Travel Tales 2011

Couscous with Al Qaeda

TRUE TRAVEL TALES: Eating my way through the Arab Spring


TRAVEL TALES Earlier this year, a wave of revolution swept the Arab world: Tunisia and Egypt deposed their dictators through popular protest, almost all of it nonviolent and nonsectarian, with similar uprisings — many still in progress — in pretty much every other country with a substantial Arab population. Democracy was the stated goal of many of these upheavals, and a newly technologized pan-Arab youth movement was leading the way to freedom via Facebook and Twitter, using social networking to undermine long-entrenched authoritarianism.Read more »

The toast of London

TRUE TRAVEL TALES: Splashing through the British capital's cocktail scene


>>View an extended version of this article at Virginia's site, the Perfect Spot.Read more »


TRUE TRAVEL TALES: Cruising the Buenos Aires bike scene


I couldn't take my eyes off it. It was gorgeous: a two-way protected bicycle lane. It went the length of Figueroa Alcorta Avenue, a wide, tree-covered boulevard that traverses Buenos Aires' central neighborhoods. And people were riding bikes on it — cruisers and those funky low-riding foldable bikes. It was a totally different but super-familiar scene. I had to join.Read more »

Ariel Soto-Suver's world of animals


Pygmy elephants, Kinabatangan River, Borneo, Malaysia, 2010. My husband Sam and I spent three days along this river, spotting hornbills and proboscis monkeys. On the last day, we came across a herd of these gentle mini-giants, who played along the shore of the river for almost an hour, just 10 feet from our boat. Sadly, they are very much in danger of disappearing — the exploding palm oil business is decimating their habitat.

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Great Bay escapes

Taking a break at a few of our favorite nearby getaways. Plus: from bluegrass to mega-yoga, a list of upcoming outdoor festivals 




Due to their penis-noses and penchant for lazing about, no animal invites as much tittering as the male elephant seal. We are currently in the thick of their molting season (older males nap and shed on the beach from July until the end of August), the perfect time to hike out to their hangout on the tip of Año Nuevo. Be sure you snag your visitor's permit — you'll need one to enter from April-August — from the entrance station.Read more »