A Yale graduate faces her memories of elite men behaving badly

Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images

In the picture posted by the Yale Daily News, DKE brothers stand next to a flag crudely woven from women’s underwear. The year is 1985, and Brett Kavanaugh, though not in the picture, has joined DKE, just like George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush did in their time. He has graduated prep school, is attending Yale, and would go on to Yale Law School. Before the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, Kavanaugh seemed to insist that this educational path in and of itself testified to the integrity of his character.

As an alumnae of Phillips Academy Andover and Yale…


Laos, rural and stunning.

I had saved up after a year of employment to travel and cobbled together a yearlong trajectory. It was on this last leg of the trip, which on paper promised the most dazzling confusion of the senses, that I began to feel trapped in a well-trodden illusion.

The girl on the slow boat to Luang Prabang was trapped in the developing body of a young teen, her frizzy brown hair tied back in a messy ponytail. Her prepubescent breasts protruded from her thin t-shirt, braless, a sight parents in more puritanical countries would have kept well hidden. She was a…


Signs

A hike down Grand Canyon seemed dangerous, but the journey there could prove worse.

Sometimes, adventures we seek come presaged with a great sense of fear. Fear of the road’s perils, the cruel randomness of casualties, the upheaval of lives in a heartbeat. This fear we may allay with the attribution of semi-divine meaning to seemingly serendipitous events: detection of ominous patterns, revealing signs, promises of immunity from risk. …


Lessons learned from a stroll through an olive grove in Spain’s largest oil-producing region and a feast of small town creative dining

Liquid gold at Basilippo’s estate, in Andalucia

“We’ve had two weeks of rain and strong winds,” Diego says, kicking into the red soil covered by loose mounds of fallen leaves and shrunken olives. “Crazy winds. The flowers were in bloom then, and pollen flying everywhere. You’d step into the groves, and instantly become coated in yellow.”

Stormy as they may be, these are optimal weather conditions for the pollination of the olive trees, which are just beginning to sprout clusters of green buds. The twenty…


Into marshlands of wild rice, gothic small towns, idyllic orange farms and haunted royal estates

9 am

Julian and I stand at the edge of a dirt field as a tractor roils up trails of brown clouds. We must look conspicuous to the farmer driving the tractor: two strangers observing him intently on a deserted expanse of flat fields. Muffled music from radio or television escape the cafe-bar our car is parked by, at a junction of two country roads. Adjacent to it is a courtyard with plastic tables and chairs, empty. …


The Sherry spectrum at Bodega Diez Merito

Shakespeare himself once said it: ditch wine, drink sherry. Or perhaps it was more to the effect of: knave! Drop from thy hand that gaudy goblet of insipid wine, and drink sherry.

Easier said than done. Sherry, to be sure, is an acquired taste, but with hefty doses of practice it became one that I acquired in about twenty-four hours. In popular imagination, sherry is a misunderstood spirit: sticky, sweet, syrupy, opaque, British (a stereotype engendered by the Brit’s lack of native good wine, and Francis Drake’s timely delivery of thousands of barrels of sherry pillaged from Andalucia), good only…


Dunes, somewhere after Gibraltar

Stop 1: Malaga

Antonio, an ex-fisherman who is trying to teach me the art of skewering sardines, is quickly losing his patience as I demolish one fish after another. “Watch! It’s like this!”, he shouts, effortlessly weaving through stacks of sardines like a granny crocheting her thousandth bonnet. I grope the fish, trying to locate the spine. “It’s just a little fish!” Antonio insists, “don’t be scared of it. Stop! This one is no good!”

He rips the mutilated sardine from my skewer and flings it into a bucket of defective specimen. Trinidad and Julian look on with pity, probably glad they are…


The white-washed villages of Andalucia, known as the pueblos blancos, can be glimpsed all over the coastline, some upon steep hills, some overlooking the sea. By the rocky peaks of the Sierra Tejeda range that lies between Granada and Malaga, with steep, dramatic cliff-faces on one side and the Mediterranean sea shimmering between two distant slopes on another, nestles one such village, named Canillas de Aceituno.

Ascent through Canillas de Aceituno, an Andalusian pueblo blanco

Canillas’ main square is a tiny slanted quadrangle with two cafes, the city hall, a pharmacy, a bank, and benches populated by grandpas of postcard aesthetic. A middle-aged man in a green polo and…


As the cathedral bells strike ten, the streets of Málaga are settling into to the cadence of daily life. School children in uniforms cruise in rowdy packs; nuns in black habits and clogs squeak open heavy church doors; souvenir vendors roll out racks of postcards, flip flops, and beach towels displaying the ubiquitous silhouettes of ruffle-skirted flamenco dancers. The aroma of espresso seeps out from the the entrances of cafes, merging with a myriad scents of buttery pastries, oranges, grilled bread, olive oil, lush flora of bougainvillea, jaracanda, and roses in bloom. And to think that, back in the windowless…


View from the St. André cemetery

A generational love affair

My grandfather rests in beloved soil — Mediterranean earth so fine and dry-as-dust that it dances away like smoke, roused by the slightest gust of mistral wind. Papy once saw, from the westernmost bound of the graveyard, the terracotta tiles of the hillside village, the tall golden grass, the endless rows of knotty vines, the occasional cypresses that broke the line of the horizon. It was a familiar view, its savage beauty almost mundane amongst Mediterranean landscapes — but one he deemed fit for eternity. He had claimed it as a burial site long ago. A…

Aube Rey Lescure

French-Chinese-American, Yale 2015, writer, artist and hopeless hedonist.

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