Posts with Category Travel

Chugging Budweiser in China

Budweiser: It’s the King of Beers.

Good thing, too, because if the beer world was a democracy, we’d surely elect another, better-tasting, beer to be our leader. But, alas, Budweiser is American as Levi’s (made in Cambodia) and Coca-Cola. In places like, China it is imported. Yes, China sends us computers and we send them our subpar beer.

I saw this dude chugging a Bud atop Shanghai’s Pearl Tower

Budweiser in China

What the strangest place you’ve seen someone chugging a Bud?

I visited Shanghai to research my new book WHERE AM I EATING?AN ADVENTURE THROUGH THE GLOBAL FOOD ECONOMY, which comes out April 22nd (Earth Day)! Over the next five weeks I’ll be sharing new photos, videos, and stories from…

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Pope’s don’t quit

In 2001, I attended a service at the Vatican hosted by Pope John Paul II. (Every Tuesday he was at the Vatican, he conducted a service open to a general audience.) The thing I remember most is just how feeble the man was, how much effort every word and step took, and because of that effort how much more each one inspired the crowd. Despite the pain, the Pope didn’t quit. He never did.

He was shot and didn’t quit. Instead he visited his attempted assassin in prison. In 2001, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and suffered from severe osteoarthritis. He didn’t quit. He “poped” for another four years.

This is what puzzles me about Pope Benedict saying that his strength “has deteriorated…to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.”

A Pope hasn’t retired in 600 years. There’s more to this story than the Catholic Church is telling the public.

Somewhere Dan Brown is writing a future bestseller involving the Pope’s Butler stealing documents and the Pope resigning less than a year later.

In honor of the Pope hanging up his mitre, I dusted off this piece I wrote in 2005 about seeing Pope John Paull II in person.

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A year in travel: There and back again


(An unexpected leg of a bus trip in Burkina Faso)

 The first time I stepped into a developing country was in 2001 in Thailand. I was wide-eyed. My senses were overloaded. Everything was new, everything was different.

The more you travel, the less you see.

You get used to being the odd man out, and seeing odd things. I don’t think I’ve ever become jaded by travel, but I think it takes a bit more to make me awestruck, to register on my sense of wonder meter. So I was thrilled and honored to travel with students from West Texas A&M to Honduras. Seeing them seeing the world for the first time was definitely one of my…

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Octogenarian Threatens to Kick My Ass on Plane

I don’t recline my seat on airplanes. I don’t hold it against people who do, but I just don’t do it. It’s a point of pride and my way of showing a little Midwestern spatial respect.

So when I felt the jab to the back of my arm, I thought the person behind me accidentally bumped me. When I felt it again, I turned around to see a man in his 80s who looked more than a little like Uncle Leo from Seinfeld.

“Stop leaning back,” the man said in a weak, gravelly whisper. “You’re hitting my laptop!”

“I’m just sitting here,” I said. “My seat isn’t even reclined.”

Okay, I probably should have apologized even though I did nothing wrong other than shift my…

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A note from a 20-year-old cocoa farmer to his parents

One of the most soul-shaking experiences I’ve ever had started with the note below. It was given to me by a 20-year-old Ghanaian cocoa worker working in Ivory Coast.

My mother and Father,

>I am sorry for not telling you before leaving. I am not missing. I will be back again. You don’t worry about me. This is Solomon. I am in Core d’ Ivoire.

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Open letter to people of the Tropics: Wear Shorts!

Dear People of the Tropics,

Why don’t you wear shorts?

You have nice legs. Maybe you don’t. Who cares? If you live in a county that hits 40-degrees Celsius, you should be wearing shorts. Not slacks. Not blue jeans. Not anything that covers your knees unless that’s a kilt or a dress and you’re going commando.

Got it?

For the past two weeks as I traveled through Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso, I’ve bent to your predilection for pants (although I wasn’t able to bend all that far because my pants stuck to my sweaty legs). How do you stand it?

Men in the tropics often roll up the bottom of their shirts to air out their beer bellies, but God forbid you bare your knees.

Dan Savage of MTV’s Savage…

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Layover in Tatooine (Casablanca, Morocco)

So I’m a nerd.

I had a 12 hours layover in Casablanca, Morocco, and all I could think of the entire time was…

“I’m on Tatooine!” That’s the home of Luke Skywalker. If you don’t know who Luke Skywalker is you are totally hopeless.

I’m guessing there were less dead cows lying around on Tatooine. They probably got eaten up by sand worms or something. I counted four dead cows from the train between the airport and the city. None are featured in this video, but you’ll get the idea of the landscape.

If you ever have a long layover in Casablanca, here’s what I recommend. Get a room at the airport hotel. Leave your luggage. Grab the…

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Sex & Chocolate

Split a Hershey's bar with some cocoa farmers. #whereamieating

We ate chocolate and talked about AIDS.

I was surrounded by a group of young men who all work on the surrounding cocoa farms. I try to answer as many questions as I ask and they were asking me what diseases we had in the United States.

“Heart disease and diabetes and…” I named one eating related disease after the other. Diseases that chocolate plays a part in.

On the other hand all of the diseases they named involved a mosquito, “Malaria, yellow fever, dengue fever…”

There was one disease that our nations share…AIDS.

“How do you get AIDS?” I asked, curious to know how educated…

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The Things We Put in Our Mouths

One is faced with the biggest language challenge of all when one is handed something to eat. All or part of that something may or may not be edible. Whether that something is a bat…

Eating a bat

(One would think you wouldn’t eat bat tongue, but don’t tell that to Tom Neuhaus of Project Hope and Fairness.)

Or the insides of a cocoa pod…

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve eaten while traveling?

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