Travel

A Dish So Good It Makes You Mad at All the Other Food You’ve Eaten

Mana’eesh in Beirut It’s my first morning in Beirut, a city that I have longed to visit, and I am standing outside Barbar. It is time to eat mana’eesh. Mana’eesh is a flatbread topped with za’atar—a thyme spice mix—or cheese, or za’atar and cheese, or meat. It sounds simple, but it’s one of those things that you eat once and ...

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A Dish So Good It Makes You Mad at All the Other Food You’ve Eaten

Mana’eesh in Beirut It’s my first morning in Beirut, a city that I have longed to visit, and I am standing outside Barbar. It is time to eat mana’eesh. Mana’eesh is a flatbread topped with za’atar—a thyme spice mix—or cheese, or za’atar and cheese, or meat. It sounds simple, but it’s one of those things that you eat once and ...

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Long Live Vienna’s Central Cemetery

Glühwein in Simmering According to an old Viennese joke, the city’s Central Cemetery is half the size of Zürich, but twice as fun. It is huge. It contains 330,000 tombs, and a deceased population almost double that of Vienna’s living residents. But central, it’s not: it’s on Vienna’s southern edge, sprawled between a flat industrial quarter and the airport. Nothing ...

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The Secrets of Levashovo’s Dead

In the 1930s, the Soviet Union led a campaign of extreme political repression called The Great Purge. Anyone perceived as associating with the enemy––farmers, businessmen, clergymen, but also political figures and party members, members of the Red Army, and the intelligentsia––were imprisoned or executed. Many of the bodies were transported at night and buried in secret mass graves that were ...

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Where the Peppers Grow

“We don’t wear gloves or anything when we pick them, because you can’t get to them that way,” says Mrs. Di, an elderly farmer, as she shows us the prickly sharp thorns surrounding the bright-red berry clusters on her Sichuan pepper trees. “It shreds my hands when we harvest.” Di is a good-natured grandma in a wide-brimmed, flower-bedecked straw hat; ...

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Living Among the Dead

Carolyn fetches a small bucket of water to fill the concrete vases. “Bend the stems,” she says. It is a trick to prevent the flowers from being stolen and resold at the cemetery. I mix the white chrysanthemums with the yellow before placing them next to my grandfather’s tomb. Manila is the most densely populated city in the world. Close ...

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In Exile, In Little Mogadishu

After two decades of chaos, conflict, and violence in their home country, more than 1.5 million Somalis remain displaced around the world. To them, Somalia is no longer a physical country but rather a diaspora, a culture. Many build a life in African countries such as Uganda or Kenya, awaiting resettlement in the U.S. or Europe, eager to leave the ...

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Tired of Trumpism, Prague edition

Becherovka in Prague   As I sip my chilled Becherovka—a herbal Czech digestif similar to Jägermeister but not, usually, consumed in a session of rowdy shots—after another long day, my thoughts turn from tired, whiny children; endless dirty dishes; and laundry to another type of chaos and mess—one that doesn’t include sticky-handed hugs to sweeten the deal.   Another round of ...

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