Toilets in SouthEast Asia.

Malls in Asia. They are everywhere. They love their malls at least in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. They are Mall crazy like teeny boppers at a Taylor Swift concert.

So I’m at a coffee shop in a mall. And nature calls after lunch and a cup of coffee. So I go to the mall restroom. I open the stall door and I stare. It’s not what I was expecting. There is a hole in the ground and foot print marks to show where you need to squat. I just stare at it as I debate using it because  I got to go number two. There is no toilet paper. There is just a hose to wash your butt when you are done. There’s nothing to dry your butt off with either. So I guess you walk around with a wet ass afterward. I’m looking at it  and trying to think how this works. I debate it back and forth in my head to try it and have a unique experience that takes me out of my comfort zone. And then I’m like nahhhhhh, I can’t do this. I walk home 15 minutes to use my hotel bathroom and think to myself. Yep I’m in Asia.

Here’s a pic of the bathroom in the mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The pic above is in a bathroom for a restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand. You will see some normal toilets for westerners in SouthEast Asia but just be aware that the stories of the hole toilets are real.

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9th of 12 Short films: “Dear Adriana”

My 9th short film out of 12 this year was shot in Split, Croatia called “Dear Adriana.” Since I was living by the Adriatic sea for a month I wanted to write something incorporating the sea. So I created a little thriller movie. This is a story of a man and his relationship with the Adriatic sea. 9 little movies down and 3 more to go.

Split, Croatia Crib with Capt. Ripped Pants.

It’s my 8th month for this year in Croatia, Split and here’s my monthly tour of my accommodations in Remote Year. This was one of my favorite apartments here and it had an amazing view of the beach from the 13th floor. In Split we were finally by the sea which is why Captain Ripped Pants will be giving this tour with a spatula as his hook.  Only 4 months left!

 

8th of 12 Short Films: “Mr. Owl & Penis Nose”

My 8th short film this year was shot in Belgrade, Serbia is called “Mr. Owl & Penis Nose.” It’s about the different masks we hide behind as people in general. The idea came from two masks I bought in Cusco, Peru of a Penis Nose and an Owl. As I’ve been traveling each month the Penis Nose has started to get a bit damaged so I decided to shoot something with them before they were damaged to much.  8 films down this year and 4 more to go.

SERBIA NOT SIBERIA

My 7th month in Remote Year was spent in Belgrade, Serbia. A place a lot of people know nothing about. And some people even confuse Serbia with Siberia. Mainly because not many people have been to Serbia and it’s hard to register where it is on a map. Coming to Serbia I had no idea what to expect and I honestly didn’t know where it was located on the map either besides that it was in Eastern Europe. And there’s somehow this made up belief in my head that Serbians are cold hearted people, maybe they are part of the Russian mafia and like to put your feet in concrete and let the fishes eat your eyeballs out. Why I thought that is beyond me, maybe too many movies or the media, who knows? But it’s the exact opposite, Serbian people have been some of the warmest and friendliest people I’ve met traveling so far. This place opened my eyes and mind a lot and is why traveling is so important. So you can see reality instead of whatever the fuck the media/Hollywood has constructed in your mind.

BOMBS: We bombed the shit out of Serbia back in 1999 when Clinton was president. And they don’t forget it as they haven’t fixed the majority of the buildings yet as a daily reminder. Which made me feel bad and uneasy there as if as an American I wasn’t welcome here. However, I never felt slighted as being an American that I have felt in some other European countries. They were open and nice, which was unexpected, especially since we bombed them less than 20 years ago. Some of the people that were my age or younger say they remember the bombs and it wasn’t scary. It was more of a party and they’d go get a view on a hill or somewhere to see the bombing from a distance. This was not the answer I was expecting from them at all. Here’s a pic of one of the bombed out buildings of a news station.

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CIGARETTES: They smoke everywhere and I mean everywhere. It’s a part of their diet of 800 cigarettes a day. And anywhere I went I just needed to accept that I’m going to be swimming in clouds of second hand nicotine. Here’s a video of my Crib explaining the deep love of smoking in Serbia.

FOOD: What do they eat. They eat meat on top of meat. Like “Cepavi” which is one of their main meat dishes. It is minced meat and it’s looks like a finger sized breakfast sausages however it’s really nothing to write home about. It’s the little sausages in this pic.

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“Karadordeva Snical” is rolled veal stuffed with “Kajmak” (a creamy milk cheese) and bacon. Then fried. It’s amazing and very different. Once you cut into it the cheese oozes out perfectly for you to dip your meal into it.

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“Sarma” is cabbage leaves wrapped around minced meat and rice that is bathing in oil. These are good but what isn’t good bathed in oil.

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“Paprika” is the red fruit and not the spice like in Hungarian food. However this pepper is not spicy at all even though every time I taste it I’m still holding back and ready for it to burn my soul. It can’t burn anything it’s like a red bell pepper and is very tasty.

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They have two salads on most menus in Serbia which is “Sopska” and “Serbian Salad.” Both have tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and oil. But the main difference is Serbian has hot peppers and Sopska is covered in cheese.

They have bakeries everywhere and everything is very fresh and cheap. I always got whatever this is. Which is a hotdog wrapped in a doughy sesame seed bread. It was an amazing walk and go lunch. I miss you beautifully wrapped weiner dog meal.

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Also they have boners for popcorn. There is a popcorn cart on every damn corner, why? I have no clue.

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MY BELGRADE MOVIE: I shot my short film in Belgrade called Mr. Owl and Penis Nose with masks that I got in Cusco, Peru. The masks were starting to get damaged so I wanted to create something with them before they were smashed in my luggage.

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DRINKS: There’s their local beer (Jelen, etc)  but it’s the same as everywhere, nothing special basic beer. However their beers also come in 2 liter bottles which is pretty cool. Serbia’s main drink is Rakia which is a plum brandy. This shit is hard core and isn’t for taking a shot and more for sipping. Be careful. It will demolish you. Get the plum flavor it’s the one the locals like the best, don’t get grape it tastes like a Serbian ballsack.

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SOME SITES AND STUFF: Belgrade has a bunch of statues and stuff like every city in Europe. Every city has some dude on a horse and Belgrade is right there with some dude rocking Sea Biscuit. The National Assembly of Serbia has two people who look like they are getting humped by horses. Here’s some education they are not humping horses. The horses stand for politicians and they are dragging the horse into office and the second one is them dragging them out of office. Also there was a lot of Street art  all over Belgrade from rats to pro vegan tags. The main attraction is the Belgrade Fortress which is a great place to check out and walk around.

CROSSWALKS: Most crosswalks in cities where there is no traffic you just walk, even if it’s red. Don’t do it in Serbia. A cop stopped me and said he was taking me to the station like 15 times in a cold I’m going to steal your soul manner. There was a point where I was like ok, this will be an interesting story being in a Serbian police station but once I was like let’s go very willingly he decided to let me go. It was an interesting 15 minute conversation, a conversation that made me wait for green walking lights at every crosswalk for the remainder of our time there. And my friends would roll there eyes like me like I’m lame.

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RUNWAY EVERYDAY: Serbian Woman are gorgeous. And everyday is a runway day. Seriously the girls will go pick up a carton of milk and they will doll up in heels, tight dress and strut the streets. My head was bouncing back in forth like a ping pong ball looking and wondering why! Why! Why!! Help!!! Obviously this isn’t every girl but it happens more often here than most places. Many people in my travel group have stated that Serbian Girls are the hottest they’ve ever seen.

$$$$$: There money looks like this and Telsa gets a lot of Bank note love. Actually Telsa gets a looott love here. Croatians and Serbians argue very hotly about where Telsa’s heart belongs.

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PEOPLE: They are proud of being Serbian. Many Serbs would openly tell me their history from communism, Yugoslavia, the bombings, their love/hate relationship with Croatia etc. The average salary is 300 Euros a month. I’m in awe of how they survive on so little. But I was told by one Serbian that they are cockroaches, which I questioned as that sounds bad but they said it’s because no matter what happens they will always survive like a cockroach. And this was said with Pride. I walked away from Serbia and there people with a lot of respect, they are kind, proud survivors.

PARTY:  I heard from a lot of people that Serbians partied hard. But I didn’t dig their party scene. I left a party because the music was to loud. My ears rang for days and so did my friends. Ringing, “heyyy you are an old man!! You party like a pink pony high stepping wearing converse high-tops” Which I actually take as a complement because that would be some rad dancing. However, it wasn’t just me, my younger travel companions had their ears ringing for days too. Playing music loud to be loud is just trying to hard. Also having tables all over the dance floor so people can’t break loose is trying to hard too. It felt like people went out to be seen more than to break loose. They have a bunch of boat parties on the river called Splavs.

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SERBIAN DANCING: Have you ever heard of Traditional Serbian Dancing? No. There’s a reason for that because it looks like chipmunks high on cat nip jump stepping around in stupid clothes.

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DENTAL TOURISM: Apparently Serbia’s dental work is very cheap in comparison to other countries and they’ve created a dental tourism out of it. Come get your root canal and enjoy a weekend in Belgrade, weird shit. http://serbiandentaltourism.com/

OVERALL: Serbia isn’t a place I would have visited if it weren’t for remote year. And I’m glad I got to experience it as I got to learn about culture and open my mind to some warmer than expected and proud people.

Santorini gave me a hand with Romance.

 

Santorini, Greece is one of the most beautiful and romantic places I have ever been in my life.  Which is why I brought an old flame to this island of love. I’ve been on and off with Palmela since I was a teenager and we somehow always end up with each other. She can be a handful at times but all in all I wouldn’t want to be on this island of romance with anyone else.

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Santorini has some of the most gorgeous sunsets you’ve ever seen. So we started our romantic getaway by going to the northern part of the island called Oai which is known for the best sunsets on the island and possibly the world. Damnnnnn! Get ready to cry with all the gorgeousness happening around you, which made my little lady Palmela putty in my hands.

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Romance had just begun especially after Palmela saw the AirBnb we were staying in. Welcome to the love palace. The place used to be a wine cellar that they transformed into a house. And Palmela loves wine so I knew this would a cherry on the sunset. Her black marker eyes grew wider as she was blown away and it just made me more intoxicated in love with her.

We went to Kamari beach the next day. It’s called the Black beach because the sand is made from black volcanic rocks. This place was rad you get a little beach bed and they bring you drinks and food as the sun smothers you with kisses. And Palmela smothered me with kisses too as our dormant love began erupting again. There is no other gal I would rather do a pathetic duck face selfie with.

For dinner we had romance served on platter in the form of another gorgeous sunset and Volkan local beer. As I stared at Palmela we spoke in unspoken sunset talk. Which is basically, “booyyyyyyyy you soooo crazy I want to have your baby!!!” I was like slow down girl, let’s just enjoy the sea bass and as I stared at her I wondered is this the one. Are we going to grow old and have hand babies together with cute little baby hand mittens? Is this island all we really needed.

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That night we went into Fira, the main part of town, and we put down shots of Uzo and drafts of Myros. Palmela was dancing on the bar. That girl can dance. And then I remembered why we never worked out. She started to peeing on the bar. She started to makeout with strangers and I just laughed at how stupid I was thinking that we could have little hand babies together as she’s high fiving any dude around her.  This is both of us waking up faded from a wild night of uzo and beer.

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Our last day was on a sunset cruise. We saw the red and white beaches and bathed in the volcanic hot spots. And we talked. And as beautiful as our love started it faded away like every sunset on beautiful Santorini. But every sunset turns out beautiful because as our love set I met another girl on the boat, her name was Alhandra…

Belgium will Charm the Pants off you.

The reason there’s a naked boy peeing in Belgium. It’s because his pants were completely charmed off. It’s a real problem here all the people walking around pantless. But a problem that I’m willing to deal with as I took a 3-day weekend to Leuven and Brussels in Belgium. One of the Europeans I’m traveling with in Remote Year, Brecht, wanted to introduce his traveling family for the year to his family back home. I visited Brussels like 9 years ago and loved the charm it had. And when I returned the charm was still there like it had been waiting all this time to make love to my eyeballs again.

TRAIN TO LEUVEN: I took one of those super fast cheetah on steroids trains.  2 hours from London in the blink of an eye and a nice nap. And when I was booking my train trip the business class to Belgium was actually the same price as standard class. So I went business class. Since I’m an extremely dapper dresser (just jeans and a T-shirt) the ticket checkers questioned my seat twice thinking that I belonged in another class, I guess they thought I was Royalty class instead of Business. Simple mistake that many people make it. They fed me and gave me wine. And wanted to make sure I was comfortable the whole time. Made me consider paying 10 euros extra to take business back because I’m fancy and stuff. But I’m going cheap this year and trying to stretch my money so I held back on luxury on the return. Bob and Mary joined me on this choo choo journey.

LEUVEN: Leuven is a charming city. I loved the cobblestone streets and picturesque houses. I spent the day walking the city and writing in cafes. It’s a dream here.

STELLA BREWERY TOUR: For Starters this tour starts with vests. Bright neon vests that make people looks super hot. And its good preparation because they will then take you to a bunch of hot ass rooms and explain how beer is made and it’s really boring and hot. Prepare to sweat and glisten all over your body.  All I’m thinking is get me to the end of this damn tour so I can drink beer. I did learn a couple cool historical things. Stella was originally called Horn till Artois bought it but he kept the horn in the logo. Stella which means star was originally a Christmas beer. But people loved it so much that they continued it and it ended up being the flagship beer. So that is all the interesting shit so you don’t have to go on a sauna tour.

However the tour ended perfectly with all you can drink beer. We were also taught how to do the perfect pour and they brought out cheese and meat plates for us to enjoy with our beer. The tour wasn’t free so don’t think we were in lala land with free booze.

TWO FAMILIES COME TOGETHER: Brecht organized a BBQ where he brought his Remote Year family and his family and friends in Leuven. His friends and family were hilarious. Brecht even gave a speech.

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BRUSSELS:  On the last day we took a train to Brussels. We did a walking tour with a tour guide that looks like Sideshow Bob from the Simpsons. This guy was an eccentric to the max and all of us were extremely hung over from the night before. We saw some great sites like churches, statues, and one of the oldest bars in Brussels. And enjoyed some pieces of Street art while taking the tour.

PEEING BOY…..AND GIRL: We saw the famous Peeing Boy. He’s a lot smaller than I imagined, that’s not a dick joke either. The statue is smaller, get your head out of the gutter. Apparently a prince peed in public back in the day and the commoners were so impressed that a prince pees just like them. So the Peeing boy statue was erected.

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Here’s something I didn’t know existed. There’s a peeing girl too. You have to go down an alley way back and it’s kinda hidden but she’s there peeing away. She has no shame.

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FOOD AND BEER: Belgium is known for their Beers. When I visited 9 years ago I think I sampled every beer they had form Duvel, Trappist Monk, Chimay, La Chouffe, Stella, Leffe, St. Bernadus, Delirium to Hoegarden. Probably some of your favorite beers are from here or beers you haven’t fallen in love with yet. I love Delerium, Hoegarden and Chimay. This time I just stuck to simple lagers like Stella which I kinda regret as I’m writing this.

For food they are known for their Moules (Mussels) and Frites (fries). Unfortunately the mussels I had were just plain average and underwhelming. Their Fries are served in a cone here and they put a variety of sauces on it from mayo, ketchup, curry sauce and more. And you eat it with a little baby fork because fries in a cone is fancy. Waffles are a dessert and are topped with a variety of things from Nutella, ice cream, fruit and more.  They are also known for chocolate but I’m not a chocolate dude, that’s more for the ladies.

OVERALL: Going to Belgium and getting to see it from a local’s eyes and meeting all his friends and family is a great experience. He probably could have lived in Idaho and I would have enjoyed it. But thank god it was in a city that charmed the pants off of me. Also apologies for putting an image of me pantless in your head.

Belgrade Crib with Serbian Patrick

Here’s a tour of my monthly Crib in Belgrade, Serbia. This is another nice apartment I’ve stayed in so far with Remote Year. I had two roommates and we rock paper scissored for the best room with a sweet balcony. I came in last place and got the room that had a view of a cement wall. In Serbia they smoke everywhere and I mean everywhere. So Serbian Patrick will give you this tour while he smokes 800 cigarettes.

Prague Short films: “Princess” and “Hippy Hollow”

For the month of Prague I asked my fellow travel companions to submit ideas for short films in one paragraph. Then I picked my favorite to write and shoot this month in Prague. Well I actually picked two favorites. Both are very different than each other and different than my normal style. So it was nice to mix it up with two different film ideas. Below are both films “Princess” and “Hippy Hollow.” So this is my 6th and 7th short film out of 12 this year, at this point I will have 13 short films by the end of the year.

“Princess” is a story of Princess searching for her Prince in Prague from the dark mind of Matt Sherwood.

The second short is “Hippy Hollow” which is about 3 roommates, 2 weirdos and 1 love from the minds of David Baum and Kirsten Westeinde.