Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘cross-cultural encounters’

I am in the process of triangulating the meanings of the daily specials, reading the menu glyphically to match combinations of letters to the list of partially-translated dishes. A man sitting at the table too-close next to me offers, in English, to help me order my lunch. He is probably in his late 40s, a bit ruddy in the face, with close-cropped, thinning blond hair. He is sitting with a couple, only slightly older in appearance, but apparently, as I would come to assume, his parents.

He is a car dealer, born here in Budapest and raised in Australia. He has been back for ten years, although business today under the ultra-corrupt oligarchy of contemporary Hungary is not what it used to be. He advises me to order what his father is eating, which appears to be a shredded potato covered in a mountain of fried meat. I decide to go for something that I think will be roast pork.

Coffee Time

(more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

A rare occurrence in India: across the street from our hotel is a clean and well-groomed public park. We sit around a perfect little stone table, shuffle our deck and naively expect to play a few rounds of 3-card. We just about manage to sort our hand when a yellow shirted man, armed with a wooden stick, starts to disperse the crowd that is growing around us at an alarming rate. What seemed like an oasis of quiet and calm turns out to harbor innumerable, curious and animated young boys and men.

group of boys in India

(more…)

Read Full Post »

After a twenty-four hour journey, our friend Simon arrives in New Delhi. He spends the next day acquainting himself with India and picking up a few bits and bobs for his three week holiday. At 1 a.m, Simon boards a train to Patna,  delayed by two hours and scheduled to arrive at 3p.m.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

I am about to place my order for two Samosas, my mouth watering and stomach growling, as a man shoots into my field of vision. “Come join us for the open house – free food!” He points to a row of large tents, where a colorful mix of people weave their way past food stands.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Employed by the bank of China she had fantastic benefits – shuttle service to work, shopping vouchers galore and a salary that allowed her to buy an apartment at age 26 – a mere dream for the majority of China’s workforce. And then she quit. SF and her husband are visibly agitated as they remember her regular 24 hour working days and tell of colleagues who sleep in the lobby at work. There is simply too little time to go home. As if emphasis is needed, they site this year’s ten stress related suicides at a Foxconn factory and assure me that this is not uncommon in China.


bar in Kunming, China (more…)

Read Full Post »

Tibetan Karaoke

China is a land of a billion people and by western standards, a place of questionable social policies and social control. Venturing through China’s expansive southwest province of Yunnan, we encountered China’s most culturally diverse area in terms of number of minority groups, or people of non-Han Chinese origin. Many of the minorities we met offered us their ethnic identity as to distinguish themselves from the Han Chinese, displaying an evident division. A couple young men even described how they had recently been beaten up by groups of Han Chinese men.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

What could possibly be noteworthy about yet another bus journey? Surely, I must be running out of things to say. Indeed, that is my own hope as I embark on the 24 hour journey from Pleiku, Vietnam near the Cambodia border, to Hanoi. A boring and restful trip would be perfect. Things are looking promising: AC works and the seats recline surprisingly far. So far in fact that I could quite comfortably pluck the eyebrows of the man seated in front of me as he reclines into my lap for a mid-morning nap. This closeness feels a touch too familial.

Instead I take the chance to investigate his long thumbnail.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »