World travel videos, photos, and blog.

Heathrow Peep Show

I hopped a flight on British Airways to Paris today via London Heathrow's Terminal 4. I was randomly (I like to think it's because I'm so handsome) chosen for a Rapiscan. If you haven't heard of this thing, it's basically a full body x-ray that can virtually see right through your clothes to search for weapons. (The photo is not me. My gut is bigger and my... nevermind)

The application of this new x-ray technology to airport screening uses high energy x-rays that are more likely to scatter than penetrate materials as compared to lower-energy x-rays used in medical applications. Although this type of x-ray is said to be harmless it can move through other materials, such as clothing.

A passenger is scanned by rastering or moving a single high energy x-ray beam rapidly over their form. The signal strength of detected backscattered x-rays from a known position then allows a highly realistic image to be reconstructed. Since only Compton scattered x-rays are used, the registered image is mainly that of the surface of the object/person being imaged.

They make you stand and turn your body in different directions while they take three body scans. There's one guy instructing you (who assured me it was safe) and one guy in a booth checking for weapons and penis size. If you pass, you're either escorted to the front of the baggage x-ray line and/or offered a contract in porn films. I wish I had asked to peek at what the guy behind the curtain was getting a peek at.

As my flight was landing, I forgot I was landing in Paris and for a few seconds had that sensation of relief that you get when you're landing back home. That was a bummer. But as soon as the flight attendant welcomed us to Paris, I had that oo la la feeling again. There's something very romantic about coming to this city. A bit later I was on the train to Valentina's and I started to see all of the cute French girls again. Not bad. Except it was starting to rain. Great.

And then I saw it. The Eiffel Tower from Val's street. I couldn't help but smile.


Currency Exchange

I've hit seven countries in a month. Once I land, I head to an ATM and withdraw money from my Washington Mutual account. A couple of times, I've had no idea how much I was taking out. In the Czech Republic, you have the option of taking out thousands. I've never withdrawn thousands from a bank. (the other problem is, you take out 1000 Koruny and try to buy a bottle of water for 30 Kc... no one wants to make that kind of change)

So, I've been meaning to look these figures up for future reference. First, to answer someone's question: 50 Euros(€) = $67 USD

Currency Estimates Page as of May 30 (Source,

You'll notice that in some of these countries, I could easily be a millionaire. That's why US dollars are actually accepted in a lot of Southeast Asian countries for tourism. I think. As always, I find out the real story when I arrive.

NOTE: Paypal takes about 3% of what's contributed to The bank and credit card companies also charge additional fees when I use them. Argh.

Ella ella ella

Random Amsterdam memory... that friggin' Umbrella song by Rhianna was playing everywhere. I swear I heard it at least four or five times a day.

Heading to Paris, Thursday to take care of consular affairs Friday. Not shipping the laptop back because it costs over $100 to do so.

Need a haircut desperately.

Two Passports

Yes, I now hold two American passports. Kinda neat. Had a weird day at the US Embassy, which had visitors evacuated to a nearby park or something. It was actually harder to get out of the place than to get in to pick up my passport. Otherwise, it was a sunny day in London. I wish I had the dough to do some exploring but I settled for a walk through St. James park and a lunch of sandwiches I made from groceries I bought at Tesco.

Some disappointing travel news, I may have to give up on going to Iran. Seems that the only way to do it is to have a hired guide with me everyday at a cost of $110/day. Not in the budget. Oh, and there's the whole issue of them detaining American citizens and the US moving warships into the Persian Gulf. Why can't we all just get along like good little countries?

I'm going to have to make some major adjustments to my travel plans in late July. Maybe I'll throw some more Africa and Eastern Europe into the mix. Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to get back to Paris. Miss ya Val! I may you as early as Thursday.


Rotter-ramblings and so forth

I'm back in Colchester, desperately trying to get all sorts of administrative things together on the net (if anyone cares, I'm killing one of my old servers, I don't think that should effect anyone but my wallet) so I can run out to London while it's actually not pouring rain outside.

I left the Netherlands without having really met anyone but it was a good long weekend of reflection and the whatnot. Killing time in Rotterdam was a bit hard on a Sunday night. For those of you keen to the whole YouTube impostor story, the guy erased his account from YouTube so I didn't have contact info.

The Netherlands Montage, YouTube

5/27/07 Scribblings in my Moleskine from the lobby of the Westin Hotel, Rotterdam:

I was in a big city with no map and no direction. I asked myself how I got here. Why was I here even? Someone called Rotterdam, the New York of the Netherlands and immediately I started to agree as far as ethnic diversity went. The crowds were less touristy on the metro and thuggish teens looked like they wanted to mug me and maybe bust a rhyme about it afterwards. But it's a safe place. The architecture seemed modern and European, whatever that's supposed to mean.

On the advice of a couchsurfer, I checked out the cube houses of Blaak Street, the Oude Haven area, and I walked the Erasmus Bridge. After a chicken sandwich and frites, I decided to watch Pirates of the Caribbean 3 at the Pathe theater I came across. They've got ads before their films, too and there was one that killed me. It was about a sexy girl and a guy who could barely hold on to her. I have to find it. (I found it here at, go to the Touch Me Campaign link on the left) It's rare to find a film that seems to be something straight out of my head. The magic of the moving image.

When Pirates started I became a bit sad. There was the familiarity of being in a cozy movie theater and watching an American popcorn movie but there was also this sensation that I was so far away from home. The obvious was that there were Dutch subtitles and everyone around me conversing in Dutch (not during the film, thankfully). I don't know, I feel so disconnected. There were times when I felt disconnected from friends and people back home but now, I was physically separated from them. And I was culturally separated from those currently around me. ::sigh:: I've got 7 more hours to kill and all I want is to curl up in one of the hotel beds in this Westin.

The Netherlands is the second country where I haven't really spoken to anyone. Four days of walking with my thoughts takes a toll on my mood. I knew there would be more days like this and I'll pull through, no problem. But if I don't get some of this down on paper, I may just hit a bottle. I really can't afford the luxury of imbibing... I checked my bank account today and it's incredible how much cash Western Europe has burned. I'm really starting to worry about making it through seven more months. Holy God! Seven more months!? It feels like a jail sentence or time serving a tour of duty in my head. Days of solitude make me forget why I'm doing this.

If you've got someone close, give him or her a hug. If you know someone that has no one, call 'em or pay 'em a visit. Me, I can't be helped just yet. But worry not, I'm never alone as long as I got me.

The mark of a the immature man is that he wants to die nobly for a cause, while the mark of the mature man is that he wants to live humbly for one. - Wilhelm Stekel [Catcher in the Rye]

More Moleskine scribblings from Fashion Cafe Bar in Colchester, 5/28/07:

Sure people'll miss you when you're gone but life goes on. Unless you have some sort of strong bond or tie... whatever you want to call it. Then, when you leave, life becomes unbearable without you for an unspecified duration. You can't leave when there's that sort of relationship. If you do, it's going to be almost equally as tough on both ends. I didn't have that. And now I'm here, wanting that.

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Thanks Paul!

My friend Dan in England told me to look out for tasty Indonesian food while I was in Amsterdam, particularly the Rijsttafel or rice table. As soon as I got into Amsterdam from Prague, I was starving. I found a place called Restaurant Selecta listed in my I Amsterdam guide so I peeped it out. Thankfully, Paul N. helped a brother out and got the check for one of my meals which happened to be the best meal I had in Amsterdam. The traditional rijsttafel at Selecta features soup, spring roll, egg, chicken skewer, fried banana, pickled vegetables, braised beef, pork, veggies in coconut milk, green beans, tofu and veggies in peanut sauce, fried chicken, rice, and roasted coconut and peanuts. A substantial meal for one person.

Afterwards, I happened across the Heineken Brewery. I had a few bucks left over so I relaxed and enjoyed the Heineken Experience. Wish you could have been there Paul. Let me know if you're ever on this side of the planet again. I've got the next round.

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Thanks Melissa C.!

Lovely Melissa kicked down some dough via so I used it to eat like Czech royalty at U3 Cernych Ruzi near the castle in Prague. I had a delicious goulash with a couple of nice American girls.

The next day, I met a couple of cool Canadians and had an incredible meal and conversation. Honey duck with Carlsberg dumplings (I wish I had my camera). Yum yum yum! We sampled each other's meals so I got a taste of boar's meat and some flavorful potato gnocci in my friend Michael's Czech Pan... a meal so big the three of us couldn't finish it. Don't mess with Czech gnocci folks.

Glad you had a great time in Mexico, Mel. Miss ya!

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Thanks Carol & John

While I was in Poland, Carol and John sponsored a few of my delicious meals (I spread the money out since things were cheaper). One evening I had delicious potato pancakes in cream sauce and a sampling of three types of boiled pierogis at U Babci Maliny near the market square. It was a yummy meal after my long walk around the Nowa Huta complex.

The next day, after my tour of Auschwitz-Berkenau, I met a few Americans for a super meal near the main square again. This time I tried a sour Polish soup called Zurich, Bigos (a stew of sauerkraut with meat and sausage), and potatoes. A fantastic end to a heavy day.

Hope the ranch is growing and the horses are running free. Talk to you soon!

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Over 1 Million Views

Over one million views of my gut in Azad's L'Oreal commercial on YouTube. (I was slouching... so my stomach was sticking out.. oh nevermind)

L'Oreal Not for Women


Going Going, Back Back... Haarlem Haarlem. Saturday morning I hopped a 15 minute train from Amsterdam Central to Haarlem. I've been told that my ancestors come from this beautiful little city, south of Amsterdam. The Harlem of New York gets its name from this place. Initially, the streets reminded me of Colchester in England but as I got closer to the Market Square, things looked a bit more Dutch (Canals help). The first thing I noticed was the lack of tourists. If you've grown tired of Amsterdam's tourist chaos and would like to see the quaintness of a Dutch town and the locals out and about with their families on a weekend, go to Haarlem. Around the square, there's shopping a plenty. I've told people that I won't buy anything that doesn't fit in my stomach but with four blisters on my feet, I convinced myself to pick up a pair of Italian Geox shoes. What a relief from sweaty, hot feet.

I was starving so I bought a fresh fruit salad (I can't tell you how happy fresh cut fruit makes me) and a bag of different bread rolls. I walked down random streets munching on bread and happened upon the Haarlem history museum. I spent a bit of time in there and talked to one of the guides before looking at the Amsterdam Gate (the remaining piece of the wall that was once built around the city) and a beautiful windmill. It was a very nice afternoon. The crowds started to build up so I headed back to Amsterdam for a dinner of Dutch Pancake. I read Catcher in the Rye for the rest of the evening and crashed early to give my feet a rest.

Today I'll say my goodbyes to Amsterdam and head to the "New York of Holland", Rotterdam for the night. I hope I figure out how to keep myself occupied with no hostel there.



After Dark

In the evening, the Red Light District is full of tourists, gawking at the girls in nothing but skimpy underwear, beckoning men as they walk by. Aggressive girls will open their glowing doors and shout at you to come have a look. One girl even grabbed me by the shirt sleeve.

After midnight, the crowds thin out and what's left are the ultra-drunk groups of men (there are pretty wasted women in the mix- Girl after taking a shot of something from a little white cup: "Wooo! Let's go! That was a good shot" She stumbles a bit. Guy friend: "Heh heh, are you okay?" with general concern for her ability to walk across the canal bridge) who walk up and down salivating. Often there's one guy who's singled out from the group who everyone else is determined to get laid. I watched as they held one guy up to a lamp post and looked him in the eye, pumping him up, trying to convince him. The guy was so drunk I don't think he could have had sex with himself. They soon gave up and he stumbled behind (apparently he was up for a live sex show but they ignored his request). The other scene is watching one guy go in for 'service' as his buddies wait outside. After about five minutes, they grow impatient and leave. If they do stick around, loud cheers erupt as their hero emerges.

After midnight, the streets also fill up with drug dealers. They flank you on both sides of the street, seemingly choosing targets. As you walk by you'll hear them whisper "cocaine", "smoke", "ecstasy", etc. Shake your head and keep walking. Late at night when there are only drunks and dealers left on the streets, you get a bit paranoid with people following you down dark alleys.

Notes: If you do decide that you need the services of a prostitute, here are the basics based on my observation and survey work. You walk the streets and find someone desirable. There are girls of all types. Skinny, fat, young, old, dark, light, fake, real. Walk right up to the door and ask for prices. For a dreamy girl that you only see in pornos, 50 Euros will get you S or F. You pay first. The woman will take you into a private room (some rooms open onto the street so a privacy curtain will be pulled closed) and take care of you. There is usually no touching. If you want to touch, it's another 50 Euros and then you're welcome to do what you like. (Hygiene: They provide protection, a sink, and paper towels. But the surfaces used for the transaction are not changed afterwards. A handy towel is placed on the bed and helpful black lights may be used to spot, spots.)


Drunk and Stoned

No, I haven't been drunk or high in Amsterdam but it seems like everyone else is, all day long. From 10am smokes fills coffee shops to 2am booze and horniness fill groups of men. I just realized that this is the second blog today, though it is 2am and I've just returned from the Red Light District. Before we get to that, a recap of the evening...

I went for a canal boat ride which was pretty chill. It was nice to see a canal's point of view zig-zagging around the city. As I looked at the buildings along the canal, I kept wondering why there are hooks at the top of many of them. Anyone know? I'm thinking it was for some sort of pulley system? Or maybe to hang flowers?

Next was the Van Gogh museum. Also very chill as DJ Goldfinger was spinning beats as museum visitors explored Vincent's life in paintings. I daydreamed about having the life of an artist and being able to leave behind pieces of the world through my eyes.

Then dinner. I thought about Dutch pancakes but it was a little too late so I headed over towards the Red Light District in search of cheap eats. The cheap eats were mostly junk food so I popped into a place called Eat Mode featuring 'Asian Fusion'. Gyoza and Chicken Chow Mein it is. I thought about seeking out some nightlife so I hopped a tram to Rembrantplein which is a major square filled with bars and French style cafes. It was a bit dead so I went to Leidseplein (plein means square btw). On the tram I actually watched a team of two pickpockets trying to rob an Indian couple. It was wild. One guy positioned himself to the left and reached for the man's bag by going under his jacket (so it looked like he was reaching into his own coat, he may have even had a whole in the other side). His partner acted as a lookout and a cover. They kept glancing back at me but I pretended to be in a stoned haze or something. I was really trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do. Do I rat them out and get stabbed? Do I bring it to the couple's attention? Fortunately, the Indian man felt his backpack being unzipped and reached around to close it. This all happened as I was getting off at Leidseplein so I don't know what the pickpockets did. In hindsight, I should have said something as I got off but I was in sort of a mental haze.

The square was pretty jumpin' but I strolled around a bit and decided that I couldn't really make any moves solo so I went back to the hostel. I realized that there will be certain things that I can't really do without the appropriate 'partners in crime'. My hostel room (did I mention there are 19 beds in it?) was taken over by a dozen rowdy Spaniards from Barcelona. After they left to go out, I washed up and decided to see why one shouldn't visit the RLD after midnight.

I'll let you know tomorrow.


Monk of the World Spirit

I've had a bit of a heavy day so far viewing photos of conflict and suffering from around the world. First was the Foam gallery where there was a fantastic exhibition of photo journalist/activist James Nachtwey. His coverage of Rwanda, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Iraq, Romania, Somalia, and Chechnya got me thinking hard about my purpose in life. When you start to become aware of things that happen outside of your own little world, you wonder what you can do to well, do your part. I'm standing there staring at photos of atrocities against humankind and I'm thinking- I'm a single, healthy, somewhat educated man who has the opportunity to do just about anything. What AM I going to do?

Have some frites of course. While I was eating my fries, I saw these two girls that I'd seen yesterday writing bikes. I was standing outside of the Rijksmuseum and this lovely girl with short black hair, big sunglasses, and short jean shorts rolled by, head scarf blowing in the wind. It was dreamy. A cute blond followed behind. Later in the evening, I saw them again, walking through the red light district. Once again, I had nothing to say. And today, as I on some church steps munching away, there they were again! In least creepy way I could, I followed them. But alas, they weren't going where I was going...

If Nachtwey's photos weren't enough, I headed to the World Press Photo exhibition at Oude Kerk. These photos won top prizes in photojournalism and featured coverage of world events, sports, and nature. My brain was full. So I've headed back to the hostel to read some Catcher in the Rye.

I want to be a lover AND a fighter.


Red Lights and Coffee Shops

I went for a walk through the Red Light District in Amsterdam. It was pretty fascinating. Streets and alleys of windows that glowed. Inside small rooms women of all types and sizes winked at you, tapped on the glass to grab your attention, or just talked on their cell phones. Completely legal. I admit, a couple caught my attention but I never thought of 'love' being a financial transaction.

Throughout the day, I also kept smelling something familiar. Ah, yes, marijuana. Also legally sold in 'coffee shops'. You just go in, ask for a menu, and pick your poison. Papers and pipes provided. As you pass these joints (heh) you're treated to doorways wafting smoke out onto the streets.

Amsterdam is similar to Prague in that it's a haven for people who want to party (I watched a girl puke her guts out on the sidewalk and another guy passed out in a doorway with the biggest smile on his face). For a lonesome dude from Cali, it wasn't of much interest other than for anthropological studies. Research ma, research!

Today, more museums!



I met a mother and son staying in my room last night in Prague and we had a great dinner together where I had duck and a taste of boar meat. Thanks again, Melissa! We had some fantastic conversation about the journey of life. We took a stroll through the Old Town Square and I turned in relatively early so I could wake up at 4:30am to catch my flight to Amsterdam.

The homeless shelter, I mean, hostel I'm staying at is right near the central station and other than the free internet, that's where the positive ends with this place. The good thing is, I got myself and I Amsterdam card and I've been out on the streets hitting museums, restaurants (this time sponsored by Paul N.!), and a brewery.

I don't have much time to blog in the hallway of this hostel but I do have to comment that my visit to the Anne Frank House was especially emotional this morning after the Auschwitz visit earlier this week. A girl, a talented writer... losing her life for no reason. It killed me to read quotes on the wall and see where she and her family hid for so long. And to die a month before the liberation, I couldn't breath in there. There is some justice in her dream of having a book published coming true posthumously.

I headed to the Rijksmuseum after lunch but got completely sidetracked when I came across the Heineken Brewery. I must say, it was a pretty fun experience and lightened up the day a bit.

This Heineken link may take you to a video greeting, I have no idea.

Eventually, I escaped the brainwash and free beer and made it to see some lovely Rembrandt and Vermeer paintings. I think it's nap time and then maybe a canal boat ride or some strolling around town. I hope to make it to Haarlem this weekend and Rotterdam Sunday evening where I'll fly back to London.

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Thoughts from the Train Station

From my Moleskine while waiting in Kolin train station:

One thing I regret is not being able to present the level of WTHness I've experienced on this trip. I'm constantly feeling lost. Not knowing local languages keeps me in this state as I'm trying to navigate through train and bus terminals. Important information is constantly being squawked out of speakers all around. Signs are written in combinations of letters I've never seen before, each with additional accent marks and decoration that raise my eyebrow. I wish I could videotape every moment but it just doesn't feel safe to do while I'm traveling alone. (unfortunately for you, I've also kept my still camera in my pocket most of the time... I still haven't gotten over the idea that holding any electronics in my hands says "please rob me" while also stealing my attention away from would-be pick pockets. American paranoia or street smarts, you tell me)

But this navigating through country after country, made me think about how we all have to navigate through life. Life certainly isn't clear all of the time. We're constantly getting lost along the way, but we tread on to our destination. Sometimes we're late getting there but we make it. I think we have to remember how much we learn on the journey.

Getting lost familiarizes us with places we've never been. I've been in Prague one day and I was surprised today (and sort of impressed with myself) at how quickly I walked out of my hostel, hopped a tram to I.P. Pavlova, jumped on the C metro train, and ended up eating a sausage in Wenceslas Square for lunch, in less than 20 minutes. I got here yesterday.


Long Walks Through a Czech-ered Past

More and more wandering through old cities. After filling my empty belly with the breakfast buffet at the Czech Inn, I set out on the town to see the Old Town Square, the beautiful Charles Bridge, the Jewish Quarter (Josefov), and Prague Castle. I'd been planning to do a bike tour of the city since my sweaty, aching feet were growing tired of walking hills all morning but as I searched for the bike rental place, I realized that I hadn't really seen anyone on bicycles around town except for messengers. So I hoofed it the rest of the afternoon.

The fatigue made things seem less than impressive. What I did like was the extremely ornate art nouveau building facades. Very ornate, I kept thinking. And the top corners of every building had really incredible spires. I believe the city is called "city of a thousand golden spires" or something like that. So I spent a lot of time looking up. I also sought out a building called the "Dancing House" which was designed by Vlado Milunc and the American Frank Gehry. The curvy modern design was apparently inspired by Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Note: When visiting Prague and buying a metro/tram ticket, make absolutely sure that you validate your ticket by slipping it into one of the yellow validation machines at the entrance to Metro stops or inside trams. The fine is a stiff 500Kc which is collected on the spot. I heard from at least six people who were fined just as they arrived. Welcome to Prague, gimme your money, American! (I bought a three day pass and validated it after hearing observing the similar tram situation in Krakow)

Back at the hostel, I met my roommates who were all Americans. In fact, the hostel is like living in a college dorm at some American college. I joined a couple of them, Rebecca and Ally, for dinner at Cernych Ruzi near the castle. I had a really yummy meal of goulash, salad, and cake (Thanks Melissa!) The rest of the night I walked around town til very late at night. Oh! I even ran into a prostitute! As I walked by, I thought this girl said, "Six". I was thinking, six what? Maybe she wants 6Kc because I'd run into beggars in Poland who wanted 1z all of the time (which gets you a pretzel, 1Kc gets you almost into a bathroom here). Anyhow, ten feet later I realized she said, "Sex?" So I turned around and said, Yes, of course I'd like sex. How about for six?

Okay, I said nothing and kept walking but I did see some shady tourist dude dealing with another one a few steps away. Good times in Prague.

Notes: I'm told that a lot of British men come to Praha for stag parties. I overheard one person saying that it's almost like Las Vegas for them. Cheap booze, cheap women. Small casinos on various corners. Who knows?

Tonight, I'll try to see about this Vegas business. Right now, I've gotta figure out how to get to my 6am flight to Amsterdam tomorrow.


Auschwitz Recap

On Monday I hopped a train to Auschwitz (it sounds kind of odd yes)from Krakow. I did a lot of thinking on that train trip and I was actually in a 'blah' kind of mood to begin with. Once I got there I did a little investigating and decided to slip into an English tour that was already in progress. The Auschwitz extermination camp was slightly surreal at first, the trees and plush grass almost made it seem a bit pleasant. It wasn't registering that this had been the site of some of the most heinous mass-murdering of a people in history. Our guide took us through the barracks, one by one, each containing an exhibit on the camp's history such as where the Jews and political prisoners were shipped in from (I honestly didn't remember that people were brought in from just about every corner of Europe), how the camps were constructed and run, and what life was like for people held there. The general idea was that the Nazis had decided to eradicate a whole race of people and they were trying to do it as efficiently as possible. Hundreds of thousands arrived. Some were already dead, some died while waiting, those who did not die during the voyage were separated into two groups. Those who could work and those who would wait to be killed by gas, injection, torture, and even brutal experimentation.

Exhibit after exhibit we'd see things like tons of human hair harvested and sold for the German textile industry, thousands of shoes, suitcases, toothbrushes, and other possessions... and yet, it wasn't really registering. It's literally unbelievable that anyone could have set up such an organized system for murdering men, women, and children (a woman showing up with a baby in her arms was an instant death sentence).

Yet, it still happened. An inappropriate 10-minute crush on my tour guide. Out of respect for the ultimate experience, I won't go into details but I eventually snapped out of it and left the tour group to contemplate. I grabbed a quick soup lunch while I waited for the bus to Birkenau, the second, larger extermination camp built in Auschwitz.

It was a terribly hot day and I was a bit worn. When the bus arrived at Birkenau, I swallowed hard. In front of me was a 125-acre camp that contained the remains of barracks as far as the eye could see. Most were just chimney stacks that hadn't crumbled after the wood had around them. I walked through a few of the barracks and witnessed miserable living conditions. I tried to imagine thousands of Jews and prisoners arriving by train through the gates. At one end of the camp were the ruins of two incinerators where the dead were cremated. A memorial lies between them. The shear size of this camp was what made it finally hit me. I had had enough and I was ready to move on.

Notes: The Krakow to Auschwitz train cost 11z from Glowny station and took about 50minutes. From the Auschwitz train station (Oswiecim), you catch a quick 2z bus to the museum. You can also take a longer bus ride for 7z each way, also run by PKP. Once at the museum, the tour is free but you should register with the reception area and wait for the next tour in your language (or you can slip into one in progress). There is a film to view as well for an additional cost. Although the museum is free, 5 0r 10z donations are accepted to help with the preservation of the grounds.

...As I made my way through the grounds, I saw many people in tears. Many had come to light candles or leave flowers. But one thing that irked me were people posing for photos around the camps. At Birkenau, I actually saw tourists smiling as they stood on the train tracks for a photo. I dunno...

...I've been visiting several Jewish districts while traveling through Poland and the Czech Republic. Often, it is mentioned that there aren't that many Jews living in these areas anymore whereas there were thousands before World War II. Seeing these Death Camps, it just boggles my mind to think about the loss of these communities...

On the bus ride back, I did meet a couple of great guys from New York who chatted with me about our travels. We went back to the Market Square and had dinner with a couple from Atlanta. I realized that I had been silent from the moment I left my hostile to go to Auschwitz in the morning (I did say 'mushroom' soup to the restaurant lady at lunch) until I had met them on the bus. It was nice to end a heavy afternoon with a great dinner and new friends. (Hey guys!)

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I have a lot of blogging to catch up on but I'm at an expensive internet cafe and can't afford to bore you with more field reports. I do have to share my last day in Poland with you at some point which involved spending most of the afternoon at Auschwitz Extermination Camps and racing after trains. (Faisal, I kept hearing you say 'ya, Krakow' in my head. Happy Birthday man... though after actually going to a concentration camp, the joke's lost something)

I did make it safely to Prague in the Czech Republic via my first night train trip (complete with rambling Russian woman who eventually got kicked off the train). I'm staying at the Czech Inn for two nights. I've taken a lot of photos and done too much walking already so I'm about ready for a nap and then maybe a pub crawl.

Thursday morning I'll be heading to Amsterdam for the weekend. Each European city I get to gets more and more crowded with tourists. But I must say, some of these tourist girls are incredible looking. ::sigh::

Oh! Magda sent me a link to some Soup Festival photos. Check 'em out.

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How Poland Conquered My Stomach

Kinga and Magda walked me around Nowa Huta yesterday. It's this master-planned community developed at the beginning of the 50's by Soviet architects. It's a city within a city really where steel mill workers were supposed to live in communist harmony. It's immense and very uniform. We headed to the gates of the factory and watched the workers for a bit, drinking beers in the park after their shifts.

Back near the Market Square, I was introduced to pierogis at U Babci Maliny's. I made the mistake of ordering potato pancakes and pierogi which are these dumplings that resemble ravioli, stuffed with different sorts of things. Carol and John had this meal covered via I'll have proper photographic evidence later. As hungry as I was, I could only eat three of the fifteen pierogi on my plate. I almost always finish my meals. But these things were much too heavy. Plus there was this strange pork fat sprinkled over the top that started to unsettle the potato pancakes I'd already consumed. My American appetite, finally beaten by Poland. I'll get you next time Babci Malini, next time.



I found myself in a crowded market square in a Jewish district of Krakow called Kazimierz. Magda had instructed me to meet her and her friends at the corner of Estery street in front of a pub. I'd never seen her before so there were a few moments where I tried to make eye contact with the wrong girls. Then there was the soup line. There must have been about sixty people queued up for soup. So I told her on the phone that I was waiting by "the soup line", my thinking was, anyone would notice a crazy line for soup. The kicker was, it just happened to be the annual Festival of Soups. So there were about thirty lines for soup throughout the area. Anyway, guess you had to be there.

We finally found each other and I was starving. Soup sounded like a good treatment for my worsening cold so I asked Magda's boyfriend, Martin, how much the soup was. It was FREE! Free soup. Can you believe it? Delicious homemade soup served all over the place. No wonder there were hundreds of people lined up. So we sampled seven soups around the district, served out of pubs, doorways, and on the street. It was great. Afterwards we hung out at a pub for a bit and discussed language, the bubble Americans live in, and why we give a hoot about Lindsey Lohan or Paris Hilton.

We moved on to Monica's apartment and had a traditional Polish imbibing session with Zubrowka and pickled cucumbers (homemade by Mon's grandmother). Magda also treated me to a taste of Soplica vodka which has a sweeter flavor of caramel and some sort of nut.

The night gets blurry from that point. I recall us going to a night club and me dancing like a crazy American for a long time. Zubrowka will do that to me I guess (it really is the formula for dancing, Yasmin). Before we concluded the night, I had to try this Polish street snack that I couldn't even begin to try to spell which is basically a baguette with melted cheese and ketchup. They dropped me off at Mama's Hostel and I sat in a chair waiting to use the internet, but passed out in a few minutes. I woke up several hours later (the keys to my room laying on the floor where they had dropped from my hand) and stumbled to my bunk for some rest.

Today I'm off to meet Magda and Kinga to do some touring of Krakow. Tomorrow I'll try to hit Auschwitz and take a night train to the Czech Republic.


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Krakow, Poland

Arrived safely in Krakow. It's quite lovely here, I'll try to take more photos. Got lost on the bus for at least and hour and a half. Mama's Hostel is pretty nice, nicest hostel yet. I'm showered up and starving. Heading to Kazimierz to meet Azad's Polish friend.

Ever get one of those ear aches on the plane because the pressure builds up in your sinuses? Miserable.


Late Night Pint Aggravation

Last night in Dublin. I have to be up in four hours to catch my plane to Krakow. I wandered around the city a bit today. When I moved to the Kinlay House hostel, I met an english/history teacher from central Ireland. He took me on a walk of Dublin and I listened to a brief history of Ireland, it's independence, and the whatnot. It was actually pretty interesting walking through Dublin sights with a Irishman. We got a couple of our hostelmates, one from Israel and one from Italy together and met up at Brogan's Pub down the street. Thing was, I went to the Octagon Bar, owned by U2's Bono, for some food. But after 8pm, they only serve 'cured meats'. I did have a couple of pints, courtesy of my lovely friend, Yadira, back in the states. I did a lot of people watching and observed the bartenders racing around fixing mojitos and other Clarence hotel classic cocktails.

Ah, the point is, I was two pints to the wind when I met the other hostelers for a couple of pints. After Brogan's, we went to a place called Cafe Seine (as in Paris) off of Grafton Street. (Grafton is a very fancy shopping area with the likes of Louis Vuitton and so forth, it's beautifully lit at night, like a movie set). I went to the toilet at the crowded club and when I escaped, everyone was gone. As I made my way out, an Irish guy scolded me for 'pushing' too much. This only aggravated me further and I sure as heck pushed even harder until I was free on the streets of Dublin. Nothing but foreigners left in Temple Bar. I stopped at a burger/hot dog stand and refused to pay 4 Euros for a burger. Instead, I called Shilpa out of the blue and shouted at people on the street. No one paid attention. So here I am, back at the hostel, tappa tapping away at the keyboard at 2 am. Mmm, someone's making toast in the kitchen even though it's supposed to be closed. I'm going to go release my feet from my stank shoes and sleep for three hours. When I awake, it's a race to Poland.

Hopefully, I'll have better adventures to share. Wait, wait... let me share some excerpts from poems and things the english/history teacher had when I tried to explain how socially inept I am:

'Putting on a face, to meet the faces that you meet.

Polite meaningless word.

One may smile and smile, and be a villain.

Those are daggers in men's smiles.


Friday? Dublin.

I've kind of lost track of what day it is. I find that this is pretty easy to do when you've thrown all sense of routine out of your life. Today, I'm going to seek out more Irish 'culture' at the Jameson Distillery. I also have to change hostels as the one I'm in is booked for the weekend. I'm hoping the new one doesn't have a slimy shower floor. That's right, slimy! It's gross. The drain is super slow so soap scum and pubes just kind of sit on the floor waiting to welcome your feet. Too graphic? Welcome to hosteling.

I'm also planning to recruit someone to accompany me through Temple Bar my last night here. Still looking for Bono and still haven't actually stepped foot into a pub. At least I'm saving money that way.

Saturday morning, I have an early flight to Krakow, Poland. (No Belfast this time, J&C) A whole new currency and language to deal with. See ya!


Opposites Attract, 5-minute Fancy

I walked through Temple Bar last night to do a little people watching. I thought about checking out this club to listen to music but nothing seemed to be going on while it was still free to get in so I moved on. There are about 6 million pubs in Dublin but I didn't really feel like going into any of them without a partner in crime. Nor could I bring myself to approach people on the streets (though I'm always on alert for opportunities). I even returned to the hostel to recruit some revelers but people were either asleep or too young and French (that wasn't a crack against the French, just a rant at the French high school kids that took over the hostel and made the hallways smell like moist body odor... and they wouldn't shut up til 1 in the morning).

What I did find on the streets were a couple of very beautiful girls walking in the opposite direction. One was this kind of French looking girl, dark hair up in a pony tail, with this bewildered look in her eyes as she took in all of the sights and sounds of Temple Bar. After I saw her, I actually stopped and stood in an alley running through un-creepy ways to approach her and her friends. That's the difference between a 5 and 10-minute fancy (I use the word fancy instead of crush because the word crush bugs a British friend), no snappy pick-up line or daydream fantasy. Just a moment of being stunned and helpless.

It happened again on the way back to the hostel. A girl was walking right towards me. She wore this sort of, I don't know how you'd describe it, sort of a newsboy cap, and had shoulder length light brown hair. She resembled Jessica Alba a bit but wasn't as movie-star skinny. I stared right at her, drinking it all in and she looked right at me and smiled. Problem was, I did one of those smiles back that aren't really smiles. It feels like my facial muscles have done enough to create a smile but it's really just my lips stretched wider with no curvature. We went our opposite ways and I just kept thinking, show teeth next time, you idiot.

Attempted Smile,

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Perfect Pint

I got lost through Dublin today, trying to find the Guinness Storehouse where tourists can discover the history of Guinness stout and how it's made. You end the tour with the option of learning how to pour the perfect pint, complete with a certificate that says you did so. Corny but it killed a couple of hours. I did also try Guinness Foreign Extra stout which has a 7.5% abv. Strong stuff that's not really sold in the states. As I floated out of the place, I accosted a couple of Americans from Washington D.C. We grabbed some lunch in Temple Bar and had a nice chat about life and travels. I often forget how old I am until I meet college aged travelers. I'm happy that so many young folk are taking the opportunity to wander. And I envy their free-for-all ability to party like it has no effect on the liver.

(While at Guinness, I scribbled the following into my Moleskine notebook): Chiming in from the Guinness Storehouse. I've sampled a pint and a half (and had the honor of pouring the perfect pint) of Guinness Draught and I'm almost through a bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra stout. And all I can think about is pretty girls. All I wonder about right now is who I will meet and be completely in love with. The brunette upstairs at the Gravity bar, from God knows what country, or the dirty blond {hair that is} who's drinking strong beer with her white-haired father. I can't wait. Someday the stars will align and I'll be on another love adventure. Watch out ladies!

Sorry mom, beer is part of the 'culture' here. I saw a church today, too. Bro, thanks again for the contribution, this tour of Guinness concludes your virtual adventure.

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Arthur's Seat, Edinburgh


This hike gave me blisters.

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Trip Notes: Week 3

A few notes for later. Great site for finding out which low-cost carriers fly between cities around the world. Discounts on train trips in the UK. For um, booking hostels.

I'm currently traveling with one duffel bag that has two pairs of jeans, two undershirts, five pairs of underwear, four pairs of socks, pajama pants, thermal shirt, light sweater, waterproof jacket, light zip-up sweatshirt, a sleep sack, a travel towel, assorted electronics, and a day pack. For the last few days, I've used the towel, underwear, socks, the jacket, and the sweaters. My toiletries fit into a 1 litre Ziploc bag per flight security regulations for carry on. If you can fit everything into a single carry on bag, you can save money by traveling low-cost airlines like EasyJet, RyanAir, SkyEurope, etc. who charge you up to $15 to check luggage.

I'm still debating whether or not to ship my laptop back once I get back to Paris. I haven't shot a shred of video yet but I'd hate to want the laptop at some point.

I washed clothes in a sink. Drying them is a pain in the butt. My feet have never smelled like this before.

I seek out food when I get hungry enough. I'll seek out people when I get lonely enough.

Momentary Lapse

Okay, okay, so I was freaking out a bit the last day or two. Hear me out, hear me out. It's one thing to say, hey, I'm going to quit my job of five years and travel around the world for eight months. But let me tell you, actually doing it is a whole other story. Let me remind people that a) I've never traveled anywhere for more than two weeks really b) I've always had a 'home' to return to c) I get miserably lonely sometimes.

That being said, it's been about three weeks. When you're traveling like I do, it means miles and miles (or kilometers and kilometers) of walking most days. Sweating, stinking, hunger, thirst, you name it. And I'm never staying in a private hotel room. I'm either trying to be inconspicuous at friend's homes or I'm staying in these, these hostels!

Hostel rant: Oh man, so I'm staying in my second hostel here in Dublin. Twelve people to a room, one bathroom. There's a couple sharing the bunk below me and they stole my pillow. Five or six of the people in my room snore. Someone's been coughing a lot and this morning the moment I dreaded had come- sickness. I had that awful sore throat you get right before a nasty cold. I sipped hot tea (and burnt my tongue!) in the kitchen this morning and it's feeling better. I wish I hadn't left my vitamins in Paris. The bathroom is nasty. I don't have 'shower' shoes. Actually I haven't showered yet. I'm going to wait til 3pm when the bathroom's been cleaned. Nor have I had my morning 'moment'. I really have to get over the fact that humans have to defecate and along with that comes plops and farts and wondrous sounds of the magical digestive system at work. And sometimes, at 7am, everyone's going to hear it regardless of how loud you believe the faucet is. I can't wait til the day when I can travel like a king, staying in hotels in fabulous places. But by then, I'll also being a working stiff. So for now, hostel-lujah to traveling like a stinky backpacker.

Where was I? Oh, no home. Whenever I'd traveled in the past, I always had a home to come back to with my own bedroom that smelled like sunflowers and honeybees (wha?), my OCD level clean bathroom, and my computer, TV, and whatever worthless doodads that give me comfort. On the bus the other day, I kept thinking about how I had completely closed up shop and now whatever made up that 'home' was spread across two cities in the US.

And the loneliness. Again, on another bus heading to another airport, I thought about how I had grown miserable and lonely in the states at times and here I was setting off on MY OWN to see the planet. I always had this mentality that I had to learn to be comfortable on my own before I could be comfortable being with someone else. At least that's what I'd tell myself to get through those quiet nights spent with cable TV. This journey was going to be a challenge. I was truly going to be forced to live with myself for a while. I'd meet people along the way but I'd never be anywhere long enough to have them available to me. At home, you've got family, coworkers, and the friends you can phone up (if they pick up) to hang out with. Right now that's gone.

I'm just giving you all an inside look at what's spinning through my head on this journey. I'll probably come cry on my blog now and then. Don't worry about it. Worse comes to worse, I'll just head home early (with a stop in Hawaii of course).


Edinburgh to Dublin

I spent a good day walking the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland from the castle to the palace. My favorite part of the day was hiking up Arthur's Seat, a volcanic mountain overlooking the city.

I didn't have much interaction with the locals (turns out they don't sound like Leprechauns afterall, it's the Irish that do... sorry) and I got a bit lonely so I phoned up anyone who may have been awake or just getting into work in California. I can't wait to see how much that cost me.

Today, I checked out of the Globetrotter Inn, a decent first time hostel experience, and rushed to the Museum of Scotland to see an exhibition called 20 Years of Pixar. When I got there I decided that I'd rather not spend 6£ ($12) to sort go back to work. (though I have recurring dreams where Disney hires me back... it's a little scary... am I yearning to return to the grind already?) Instead of seeing animation art, I rushed over to the National Gallery of Scotland to see some beautiful paintings by Van Gogh, Degas, Monet, and more. It was actually the most pleasant time I've had at an art museum in a while. I shot over to this sandwich joint on the Royal Mile called Fresco where I enjoyed another cheap sandwich, drink, and banana for £3.

Then it was off to Dublin. It was pouring rain when I got here and I missed the bus station and ended up walking around town for an hour and a half trying to find my hostel. When I found it, I also found Francesco, my new friend from Italy. We had a cheap dinner at some lousy chain called Abrekebabra. He's letting me use his laptop to bore you to death and let you know that I've made it to Ireland safely. I have no idea what there is to do here. But I'll sort it out.

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Been feeling a bit miserable. I ended up hibernating in my hostel bunk bed for about ten or eleven hours. I'm up early and I'm about to take a walk along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.

Thanks for the emails and comments everyone. I need the boosts on days like this. This morning I was staring out at this beautiful waterfront behind my hostel in Cramond. I realized this was the second time I was bummed out, staring at water, searching my phone for someone to call... realizing that it was too late or too early for everyone on the other side of the world to get a call from poor poor Tony who's sitting on a beach.

Sleep well.

In Scotland

It's pretty crazy beautiful in Edinburgh, Scotland. I ate a pile of pasta for lunch and now I have to find my hostel. I'm having trouble with the Scottish accent. It either sounds like a leprechan is talking to me or like there are marbles in their mouths. But don't tell them I said so... in fact, just kidding, please don't rob me.

HEY MOM- Tell Charley to check his email. I have some mailing requests.

Next Stop, Scotland...

Yasmin and I went out to a 'crazy hat' party at the White Hart Pub in the Kennington area of London over the weekend. We met a great bunch of successful young British people who all had been places and were going places. Unfortunately I was being the ultra quiet American most of the evening. I did get into random rants about the merits of animated feature films, the future of recycling, and the dumping of significant others for world travel. Yasmin lost her feathers by the end of the evening but I woke up on someone's couch the next day with my bullfighter's cap at my side. We'd planned to head to Oxford for the day but after missing our bus, we spent some time at the British Museum instead. I sleepily made my way through Greek ruins, Asian artifacts, and Egyptian mummies and gazed at the Rosetta Stone before shoving off back toColchester to recover.

My new itinerary for this week has me in Edinburgh, Scotland on Monday afternoon, Dublin, Ireland on Wednesday, and Krakow, Poland Saturday morning. I'll be staying in hostels for the first time on this leg of the trip. Most of these places I'll share rooms with 8-12 people, maybe with one bathroom ensuite. And Dan and Yasmin keep wondering why I won't leave Colchester.

-the Quiet American


Thanks Shilpa!

The other day I met Dan and Yasmin for lunch at a pub in Colchester. My friend Shilpa
had pledged to fill my stomach with steak but I had to try the "Giant Yorkshire with bangers (sausage), mash, peas, and gravy". I'd always thought that Yorkshire pudding was some sort of mushy bread pudding or something but it's basically a fluffy popover. This meal featured a 'giant Yorkshire' which turned out to be so large that they serve the meat and potatoes inside. It was another substantial meal (I also ordered breaded mushrooms to start). I almost skipped dinner, this thing filled me up so much. Hungrytime in the UK.

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Notes to Self

Smile more, mumble less.

Think less, do more.

The other day the words "approaching happiness" kept going through my head. It was as if I had finally escaped whatever was getting me down. I don't think I was running away from it, just trying to tackle issues by taking another look at them. Sometimes you have to get outside of the bubble and look in to see where the weaknesses are.

And then I hopped on to Myspace. For some reason, it brought me back to LA in an instant. I cringed a little. Self-judgement sentencing me to unhappiness all over again. I get excited though... knowing that these feelings can be dredged up by seeing a few photos or even a few names. I get excited over where I'll be a year from now. Things will be different, things will be the same.

Life goes on with or without you.


World is my Oyster

I've been sitting here in Colchester for two days trying to figure out where to head next. It's a very strange sensation having the freedom to do whatever I want. Problem is, I don't know what I want to do.

I'm thinking Scotland, Ireland, Poland, Czech Rep., Germany, Holland, and back to London to pick up my passport before Spain. Sounds exciting enough. Let's see if I can actually get it all arranged.

By the way, I haven't been taking many photos or videos lately. I haven't gotten into the groove yet. If there's something you'd like to see, leave me a comment.


10-minute Crush

I mentioned the phenomenon of quick crushes in a previous post and one of my friends requested that I keep track of these girls in my blog. Basically, I encounter very pretty girls wherever I go and I usually don't say a word to them. I immediately start to fantasize about winning them over, usually with a cheesy pick up line, and watch as we fall for each other and live happily in our big house in the hills with my padded piano room and collection of black and white animals in the backyard (sorry, those were two inside jokes for my benefit).

So let's get started:

Paris- Bag check girl at the Louvre.

She was a young French girl with brown hair. I gave her my backpack and she asked me something in French. I looked lost and confused. Then she asked, 'English?... Do you have anything valuable in your bag?' I said no and left. After walking through the museum for a few hours I was excited to retrieve my bag.

Fantasy pick-up line: 'You're more beautiful than anything I've seen in this museum today.'

Reality: She was gone when I went to pick up my bag. A bald guy was in her place. But as he was getting my bag, she came back, saw me, and said, 'Bonsoir'. I smiled and shuffled away quickly. I danced home listening to Feist.

London- Nightclub girls.

I was dancing in a sweaty nightclub and spotted three brunettes throughout the night. I even bumped booties with one of them on the dance floor. But I said nothing and two of them eventually left as it got later. The one who remained wasn't being hassled by Caribbean dudes. She sat on a the edge of a table for a while. I kept trying to figure out if she knew I was shooting her glances.

Fantasy pick-up line: 'You look hot, can I buy you a cold drink?' The American accent would only intrigue her.

Reality: I said nothing and left with my friends to have Arab food. The next day, I state to my friend, 'In America, they would refer to me as a p#$$&.'


Consulate Craziness

I headed into London today to see if I could get an Iranian travel visa. I spent 3 hours in line for nothing. They told me it would take 14 days which would mean my passport would be unavailable... basically, I'd be stuck in England where everything costs twice as much as the U.S. Afterwards, I jammed over to the American embassy to see if I could get a second passport. They say only 21% of Americans have a passport. Well, in 10-15 days, I will have TWO passports. I wish I had done this earlier. If I had two passports, I could travel on one while applying for visas on the other. This is usually only available for people traveling on business but a young dude traveling all over the place for 8 months also seems to qualify.

I'm gonna sleep now.



A Night in London Proper

Great friends, delicious food, ridiculous fun... I'm having a blast in London. I've been staying in Colchester with Yasmin and Dan, who've been taking very good care of me. When I arrived, we headed to a Brazilian chiaroscuro to fill up on meats on skewers, yucca, vegetable rice, cheesy bread balls, and loads of other eats. Their friends Flor and Simon soon joined us and we headed to Curve Bar for salsa night.

When I got to London, I was still in 'foreign land' mode. I kind of forgot that people speak English here. Every now and then I still feel like I have to speak slowly so people can understand what I'm saying. Then again, there are words and phrases that I use here that amuse and confuse people. Ex. It's flatmates, not roommates. It's the boot in the reat of the car, not a trunk. And it's vodka with ice, not vodka on the rocks (yelling 'vodka rocks' may get you a bottle of Corona in a loud bar)

The next morning we had croissants, scrambled eggs, and juice before heading out to Bromley to drop off the car. We grabbed lunch at Miso where I had some yummy Udon and duck. I'm so glad I set up before I left. London's hideously expensive. Imagine all of the prices being comparable to the United States. That is, A plate of noodles is priced at say, 7£ which is fine here. In reality, it's $14 US dollars. That 6£ drink, not bad... except that it's $12 in the US. HUGE thanks to my brothers and Y for helping me stay fed this past week in London and Paris.

London's a great city with a cool mixture of modern architecture and buildings that are centuries old. Again, everywhere I pass through is like being in a film, from lush green countrysides to the posh streets of London. It's a transportation of mind and body that doesn't always register. I find myself spacing out sometimes. I keep thinking 'where am I, what am I doing here?'

The five of us strolled along the river Thames for a bit before finding a pub that served up some great steak and stilton pie. I amazed my British buddies by polishing off every bit of the heavy meal. We wandered around the streets a bit, hunting for a particular night club that we didn't know the name of. We finally found it and after a few drinks hit the crowded dance floor. Lots of bootie shaking going on.

A few lovely ladies caught my attention on the dance floor but I still wasn't ballsy enough to say hello even though Simon claimed my American accent would get me somewhere. I was having enough fun with our own ladies and couldn't be bothered anyhow. Besides, what's a Tony adventure somewhere without a ten minute crush that goes nowhere?

After we'd sweat ourselves out enough it was time to head to an Arab joint for some tea and late night eats. I snacked on an Egyptian dessert while the others passed around the Shisha and gobbled up lamb shawarma. It was a smoky atmosphere of Arab Londoners sobering up after clubbing or celebrating their birthdays with a five minute serenade blasting from the restaurant's PA system.

Finally, we rode the infamous 'night bus' back to Bromley. It was a quieter night on the double-decker bus, with only one fight below us, but I was fine not having to witness anyone vomiting in the aisles.

I was told stories of the unpredictability of the London night bus. The Tube stops running around midnight so intoxicated revellers have to hop a night bus to get back home. The rides can be filled with angry drunks, fist fights, and vomiting. Or you may end up dropped off far from your intended destination and having to hoof it home. Whatever the case, it beats drinking and driving!

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Thanks Charley!

After a stroll along the river in London, we popped into a pub that served a great selection of meat pies. My brother sent some funds my way through and I had a substantial British meal of Steak and Stilton (cheese) Pie served with mashed potatoes and vegetables, all covered in gravy. I had a nice pint of Guinness to wash it down. Thanks bro, I needed the 'foundation' for a night in London at the club.

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Thanks Yadira!

For lunch, we went to a noodle house in Bromley, England called Miso. Thanks to my friend Yadira's generous contribution to, I had a delicious plate of Duck with Udon noodles, a cup of tea, and fried shredded chicken. My mouth is watering just thinking about it again.

Y, I hope you had a great time at the wedding! Talk to you soon.

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I made it to London. I'm staying with good friends in Colchester. Don't hate. (Pisco, Perroni, Morgan Spice, Brahma, Tiger, Cherry Vodka, Rum Sour, Honey Pepper Vodka, Laphroaig)


Dreams and Dancing in the Street

I just woke up from a weird dream where I was returning to my old job with a promotion...and Will Farrellworked there. My buddy David was there, too. At some point we made some crack about how Will should pretend to play the jazz flute. Another guy mimicked the sound of a jazz flute but he was getting way out of hand with it. Oh, and I was cleaning confetti off of the floor of my half-cubicle. Dreams are rad.

Does this mean I'm ready to go back to work?

I picked up an ipod before I left on my trip since everyone was freaking out that I wasn't bringing music with me. So far I've used it to watch Battlestar Galactica (a show everyone recommended for the last two years but I refused to get into... I'm into it now) and to listen to Feist. I honestly have listened to Let It Dieand The Reminder at least seven to ten times this week. The other night I danced part of the way back from the Louvre.

I've started thinking about how I'm not heading back to the United States after this trip. It's a new sensation. From here, I just keep on going. And no American food for ages. Guh. Probably better for my health though.


More Art, Last Night

I lounged around Val's apartment being lazy into the afternoon. I can't believe how tired I've been. Bike rides and walking for kilometers wears me down. (The nice thing about being exhausted is that it keeps my hormones at bay, know what I mean?) I went to the Hotel de Ville to meet another Couchsurfing friend named Katie who's from the US. After lunch, gelato, and conversation we checked out modern art at the Centre Pompidou. Think Picasso, Matisse, Kandinsky, Man Ray, Gorky, etc. An afternoon wasn't enough to cover all of the museum thoroughly but it was good.

Val made dinner and afterwards we headed to a nearby cafe for chocolate cake and a drink. Now I've gotta pack my duffel for my flight to London tomorrow. Til we meet again, Paris.


P.S.- I think it's time to shave and wear sunscreen.

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Where You At?

Biking Across Paris

This morning I met Mado, a friend from, who showed me an amazing day in Paris. First we had lunch at Cafe de l'Industry where I tried Steak Tartare for the first time. It was slightly daring for me but I dove right in and enjoyed it. (Apologies to my vegetarian friends) Then we rented me a bike for 10 Euros and hit the streets of Paris. Let me tell you, it was wild to race between cars and speed through the crazy roundabouts. We hit different sights like Notre Dame, Hotel de Ville, and the Louvre before heading to Porte de Versailles to check out the Paris Expo for a bit. The expo was an odd faire that had everything from lowrider cars and skateparks to housewares and international foods.

After a long day of biking hard around the city, Mado treated me to a Moroccan iced mint tea, which completely hit the spot. I spent the rest of the evening viewing art at the Louvre. I'd missed the Richelieu wing last time I was here so I got caught up on my Rembrandts and Napoleon Apartments. Last time I was here, I found a less frequented bathroom in the Greek sculpture area. Always nice when you need "a moment". This time, I found one behind Louis XIII bedroom. It's kind of neat to pass through the rooms and furniture of French royalty on the way to my own "throne".

Pretty great day, but pretty exhausting, too. Night!

Labels: Thanks Walt!

You may have noticed that I have a section of the site called Feed Tony where you can send me money to sponsor one or more of my meals. In return, I'll post a photo or video greeting on the blog. My brother Walter generously made a donation at and today I enjoyed Steak Tartare at Cafe de l'Industry. It was pretty delicious. If you're not familiar with steak tartare, it's basically raw beef ground up and served with a raw egg yolk in the middle. It's accompanied by capers, chopped onion, and relish. So what I'm told is that you pour a dash of Worcestershire sauce on it, a dab of mustard, and you mix it all up. The meal came with a green salad and gratin. It was the perfect meal before my bike ride across Paris.

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Evening Walk

I've been staying near the Arc de Triomphe and last night I wandered out alone to hunt for some food and take in the pleasant evening weather. I forget how cool it is to walk the Parisian streets at night. It's like a movie set with tall, historical buildings lining every rue. I'd walked for a while when I caught a glance at the Eiffel Tour with its duel spotlight rotating across the moonlit sky. I decided to head towards it, to say bon soir.

When I arrived the streets were somewhat full with tourists. I walked to a couple of food stands until I settled on the least crowded and ordered a ham and cheese panini. Every meal I have on my trips is delicious after all of the walking I do. I try not to waste any of it (earlier in the day I was eating crumbs off of my pants). I munched on my sandwich while sitting at the steps of the Trocadero. Like Cuba, Paris is for lovers. I enjoy seeing all of the couples on trips together in Paris, totally swept away by the sight of the Eiffel Tower. Once an hour at night, people cheer and kiss when hundreds of lights start to sparkle all over it. I started to think that maybe the tower is the only thing prettier than the girls here. On my walk back, I snacked on a crepe with Nutella for dessert. Not a bad night in Paris.

I'm going to try to meet up with some couch surfers in Paris before I leave for London on Friday. It'll be nice to meet some new people and chat about the city.





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Location: United States A 29 yr old filmmaker from California traveled through Europe, Africa, Asia, and Australia/NZ over ten months from April 2007 to March 2008.

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