch about a half hour of the Netflix movie that has been sitting on my shelf for two months, before drifting off into a delirious sleep. Bon week-end!

[Photo from today’s Pope-xtravaganza in New York: UN Photo/Evan Schneider]

le week-end is here


… and I’m going to spend it doing, well, not much. On Saturday I may go for a run and on Sunday I’m going to sit on a boat during magic hour and eat lobster. Or maybe just watch other people eat lobster. I may also inspire myself to do some laundry. Maybe I’ll work on my little video project. Maybe, maybe not.

I hope your weekends are more ambitious than mine, if that’s what you’re going for. Me, I’m looking forward to letting myself off the hook for a couple of days. (That’s such a lie. I have been lazy all week.)

On that note, I leave you with some links that as always, I meant to post sooner, but that regardless, remain fresh and delightful and ripe for the viewing:

Watch two men arrange to meet at a cafe – through a Turkish whistle language (!!!)

American behaviors considered rude in other countries

Foreign language apps for traveling abroad

How to vacation like it’s 1999

Vacation planning tips and tricks 

I like these Parisian photos for voyeurs

Of course the hitchhiking robot met his demise in America

The full movie version of Antoine in America

Have a good weekend!

[Photo: Joe Penniston]

Friday aka belated links day

box town

Always belated. I will try to work on that.

But in the meantime … it’s moving day! Followed by a concert in New York, followed by a trip to New Jersey to meet my new niece, followed by the same concert in Philadelphia, followed by my return to the city, followed by sustained emotional and physical exhaustion. Can’t wait.

Without further ado, here are your weekend linky links:

The latest on (American) travel to Cuba.

The world’s smallest language has only 100 words. 

This is the only dictionary I looove. It’s endlessly fascinating.

How Parisian are you? (Somehow I scored a 66%, making me a “ham/butter.”)

How to keep that post-vacation feeling.

Philosophizing inspired by the Paris love locks’ removal.

“Le Selfie” and other Internet speak translated around the world. 

Love these photos of Paris in the 50’s. 

Five truths about quitting your job to travel.

The travel industry is getting hip to solo travel. 

New Yorkers: #SeeYourCity

[Photo: Kim Love]



Good evening! I write to you from my desk at work, where I am stuck in export hell. Six hours and counting to get five extremely short videos out the door and start my three-day weekend. I had a choice to stare at the Adobe Premiere countdown clock as it rose and fell and froze and rose and fell and froze for fifty-seven minutes at a time, or to write a few words here so as not to renege on my promise to myself to not disappear off the face of the blogging (and real) world.

I chose the latter, but I’m so exhausted that the words in question are not coming out very readily. Good thing it’s Friday when all I do is used to do was post links anyway.

So without further ado, two months’ worth of probably-by-now-obsolete digital clippings:

Decoding the rules of conversation.

Remember that fight over the white & gold / black & blue dress? How your language affects color perception.

The French answer to Eataly, open now.

Top 10 untranslatable French words. (The ninth is my favorite.)

These taste as good as they look. (I know because the day after I read about them I went to try them.)

Tricks and tips for planning your summer vacation.

How to best play the credit card airline miles game.

An American in Paris finds Paris in America.

There’s a dedicated raclette restaurant in New York! 

3 research-based ways to speed up your language learning.

An official see-your-own-city campaign in NYC (I’ve been on an unofficial one for years).

And now my exports are finally done and I can be on my merry way to a long weekend of doing a whole lot of nothing. Enjoy yours!

[Photo: Tim Pierce]

happy weekending!

man running towards the weekend

I had so many fun plans for this weekend, starting with dinner tonight at a Serbian restaurant, my first Balkan meal ever. But about an hour ago I felt the first stirrings of sickness in my increasingly sore throat and since then it’s spread throughout my entire body – a general malaise that can only mean a cold is on its way. Must. Fight. Back. Must eat delicious meats with unpronounceable names.

Hope you all have a healthier weekend than mine unfortunately promises to be, and that you don’t need to entertain yourselves while convalescing with these interesting reads I’ve gathered from all corners of the Internet:

An English-speaker spends a year without speaking English.

Travel deals from around the globe.

And in the same vein… the U.S. dollar is now worth almost as much as the euro, which is at a 12-year low. Best places to travel while the dollar is strong. 

But if you can’t afford to go abroad… on March 19, Americans can sample a (slightly less expensive than normal) taste of France.

Can you guess which of these blurbs was written by a computer? (The most foreign of foreign speakers is a bot, no?)

An argument for traveling in your 20’s (that I’ve applied to my 30’s).

The French ponder (in French) why Americans love brunch so much.

I don’t even know where to begin with this video. No wonder Air France is in trouble.

The French are not as cool with their version of Ashley Madison as you might think.

[Photo: Dennis Skley]

It’s the weekend…

reading in bed

…and I’m exhausted. Looking forward to accomplishing very little aside from a lot of hanging out this weekend.

But before I embrace sloth and hibernation, I need to set down some links, because they burn a hole in my brain when I leave them in my inbox too long without compiling and posting them here. So, a few things for you to read during your weekend lay-about, you lazy slugabed*:

Linguists found a common language root 6,500 years old.

More fascinating exploration of our ancient mother tongue.

Tfw you fail a language quiz that measures how hip you are. 

The best city in the world for dating is…

How to say 21 curses in 6 languages (some of them amazingly inventive).

Can Louisiana resuscitate their distinctive French?

Think about this before you snap your next vacation pic.

Don’t get stranded on France’s disappearing road. 

How to start your own language meetup (take note, Philippe!)

And if you’re in New York, don’t miss the Rendezvous with French Cinema.

*(Isn’t that a brilliant word? I just learned it.)