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What We’re Reading: 8 Eclectic Favorites around the Web


The Lions of Street Food,” Roads & Kingdoms
Roads & Kingdom’s co-founder Matt Goulding eats his way through three of the finest street food cities on the planet. His tips and insights (avoid spots with credit card machines, his and hers bathrooms, and even a menu) will help ensure that you only have mind-blowing meals on your next trip through Southeast Asia. —Jen Murphy

An American Man’s Quest to Become an Old Castilian,” New York Times Magazine
It started as a quest for a certain cheese, and it turned into an obsession with a Spanish town called Guzmán (population: 80). Author Michael Paterniti writes, “I was certain this town had secrets to tell—and that maybe my best self was there to be found. Sometimes, travel is this elemental: the desire to replace the old molecules with new ones, familiarity with its opposite.” In this story, adapted from The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese, Paterniti returns again and again, listening to stories, sharing the experience with his family, and draws us in with such passages as this: “In Guzmán, where everyone was so welcoming, I didn’t feel like a dope for taking the unironic view, or stopping to say hello to the old women who swept out their houses each morning, and then pantomiming the rest. I stood in the middle of a sunflower field at midnight, and it wasn’t weird at all. I could hear the hum of stars under that huge Castilian sky, and located the sound of myself thinking. How long had it been since I’d had that kind of clarity or peace?” —Derk Richardson

40 Days of Dating
This has nothing to do with travel but it’s a great experiment about love. As noted on the website, “Love is a central theme in humanity across time and cultures.” Two graphic designers from NYC decided to date for 40 days and post openly their interactions, emotions and frustrations. I hope it works out! —Jason Seldon

As Detroit Flounders, Its Art Scene Flourishes,” The New York Times
As a born-and-raised metro Detroiter, I can attest to the Motor City’s vibrant art scene. From masterpieces by such artists as Rodin and van Gogh at the Detroit Institute of Arts to a burgeoning network of galleries, Detroit has built a cultural legacy worthy of the same publicity its financial woes have garnered. The city’s official motto may be “We hope for better things. It shall rise from the ashes,” but if its thriving art community is any indication, better things are already on the way. —Lara Takenaga

Brilliant Vacation Auto-Reply Will Make You Appreciate Vacation, Fast Company
The people who emailed this guy while he was on vacation got something to chew on. —Davina Baum

#lpmemories: Some Personal Reminiscences and Reflections,” Gadling
In a lyrical, stream-of-consciousness look back, Don George, dean of American travel writers and recent AFAR contributor, considers his reaction (and those of others in the “travelsphere”) to the news that Lonely Planet, “the iconic publisher of guidebooks and related travel titles,” under new ownership, “was laying off up to 80 editors and other staffers.” —Derk Richardson

Getting Ready for a Superfast Race,” The New York Times
The America’s Cup has been described as being “as exciting as watching grass grow.” I have to disagree now that the historic sailing event is being hosted in my home city of San Francisco. Photographer and stuntman Mike Escamilla climbs aboard one of Oracle’s ships to capture the thrill, speed, and danger. —Jen Murphy

The Joy of the Crowd,” Fest300
I try to avoid crowds as much as possible when traveling, but Alison Bing’s piece, which champions the “noisy, disruptive joy” achievable solely from the collective experience, made me reconsider. —Kim Fortson

Photo courtesy of Colin Roohan/AFAR