Cityscape

Getting Past the Past: How Colombia Reinvented Itself as a Tourist Destination

Michael Verdirame

Columbia is a country of extremes and opposites—beaches and mountains, old and modern, urban grit juxtaposed with breathtaking nature.  There is also a great disparity in the distribution of wealth, with the very rich sharing space with the very poor, and a middle class that finds it difficult to stay in the middle for very long.  Additionally, despite Colombia’s recent emergence as a viable tourist destination, that is not meant to indicate that all parts of the country are safe, leading to the perception of extremes between areas that are perfectly acceptable for tourists to explore and those that are dangerous even for locals.

How South Africa Is Still Emerging From the Dark Shadow of Apartheid

Michael Verdirame

It does not take long for an outsider visiting South Africa for the first time to observe the racial divide that still exists.  Many of the types of places created by the segregation of Apartheid—such as the townships consisting of makeshift residences constructed with corrugated tin—still exist, some only a short distance from the major urban centers of big cities like Johannesburg and Cape Town.  A trip to one of the upscale malls that are appearing all over the country is unlikely to paint an accurate picture of diversity for travelers. 

The Philippines: Islands In Search Of Identity

Michael Verdirame

An unwitting pedestrian attempting to make his way into Intramuros on foot may find himself a witness to one of these homeless relieving themselves in the bushes, a fairly common occurrence on the streets of Manila.  This dichotomy of poverty bordering wealth that is surrounding more poverty is emblematic of many stark contrasts that exist not just in Manila, but in the entire country.

Exploring Kauai: Paradise on Earth

Veronica Mendez

The island’s most famous trait is its dramatic coastline. Known as the Na Pali Coast, it stretches for 17 miles. The best and only way to fully appreciate the impressive coastline is by boat. While some choose to kayak along the coast, most take catamarans to circumnavigate it.  Along the way there are countless dolphins and whale-watching opportunities, but it’s the Na Pali’s captivating landscape that takes center stage.  

Williamsburg, Brooklyn and the New New York

Sandra Canosa

Once a sea of working factories, then a deserted and crime-ridden no-man’s land, Williamsburg at the turn of the 21st century became a budding haven for New York City’s proverbial struggling-artist types for its cheap rents and quick access to the creative haven of lower Manhattan. A rapid decade and change of gentrification, though, has turned the neighborhood into a coveted – and expensive – place to live, as well as a checkbox on any New York tourist’s bucket list.

The Freedom Trail: A Walk Through Colonial Boston

Kaitlin Ebersol

Despite the expansion and alteration of Boston’s land, many streets from the original colony still wind through the city as mementos of a time long past. The earliest Bostonians settled along State Street and Washington Street, the colony’s two main thoroughfares. Washington Street also traces the route of the Boston Neck where it once connected the settlement to the mainland. Colonists spread from State and Washington Streets northeast along the shore to form the North End, and southeast to form the South End, now Boston’s financial district. 

Exploring the Culinary Scene in Bangkok

Paul Ehrlich

Lan Na – meaning  ‘many rice fields’ – is the name of an ancient kingdom in northern Thailand. And this unique restaurant is modeled on a northern nobleman’s longhouse and decorated with stunning antiques, including several large, rare, wooden Buddhas.  Start with crispy golden-fried squid rings with garlic and zesty Thai spices; or minced duck mixed with an array of herbs. 

In Defense of Los Angeles: A Walk Through the City’s Culturally Rich Boroughs

Natalie Chagollan

The presence of an arts scene is always an indicator of great culture and L.A. boasts a thriving one. A stroll through downtown and its surrounding districts reveals a vast offering of art exhibits, ethnocentric festivals, and architectural gems. Not to mention all of those countless food trucks that churn out anything from Korean-Mexican fusion dishes by the Kogi truck to whiskey and Lucky Charms-flavored ice cream sandwiches by COOLHAUS, a philosophy of ice cream architecture inspired by the Bauhaus movement and Rem Koolhaas. 

Lost in Time: A Visit to Cartagena

Veronica Mendez

Today, “Plaza de los Coches” buzzes with activity as merchants sell fruit piled onto wooden crates, tourists carry shopping bags by the latest designers along with indigenous mochilas, and performers dressed in bright-colored dresses dance along to bachata. This plaza is where the slave market used to take place.  It served as the meeting point of three worlds—European, Indigenous American, and African—as the international trade created a process of ethnic and racial exchange. 

Palm Springs Weekend

Mark Bizzell

Driving along Bob Hope Drive, Gene Autry Trail or Frank Sinatra Drive in the California desert city of Palm Springs and the surrounding area, you understand why Hollywood legends once called this place home.  Situated along the base of the Santa Rosa Mountains, this oasis seems out of a Hollywood studio backlot.  Lush, green golf courses and homes landscaped with pink and red bougainvillea contrast the looming mountains of rocks and boulders, sans any vegetation.  

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