Month: August 2011

The Best Comments Of The Month: Lazy Holiday Style August 2011

I hope the summer month of travel for many people around the world, otherwise known as August, has been good to you and your wander-lusting feet. As for my habit of going to places against the seasons I had a hot old time in Las Vegas meeting Sulu and enhancing my farmer’s tan at the Hoover Dam. In this month’s edition of the best comments we find out the answer to all of life’s questions, how to sterilize bottles of water the easy way, and a few app to turn you into the mobile phone version on Ansel Adams to name a few. That hot August (or February for you southern-hemisphere folk) sun has many uses and aside from boiling eggs on sidewalks to impress your friends; Audrey teaches us how to use it to sterilize bottles of water. So glad to hear Susan will be close enough to Pupatella in September to give Enzo’s Neapolitan pizza a try, say hi for me! Matthew Karston is looking to insure his electronics and is curious what you might be using, care to add to my own advice? I have officially scared The Travel Chica and Priyank from my travel reign of terror and chaos. Lara Dunston points out one very good reason to travel to the Middle East. Threads like this one on mobile phone camera apps are what makes...

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Time For Wine In Madrid, Spain At Mercado De San Miguel

Markets aren’t supposed to have walls; rather cluttered open-air spaces with sheets of cheap plastic or scrap metal barely protecting the commerce below. That’s at least in my colored impression of them, mostly from Turkey but reaffirmed in places further away like Ecuador. Mercado de San Miguel in Madrid, Spain is really quite the opposite of that traditional term “market” but there’s a good reason for its modernity. Located in the middle of Madrid, Mercado de San Miguel was reborn in 2003 to pump some life into the city’s heart while concurrently boosting the local economy. Originally opened in 1915 and left to die a death of neglect some years later, what breathes vigor into this modern version of market is variety. It’s not 33 vendors selling variations of similar dishes but a wave of Spanish cuisines so enticing the first hungry steps inside can have you frantically and un-decidedly bouncing from one end to the other. It’s almost not fair, especially when you stop by on a short visit from Valencia before heading to the airport as I did. Mercado de San Miguel nearly caused me to intentionally miss my flight altogether, I hadn’t even gotten around to the seafood after trying some caprichos de embutido, bastones de fuet (both types of dried sausage), and a glass of wine. And the wine is what slows things down it...

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Taking A Detour From The Ultimate Train Challenge And Updated Travel Plans

I was to be knee-deep in Portugal right now making the final preparations for The Ultimate Train Challenge which I announced back in June. As it were, a few personal obligations plus detours through the early part of September have caused me to change my plans and withdraw from what is sure to be a compelling adventure. I strongly encourage you to follow The Ultimate Train Challenge’s (UTC) participants Michael Hodson, Jeannie Mark, and Nora Dunn as the roughly 30-day race kicks off September 1rst. You can find them via the UTC tracker, on Twitter (@trainchallenge), and on Facebook. The UTC is also partnering with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation to support the charity organization Da Nang Association of Agent Orange Victims in the hopes of raising $10,000 during the race. You can help by making a donation directly; or if you’re planning on using Eurail anytime before October 1rst, purchase your tickets through the UTC site (shown right) and Eurail will donate $10 on your behalf. Riding Two Travel Waves As for myself, I’m looking at one of several new-to-me destinations (i.e. Alaska, Honduras, Dominican Republic) in my immediate future to explore, relax, and turn some new travel projects from electrical signals in my brain into actual real stuff. That’s the first wave, the second begins in Porto (the best city in the world voted by you)...

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How To Take Better Travel Photos Without Getting A Better Camera

You might be browsing through travel photos in magazines or travel blogs and wondering why some pictures turn out so much better than yours. Surely it must be the camera you think – but almost all of what makes a picture good happens after it’s taken. Just like a new car won’t make you a better driver, the fanciest camera in the world won’t give you better photos, not initially anyway. That’s not to knock DSLRs or the photographers who wield them like samurai’s do swords, but you’ve got quite a bit of potential in that point-and-shoot or smart phone of yours. Perhaps want to spice up some Madagascar photos for your friends on Facebook, whip up a scrapbook, or take something worthy of hanging on your wall. These are the tools that can help you get there no matter what you’re shooting with. Don’t Skip This One: You Need To Edit Your Photos [You Want To Improve] Some people feel that editing photos – especially digital ones – is cheating somehow. Although computers and digital photos have streamlined the editing process, photography has always been a manipulated medium. These days however, instead of darkrooms and developing chemicals, it’s keyboards and mice. There’s nothing to be ashamed of – I mean, Shakespeare didn’t publish his first draft, second, or 5th – and good pictures, like any other art, take...

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Traveling Behind The Borders Of Islam

Admittedly, I don’t like my own title for this post, one that’s far too generic for such a complex and intricate part of the world. There are no real borders of Islam, but having spent much of this past winter and spring traveling through the Middle East, I find many people who haven’t been put off by this invisible barrier. Ironically enough, there isn’t even a consensus on the geographical area the Middle East encompasses, somewhere that intimidates many, for a variety of assumptions enough to prevent people from visiting. Perhaps in no other part of the world does religion take such a prominent role in people’s lives – but it’s only one facet of of life, much like everywhere else. And that simply can’t go for everyone, because the entire Middle East isn’t Muslim with many variations within the religion itself. The Middle East Isn’t A Homogeneous Place Although Islam is the major religion across the the Middle East, it’s far from the only one. There is of course Israel; but large Christian and Jewish minorities exist in many countries across the region. (Not to mention Druze, Yazidism, and others beliefs as well.) Lebanon, for example, only has a 60% Muslim population, Qatar 75% (though more than half are foreign-born), and Egypt has a Christian population of over 5 million; more than the entire citizenry of Ireland. There...

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The London Eye And A View Of The City During The Riots

In what has become something of a recurring theme along my travels, the quick weekend trip I recently took to London, England to participate in a documentary coincided with several days of looting and rioting. I say recurring theme, because general mayhem tends to follow at an uncanny rate quickly upon my arrival to cities around the world lately. There was the uprising in Bahrain and destruction of the Pearl Monument 2 days after I left, my failed flight to Egypt on January 27th (when I finally arrived in May there were several religious clashes), and hockey riots in usually peaceful Vancouver among others. Coincidences aside, (I just left Las Vegas and it’s still standing, though I think it’s baseline state is abnormal), what particularly struck me about the violence was the flip-side; how quickly Londoners coalesced to condemn and combat the destructive outliers in the community. At times in large cities it’s easy to feel as though everyone is marching to their individual tune, tiny egos oblivious to their environment – or feel that way about the world in general. Earth seems such a large place when we focus on the negative but so small and manageable when we focus on humanity’s good. Over those few days of violence, London felt like one of the smallest towns I had ever visited. You can view more of my photos...

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More

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