Tag Archives: rich countries

The Many Cons and Mighty Pros of Iceland in December

THE FIRST THING TO GIVE UP in Iceland’s December is the sun, and with it the loss of humanity’s very conception of time itself. Darkness shrouds the jagged island for 20 hours a day; the sun peeks out only briefly between 11 and 3 o’clock, which forces locals to reconfigure “morning” as a painfully taunting […]

What Parisian Landmarks Are Today

1. The Arc de Triomphe A short man bent over in front of me as I was sitting on a bench slathering goat cheese on a piece of brown bread for lunch. The Arc de Triomphe stood brightly in the sun behind him, and I had been enjoying the view, which he interrupted by standing […]

Luxembourg is a Weird and Beautiful Place

LUXEMBOURG IS, IN EVERY WAY, a mishmash of other countries. Its ads are mostly French; its language sounds German; its radio mostly Luxembourgish. Even the just name “Luxembourg” sounds like a conglomeration of other words smushed together: luxurious, emboldened, smorgasbord. (All of which, strangely, are perfect descriptors of this tiny European nation.) Contrary to what […]

Brunei, of Slums and Sultans

AN IRISH BACKPACKER ASKED ME, in the Kuala Lumpur airport the other day, where I was headed. “Brunei,” I told him. He didn’t hear me. “Phucket?” No, Brunei, I repeated, on the jungle island of Borneo. He looked confused. “Never heard of it,” he said. “What country is it in?” Brunei is accurately and often […]