Greetings from the Texas of Kazakhstan

“Shymkent—it’s Texas. There are bandits there and here as well,” our Uzbek cab driver explained as he navigated his blue minivan through the chaotic streets of Kazakhstan’s third largest city. Shymkent is the capital of South Kazakhstan Oblast, a state that has been nicknamed “the Texas of Kazakhstan” since Soviet times. Before we got out of our cab, the driver invited us to come over to his house and eat shashlik, barbecued shish kebabs. Southern hospitality, post-Soviet style. 

Six Must-Attend Events: July 26-August 1


Cult Squared
There is no definitive formula for a cult movie.  Often, some aspect of the film just takes on a life of its own. That’s what happened with the 1996 comedy Bottle Rocket, which was the feature debut of the Texas filmmaker Wes Anderson (he won the MTV Movie Award for best new filmmaker that year) and the beginning of the film careers of two other Texans, the Dallas-born Luke and Owen Wilson.

Ask the Wanderer: South Congress And Beyond



Hey. I’m heading to Austin at the end of July and—having worked at Philadelphia magazine for a few years—I figured reaching out to you would be the best way to figure out what to do.

A few college friends and I will be visiting a buddy and his wife for a long weekend (most of us get in Thursday morning). Is there a cultural/historical/enriching event/museum/experience that we shouldn’t miss?

Note: We’ll be staying in South Congress and, considering that we’re millennials, antiquing feels fiscally irresponsible/unappealing. Also, I wouldn’t hate it if you recommended a hip date spot that won’t feel like a total cliché.

Jeez. I know that’s a lot. Sorry for the lack of brevity.

A Fan From Philly

Come Padre

Day 1  The floorboards of our rental car are immaculate. This won’t be true for long, though, as we are nearly to Padre Island, which boasts one of the longest expanses of sandy beach in the world. Located a short distance from Mexico and named for the priest who turned the unclaimed strip into a cattle ranch in the early 1800’s, Padre stretches 130 miles and has a split personality.


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