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Berlin: A Study For The 21st Century

After two decades of reunification, the meanings of "nationality" and "identity" are still subjects of debate in Berlin, Germany's reinstated capital. Matters much further from Berlin are being canvassed here; topics like the European Monetary Union vie with issues of national and local politics.

The collapse of the old left, the establishment of a new right and an increasing influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe are but a few of the issues that Germany (like the rest of Europe) and Berlin in particular -- is coming to terms with. Berlin has undergone great changes since the breakdown of the wall. This city mirrors the transition still in process; far from being unified, it resembles a patchwork of urban cultures reflected in various neighborhoods that make up the new Berlin.

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Shopping, Eating, and Culture-Vulturing Through Cathay

The mission was clear. We had just two weeks to visit six cities in five provinces covering thousands of miles in this vast country. Our host, The China Tourist Board would provide air and river transport as well as guides and flexible itinerary in each location. We gladly accepted the daunting challenge arriving in Beijing with empty bags and stomachs to be filled along the way with the treasures of the orient.

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The Cruise

“You don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” so they say, and actually the opposite is true. Generally gift horses come with strings attached, like being forced to buy what it is that you’re supposed to be getting for free, or worse. That’s what happens 98 times out of a hundred and one lives for the other two.

Civitavecchia fort and harbor

I was supposed to go to Greenland, and had a bunch of actual venues line up and everything, but at the last minute they fired the PR guy and disavowed any knowledge of my existence. I was ticked off about it when I was checking my spam filter and found something that seemed to be legitimate, RSVP, the largest Gay travel agency, sent me an email inviting me to join their cruise of the Mediterranean, I told them I wasn’t Gay, in fact just the opposite, but if they were going to pay for the whole thing, I would put any biases I had aside and go along. It turns out that they weren’t. I knew it.

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San Diego Downtown Rundown

The problem with the San Diego Comic-Con is that it’s almost all in one place, the Convention Center. But with a self-contained area like that, it’s difficult to see much of the city besides the immediate area -- the Gaslamp district -- an area defined by the trolley tracks, shaped like a pentagon similar to Superman’s logo.

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