Passport Stories: Truffle Hunting and the Burmese Surprise

by David Farley

The favorite pages from the passport of author and journalist David Farley.

David Farley is a globetrotting travel journalist who we read in The New York Times and AFAR, among others. He's also the author of the book An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church's Strangest Relic in Italy's Oddest Town. (The relic was the foreskin of Jesus; the town was Calcata.) We've had the pleasure of traveling (and drinking) with David in New York and around the world and thought he'd be the perfect person to introduce our new series: Passport Stories, wherein we get travelers to talk about their favorite pages of stamps, visas, and the memories associated with them.

1. Myanmar

Entry: Jan. 8, 2012
Feb. 5, 2012
I traveled to the country-formerly-known-as-Burma in January 2012. The biggest surprise: there are (or were) no ATMs, which means cash rules. But only mint, blemish-free dollars can be exchanged. Every Burmese has the same skills at examining $20 bills as an art authenticator might for a just-discovered Da Vinci painting.
Read David's story: Burma Before the Crush (SF Gate) Will Scam for Food in Burma (Gadling)

2. Dubai

Entry: Nov. 25, 2011
Nov. 26, 2011
Philosophically speaking, when do you really visit a country? When you get a passport stamp? Even when you just spend the night at an airport hotel and, seven hours later, are back on a plane that's pointed toward Ethiopia?

3. US

Entry: Mar. 28, 2012
I've never been a big fan of Mexico. I don't know why. I love Mexicans and their food and their over-sized hats. But I went to Puerto Vallarta in March 2012 and I loved it. Plus, I came back with a great sombrero and an undying proclivity to put pineapple in my al pastor tacos.
Read more: Culinary Cab Confessions: The Search for Tacos and 'Authenticity' in Mexico (Gadling)

4. Italy

Entry: May 25, 2012
Venice airport. I didn't spend much time there, as I immediately whisked myself off to Istria in Croatia where I went truffle hunting with two dogs named Jackie and Duna.
Read more: In Istria, Hunting for the World's Most Delicious and Smelliest Treat (Gadling)

5. Italy

Entry: June 14, 2012
Venice again. This time I stayed a while. For I was covering the San Pellegrino cooking cup where — and I'm not joking — they combine a cooking competition and a boat race. At the same time. Those zany water-bottling Italians!
Read more: S. Pellegrino Cooking Cup In Venice, Italy (Food Republic)

6. Ethiopia

Entry: Nov. 26, 2011
Exit: Dec. 6, 2011
People told me that if I didn't go to the north of Ethiopia to see the underground churches, then there was no point in going. My point, however, was an AFAR assignment that would take me to the southern and western parts of the country with Intelligentsia Coffee's Geoff Watts to seek out the best coffee in the country. This wasn't really a great time in my life — November and December 2011 — and Ethiopia allowed me to forget about it all for a couple weeks, for which I'll forever be grateful.
Read David's story: Coffeeland (AFAR)


An Irreverent Curiosity, by David Farley


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