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    Archive (chronological)

    Entries in Russia (4)


    Against Travel


    So deep was my sleep on a recent flight from Moscow to L.A.— a complete darkness, as if I was where I should be—and yet when I opened my eyes, seeing instead the hard light of a plane and not that place I suppose I hoped I had finally found, I clenched my teeth, it having become clear yet again that we were neither here nor there, and it was with a bit of anger, some disappointment, and not a little bit of regret that I found myself thinking again about the Rome of a day before as much as I was anticipating the heat of the California I’d see tomorrow, all the while attempting to forget a Phnom Penh that had started it all, not to mention the various cities in between that my wife and I had tried and failed over 15 years of roaming—this long and more or less continuous effort to make some place the place.

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    In Defense of National Airlines

    ROADS & KINGDOMS - 23 APRIL 2014

    Malaysian Airlines Flight 370: How can 239 people just disappear? I fantasize about the plane itself: What it looked like, the color of the seats, the food. Will I ever fly on Malaysian Airlines? Will anyone ever want to again?

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    Citizen of somewhere


    Before the memorial for the fallen journalist, I stumbled down the hill toward the church, hungover and hungry.

    Consider the falafel sandwich. At under $2, it was my obvious move. But I was sick and sad, and the kids behind the stove looked like 12-year-olds who should have been in school. An alarming percentage of children here work instead. The last time I bought a falafel sandwich, the guy ahead of me had a growth on his face. It was so big I worried he might tip over, face-first, into the grease. 

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    Un-American activities

    THE VILLAGE VOICE  - 27 JUNE 2005 TO 9 JULY 2005

    Screw the Hamptons. I summer in Russia.

    Stretching through JFK's forgotten terminal three is a line of travelers willing to wait for accident prone-Aeroflot's overnight flight to Moscow. We're crossing a cultural barrier, entering this two-hour line ruled by Russian stewards, and I take it all as a gentle preview of the former Soviet Union. My fellow travelers: One is an lumpy middle-aged woman in leopard-print pants fanning herself, slightly disturbing a bright orange helmet of hair. Her shoes curl up like an elf's—the epitome of women's footwear on the other side of the Pacific. Her husband rubs his ribs under a Brezhnev-era suit, then spits on the floor and mutters in Russian.

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