Notes from the road: Europe 2013 edition.

Every time I take a trip to europe, I tend to think to myself “Surely, this trip will leave me with nothing to say”. After all, touring is the least exciting way to see places known to man. Unless I’m writing hotel reviews, it’s pointless. However, because being in foreign places is so…well…foreign to me, I still manage to find some things that need to be addressed. Well, they don’t NEED to be addressed. Not at all actually but , hey, why not?
As you may know, this trip to europe was a debacle due to some passport issues, more about that HERE. That aside, I did salvage the last four shows and I had a good time. So, these hear are my notes from the road.

*While in Paris I literally saw multiple people walking around the street , eating whole baguettes as if they were apples. Up until viewing that , I had always assumed that was just a jokey stereotype about french people. Like they all were berets and smell…but no. I saw it with my own eyes. I asked DJ Cam about it and he said it’s really not a thing but…I dunno…I saw two motherfuckers chowing down a full baguette mid stride down the street within 2 blocks of each other. Can a french person please shed more light on this for me? Did I just happen upon two four leaf clovers or is that actually a real thing french people do?
Regardless, I’m a huge proponent of eating while walking so I’m not mad at this practice. If it were up to me, most of my meals would be consumed during a speed walking session. I might need a trough for that though…

*I signed a mans ass in Brussels.
I was selling cd’s and signing autographs after a really fun show in Brussels when some dude pulled his pants down and asked me to sign his ass. He was hovering over the Records and cd’s at a level that made me consider possibly sterilizing the whole table. Being a gentleman, I extended my arm out as far as possible and signed “BH” on the top of one of his butt cheeks. I’ve signed arms, legs, stomach and tits before…but never a man’s ass. Let’s just not make this a thing, okay?
Although, I was talking to a friend yesterday and he came up with the idea of signing my full name on a persons ass and making that persons asshole the “o” in “Blockhead” . Theoretically hilarious but far to intimate to actually ever do. I’d need like a 5 foot sharpie for that.

*Every time I got to europe I feel like I’m in an alternate universe. It’s like the planet I live in but slightly off. It’s as if some parts of it are in the future and some are in the past. There are some aspects of european culture that make so much sense that it’s crazy we haven’t adapted it over here. Like , when at a restaurant, the waiter comes to collect your money on the spot. Gives you change and all right on the spot. If you’re an impatient asshole like me, that is heaven. Or how they run airports. It’s just more efficient.
On the other hand, some things just feel like a time warp into the 80’s.That kinda stuff is mostly visual though. So many things just look dated. From store fronts to advertisements.
Whatever the case, when I’m in certain cities out there I feel as if I’m on the set of a movie that supposed to take place in a particular city but it’s clearly a sound stage. Does that make sense? Who knows?

*European bottled water tastes like shit.Did you even know water could taste bad? Well, it can.
No clue why. Don’t yall got those good alps? It kind makes sense though cause Avian water tastes like shit too. Conversely, the tap water in Vienna is some next level deliciousness.

*I killed lots of time on this tour watching the Sopranos. i had never seen the series before and went through the entire 6 seasons in about a month. I ended up finishing during my last day in europe. The shittiest part about it is that I have so many jokes and comments to make about the show but, because it’s so far past the point on being something people wanna talk about…I just gotta keep it to myself. I was considering writing a whole post about my reaction and observations to the show (which i enjoyed greatly, btw) but…fuck it. Too late now. Truth be told, I could probably write a 30 page thesis on the miking capabilities of the breathing and chewing habits of James Gandolfini though.

*While waiting on line to board my flight home, I was behind two young girls who were coming home from schooling abroad. They were typical long island Jappy types and they got in a conversation with some arm band tattooed ultimate fighting type of bro. HE was grossly hitting on them (he must have been 15 years old than them) and started his conversation “I’m so happy to be leaving France…Can’t wait to get back to the states and have a real burger…” which then led to a discussion of how shitty the cuisine of france is. OF FRANCE. All three involved agreed and the two girls even remarked that, while the pizza in Florence, Italy was good, they missed Domino’s. The guy even added “You heard of Del Taco? Now that’s some good stuff…”.
Listening to this conversation, I was bummed out at humanity but also reminded how shitty some americans are. It’s easy to forget that, when you visit another country, you’re th guest. They don’t have to adhere to your lifestyle. It’s the other way around. Same thing goes for when europeans come here.
Listen, I’m clearly not a beacon of open mindedness myself but, in this case, it just struck me that taking trips to europe is wasted on people like these. Hell, it’s wasted on most people. I’m reminded of that Soprano’s episode (it’s fresh in my brain, yall) where they all go to Italy aka the homeland and everyone pretty much hates it because it so far out of their comfort zone even though they’d never admit it. It’s like a vacation that a lot of people do just to say they did it. As someone who never travels for pleasure, I have a different take on it. I hate going anywhere. Mostly cause traveling is the bane of my existence. At the same time, I can’t really speak on most of the places I’ve been to because I’m typically in that city for a half a day. But it seems that, even with my limited scope of what I see when I do these tours in europe, I got more out of it than some people who spend thousands of dollars just to fly over the ocean and complain about the fast food they miss. Now, this is certainly some “outside looking in” shit but it would be cool if people who have this mind set just saved themselves the trouble. If you’re an american and you get weird going to other american cities, trust me, europe is not for you. If you generally don’t have an explorative mind and interest in other cultures, don’t waste your time.
I feel as if , much like having kids and getting married, americans are tuned to think traveling to other countries is a given. While the option to is, realistically, the desire is something far less people truly have. For every 19 year old girl who goes to the south of france and discovers herself over the course of a summer there are like 40 obese midwestern house wives taking trips to places like Russia and wondering why no one can speak english well. They’re walking around , taking pictures of shit they could care less about. They might as well just look at postcards and save all that money.
It seems too obvious but I’m willing to be over half the people who travel for pleasure to other countries are happier to go home than they were to arrive in the first place. I know I am. But I also don’t go to these places under the guise of getting life experience and culture. If I did, I’d imagine I’d approach it all differently. But, it’s a sad state of affairs when I’m feeling like the cultured one on a place full of shit bag americans , impatiently waiting to get back to DVR’d episodes of Duck Dynasty.

15 thoughts on “Notes from the road: Europe 2013 edition.

  1. I’m french and eating a whole baguette is not a thing, but it is not that weird, I definitely eat the whole thing from time to time, when it’s still a bit warm from the oven… Most delicious stuff ever…

    (It was cool to see you at the Batofar, really enjoyed the show)

  2. Hmm for the baguette controversy, all i can say is that bread is one pretty strong part of our meal. I don’t mean we eat it on every meal, but like 2/3 of it. Then for the munching part, i’ve to say i’m one of those who’ve got left only the half of the baguette as they get home but as to say it’s cultural … Meh. I just freaking love bread and we’ve got some fine bakers out there, Tho after your part about burger, domino’s pizza and taco, stereotype may contains some truth in it…

    As i’ve mostly moved my ass only in Europe, i can’t really compare for the water, but yeah we’ve got a bunch of shitty water, finding one appropriate can be a pain in the ass.

    Finally for the old buildings, Europe isn’t named “the Old continent” for nothin’. It’s like we get some pride from it tho.

    Well, i messed up and missed you at Bordeaux but next time you’re coming by, i’ll catch you.

  3. Frenchman reporting.
    Are you sure these people weren’t eating sandwich ? Here sandwiches are mostly baguettes filled with stuff, unlike american ones that are made with loaf of bread. I’ve never seen somebody just eats baguettes as a lunch.
    Another explanation is that we usually eat half the baguette between the time we buy it and the time we’re back at home. Because, you know, it’s good.

    And you’re wrong by the way, it is US advertisements that look like they haven’t changed since the 70s.

  4. Sopranos – yes! a write up on your thoughts would be awesome… also can’t believe you just watched this! I am thinking of re-watching before too long.

  5. the baguette thing is real. i spent a semester in spain and people would rip a hunk of bread off a loaf the size of my forearm as they walked home with it, which was pretty funny to me. but bread is eaten with every meal there so i guess i shouldn’t have been too surprised by it.

  6. Thanks for taking the time to share your European adventure. From the autograph to inquiring about baguettes on to Mr Taco tattooed arm band bro and finishing off with the Sopranos made me laugh! I’m down to read your thoughts of the Sopranos in your “spare” time to type it.
    As for the oddly placed autograph, were you caught off guard my his request and saying no ass signing?

  7. so true about the sopranos. i binge watched that shit a few months ago for the first time. there should be a public forum where people like us can just verbally wank on it with other people who are way late to the sopranos game

    • I already knew how it ended so it’s hard to say. But, I didn’t mind it at all. how else are you supposed to end a show like that? It’s not like they could pull an “Oz” and just blow everyone up.

  8. This is a long read, ignore it if you don’t have time.

    I am Iranian and I have been out of Iran for almost 10 years now, been travelling all over, now I am residing in Vancouver, Canada. Hoping to settle and get a permanent residency after all these years.

    I feel you man, first when I got out of the comfort zone was back in Feb 2004, when I was 18, went to London. It was a different world to me of course, but as much as I am a multicultural person, I tried to adapt myself to the environment, got so many friends from so many countries, from Spain to Italy to South Africa to Mauritius (yeap Mauritius, bet most of the people think it’s Morocco or something).

    Anyhow, after travelling as a DJ, time to time to spots like Amesterdam, Zandaam, Ibiza, Barcelona, Doha, Istanbul, and all that. I came to an understanding that North American people are so used to their own system (maybe brainwashed! I dunno, just sayin’) that even a slight change to their own habits will put them off track so bad. This being said the main reason is this (at least this is what I think):

    Immigration, Visa and all that stuff do not come easy for some of us. I know it didn’t come easy for me, I always have to worry about Visas and entry permits to other countries. Passing interviews, and providing hell load of documents so I can travel to another country for a period of time, not to mention the money I have to spend. This is why somebody like me starts to think and tries to get the best out of it. No I do not try fast food when I travel, in fact I try my best to get the most native meal (is it called native meal?). This is why I try to explore every corner of a new city when I am travelling, (swear to god most native people do not explore their own cities like I do), yes my friend I am considered a temporary resident for 10 years now.

    Let me toss a memory:

    So back in 2010 I was still in the UK and I was running out of my Visa. I have applied for Canada visa and it is taking too long (you know not because I am Iraninan or anything, just because they are hard workers and busy dealing with visa applications 😉 ) So I decided to go to the Canadian Embassy to sort this out and get my passport back. Just in front the Canadian Embassy is the US embassy, large building with eagle statues on it and all. So I get to the door, ring the bell and a lady shows up, asked me what I wanted, took my documents and suggested that I wait by the door steps for couple of minutes. It’s summer time, no rain, just a little bit of wind. So while waiting I rolled my cigarette and started smoking some meters away. I see this young couple approaching, laughing loud and having fun (you know summery type of fun). They come to the embassy, they ring the bell and same lady opened the door, asked what they wanted. The boy goes: Yeah, hi, we are american citizens and we have lost out passport. The US embassy says it will take a long time to issue you passports, so we were just wondering if we can go to Canada and then from there go to US!” Giggling with her girlfriend he said that. The lady replied, you have to fill some forms, wait here I will get you the forms. Now this is when my brain stopped functioning for a second, I was blown the fuck away with this. I whispered to myself: I am waiting for a student visa for 3 months now, and I have to have my fingers crossed for their decision and these two just got themselves an entry without any passport. Now that is something that americans are blessed with! Anyway after couple of weeks I got my visa and came to Canada. But the story man! That story I will never forget!

    American friends, can always get a ticket back home in a snap! They can always travel for pleasure wherever they want to travel to without even being bothered for obtaining a bloody visa. I don’t blame them being ignorants, because they are always living in a comfort zone, no matter where they are they get their McDonalds and Dr Peppers. I do not blame the guy who missed Taco fast food, cause at the end of the day he knows he will be back home soon. For some other, when they leave their country they have no other choice but to adapt themselves, being them want to learn more and explore or simply they do not want to get back to their own country.

    Anyway, I have loads to say, but simply put. You are right. They are ignorants and you and me can not change that. Media has been swallowing them for ages now. Besides, why do they ever need to change and open their eyes to the world outside? They are happy the way the are.

    By the way eating baguette when you get it fresh and hot from your local bakery shop (not walmart or costco) specially during winter days is like chewing on a piece of heaven itself. Try it someday. 😉

    Cheers and thanks for sharing your thoughts. Reading this entry made me feel at home.

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