where to read the opposite of travel journalism?
May 29, 2011 6:36 PM   Subscribe

i want to read blogs or articles about ordinary life in various countries

i like to read about places, specifically, what ordinary life is like.

i'm interested in ethnologies, in knowing what food is available around the world, how much it costs, and which is most commonly eaten, in first-person accounts of events, in cultural history, in attitudes and mores of different city populations, in what people talk about in bars and not just in relation to things in the news, in routines and social customs of different cultures beyond the cliches usually pulled out... etc etc etc
equally for entertainment and for choosing destinations.

i'm bored to death with citizen journalism that is more about politicians than people, with travel websites specializing in itineraries for backpacker nightlife and daytrips to places that locals never visit, with blogs by expats mainly concerned with living as they did at home.

if somebody writes about drinking in spain, i want them to mention calimochos, the soda/wine combo that the youth are drinking on the sidewalk, and not where to find good sangria.
if somebody writes about music in brazil, i want to hear about the sounds of stereos and streetvendors, and nothing about bossa nova or even hype over the latest indie release.
if somebody writes about parisian manners, i don' t want quotes from french vogue, but to hear about how people interact on the metro, about the social anxieties parisians themselves have.

the best example of what i' m looking for, that i' ve found so far, would be some of the peace corps blogs

any more sources for this online, that deal with current times in any or many countries?
they can have unusual perspectives, be from locals or foreigners alike, as long as they are narratives of something actually lived and observed, not put together for the appetite of travel-section readers
posted by glassy sesames to Society & Culture (10 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
I lived in Buenos Aires for a while and did a blog like this. People kept asking me what it was like to live there, which was a really tough question to answer. So I did The World's First Expat Blog. (It's not being updated anymore; I stopped posting when I left Argentina.)

I'm also glad this gives me a chance to plug a blog I really enjoy: Eating Stuff in South Asia. She's not in South Asia. I'm not sure where she is at the moment. She was in Gambia for a while. Then Senegal. But it's great slice-of-life stuff and she's a wonderful writer.
posted by veggieboy at 6:46 PM on May 29, 2011 [1 favorite]

You may be interested in the photo book Hungry Planet. Here's an excerpt.
posted by Diablevert at 7:02 PM on May 29, 2011

You might like Bruce Chatwin's stuff. But then your "I want this not that" list makes no sense to me, so maybe Bruce Chatwin is exactly what you don't want? Keep in mind, too, that he often blurs the line between fiction and reportage.
posted by Sara C. at 7:21 PM on May 29, 2011

Do you read any other languages besides English?
posted by Ideefixe at 8:55 PM on May 29, 2011

Best answer: Google blog search is a useful tool. I too like blogs like this, but my favorites are the more obscure ones (maybe even ones barely meant to be found). Search for the types of terms you mentioned above.

I often search for study abroad blogs because they are very observant and talk about everyday life. To be specific, try blog search for something like "studying abroad in (city)".
posted by beyond_pink at 9:54 AM on May 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Here are a couple that I like:

Korea: The Marmot's Hole;
Saudi Arabia: Sand Gets In My Eyes (no longer being updated, but comments are still active and it's a great treasure); also Blue Abaya;

and a directory to eat all your time.
posted by Corvid at 11:40 AM on May 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: thanks for the great answers so far. when i have time i' ll unearth other sites i' ve enjoyed, in case my likes and dislikes were confusing.

Ideefixe: I read Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
posted by glassy sesames at 12:23 PM on May 30, 2011

Best answer: Rachel in Goma is defunct but a good look at the DRC; Rachel in Erbil is active but infrequent. The Modern Young Lady's Guide to Coups, Contagion, and Calamities is a World Bank consultant who travels a lot. Posts are infrequent, but I greatly enjoyed reading the archives.
posted by quadrilaterals at 2:52 PM on May 31, 2011

Response by poster: thanks everybody for the suggestions. here is another place where i sometimes find good stuff. http://globalvoicesonline.org/

is it ok to leave a question open? in case others share my interest and want to add input later.
posted by glassy sesames at 5:05 AM on July 18, 2011

Response by poster: some nice looks at africa, mostly images, from the opposite direction of most media presentation:

posted by glassy sesames at 9:36 AM on August 14, 2011

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