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.
While spring break might look vastly different this year than anticipated as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it's not too early to start planning to do some good with your time next spring break. Consider doing volunteer work over spring break 2021.
All Nippon Airways (ANA) is the largest airline in Japan. With flights from the United States to Japan and all of Asia, it's the perfect airline to book your next trip with. From ANA's amazing in-flight food to its excellent customer service, it comes as no surprise ANA has been awarded five stars for its seventh consecutive year by the SKYTRAX World Airline Rating.
Much like cities around the world, San Francisco closed its museums and performing arts venues temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to technology, those sheltering in place can experience many of these cultural institutions from the comfort of their own homes. Here are the places opening their doors remotely.
Oaxaca is, without a doubt, a city so impressive one must experience it firsthand to understand its splendor. It is an incomparable place that will leave you in awe of its cultural wealth, a place that invites you to experience the extraordinary. In this light, Posadas celebrates the opening of Grand Fiesta Americana Oaxaca, an irresistible option for enjoying this magnificent state in an exclusive and fascinating way.
THE LABELS ON SOME OF TODAY’S wine bottles sport a relatively new vocabulary, one that explains how the grapes were grown and made into wine. They include such terms as sustainable, organic and biodynamic, among others, and they warrant some explanation. Were the grapes grown by sustainable farming? Were they sprayed with organic fertilizers? Is the wine biodynamic? A number of the terms are new to many consumers. Some are controlled by the U.S. government; others are not. For simple definitions of this relatively new vocabulary, consider the following.