Tag Archives: france

Even Homeless People Need a Coffee Break; and Other Things I Learned on my Eurotrip

13 Jul

That Fateful Day - see bulletpoint #3

Oh hello, I’m back from my 2-month Eurotrip. Back to reality where money has to be made rather than spent on French wine, inflated museum admissions, and Croatian conditioner, the latter which I mistakenly used as shampoo for about 2 weeks. Feats accomplished:

  • Accidently visited a male strip club/potential gay brothel in Rome
  • Realized that sour cream does not compliment a day at the Croatian beach (should have gone with the container that said “Jogurt”
  • Was homeless with a guy named Jeff for 22 hours in Croatia. He wasn’t homeless; we got separated from our two friends who had the address and directions to the apartment we rented. Though I write this now in good humor, let me just say that you would probably never want to get lost overnight in a foreign country while wearing a little black dress. That being said, here is the postcard that I wrote to my best friend while Jeff and I were taking a homeless coffee break.

Sunset over the Adriatic Sea - Photo by Me - For Actual Postcard Please Visit MyiPhoneDeletedHalfofMyEuropePictures.com

JUNE 12, 2010

The arrow that you see on the front of this postcard is where I slept this morning from 6 to 8am today. Yes, this means that June 11th, the day of my birth, was spent walking the streets of Zadar in Croatia (never go here) trying to find the location of the obscure

Aw, look how happy I was just hours before wanting to KILL MYSELF

“B&B” where we paid for 2 nights, without an address or street name, only the first name of the 62 year-old proprietor “Jozo” who we met at a bus station upon arrival in Zadar (don’t go here). The night began swimmingly with wine and bread and cheese, and I saw my first sunset over a sea — the Adriatic. Myself and a Canadian named Jeff left our 2 friends to use the banya, and that’s when we last saw them. However, our friends were kind enough to leave us our bottle of wine (minus half) and a pack of cigarettes, which would sustain us for the next 15 hours of wandering the city. We still haven’t found our friends. We don’t know where we’re sleeping tonight. I love you, wish I talked to you on my birthday. [Then I bought a phone card and called her]

  • Decided I hate Croatians At Work:

Croatian Taxi Driver: “My shift, it is over. You must go. I will leave you here” [at a random neighborhood bar miles away from town]

Croatian Train Worker, Job Description Unknown: [Enters train compartment, mutters something in Croatian, I pull out my ticket and give it to her]. “Passport.” [Eyes close halfway in annoyance. I give her my passport.] “You must take off your shoes before you put on the seat.”  I completely agree. These chairs are nearly spotless, there are definitely no pen marks or mysterious streaks of brown crud embedded into the casino carpet -colored upholstery.

And any attempt to order a coffee from a Croatian Barista has been an absolute sham. The response to “espresso with cold milk” or “espresso with milk and ice” — even spoken in Italian — is always “No.” Is there a run on ice in Croatia?

"Really? Did you really just flip me the bird? And get down from there, don't even pretend like we're the same height, because we're not"

  • Saw major French penis at a nude beach then bought some pretty perfume
  • Rode the train through Tuscany listening to this Ludacris song
  • Had an affair with Italian chips
  • Decided against kidnapping a stray dog in Venice and naming him Ciao

Of course, while travelling I Found Myself blah blah blah — no, but mostly the trip emphasized something I had learned a couple years ago while travelling within the US. No matter where you go, everything is exactly the same. Whether you’re in Massachusetts, North Carolina, or Arizona, shopping plazas are the watering hole of suburbia, Walmart is always down the street and you’re never completely lost until you don’t hit a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts after 5 minutes of driving. It’s good to get the f–k out of the US every once in awhile, or at least once in a lifetime. I personally can’t wait to go back. :)

Manarola, one town in the Cinque Terre, Italy

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Hot Dog only 3,50 - Street Food in Paris

Cape d'Ail, my favorite beach in the South of France

Noli, a beach in Liguria Italy

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Bathroom Etiquette

27 Jun

Girls who snore, drunken Michiganites urinating on the floor beside my bed, showers that smell like toilets and the occasional sound of two people eating eachother’s faces in the bed beside mine. These are the things I’ve grown accustomed to over six weeks of hostelling in Europe. Coming up on my seventh and last week, there is but one thing that I just can’t seem to get used to: poor bathroom behavior.

Knock knock.
“Someone’s in here!”

It’s a simple exchange unknown to essentially every backpacker of every nationality. The knock is meant to gauge whether the toilet area is occupied or not. The verbal exclamation is to let the inquiring party understand that, Yes, There is Someone Inside, Wait One Moment Please and You will Have the Room to Yourself for Relief, Primping, Masturbation, Whichever Activity your Heart Desires. …But I don’t need to tell you this, Interneters, because I give you the benefit of the doubt that you perform the courtesy-knock prior to violently yanking the bathroom door handle.

Here’s my problem. I’m from the suburbs of Boston, a place best known for people who use road rage, sarcasm, and inappropriate personal comments on a daily basis. But any time I’ve been to any public bathroom in any neighborhood whether in the suburbs or the city, people here still have the decency to knock on a bathroom door. It’s almost as common as shaking hands or waving goodbye. In fact, anywhere in the Northeast it’s pretty much the same. It’s just decent.

Over six weeks of travelling, someone knocked on the bathroom door while I was inside once. I don’t know who this phantom door knocker was because he or she was mysteriously absent when I emerged. (Did the urge to ‘go’ suddenly vanish? Did you prefer a more natural setting such as the outdoors?..) All other times, I’ve been enjoying the solitude of the one private place for budget travellers –well I mean I wasn’t like having wine and cheese next to the toilet or anything but mainly just savoring silence while washing my hands or something– and YANK someone pulls on the door handle, scaring the crap out of me.

The only logic I can see behind this is that knocking is strictly an American thing. Either that, or there are a buttload of creepers hoping to surprise a girl with her pants down.

Either way I’ll never get used to it.

Tourist-Bombing in Europe

6 Jun

*Note to US officials: I am not a terrorist nor am I in any way affiliated with Al Qaeda. The phrase is catchy, that’s all.

This post is dedicated to Kevin-Raphael who works at Ivanhoe Hostel in Rome, who spent some of his nightshift last night reading this blog. Ivanhoe Hostel is a place where dreams are sewn onto clouds in golden thread, and every so often a breeze through the window or down the street brings just the faintest aroma of sewage. Having a shower here means hoping for a tolerable medium between scalding hot and ice cold water, which would be bearable if either temperature were evenly distributed over a wide spray rather than in a single firehose.

I’m on my fourth city of eight on my solo Eurotrip to France and Europe. So far I haven’t flashed anyone or done body shots, though I have accidently visited a nude beach on the French Riviera and stumbled upon the apparent cultural norm that it’s okay to fondle one’s penis while sunning oneself. Not that I fondled my own penis, that would be weird. Because I don’t have a penis silly!

It was in Pisa last week that I had a revelation. In between taking the tourist money shot (‘holding up’ the leaning tower of Pisa) with two girls from New Zealand that I met on the train, I started stealing pictures of other people awkwardly doing the same thing. It’s quite easy because you know you’re never going to see them again, and anyway they probably just think you’re trying to get a unique angle on the Coloseum or whatever the nearest tourist trap might be. Anyway, I started taking pictures of posing tourists, except from my angle it just looked like they were cupping invisible breasts while making their face look retarded. And I didn’t stop there. I found an old guy slouched over with 40 pounds of travel accessories, fannypack included, resting his Teva’d feet. I found someone who was making a face like the Stink Eye girl in Mean Girls. I guess you could say my revelation was that that day I discovered the best travel game that provides hours (minutes) of entertainment even under the worst possible tourist conditions. Maximum capacity trainrides laced with B.O., freakishly tall Germans with no spacial understanding of where their collossal feet and mine begin, little Spanish/French/Italian women that have wordlessly designated the sidewalk a one-way street for their family of 4 unruly children (it’s okay, I like the prospect of death by vespa in Italy, the title alone would make a good post-humous biography).

You might be wondering why I’m describing photos instead of posting them. Long story short, the computer here at the hostel may or may not be telling me in Italian that there’s no space on it’s disk, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Other notable tourist-bombs I’ve done so far are snapping a black Santa Clause getting some sun on the beach in Nice, France, and most recently today I sat and watched people pose with a statue of Julius Caesar pointing his arm up to the sky (can you guess how they posed? I bet you can’t guess). Snap, your stupid Facebook default picture is going in my photo album, bitchessss.

With four more places to go, I’m excited about the endless embarrassing moments I can capture on film in about a month more of travel. Croatia’s next; we’ll see what happens there. I honestly have no idea about Croatian people or culture, but I’m hoping people there will be a bit Borat in nature. Yakshimash!

The Italian equivalent of Engrish:

And proof that other tourists are generally bad at taking their own kind’s photos.

“Demain, le Bubblegum pour tout!”

2 Oct

“A very hard word. MASSACHUSETTS!”

I’ve dreamt about visiting Paris since January of seventh grade, when my foreign language teacher stopped teaching us Spanish (hated it) and began teaching French. She pulled down a map of the country and pointed out les Alpes, le Seine, and le big yellow star which was Paris. The first French word I learned: le crayon. French for pencil, in case you didn’t know.

louvre-museum-picture

In my third year of college, I signed up for an extra class to brush up on my conversational French. I planned to spend that spring’s semester in Paris. Two weeks into the class I realized only one class at a French university would apply towards my degree… It didn’t make sense.

I’m 22 and I’m still dreaming about walking up to the giant glass pyramid in front of the Louvre. I want to see the city as the Impressionist painters saw it (and I’m sure if I take out my contacts I very well could). I want to nibble on a croissant in a cafe like Gene Kelly did in An American in Paris (disregarding the fact that it was a cafe inside a Hollywood movie studio). I want to think fondly of my cute old high school French teacher and hum “Aux Champs-Elysees” as I walk down l’Avenue. I want to look up at the Eiffel Tower and imagine I am Sarah Jessica Parker except NOT sad about being away from my closest friends. Really, I just want to walk down the adorable little streets and hear people speaking that intoxicating language and see them going about their fabulous European-Union daily lives.

Paris_Street_on_a_Rainy_Day,_1877,_Gustave_Caillebotte

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