A bowl of chili with a side serving of Obama watching

A bowl of chili with a side serving of Obama watching

January 24, 2013

This week the world's spotlight was on Washington D.C., to watch the second inauguration of President Obama. Freelance journalist -- and former local -- Robert Baird dishes on the best secret spots in the Capital.

Learning to speak Queens’ English

Learning to speak Queens’ English

June 15, 2012 3

As a native English speaker I was hardly expecting language difficulties in the US, a nation that’s smeared my mother tongue across the globe like Coca-Cola on a Southern-glazed ham. Yet my wife and I had a heck of a time getting coffee up, eggs easy over and our point across in a recent trip.

The kitsch charm (and crappiness) of Coney Island

The kitsch charm (and crappiness) of Coney Island

March 16, 2012 2

As the Big Apple itself rotted in the 1970s and 80s, so too did Coney Island. Once the global synonym for fun, for decades it mouldered through slow decline, a byword for urban decay. Fairy floss and hoopla gave way to hoods, graffiti and gang-banging.

Stuck in deep sh*t in the Big Apple

Stuck in deep sh*t in the Big Apple

February 17, 2012 1

Freelance journalist Carla Pratt writes: I’ve seen people hail cabs in all the movies set in New York City. Carrie Bradshaw can hail them with just a whistle, it surely can’t be that hard. Out went my hand in the air. Zoom…….straight past me. There are 4.5 million residents in NYC and 50 000,cabs. I didn’t […]

Dios mio, these tacos are worth a trip to New York

Dios mio, these tacos are worth a trip to New York

December 11, 2011

Today I learned how to cook the tasty dish, Pescado a la Veracruzana, at my favourite Mexican restaurant. That was at midday. It’s nearly midnight in New York and I’m still on a high. Sustaining this level of ecstasy usually costs a lot more than what I paid for lunch.

Halloween in the Mormon capital

Halloween in the Mormon capital

December 6, 2011

When we first started planning our trip, Utah was a state I casually mentioned wanting to see -- mostly out of a morbid curiosity about strict Western religions and some photos I'd seen of Salt Lake City. So we added it to the itinerary and no matter which way we flipped the direction of our trip, Halloween fell during our stay in SLC.

A very capitalist thanksgiving

A very capitalist thanksgiving

November 28, 2011

During my first Thanksgiving in the US, I set aside my usual cynicism about retailers using the holidays to boost revenue.

Walking through Death Valley, no shadows in sight

Walking through Death Valley, no shadows in sight

November 27, 2011

While I didn’t manage to find myself there, Death Valley certainly makes you feel small and realise how violent the creation must be of something so spectacular.

Gangsta grandma on the subway, loco at the White House

Gangsta grandma on the subway, loco at the White House

November 21, 2011

Caroline Regidor writes: “I’m packing lead in here,” the elderly woman said to the younger one, her face set in a snarl. Gangsta grandma rummaged through her handbag as if she were looking for a gun. She had plopped down next to me. I couldn’t help myself. Curiouser and curiouser, I peered down. All I could […]

Tales of summer from an American Girl Scout camp

Tales of summer from an American Girl Scout camp

November 17, 2011 5

Like many before me, when I finished high school I was eager to escape the rigid conventions of academia and really see the world. Of course at 19 years of age I was hardly Jack Kerouac and instead opted for the very cliché choice of working at a summer camp in the US.