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Tag: Culture

Travel Packing Challenges: Camouflage is illegal? Red clothes provoke attacks?

Round-the-World Cruise Packing Challenges Packing for my upcoming Round-the-World Cruise has brought some unique challenges. Not only will we be visiting hot and cold climates, but there are other considerations. For one thing, trekking through 22 different countries means we will be trekking through 22 different cultures. Offensive clothing varies The challenge is to dress comfortably without offending the locals. Every culture defines “offensive clothing” differently, so I’m doing careful research. In some places, this means that even if it’s 100 degrees out, I’d better make sure my arms, décolletage, and knees are covered – especially before entering places of…

Quirky Texas: Jesus in Cowboy Boots

Quirky Statue in Paris, Texas The following is an adapted excerpt from my Amazon Best Seller: Unexpected Texas. Enjoy! The north Texas town of Paris is home to a quirky statue known locally as the “Jesus in cowboy boots.” This statue is actually the 20-foot grave marker honoring a man named Willet Babcock, who died in 1888. While impressive, it would hardly be the quirky tourist attraction that it has become were it not for the unusual footwear worn by the cross-bearing figure it depicts; instead of the bare feet or sandals one often associates with Biblical folk, this one…

A to Z Texas: R is for Ren Fair in Waxahachie

Scarborough Fair in Waxahachie, Texas Every spring, Waxahachie, Texas hosts a huge ren fair, officially called the Scarborough Renaissance Festival. Back in 2010, it was the first such medieval reenactment I’d ever been to and – wow – was it ever fun. I had so much fun, in fact, that I returned in 2011 to get married! Not only were we married by the Archbishop of Canterbury, but we literally tied the knot. While renaissance fairs are not unique to Texas, the one over in Waxahachie is a big one: over 35 acres of shops and buildings that remain intact…

A to Z Texas: Q is for Quinceañera

Quinceañeras Look Like Brides – But They Aren’t In addition to colorful blossoms, here in Texas you often see teenage girls in fancy ball gowns at your local parks. These young women are accompanied by friends and family, also in formal attire, and there’s usually a professional photographer in tow. While, in some cases, you are witnessing an outdoor wedding, most of the time this festive group is strolling through nature as part of a Quince celebration. Quinceañera Comes from Ancient South American Puberty Rites A Quince celebration is a coming of age party for a 15-year-old girl. Quince means,…

A to Z Texas: J is for Jesus in Cowboy Boots

Quirky Statue in Paris, Texas After mentioning Paris, Texas recently in the post A to Z Texas: E is for Eiffel Tower I’m bringing up that little burg again because it’s home to a quirky statue known locally as the, “Jesus in cowboy boots.” This statue is actually the 20 foot tall grave marker honoring a man named Willet Babcock, who died in 1888. While impressive, it would hardly be the quirky tourist attraction that it has become were it not for the unusual footwear worn by the cross-bearing figure it depicts; instead of the bare feet or sandals one…

A to Z Texas: I is for Idioms

Texan Accents Vary I love how accents and slang vary throughout the USA, so, for me, that aspect of moving to Texas has been a real treat. Of course, since Texas is such a big place, there is no one official Texan accent. Think for a moment of how different Tommie Lee Jones, Billy Bob Thornton and H. Ross Perot sound from one another even though they are all Texan natives. (And what’s with their three-piece names? Maybe that’s a Texan thing. I will have to look into that. Ooh – Lyndon B. Johnson, there’s another!) My Favorite Texas Idioms…

It’s Different in Naples, Italy: The Neapolitan Playing Card Deck

Differences Between the Neapolitan and American Card Deck Did you know that in Naples, Italy people play cards with a completely different deck than we do in the USA? Unlike the American 52 card deck, southern Italians use a 40 card deck. Also, Neapolitan cards are not numbered, so you need to count how many of that particular suit are on the card. The two of swords, for instance, has two swords drawn on it, but no numbers. This type of card goes up to seven. After that, for the eight, nine and ten, there are face cards. The entire…

Traveler’s Show & Tell – Plus, an Unexpected trip to Florida

My week: an unexpected trip A death on my husband’s side of the family caused me to spend this past week in Florida. I never met the woman who passed away, and yet, by the time the funeral and other ceremonies were over, she no longer felt like a stranger to me. Spending time with her mourning relatives, who were eager to share their memories, transmitted so much of her essence, that I felt as if we had met. (It was such a strong sensation that I actually had to remind myself that we had not.) It was beautiful to…

The Italian – Texan Connection

As a recent transplant to the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex I agree with the state slogan of, “Texas, it’s like a whole other country.” It’s not only because the state is huge, or the fact that it has its own power grid. There is just something about Texas that sets it apart from other states. Every time I land in Dallas, for instance, I feel like I should get my passport stamped.

Saturday Show & Tell – 10th Edition

Welcome to this week’s Saturday Show & Tell blog carnival! Cherrye Moore of My Bella Vita kicks things off with a post entitled Auntie Adventures: Italian Beach Bums in which an outing with her nephew becomes quite memorable – just not in the way Cherrye had intended it to. As she describes: I’m convinced there really is something to that Aria Calabra that changes a once innocent, well-meaning, pooch-petting boy into a hormone-ranging mostro. Next up, Jennifer Miner presents How to Pick the Right Volunteer Vacation posted at The Vacation Gals – Family travel, girlfriend getaways, romantic getaways, destinations, things…

Easter versus the Ku Klux Klan in Spain

With Easter just around the corner, I thought I’d post this photo I took at a gift shop in Cartagena, Spain. As you can see from the sign, tourists often mistake these hooded figures for Ku Klux Klan members. In truth, there is no affiliation. These hooded robes, called capirotes, are worn by devout Catholics during Holy Week in Spain, when large processions march slowly through the streets. (To learn more, check out the article Semana Santa in Spain Holy Week Glossary which does an excellent job of explaining how Catholics celebrate Easter in Spain.) I visited Spain once during Holy Week…

Saturday Show & Tell – 8th Edition

Welcome to Saturday Show & Tell – 8th Edition. This week’s round-up features 10 bloggers and touches upon the following topics: flowers, travel, social commentary, and even a bit of fiction. April showers bring May flowers, but why wait? Today, Mandy Chatsworth brings us A Floriculture Tour Around the Continents posted at : Inspired by my co-blogger’s post on the Fairmount Park Azalea Garden in our home city of Philadelphia I decided to put together what I’m calling a Florticultural Tour of the Continents. The post highlights iconic flowers across the globe that are known to strike our emotions and…

Saturday Show & Tell – 6th Edition

Now that the Blog Carnival site has recovered, I received a bunch of interesting submissions for Saturday Show & Tell. The first one, as you can see at the top of this post, is a photo from Paula Puffer. As she explains: “It was taken a couple weeks ago at Armand Bayou Nature Center here in Texas. I love the contrast of the colors and the newness of the leaves on the tree. Spring has definitely sprung!” To see more of her photography, writing and other projects, check out Paula Puffer and her blog, Don’t Be a Pickle Bump. While…

Impatient Virgin: Pulp Fiction as My Guilty Pleasure

Guilty Reading Pleasures Are there books you enjoy, but would be embarrassed to admit you read? NPR has an ongoing segment called My Guilty Pleasure in which authors confess to books they adore, but would not wish to be caught reading in public. Pulp fiction novels from the 50’s and 60’s are my guilty reading pleasure. The more salacious the cover, the cheesier the premise, the better. There, I’ve admitted it. Before you judge me too harshly, however, I can explain! Judging a Book by its Cover It all started when I worked at a used bookstore simply called The…

Saturday Show & Tell – International Women’s Day

Welcome to Saturday Show & Tell This week’s blog carnival has International Womens Day for a theme, since March 8th, 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of that celebration. Today’s roundup features 9 different bloggers, and offers a variety of perspectives on the female experience, with topics ranging from guilt-ridden Spring cleaning to guilt-free masturbation. Cherrye Moore kicks off this edition with a post entitled Happy International Womens Day. Cherrye is an American expat living in Italy, and her post explains how this holiday is celebrated in Italy. Katie Greenaway also muses about International Womens Day, Italian style, in a post…

Saturday Show & Tell – First Edition

Welcome to the very first Saturday Show & Tell blog carnival here at Mental Mosaic: Food for Your Muse. This week’s edition features 6 posts. That’s 5 more than I was expecting since I popped this idea on everyone at the last minute. (Full disclosure: I got 2 more submissions through the Blog Carnival site itself, but they were both rather spammy, so I have not included them.) First up is a post entitled, Messy Imperfect Funny Love-Filled Life, which comes from Kyra, who wrote, “I couldn’t decide which post to send to you but I settled on one that…

The Lost Art of Dressing Up

How do you feel about clothing? Is it just something utilitarian, or is it part of your creative expression? Has your attitude towards clothing changed over the years? When was the last time you dressed up for fun? After reading Jyllian’s post Gekommen um zu bleiben , I decided to blog about a topic I’ve pondered for years: the lost art of dressing up. As Jyllian puts it: “I want to wear kitten heels, a bob haircut , flapper dress and carry a small jeweled purse whilst drinking champagne and speaking barbs politely. Sigh. Why isn’t life like this?” Exactly!…

Backyard Travel: Nguyen Loi Oriental Supermarket

When you are in Texas, it’s pretty hard to forget that you are in Texas. Everywhere you look there are businesses with “Lone Star” in their name, Texas flags proudly flying, and fancy pick-up trucks with bumper stickers proclaiming great things about the state. One of my favorite things about Texas, in fact, is its strong sense of identity. Texas is like a loud-mouthed, opinionated friend you don’t always agree with, but you love to hang out with, anyway. A couple days ago, however, it felt like I stepped out of Texas and into another country. My fiance and I…