Browsing All Posts filed under »Culture & Customs«

Idioms, Ed. 1

May 20, 2013


Idioms – they’ve always been a conundrum for me. I have trouble remembering how they go, which is probably due to the fact that they don’t often make good sense. After all, idioms come about in odd ways, through anecdotes or accidents that, passed down through generations, convert nonsensical phrases into trite wisdoms incorporated into […]

Play with your Life.

February 21, 2012


While he’s always enjoyed great critical acclaim, it’s Almodóvar‘s repertoire from 1999 onward that has received more popular success, starting with All About my Mother and including other truly great films such as Talk to Her, Volver, and recently La Piel que Habito. Personally though, I love Almodóvar’s work from the 80’s best. It was shocking, rebellious, cutting edge. Or as the renowned film critic Pauline Kael said, “[Almodóvar] reactivates the clichés […]

New Year’s Grapes

December 29, 2011


Forget the masquerade parties and kiss at midnight, El Salvador’s New Year’s traditions are all about family dinners, fireworks at midnight, and partying til dawn (we have that much in common, I guess). But one Salvadoran New Year’s tradition that I just learned about and LOVE is The Eating of the Grapes at midnight. Apparently […]


November 25, 2011


Yesterday was Thanksgiving, and today Black Friday.  Do you find these two days to be filled with such odd, trippy juxtapositions, as I do?  For me, they possess a slight twilight-zoney vibe that always sets me ruminating.  I think the obvious juxtaposition is to frame Thanksgiving as the good cop and Black Friday as the […]

Papas para las ojeras?

July 22, 2011


So I was working at Lima/Limón the other night, and Victor, our waiter comes up to me.  Here’s how the conversation proceeds: Victor approaches, and from out of the blue simply states:  “Papas.” JJ:  Blank stare.  Pause.  “…Que?” Victor:  “Papas!” JJ:  “Por qué me estás hablando de papas?” Victor:  “Se usan para los ojos.  Para quitar las […]

Saintly Carpets

April 22, 2011


Living in Latin America, I find the rituals and customs of Catholicism fascinating.  Semana Santa is perhaps the most tradition-infused time of the year.  Since Holy Week is a national holiday, I spent the past few vacation days travelling through the Ruta de las Flores in western El Salvador.  In several of the small colonial […]