If polo gives off too much of a country club vibe, consider a trek down to Central Asia for a traditional game of buzkashi. Much like polo, buzkashi is played on horseback, with the chapandaz trying to get the boz into the goal zone. Unlike polo, the ball is a beheaded goat carcass cured with cold water and salt. The traditional game has a fierce spirit of competition and is a rite of passage for young men, tracing its origins to the nomadic people of the region.
The rules are fairly straightforward; carry the ball to the goal area without fouling other riders. Despite the simplicity, playing can be difficult, with the cured meat being heavy to lift from horseback. Players and horses can take years to perfect their technique. The game underwent standardization with national committees establishing their own rules. Afghanistan even tried to have their national sport become a part of the Olympics, though they were rejected.
The game can get pretty rough, so players will wear heavy quilted cloaks called chapans as well as protective headwear. The rider does not typically own his horse; rather a wealthy landlord will hire players and provide training facilities for 8-10 man squads. Buzkashi players can become regional celebrities in their own right and get sponsorships from wealthy fans. Aziz Ahmad is one of the most famous professional players in Afghanistan, with wealthy lords having him helicoptered to Kabul for games. The Taliban takeover during the 90s put a ban on the game and forced Ahmad out of the country, though he was able to return to Kabul after the 2001 War in Afghanistan, and is now considered one of the best living buzkashi players.
Buzkashi games are a spectacle to see, often played for special occasions like weddings and religious events. One of the biggest matches held is for the celebration of Navruz, the Persian New Year, in the town of Urgut, Uzbekistan. Tourists and local Uzbekistanis alike travel far and wide to come see this extraordinary sport.
The post-breakup blues are the perfect motivation to put another stamp on your passport. After cutting ties with the ex, there’s nothing better for your mental health than taking some time away for yourself. Here are the perfect places to get back into your groove.
For most of us, time in the car is “me time.” You can listen to that podcast you’re captivated by, blast that pop song and sing along at the top of your lungs or listen to the next chapter in that biography e-book you’re almost finished. A road trip only amplifies those opportunities. So, next time you’re traveling by road, take the wheel and take control. Opt for a rental car on your next vacation, rather than a rideshare, taxi or public transportation, and enjoy the open road on your own terms.
When it comes to local, authentic tapas bars in the capital of Catalonia, they can be considered a dime a dozen. There are loads of options to choose from, so many so the average visitor to Barcelona can be completely confused as to where to even begin a search for pan con tomate. But one unsuspecting gem in the trendy neighborhood of El Born features a no-fuss, no-nonsense approach to traditional Spanish tapas, adding an extra touch of authenticity with the homemade cava.
Bleisure — it’s a term we’re all familiar with these days. After all, millennials drive the rising trend, combining business and leisure trips regularly. Take a few days to decompress in a new destination after a hectic schedule of meetings and business.
Hotels, airlines and travel companies are constantly looking for the best way to offer guests unique and memorable experiences. One of the latest ways hotels have expanded guests’ cultural exposure is through specialty concierges, or on-hand experts who can arrange bespoke travel experiences for individuals or groups.