Cultural Presentations and Festivals: The Bucket List

ChristmasMarket

Navigating Prague’s Christmas Markets

It feels as though I am swimming upstream in a school of fish. I must look down to pay attention to the uneven cobblestone streets, which while romantic in looks, provide an ongoing challenge in balance. I immediately regretted giving in to the Read More

Young Arab woman in traditional Muslim hijab dress. Dubai, UAE. She is speaking to visitors at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding where local people and visitors can meet to learn more about each other's culture.  Here she is showing various kinds of head gear worn by men. Photo by Yvette Cardozo

Visiting Dubai’s Center for Cultural Understanding

The modern city of Dubai sprang from the desert, seemingly erupted, in just a few decades. The city gleams and sparkles with buildings of glass and steel that soar, lean, bulge, twist and fold, often appearing to defy gravity. And the people -- Read More

Credit: Jeff Goldberg/ESTO

Hearing Concerts for Less at New York’s Carnegie Hall

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The answer to this old joke about the most famous concert hall in the United States used to be “practice, practice, practice.” Today the answer for tourists and New Yorkers alike would be "bus, subway, on foot or by Read More

1920 Fowler Road Locomotive (Photo credit: MCArnott)

Attending the Traditional Cart Marking Ceremony in London, England

What do Montgomery’s Rolls Royce and a butcher’s handcart have in common? They appeared in a London ritual dating back to 1667: Cart Marking. The first time I heard the name of this ceremony -- Cart Marking Under the Worshipful Company of Carmen Read More

An Old Time Fourth of July Parade in Old Sturbridge Village

Celebrating Independence Day at Old Sturbridge Village, Massachusetts

The picnic basket listed heavily to one side as the two little girls of different ages tried to carry it between them. They set it down frequently on the gravel path that leads to the grassy common in the center of Old Sturbridge Village. I could Read More

On Harmony Night, dancers in the parade wear elaborate costumes (photo by Laura Byrne Paquet c 2011)

Reveling at Harmony Night on the Caribbean Island of St. Martin

A tropical village that holds a street party called Harmony Night every Tuesday evening, all winter long, is my kind of place. Tiny Grand Case, on the French side of the island of St. Martin, is also home to a few of the best restaurants in the Read More

Bronc riding and other rodeo events are the centerpiece of Cheyenne Frontier Days. (photo credit: Katherine Rodeghier c 2013)

Roping in Cowboy Culture at Frontier Days in Cheyenne, Wyoming

The aroma wafts toward my nose from a block away. The familiar sweet smell mixed with a yeasty scent makes my mouth water, and by the time I walk to Depot Square my mind is on only one thing: pancakes. But the crowd gathered in front of the Read More

Detail of a frog symbol on a pole at the Vancouver Airport (Credit: MCArnott)

Learning about Totem Poles in Vancouver, British Columbia

Bulging eyes at the top gaze at the horizon, a grinning mouth bares teeth at the base of the pole. A bear? A wolf? The various symbols engraved in the wood still hold mystery, and a few misconceptions, about Canadian aboriginal culture. Fortunately, Read More

Ponce de Leon landing in Florida vignette at the Fountain of Youth Park

Drinking from the Fountain of Youth in St. Augustine, Florida

“Have you had a drink of the water?” the young man with the closely cropped beard and “Winston” name tag asked. “Do I look younger?” I shot back. “I suppose you’re going to tell me you’re 100 years old.” I’d done this before. I’d drank from the Read More

Palio crowds fill Piazza il Campo in Siena Italy

Stepping Inside the Palio in Siena Italy

Traffic heading into Siena from the autostrada was unusually heavy, I thought. Better fill my gas tank in case I’m stuck in a jam. “A lot of traffic today” observed a well-dressed young man standing beside his car at the next pump. I agreed, in my Read More

The local shrimp fleet backdrops Pass Christian's parade.

Doing Mardi Gras on the Mississippi Coast

"Be aggressive,” she schooled me. “People will run you over to get those beads.” My friend Amy was preparing me for my first foray into Mardi Gras in Mississippi. Yes, that’s right: Not New Orleans. Not Mobile, where the first Mardi Gras was held, Read More

New dawn ceremony begins

Celebrating the New Dawn on a Sacred Maya Journey in Mexico’s Yucatan

It's 4:30 a.m. in this ancient port of Ppolé (modern-day Xcaret on the Riviera Maya). As I trudge through the pelting rain along dark jungle paths, slipping and sliding across the occasional stone walkway, I can't help but question my sanity. My Read More

The camp's bookstore and information center

Communing with Spirits in Cassadaga, Florida

One little girl in the town of Cassadaga, Florida, loves shiny pennies so much, she’s often leaving them around on the floor. Another inhabitant named Arthur, a former opera singer from New York, has a penchant for cigars and booze. On a visit to the Read More

Curvy Traditional Wood Tray (Credit: MCArnott)

Learning Aboriginal Survival Skills in the Australian Outback

When my husband demonstrated surprising skills at throwing a spear, I thought that we might have a chance to survive, should we ever get stranded in the Australian Desert. But a guided walk in the bush gave me plenty of food for thought: Survival in Read More

Dot Painting by Aboriginal Artist Margaret Curtis (Credit: MCArnott)

Interpreting the Aboriginal Dot Paintings of Australia

Dots everywhere -- Since I arrived in Sydney they follow me like curious eyeballs. They peek from every shop through vibrant boomerangs, didgeridoos and other crafts and souvenirs. Surely, there must be more to them than polka dots... Back to School Read More