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Mexico City

Improvising Survival

The clash between the new global gentrifiers and Mexico City’s informal economies.

From downtown, it takes about an hour by metro to get to the Wednesday flea market in Acatitla, on the east side of Mexico City. If you’re a patient shopper, you’ll probably think it’s worth the effort. Through a rabbit warren of city streets, clothes are piled on makeshift tables made of metal baskets with wooden planks on top. Pink plastic tarpaulins shield customers from the blazing sun as they pick through the merchandise. I’m five foot nine, and some of the piles are as high as my chest. This is the end of a long road for these garments,...

England

Underground London

In the rush of a modern city, who pauses to ponder what exists beneath?

What lies beneath has an ominous aspect to us ground dwellers. We appreciate being able to...

Mexico

No one is from Akumal

Forging identity and community in a Yucatan town

We heard the drums before we saw them. A steady, staccato beat beckoned us to walk...

Did You Know?

Afghanistan

“Goat Grabbing”

It’s been around for more than 600 years, is played on horseback, and can get pretty dangerous to play and even watch. Welcome to Buzkashi, Afghanistan’s national sport. It’s a bit like polo, but with a headless goat instead of a ball. The point of the game is for your team to take control of the carcass and drag it to the hole on the other side of the pitch. It’s been passed down through the generations (it was originally the sport of rich warlords), and is so popular that Afghans want to see it become an Olympic sport.

Encounters that take you there.

Before there were guidebooks, 18th- and 19th-century authors wrote “stranger’s guides” to cities and countries, pamphlets and books that combined helpful tips with particular and offbeat advice and context: the best boarding houses alongside bits of history, preferred brothels as well as ways to avoid pickpockets. These guides were far removed from a modern, sanitized Fodor’s—rather they were personal, eccentric and intimate portrayals of place.

Stranger’s Guide is a modern version of that idea—a nonprofit publication designed to reveal the intricacies of places across the globe, through both local and foreign eyes.

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