Ginanne Brownell

Stories by Ginanne Brownell

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    Staying in Luxury on Sri Lanka's Plantations

    The road from Colombo to Kandy was a traffic jam of cars, tuk-tuks (three-wheeled taxis), and buses—along with the occasional cow—so we didn’t arrive at Mackwoods’s Labookellie Tea Estate until after dark, missing the scenic hills and waterfalls of Sri Lanka’s central highlands. The next morning, when we opened the doors out to the patio, my friend Oleg and I were greeted not only by the stunning, terraced hills, but also by the strong, rich fragrance of tea coming from the thousands of surrounding bushes. We spent the morning strolling the grounds of the plantation and taking a tour of the tea factory. (The company makes its own brand of tea and sells wholesale to companies like Lipton). Then I had an in-room massage. Not a bad way to start a holiday.
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    Contemporary Art on the Rise in Eastern Europe

    Among the well-established galleries from New York, Paris, and London showing works at Art Basel Switzerland last month, a smattering of galleries from Central and Eastern Europe stood out, showing video installations, photographs, and huge landscape paintings. They are among those from the former East bloc fast gaining a reputation as important players on the international contemporary-art scene.
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    East European Designers Make a Statement

    Almost two years ago London’s Victoria and Albert Museum held an exhibition titled Cold War Modern, examining how the U.S. and the countries of the former Eastern bloc were fighting a proxy war in the world of design. Besides the obvious geopolitical aspects of the show, I was most intrigued by how much of the region’s design I had never seen before. Well, that’s all over now. Designers from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) have become increasingly ubiquitous, making creative waves in some of the world’s biggest markets. In April, London’s Mint gallery held a monthlong exhibition called Chez Czech, which featured Czech glass and ceramics. At Milan’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile in May, designers like Slovenia’s Nika Zupanc and Hungary’s János Hübler created some serious buzz with their avant-garde pieces, and the Polish Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo features building structures made from paper cutouts—an ironic nod to iconic Polish folk art.
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    Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski on Greece

    The April plane crash that killed 80 Polish leaders, including President Lech Kaczynski, is known in Poland as “the catastrophe.” The leaders were en route to a commemoration of the 1940 Soviet massacre of Polish officers in Katyn, Russia. Poland had to call early elections, now scheduled for June 20. Kaczynski’s twin brother, Jaroslaw, who heads the ultraconservative Law and Justice Party, faces Acting President Bronislaw Komorowski of the pro-European Civic Platform party.
  • Holidays for Learning All the Right Moves

    I've never been much of a dancer. I took ballet and tap classes for years as a child but never managed to graduate to pointe shoes or the high-heeled tap shoes the cool, older girls wore. Since then, the dancer in me lay dormant—until a recent trip to Spain, where I saw a flamenco dancer whiz across the floor with poise and precision. It reawakened my inner ballerina, and I started fantasizing about all the opportunities I had missed to trip the light fantastic. So I decided to see if age has made me more graceful; this summer I plan to visit Spain and take flamenco classes in the very place the dance originated. No matter where you live, it's easy to find dance classes of every variety—thanks in part to the popularity of shows like Strictly Come Dancing and So You Think You Can Dance. But I intend to try one of the growing number of high-end companies that offer a more authentic experience, providing total immersion in the culture associated with the dance.They can be found all...
  • An Interview With Rwanda's Foreign Minister

    Rwanda's just-appointed foreign minister spent 20 years in the U.S. before returning to help her country recover from genocide and become a global model for reconciliation.
  • ‘I Just Want to Play’

    For a tennis player who is impressively vocal and aggressive behind the net, hunky Rafael Nadal is surprisingly demure off the court. There is almost a little-boy-lost quality about him. Nadal still lives with his parents and grandparents in a four-story apartment building in Manacor, Spain, where his favorite pastime is fishing....