Currently everyone is feeling the stress of the economy. The need for a gratifying distraction is paramount during these times, and although something exotic like an international getaway isn’t always feasible, a simulated experience is at your fingertips with the assistance of your local library. Here are some options that give all the joys of learning about a culture without the hassles of waiting in long queues at the airport or locating lost luggage.
To truly experience a culture we need to look at several aspects: language, entertainment, religion and food. Let’s use Thailand as our example:
- Language: To quench your curiosity, head to the Film and Audio Department and take a gander at the language learning CDs. For Thailand I would use the Berlitz Thai Travel Pack. The CD contains the basic travel phrases while the book presents the unique beauty of Thai script.
- Entertainment: Make use of the ever-growing foreign films and CD selections. Born to Fight is an interesting Thai movie dealing with mystery and murder in a local village, and Radio Thailand: Transmissions from the Tropical Kingdom, gives an excellent feel for traditional Thai music.
- Religion and daily life: Take a look at Pure and Simple: Teachings of a Thai Laywoman (then consider, perhaps, visiting the local Buddhist Center). See also the beautiful photo book A Day in the Life of Thailand which has scenic pictures that help simulate the feeling of actually being there.
- Food: Nothing speaks more about a culture than what they use for daily nourishment. For the brave I suggest that you lend your hand at cooking traditional foods yourself. My favorite Thai cookbook is Quick and Easy Thai. The majority of the ingredients are easily found in the Strip District and the instructions are easy to follow. Feel like going out? I would steer you towards Thai Gourment in Bloomfield: the atmosphere is traditional and the food is phenomenal!
We live in an incredibly diverse city that provides a window to other cultures so take advantage of it! Simply pick a country, look at what CLP has to offer, add in what is available here in the city and take a holiday! Go ahead, you’ve earned it!