Chai Digest Is Back, Too: Reads About the World and Travel

I brought back My Week in Points and I am bringing back Chai Digest, too. Loyal reader Shannon has persistently reminded me of my failing in dropping this, to her support and urging I am greatly appreciative.

Chai Digest is a weekly collection of news and stories from the world and the world of travel that caught my eye, taught me something, or made me laugh. Each country I have visited I feel a connection that makes me alert to news. No attempt to be comprehensive, there are great sites like Quartz that are more systematic. Resistance to clickbait inanity. A modest collect to explore on a refreshing Sunday.

Here’s 15 to launch 2015:

  1. The NYT’s David Brooks has put out his collection of thought provoking pieces from 2014, The Sidney Awards Part 1 and Part 2.
  2. One more from the NYT, Roger Cohen has courageously trumpeted the need and possibility of rapprochement with Iran. His Gaza is Nowhere visits a sad, seemingly hopeless situation.
  3. Much foolishness has been spouted from talking heads on Cuba, I clicked the Washington Post’s Charles Kruauthhammer’s Nylons for Nothing and the other op-ed pieces for the day, from both sides of the political spectrum, were all old saws and tortured reasoning about Cuba. Instead, read the Boston Review’s thoughtful We’re Going to Cuba (Or Not!) by Sara Hill.
  4. Two from Japan: in his New Year’s address the Emperor told the nation to learn from the war (Japan Times). Too much focus on Japanese loss and not enough on the victims of their aggression in the translated snippet, for my taste, however he and the Empress will visit Palau this year in remembrance of the dead there and neighboring Peleliu. With the Old Breed is the must-read memoir of a US soldier and this bloody, strategically meaningless battle. Here is my photo set from touring the battlefields there. Switching to humor, Japan Crush translates a piece on a woman’s website in Japan, urging women to ‘Dump Men Who Don’t Pay Out At New Year Shrine Visit.’
  5. How Wal-Mart Made Its Crumbling China Business Look So Good for So Long (Bloomberg) brings back memories from my exciting days in China retail where among the many interesting practices I learned about the use of negative margin bulk sales.
  6. Thoughts on Visiting the White House, of America from my favorite travel writer, Robert Reid.
  7. The sad descent of Alexandria, Egypt from once the beacon of learning and memory in the world to a violent mess of Islamic extremism in The Lighthouse Dims by James Traub at Foreign Policy.
  8. A funny Christmas-themed Bliss comic strip. I spent Christmas week driving around Los Angeles, wherever my wife pointed in pursuit of Chinese and Korean food. We may have found the best Chinese restaurant in America.
  9. Where Puma and Adidas Were Like Hatfields and McCoys (WSJ). I have a good friend at Adidas and the sniping and shenanigans between these rival German firms that share the same town are legendary.
  10. State Media Blame Google for Blocking of Gmail on Mainland (China Economic Review). I will never cease to marvel at the ability of Chinese government officials and businesspeople to spout ridiculous crapola with straight face.
  11. Erroneous reports that of airline Saudia To Introduce Gender Segregation On Flights (One Mile at a Time), lead to the predictable internet comments, and two thoughtful pieces from Muslim women and fellow travelers Ariana at Point Chaser, My Thoughts on Saudia’s Gender Segregation Scandal and Elena, The Muslim Travel Girl’s Perspective on Saudi Airlines Gender Seating Segregation.
  12. Lithuania has officially joined the euro, After Period of Skepticism, Lithuanians Warm to the Euro (WSJ). It is a great country to visit, I still haven’t blogged from my 2012 trip there. At the time euros were already excepted most everywhere.
  13. Prices for so many product are higher most everywhere outside the US. Competition, huge market, efficient logistics all gives advantages to the US. Consumer psychology plays a part, where raising prices in some markets can help sales, where price is often a signal of quality. Unilever, P&G Try Tweaked Formulas, Higher Prices for Developing World (WSJ).
  14. Bank of America’s Free Museum Program Returns for 2015! Find Out Which Dates & What Museums! from Miles to Memories. Get a dose of culture! I did not do this in 2014 and I have enough BofA cards for a large family. Now I get another chance. Maybe I should show up and comp the next half dozen people behind me?
  15. 2014 in Perspective: Travel and Life and A Roadmap for 2015 from kindred spirit and award booker extraordinaire, Matthew Klint.

Disclaimer: the Amazon link in #4 is my Amazon Affiliates link for which I will receive credit for a purchase made with the link.

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  • Jason

    Thanks – had forgotten about these postings, but now that you reminded me – I really like your perspective and highlighting of interesting stories I may have missed (like the Bloomberg WMT article). Thanks again!

  • Jamie

    I love the idea of comping the people behind you at the museum with your BofA card. I actually don’t have any BofA cards, but one of my vague new year’s resolution-y intentions is to get back on track with churning. I got disorganized and then felt I’d better hold off on applying for cards until I had a better handle on what I had and what I needed. So, here’s to getting a few new cards and visiting a few museums!

  • john

    very happy you brought this back! thanks.