I arrived in Bali during an auspictious time. The streets were decorated with bamboo poles and prayer offerings were everywhere. I saw processions of women carrying towers of food and flowers; groups of kids of all ages playing the gamelan; and processions taking Barong (mystical beast) through the streets. In fact, every home and business had its “penjor” (similar to a Christmas tree), but outdoors and decorated with fruit, coconut leaves and flowers. Continue reading “Arriving on Kuningan in Bali”
Go Eat Give volunteers in Bali were invited to a family temple in Sukawati village for a ceremony and festivities. This temple celebrates its anniversary every six months, when all the village residents get together to pray and the little ones put up a performance of music and dance. Only the family members that are related through generations attend the ceremonies at the festival.
Last week, I attended Florens 2012, the Florence Culture and Heritage Week in Florence, Italy. It was one of the most memorable conferences I have attended so far, and for several reasons. One, I got to meet the other 5 winners of Team Florens who had come from around the world, namely USA, UK, Australia and Italy. We spent a lot of time together, talking, tweeting, wandering around Florence and eating our way through the city. Continue reading “Florens 2012: A big success!”
Fondazione Florens has picked six international bloggers to go to Florence this November as part of the official ‘Team Florens’ including Sucheta Rawal, of Go Eat Give from Atlanta, GA! A number of Italian publications are calling Go Eat Give “one of the most influential blogs on culture in the world” and are very excited to receive the acclaimed writers in Florence, Italy next month. Continue reading “Go Eat Give is going to Florence!”
Although New Mexico is one of the oldest states in the continent United States, its cuisine is very different from the rest of the country. Influenced by Spanish and Mexican settlers, the modern day New Mexican cuisine sits in a league of its own. Continue reading “Introduction to New Mexican cuisine”
Go Eat Give’s first monthly cultural awareness event was held at Imperial Fez restaurant last night, and it was a huge success! While the Real Housewives of Atlanta filmed at the restaurant, we had our own private section in a royal Moroccan tent-like setting. As twenty-five or so sat on comfortable cushions and low over sized chairs, we discussed our mutual passion for food and travel, while enjoying some of Atlanta’s finest Moroccan fare. Continue reading “Destination Morocco”
We tend to undermine the role of cultures in building stronger economies. But the fact is culture leads to tourism, tourism brings in jobs, and jobs build economies. Destinations that have a rich heritage and preserve their culture tend to bring in more tourism dollars, which sustains local businesses and provides employment to a large number of the population. Continue reading “Your culture can save your economy”
The past week has been rather interesting and insightful. I have been in India, acting as a host and guide to my dear friend, Gina. This is her first time visiting India, even Asia. She is originally from US but currently living in Spain.
The first day we took a drive in Delhi, Gina pointed out the chaos and randomness of things that I was quite accustomed, and rather numb to having grown up here. “There’s a random cow in the middle of the street, a guy on a cycle with flowers in his carrier, a tea shack by the highway, stalls of groceries jutting out of run down structures, kids with goats” Gina exclaimed about hundreds of other things she saw in the most unexpected places. This pretty much defines the scene in India. There are auto-rickshaws, scooters, cycles, bullock carts, buses, cars and pedestrians on the same road without any rules, blaring horns randomly at each other, but still there is order in the chaos. Within that, the contrasts are even more spectacular. You will see million dollar homes next to slums, children begging for money knocking at the windows of Mercedes cars, women wearing saris covering their heads with modesty watching scantily dressed Bollywood actresses on their TV sets, five star hotels, Louis Vuitton showrooms and people earning less than $1 a day.
Orienting Gina with Indian culture and traditions has made me revisit it myself. I had been blindly following everything that was taught to me from a young age, but when someone else questions why things are a certain way, what do they mean, you need to think about it before being able to provide an explanation. India has a rich culture spanning thousands of years. It has over a billion people following several different religions. The society is somewhat tight, where family values, customs and people are given much importance. This means you can’t always do what you “feel like” as we often times take for granted living in the west. One thing Gina had a hard time with is when hosts would force her to eat even though she wasn’t hungry. Indians tend to show their love through food and it is considered rude if you refuse to eat what they offer when they are treating you.
Another thing she noticed is how we politely say “come” instead of “let’s go.” She thought it was a more gentle and inviting way of addressing each other.
I always knew that as a woman I had to dress conservatively in public places or men would ogle and I would draw unnecessary attention. Why is this the case and where does it stem from? Maybe the ancient believes of protecting women and hiding them behind veils in order to resist temptation. I don’t have the answer to that. All I know is some things you just don’t question and need to follow blindly.