Travels With Gloria

Finding beauty mile by mile.

Month: February, 2012

Steam On The Window Screen

M.I.A. makes me want to run wild. There’s an immediacy to her music, a whisper of an undertone murmuring, NEVER GROW UP. NEVER GET BORING. QUIT YOUR JOB. DRIVE FAST. LAUGH TILL YOU PEE YOURSELF. RUN!

If you take that whisper and combine it with her global outlook, it’s not surprising that setting images to her music makes me Want To Go To There. Even when “there” is a the roof of a train speeding across the Indian countryside or an Arabian desert seemingly empty except for a few beat-up cars.

Also, the fact that M.I.A. dances like a seven year old standing in front of a mirror singing into her hairbrush makes me endlessly happy. Terrible dancers unite!

Here’s some footage of the Saudi car stunt trend — called Hagwalah — featured in “Bad Girls”. While there are some cool moments in the first minute or so (check out the 360-degree spin through traffic past a schoolbus full of kids!), if you fast-forward to the two minute mark you get a good stretch with some rad middle eastern background music. Around 5:40 you get the in-vehicle perspective, complete with bitchin’ Arab pop soundtrack.

To The Walls: Nuria Mora’s Madrid

Let me be honest with you.

I discovered the work of Nuria Mora through a poster she made for Cirque du Solieil. I have a lot of cynical critiques of Cirque du Soleil, but that’s not the subject of this post. Digging down to the bottom of my insecurities about this, let me just lay it out: I’m afraid of the circus. Seriously, I’m surprised I finished Water For Elephants. Anyway, we’re rapidly veering off-topic. The point is that, despite my dislike for circuses in general and Cirque du Soleil in specific, I was so enchanted by Nuria Mora’s poster that I felt compelled to check out more of her work. I think I was hoping that she also designed rock concert posters, which I collect. Sadly, she does not.

Happily, she does this instead:

Calle Del Espino, Madrid


Lest We Think All Old Stuff Is Boring And Stuffy

Sorry for the radio silence, but it’s been a busy few weeks chez Travels. I wrapped up a long job this past Friday and am off to Istanbul tomorrow for a week spent looking at Byzantine mosaics, Ottoman palaces, and Turkish contemporary art. In the meantime, here are a few things that have been inspiring me lately.

This is a painting of a fart from Edo period Japan:

屁合戦, or in English, "The Fart War." Artist unknown. When I win the lottery, I am buying this painting.

Further selections from the scroll can be found at io9. Real information about this very serious topic in art history can be found here.

A brilliant use for vintage luggage, from Design*Sponge:

Beautiful and practical all at the same time. Though it does require the use of a circular saw. My mom totally had this exact same luggage, but in a pearly cream color.

While you’re hacking away on that peg-board insert with that circular saw, you could play this awesome TED Talk about a totally bitchen and rad ancient Akkadian scroll in the collection of the British Museum.

Three Things I Like Right Now

Design*Sponge visits The African Queen. I’m kind of dying to install a mosquito net over my bed. As a teenager I thought it would be incredibly romantic, and when I traveled to India it was everything I thought it would be and more. Not that dengue fever is romantic, of course.

Speaking about India, did you know there are psychic robots there now? What I want to know is, when are these coming to Queens?

Speaking of the borough I happen to be sitting in right now, this Das Racist video gives me hope for humanity:

Das Racist | EK Shaneesh from Stephen Boyle on Vimeo.


Dream Of The Traveling Life

One City, Five Hours: Mexico City

Check out these beautiful illustrated maps/walking tours/infographics by Oliver Jeffers.

He also makes childrens’ books, wallpaper, sculpture, and it turns out he created one of my favorite travel-related images of recent years:

Seriously y'all I really want this thing.

(Via cartophile.)

What if we could take vacations in time?

I’ve been at this desk for the last eight months. I’ve been sitting here twelve or fourteen hours a day — occasional Saturdays, too — in a bullpen office with my three bosses and a gang of sassy upstart production assistants. I’m here after midnight a lot of the time. I have to ask permission to go to the bathroom. This is the reality of a career in TV production.

In two weeks my work here will be done. A few days later, I take my first vacation.

Don’t get me wrong — I’ve done more than my fair share of traveling. But there’s a difference between traveling and going on vacation. Other trips have been ambitious. There were itineraries to tweak, languages to bone up on, cultural rules to learn. This trip is different: I’ll fly to Istanbul, sleep there eight times, and then fly home. I’ll learn some useful Turkish phrases and find out how to behave in a hamam. Otherwise, I’m going to play tourist.

Nowadays we’re so obsessed with authenticity that nobody will admit to being a tourist. We want to be vagabonders, temporary locals experiencing life “off the beaten path”, whatever that means.

In the middle of the last century, folks weren’t worried about all that. They went on vacation. It was what you did. There was no shame in it. They sunbathed on patios, rode horses, caught fish, and cooked said fish for dinner. The war was over. They beat the Nazis, and now what they really wanted was modernist vacation homes with free-standing fireplaces and built-in garages for their motorboats.

I’m excited to visit Istanbul, don’t get me wrong. But a part of me wishes I could take a vacation to the fantasy-land depicted in this book of designs for midcentury plywood summer homes.

Via visualnews. You can see high-res images of the whole book at

%d bloggers like this: