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Thursday, March 10, 2011

20 DAYS LEFT

20 DAYS LEFT

It's the final countdown! (Oh, you know I had to...)



MORE AMERICAN CUSTOMS

Thanks to Chris and Corey, I've got a couple more American customs.

Sarcasm. Most cultures in the world don't have it - Americans use it almost daily. (For people unfamiliar with it, if the weather is dismal and you say 'What beautiful weather we are having' you are either a mental case or using sarcasm. Or a farmer needing water for his crops. I know some cultures (Japanese) have no sarcasm in their culture and the person I was using it on from that culture had more than a bit of resentment toward it. I'm not saying Americans are the only culture to use this, but we do use it quite a lot. Note, sarcasm isn't understood to be such via typing. This is why people type things like 'sarcasm on' and 'sarcasm off'. It is pretty much a vocal thing.

Hand gestures. Aside from the 'American bird' aka 'flipping someone off' which has become universal, we also use the "OK" hand gesture or the thumbs up. While the 'thumbs up' is pretty universally understood, the OK gesture is not. I know last time I was in Germany it meant 'you are an asshole' - so use that one with care.



PIRATES

Wow, what an odd story this is on real life pirates.



TOTAL RECALL (2012)

In a total WTF moment, I came across this - they are going to redo it? Already? Really? I mean the original was only made in 1990 for gods sake! Is Hollywood so bereft of ideas they are now remaking movies after only 20 years? Apparently so... Surprised they haven't messed with more classics actually.



MOVIE REVIEW - UNDERWORLD 2003

Rewtching this one. It was good though I feel that the series really (as most of them do) went downhill as the movies continued to be made. I watched it because I couldn't find my copy of Undercover Blues or Queen of the Damned. Both of which I like better than Underworld.



MOVIE REVIEW - THE 13TH WARRIOR

I have no fucking clue why this movie lost fifty million dollars. Not a clue. It's an interesting movie, well done and it even had some good stars in it. It just didn't seem to catch peoples interest in theaters. Personally, I give it 8/10. Worth catching if you haven't seen it before.



ROMANIA

I interviewed a dynamic guy named Chris about it. For some reason I can't figure out, I called it Hungary a couple times. Wow, my brain is fried. Anyway, he gave me some information about Romania (not Hungary). I'm going to put it here with my comments in [] after it.

Canadians get a better reception. If you say you're Canadian, you'll have an easier time than if you say you're American. [I've been saying for years I'd LOVE to have a Canadian passport to travel under. Unfortunately, it would cost quite a bit to get one and I just don't have those kind of funds.]

Hostels are more interesting. You meet people who are interested in the same thing you are (traveling) and can find out more information and get involved with more activities than staying in a hotel, though there is less privacy and such.

Eastern European people are more receptive to talking and such.

Bucharest is more westernized and not a good example of Romania. Sibiu (pronounced "Sib-you" is a smaller town and a better example of Romania.

You have to 'get mad' not to get taken advantage of (monetarily) on rates for cabs, hostels, etc. People in eastern Europe have a vision that all Americans live in the '90210' world. They're going to think I own a beach house and fancy car somewhere. [If only they knew how little money I actually had.] Check ahead of time (with other travelers and such) to find out how much things actually cost - including hostels. [I didn't know that they'd rip you off on hostels - knew about the cabs but not the hostels.]

Go to Ceau┼čescu's place in Romania to see what greed (and being an emperor) feels like. [I've seen the place in various travel documentaries and his famous last speech on youtube. It would be interesting.]

Outside of Bucharest, there are a lot of people who have never met an American. [All those who know me well and are reading this - please imagine their impression of America if I am the only American they'd ever met. Oh, my god.]

He was last in Romania five years ago and overstayed his visa by three months. After the police yelling at him for a couple hours, he had to pay $50 which he suspects they kept. [This tells me that - at least as of five years ago - bribery is alive and well there. I should be OK.]

Although they ply you with drinks (constantly) that are pretty much 'moonshine', any display of public drunkenness is 'taken personally' - you can lose friends and such over that. But at the same time, it seems they may want to 'get you drunk' for the experience. [Fortunately, for me, when I get drunk I seek bed rather than going out and yelling at inanimate objects. I do the yelling at inanimate objects when I'm sober just because I'm crazy.]

If a young punk comes up and talks shit to you, just walk away. He may have several friends lying in wait around the corner who are waiting to come and help beat you up. [Unless things really change for me when I'm there, I'm fortunately not the kind of person people are interested in beating up or talking shit to. I'm just the fat crippled guy. I'm hoping this is not a big problem and thinking it probably won't be for me.]

If you travel by a train, getting a first class ticket is worth it as otherwise you may be sandwiched in with people who may not like you. [With how much space I take up they may not like me anyway.]

Hitchhiking is safe. It is also a good way to meet people. Hitchhiking there is a culturally accepted thing. [Looking forward to it.]

Don't reveal how much money you have on you. [Always good advice.]

Couch surfing. [Chris encouraged me to look up information on couch surfing as it's a good way to meet up with people and get my feet wet in a foreign country. I'll have to check it out. Also, they may have other 'stay with a family' things. I'll check it out but honestly, my plan is to go to an area and look for people in coffee shops (not the ones actively looking for me) and ask them. But it could be another resource - I'm not sure how much internet I'll have in some of these countries.]

In Eastern Europe, traveling abroad is seen as an attempt to educate oneself and adventurous, not as being a vagabond.

The Romanians are a passionate people.

Speak softly there. [I'm fucked.]

If you are relaxed and take up a lot of space (ie spread out) it can be seen as arrogance. [Interesting.]

Sex tourism is pushed. [Also interesting but I have noticed that most of the 'you have violated a major cultural taboo' things in other countries involve women. I will be cautious.]

As a side note, he thought one of the most interesting countries he visited was Israel. [Due to the huge problems that you run into when you have an Israel stamp on your passport I don't know if I'll be hitting this country soon. All of their neighbors fucking hate them.]

And on a totally unrelated to travel note we did discuss that many relationships often are a 'human crutch'. I put this in only because I think it's a great turn of phrase Chris came up with.

In conclusion, I'd like to thank Chris for his interesting views on Romania. I look forward to getting there and checking it out.

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PICTURES

{{2011}} London, GB | Rail N Sail | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Prague, Czech Republic | Budapest, Hungary | Sarajevo, Bosnia | Romania | Chisinau, Moldova | Ukraine: Odessa - Sevastopol | Crossed Black Sea by ship | Georgia: Batumi - Tbilisi - Telavi - Sighnaghi - Chabukiani | Turkey: Kars - Lost City of Ani - Goreme - Istanbul | Jordan: Amman - Wadi Rum | Israel | Egypt: Neweiba - Luxor - Karnak - Cairo | Thailand: Bangkok - Pattaya - Chaing Mai - Chaing Rei | Laos: Luang Prabang - Pakse | Cambodia: Phnom Penh | Vietnam: Vung Tau - Saigon aka Ho Chi Minh City

{{2012}} Cambodia: Kampot - Sihanoukville - Siem Reap - Angkor Wat | Thailand: Bangkok | India: Rishikesh - Ajmer - Pushkar - Bundi - Udaipur - Jodhpur - Jasalmer - Bikaner - Jaipur - Agra - Varanasi | Nepal: Kathmandu - Chitwan - Pokhara - Bhaktapur - (Rafting) - Dharan | India: Darjeeling - Calcutta Panaji | Thailand: Bangkok - again - Krabi Town | Malaysia, Malaka | Indonesia: Dumas - Bukittinggi - Kuta - Ubud - 'Full Throttle' - Gili Islands - Senggigi | Cambodia: Siem Reap | Thailand: Trat | Turkey: Istanbul | Georgia: Tbilisi

{{2013}} Latvia: Riga | Germany: Berlin | Spain: Malaga - Grenada | Morocco: Marrakech - Essauira - Casablanca - Chefchawen - Fes | Germany: Frankfurt | Logan's Home Invasion USA: Virginia - Michigan - Indiana - Illinois - Illinois - Colorado | Guatemala: Antigua - San Pedro | Honduras: Copan Ruinas - Utila | Nicaragua: Granada | Colombia: Cartagena | Ecuador: Otavalo - Quito - Banos - Samari (a spa outside of Banos) - Puyo - Mera

{{2014}} Peru: Lima - Nasca - Cusco | Dominican Republic | Ukraine: Odessa | Bulgaria: Varna - Plovdiv | Macedonia: Skopje - Bitola - Ohrid - Struga | Albania: Berat - Sarande | Greece: Athens | Italy: Naples - Pompeii - Salerno | Tunisia: Hammamet 1

{{2015}} Hammamet 2 | South Africa: Johnnesburg | Thailand: Hua Hin - Hat Yai | Malaysia: Georgetown | Thailand: Krabi Town | Indonesia:
Sabang Island | Bulgaria: Plovdiv | Romania: Ploiesti - Targu Mures | Poland: Warsaw | Czech Republic: Prague | Germany: Munich | Netherlands: Groningen | England: Slough | Thailand: Ayutthaya - Khon Kaen - Vang Vieng | Cambodia: Siem Reap

{{2016}} Thailand: Kanchanaburi - Chumphon | Malaysia: Ipoh - Kuala Lumpur - Kuching - Miri | Ukraine: Kiev | Romania: Targu Mures - Barsov | Morocco: Tetouan

{{2017}} Portugal: Faro | USA: Virginia | Michigan | Illinois |

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