Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Denver Omlette's 2015 Guide to International Travel

According to Saveur magazine, a flavorless magazine of zero substance, I am a food blog is the best food blog of 2014.  Don't try to click on that.  I didn't link it because despite having nice graphics and great pictures (something somebody else probably manages because it's all about the clicks and site visits these days), it's actually a pretty shit blog.  Lots of recipes you'll probably never make.  Oh sure they sound enticing.  Banh Mi Tacos.  Breakfast Taquitos.  All sound lovely, but when you click on them they're either so basic you're pissed you thought you needed a recipe for it, or too complicated (aka can't be done in 28 minutes.)  28 minutes is my limit for cooking on a weeknight.  Anything else has to be for a party (see previous super bowl post) or during some iteration of Wine Wednesday, a tradition started by a friend and me in Miami, to make dinner before watching an episode of LOST.  Wednesday is no longer a practical day for us to cook elaborate meals anymore, mostly because those nights ended up with us being really drunk, but it's changed it's name quite a few times.  Tasty and Thirsty Thursdays....Foodie Fisted Fridays, Moons Over My Mondays (that's not real, but I wish it was!)  These meals tend to be pretty elaborate, and are eaten over courses, as opposed to my normal one bowl weeknight meal.  I really do try and stay true to the one bowl concept.  If I don't have ingredients to cook anything simple, then that one bowl is cereal.  Which, to be fair, is way underrated as a dinner option.  You got all your essential vitamins and minerals, milk to help you sleep, and it's easy to balance while watching last night's episode of The Mindy Project on your DVR.  I don't know who decided cereal had to be for breakfast.  Who makes these decisions!?

On another blog I found today that actually IS good, this lady talked about how this respected writer she trusts wrote some hot garbage about how no matter where you travel in the world, you should always eat breakfast that reminds you of home.  Basically, go to china, but demand eggs and bacon.  Go to Peru, but demand a cheese danish or an egg mcmuffin.  come on people.  This is the worst advice any travel writer can ever give.  This is worse than the 2014 book of best travel writing stories that suggests traveling anywhere in the world basically sucks.  Seriously, that's the gist of that book.  Where did all this hatred towards an open perspective come from?  We are building a wall.  A wall that will prevent us from ever seeing the GREAT wall, which if you're going to build a wall, you really should use as a model right?

We must combat this closing of our mental borders.  We have to establish life rules to ensure that a road trip from Pennsylvania to Texas isn't the end all be all of our travels.  I hereby declare these rules to be set in stone when you span across our country's border into a new and yet unknown place.

1.  Eat everything.  The street foodier the better.  You will get suck probably at least once, but better to have experienced real authentic food, than suffer the bland tastelessness of eating the same old airport quality chicken tenders everywhere you go.

2.  Drink the local alcohol.  It's alcohol not water, so no montezuma's revenge here.  If you're throwing up later it's for a completely different reason.  You can't go to Peru or Chile and not try pisco.  You can't go to South Korea and not have 10 glasses of soju.  Good, bad or indifferent, at least try it all.  Hell, sometimes it doesn't even have to have alcohol.  Look at this monstrosity we had in Chile last year:

It wasn't fantastic but I'm a better man for trying it.  Trust me.

3.  Put the guidebook down.  I'm sure the history of that museum of some dead general is really interesting.  And I'd love to hear all about how many slaves died building it, but tell me later.  Hell, that's what wikipedia is for.  So I can sound smart and pretentious at parties later on when i'm recapping my trip.  When I'm actually there, I just want to absorb it.  Look, feel, listen, (but don't taste you sicko.)

4.  Pick up a couple phrases, but don't pretend to be an expert.  Even if you do know the language well, don't be a douche who acts like they are from there.  You seriously only ever need to learn 3 words in any language.  Beer.  Bathroom.  US Embassy.  Usually in that order.  Don't be that a-hole that thinks they don't have an American accent when speaking spanish.  You do.  They know.  Everybody thinks you're an a-hole.

5.  The best time in a foreign city is the early morning.  It's before all the other tourists are up, and the vendors catering to those tourists are up hawking whatever crap they are selling.  It's when the real people get up, and go to the market, and drink a coffee on the street, or are out drying laundry, going to church, making pastries.  The early morning hours, a little bit after first light, are the most memorable time I've ever had anywhere I've ever been.  Here's a picture of me on my first morning in Lisbon, just walking around the city before the city really woke up.

6.  At some point on your trip, you will probably run into other Americans your age.  This is usually about halfway through the trip when you're getting sick of the language barrier between you and the bartender.  If the opportunity arises, make friends with them.  If they are proceeding to get drunk when you meet them, all the better.  Memorable times will ensue.  And it's only 46% likely that they will get you arrested.  See below:

Drinking 40s on the streets Valparaiso, Chile
Oktoberfest with Aussies (ok fine not technically American but the next best thing)

Drinking mojito buckets in a Karaoke bar in Venice, Italy
 7.  If you get a chance, go to a casino.  This is probably because I have a legit gambling problem, but betting at a casino in another country is about as James Bond as you'll ever get in life.  Unless you kill a guy.

8.  Kill a guy.  KIDDING.  But you should rent a car if your travels allow it.  You can take in a country so much better behind the wheel of a car than you could in any other form of travel.  You can stop where you want, get a real feel of the country.  Hell, if you're lucky, you might even get a chance to drive somewhere where everybody drives like a Miami taxi cab driver.  And then you probably WILL kill a guy.

9.  Churches are ok, but the best architectural things to see in any country are not man made.  Cliffs, mountains, oceans, forests.  These are the things you should seek.

10.  And lastly, the most important rule of travel.  Travel with somebody you like.  If they believe in at least 70% of this list, you're golden.  Go with them immediately.

Thus ends the most pretentious post I've ever written.

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