104 Slices
Medium 9781609520786

20. Recalibrating Time and Space

Peter Wortsman Travelers' Tales ePub

ONCE UPON A TIME, AND SEEMINGLY FOREVER, IT STOOD fourteen feet high, spanned twenty-eight miles, and was Germany’s and Europe’s ultimate divide. On its western side, it was splattered with spray-painted expletives, imprecations (KILL FEAR!), recommendations (HANG LOOSE!), pronouncements of love and doom, and sometimes inspired frescoes and artistic installations—one young woman having gone so far as to create a living room environment complete with TV, wall hangings, and a sofa-bed, where she lived for several weeks until the authorities turned her out. On either side stood men in various shades of green and gray, watching and waiting.


Times have changed. And now that the Brandenburg Gate is open for foot traffic and a line of bricks runs like a scar along the blacktop down the block from Checkpoint Charlie, where the Wall once loomed, Berlin’s sense of space has changed too.

At the BrotFabrik, an art film house in a former bread factory building in Prenzlauer Berg—How was their whole grain bread, I wonder?—I attended the premiere of a rediscovered documentary previously thought to have been lost, one of the last movies produced by DEFA, the erstwhile state-subsidized studio of the GDR. Originally released in 1990, and directed by Gerd Kroske, La Villette documents an exhibition organized shortly after Germany’s reunification, in which young East Berlin artists—many in the audience now, twenty years hence—showed their work at La Villette in the vast hall in the grid iron guts of the old Paris slaughterhouse district.

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Medium 9781609520809

9. Do Not Feed the Bears

Paula Young Lee Travelers' Tales ePub

Chapter Nine

Do Not Feed the Bears

Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.

Archy the Cockroach, from Don Marquis, Archy and Mehitabel, 1927

Weeks later, as fall draws near, the morning sun means that John and I will be bushwhacking up the mountain in back of the Big House. The reason is to look for moose and deer sign, because this is what hunters do. Its also just to get to the top of the mountain, because its there, and its a beautiful day. Dressed in hiking gear and ready to go, I start filling water bottles to stuff into our daypacks as John sits at the chair by the door and starts lacing on hiking boots.

Just so you know, Don says laconically to John from his lounger in the living room, the McKennas were back there, setting up bear bait.

(... bear bait?)

They quit hunting bears, Don continues. Now they run a little guide business for tourists who want to see bears. But dont be surprised if you smell something.

(... smell something?)

Err, I say, raising my hand to object.

Not likely youll find yourself in the same spot, Don drawls, pointedly ignoring the surprised look on my face, but no need to worry. Bears get timid as soon as the bait comes out because they know the seasons starting. Theyll just run away from you.

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Medium 9781609520847

The Mighty Big Love Test

Lavinia Spalding Travelers' Tales ePub


The Mighty Big Love Test

Thunder, lightning: the way he loved her was frightening.

We were camped at the deserted Highland Beach, one hundred miles into a one-hundred-fifty-mile kayaking trip in the Gulf of Mexico, paddling from Florida’s Everglade City to the Flamingo visitor center and back.

I had a suspicion then, which has since been confirmed, that this was my relationship test. Don’t pretend you have never been subjected to one or devised one yourself. My practical-to-the-extreme and water-savvy new boyfriend had been a kayaking instructor with Outward Bound, and he wanted to make sure his new girlfriend, me, could make such a trip.

Though admittedly not the most athletic person on the planet, nor the most fearless (not fearless at all for that matter), I had only one thing going for me: I don’t get seasick, and we were encountering unseasonably rough seas.

But by the third twenty-mile kayaking day, my forearms squeaked like rusty door hinges when I tried to move my wrists or my hands. Later I would learn the medical term for this: crepitus, making it sound like the death of an arm, which in some ways it was.

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Medium 9781609520786

6. Dietrich Undressed

Peter Wortsman Travelers' Tales ePub
Medium 9781609520588


James OReilly Travelers' Tales ePub



Is it really so bad today?

Not long ago a blogger friend posted, “As a business, travel writing is now in even worse shape than during the Great Depression.” In their desperate need to hear themselves type, some bloggers write silly things and hope no one pays close attention. But as a guy who grew up hearing from my dad how I, a soft, spoiled, English-major dunderhead, would have starved to death during the Depression, my friend’s assertion caught my eye. Was this just self-pitying hot air—a callous flip-off to our travel-writing predecessors who may have suffered hardships my glib blogger could not even imagine? If, on the other hand, what she said was demonstrably true, I would stick the evidence under my father’s Depression-withered face, and finish him off with a resounding “Ha!”

I liked the prospect. Dad, having always been the cheapest human being on the face of the earth, has saved a few bucks for his old age, and as far as I know, murder by exclamation is not a prisonable offense. Times, indeed, are tough.

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