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Travel Cultures Language

A Tale of Two Jungles

by Eva Boynton on September 11, 2017

Trees in the jungle and a a city monument, symbolizing life in the jungle of Quintana Roo and the concrete jungle of Mexico City (images © Sam Anaya).

From the Mayan jungle to the concrete jungle
© Sam Anaya

Sensing Life in Quintana Roo & Mexico City

A symphony plays before me in an outdoor theater. The sun passes through a roof of leaves, tree branches crawl up and around the doorways, and rain delicately drizzles upon the earthen seats. This is the Mayan jungle in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

I had arrived here from another theater where sunlight illuminates towering structures and passes through glass windows. The red, yellow, and green of signal lights reflect in the puddles of afternoon rains. This is the concrete jungle of Mexico City.

Kathputli: Traditions of Fire, Puppets, and Magic

by Meredith Mullins on April 17, 2017

A puppeteer performs for his family in the Kathputli Colony in Delhi, showing cultural encounters in the slums of India. (Image © Meredith Mullins.)

A handmade puppet dances for her puppeteer inside a Kathputli Colony jhuggi.
© Meredith Mullins

Cultural Encounters in the Slums of India

The labyrinthine streets lead from one palette of wild color to another—from carnival reds and yellows to candy pinks and lavenders to soothing blue and green pastels.

The stripes and flowers and polka dots of the freshly washed clothes that hang in every possible open space make the colors of the buildings even more festive.

Colorful buildings and hanging wash in the Kathputli Colony of Delhi, showing cultural encounters in the slums of India. (Image © Meredith Mullins.)

The Kathputli Colony in living color
© Meredith Mullins

Smells of curry and turmeric drift in the dusty air. And sounds of daily life and laughter create an uninterrupted soundtrack.

Connecting Through the Universal Language of Music

by Meredith Mullins on May 4, 2015

Two dancers in white at the rue Mouffetard in Paris, showing that music is the universal language of connection. (Image © Meredith Mullins)

Sunday morning dancing on the rue Mouffetard in Paris
© Meredith Mullins

A Reminder of Old Paris: Singing and Dancing on the Rue Mouffetard

I want to make people cry, even when they don’t understand my words.   —Edith Piaf

It’s Sunday morning in the Square St Médard in Paris. I am singing in the warm sun . . . belting out the words “Tant que l’amour inondera mes matins” from Edith Piaf’s “L’Hymne à l’Amour” (The Hymn to Love).

With my limited French, I don’t quite understand what the words mean; but the song swells up inside and puts a little lump of emotion in my throat. I feel an unexplainable nostalgia.

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