12-Inch Necks: How Women Torture Themselves for Beauty in the Far East

Last month, during my trip to Myanmar, I met a group of women with 12-inch necks wrapped in brass coils.

“What?” you may be exclaiming in horror. “No way! How could that be? Isn’t that painful? Why would they do that to themselves?”

But really… why are you so shocked?

Related: Spend the Best Day of Your Life in an Elephant Retirement Home

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Bamiyan: The Silk Road City That Time Forgot

One of the coolest things about travel is wandering into a place that time seems to have truly forgotten. These days, locations like that are few and far between — but they still exist. One of the most special to me is Bamiyan, Afghanistan. I went there earlier this year for the Afghan Ski Challenge. At first, I was very nervous. After all, it’s Afghanistan: It’s war-torn and medieval. And I kept wondering, “Will I have to wear a burka?”

Related: Brave or Insane? This Woman Cross-Dressed Her Way Across Afghanistan

Well, yes and no. It is no longer war-torn. In fact, northern Afghanistan is considered peaceful — the Taliban was very harsh to the local Hazara people and blew up the famed, ancient Buddha structures in 2001. But when the United States troops invaded in 2002, the Taliban was swiftly routed and kicked out. They have yet to resurface there.

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A Piece in Capital New York Made the Broad Cry Last Week

Paula froelich

Ok! So I cried in a good way! – And here’s why. I spent 4.5 years in the wilderness after I left Page Six and had some of the MOST OFFENSIVE SH-T told to me (EVER!) by male media execs including:

  • “You’re too smart for our audience.”
  • “You know what your problem is? You don’t fit in a box…” [from a cliched dude who prided himself on thinking “out of the box’]
  • “Women don’t watch travel shows.”
  • “You are great and so dynamic, but you’re from New York and smart. Our viewers are in the flyover states and god are they stupid. I don’t even watch the shit we put up on our screen for them…” [Me: “i’m from Ohio and Kentucky.” Dude: “Really? i would never have guessed.”]
  • “We are focusing on the male demographic right now – it’s what advertisers want.” [me: so you’re only hiring male talent?; Dude: Pretty much. sorry. I know women are funny – youknow women are funny, but America doesn’t like funny women.]
  • “Yeah, but whats your angle??? Everyone has to have an angle or a shtick these days!”
  • “Women are really into getting married.”
  • “Women don’t want funny travel books or essays – they only buy travel books if there is a journey involved. You know, like Eat, Pray Love.”
  • “You are so smart and funny and cool… I just wouldn’t know what to do with you.”
  • “You know what women like? Women really like beach shows. Like where the best beaches are…”
  • “You have really sexy shoes”
  • “We need to start figuring out how to get people to start buying TVs again.”

So.. along came a piece by Joe Pompeo who… got me. And got my story. It made me cry. After the jump is an excerpt, but you should read the whole thing. It’s lovely.

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The Quest For the Perfect Travel Partner (Stop Asking Me Why I’m Not Married)

solo unicorn in Brazil

Proof that I really am a unicorn as, let’s be honest, only unicorns have rainbows emanating from their asses. (Truth number 1: It is really hard to get proof of unicornness. It can really only be done in Iguazu Falls, Brazil).

I’ve taken to wearing a wedding ring when I travel. It is a fake gold band on the ring finger of my left hand that most people assume marks me as married. I do this for several reasons. Most of all because, as the editor in chief of Yahoo Travel I travel a lot, often to countries where if you, as a woman, are not married you are either a virgin or a whore – and I am way too old to be a virgin. Countries where even the slightest gesture –a glance in someone’s direction or a smile when you say, “Thank you” can also mean: “OH MY GOD YOU ARE SO HOT PLEASE JUMP MY BONES NOW!” The ring comes in handy then. Continue reading

The Hot New Workout from Mexico? The El Jimador Burn! (aka How to Make Tequila in 6 “Easy” Steps)

I have to be honest with you, tequila was never my jam. In college there was too much of it, there was usually a worm involved and the smell just made me gag. It also causes a weird side-effect for me. It makes me go all vampire on people and try to bite anyone within a two feet radius. It’s not pretty.

However, in recent years, everyone I know has started drinking it – but on another level. Not as a cheap mixer for a margarita, or as a slammer (“lick it, drink it, suck it”), but as a high end liquor on its own, often without lime. I was confused. “But it’s so awful,” I said to my friend in Los Angeles.

Related: I Finally Learned How to Put on a Decent Skeleton Face For the Day of the Dead 

“Try it,” he said, offering me some 49-month, barrel-aged tequila. I took a deep breathe, steeled my stomach and… it was delicious. Like scotch. I was considering converting when an invite to the Herradura Tequila Factory in Amititan, Mexico came through.

“Sign me up!” I said and a week later there I was at the distillery (housed in an old school hacienda)  in the agave fields surrounding the Amititan Mountains.

The Herradura hacienda has been run by the same family for 184 years and is the perfect blend of old school and new technology. My guide, Ruben Aceves, hoisted me on a horse and we rode out to the Agave fields, where I started my “How To Make Tequila in Six Steps.”

“It’s easy,” Ruben said.

Ruben is a liar.

Click HERE for all six steps. PS: My arms still hurt.

Art Basel, Shmart Basel – The Real New Art Capital is in Oaxaca, Mexico

While we gear up for Art Basel in Miami – where everyone will OOOH and AHHH over graffiti art in places like Wynwood Walls and in the galleries – the real talent lies south of the border in Oaxaca, Mexico. Here, in almost every street, are miles of graffiti art, intricately painted Alejibres wood sculptures and embroidery most collectors would die for. It is the new Beco de Batman, and the secret of art collectors everywhere. Thank you to The Muddy Boot for taking me on the ultimate art tour of Mexico. Towns visited included Oaxaca and the Zapotec village of Teotitlan del Valle, where the masters of the Day of the Dead “carpets” (sculpture made of sand and flowers) reside. In this town, the main road leading from the cathedral to the cemetery is lined with Skeletal graffiti and shops that make special burial carpets – which can cost up to $300 a pop and only stay up for one day (a lot of money when your average annual salary is only $1K a year).

The area also specializes in textiles – hand dyed and hand woven carpets or wall hangings which are intricately embroidered. The process can take a year depending on how large the carpet/hanging is. For anyone who loves art, this is a must see. 

Welcome to Myanmar’s Capital, Nay Pyi Taw: The Creepiest Capital/Ghost Town in the World

 

Myanmar, also known as Burma, is one of the hottest countries to visit in 2015 — and underscoring that is President Obama’s visit to the Southeast Asian country. This is his second trip there in two years, in an attempt to encourage the country’s efforts to create a functioning democracy.

Related: Spend the Best Day of Your Life in an Elephant Retirement Home

WATCH: Welcome to Myanmar’s Empty Capital City, President Obama!

Myanmar’s locals are staying in the countryside and avoiding the gleaming new capital city.

But, after a recent visit to Myanmar’s brand-spanking-new capital, Naypyitaw, Yahoo Travel has a question: Will anyone actually be there to greet him when he arrives?

Related: Flying Singapore Airlines First Class Suites Ruined my Life

The empty highway in Naypyitaw 

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