Grocery update

Since I’m doing my best to be a proper local in each new place I live, however short-term, I’ve been exploring the local shops to find my groceries. As usual, grocery shopping is simultaneously the most stressful aspect of living in a different country, and one of the most engaging.

It’s difficult not knowing where (or what) anything is, particularly when you’re hungry and you need toilet paper and you have to work in half an hour. But it’s also endlessly interesting to try to guess what various items might be. You get to use all your logical reasoning abilities but you probably won’t know for sure what you wound up with until you get home and try to put it on a sandwich.

Continue reading “Grocery update”

Public Transit

You can learn a lot about a place from the public transit. You can tell what the city/state prioritizes, what areas have better funding, and how important tourism is vs how many locals rely on public transit.

Areas with a lot of tourism and an emphasis on that will have signs in multiple languages, or at least in the local language and English. There will be some sort of ‘tourist card’ or day/multi-day pass for sale. The main tourist lines will connect the primary sights and skip past the neighborhoods where people actually live; or they’ll start/end in those neighborhoods and serve tourists for only part of the route. The stops will be clearly announced, sometimes in multiple languages, and there will be signage. Measures will be in place to make the system legible to outsiders.

Continue reading “Public Transit”

Belgrade

07 April, 2018: On the train from Budapest to Belgrade, I sat in a cabin with a retired Serbian couple. We eventually started chatting, and I was impressed with their pride in their city. “You will love Belgrade” they said. “It is the best city in Europe.”

They told me all about the food, and taught me a few Serbian words, and assured me that there would be lots for a young person like me to do — “Every day you can go out, hear music, go dancing and to clubs on the Danube until 4:00 in the morning if you want! Every day! And there are plenty of bars and cafes, and nice parks, and many nice young men.” Clubbing until 4am isn’t exactly my scene, but I appreciated the sentiment.  Continue reading “Belgrade”

Tourism at Easter Bunny Speed

Easter weekend in Vienna

I decided to spend Easter in Vienna, because a) I had never been to Austria, and b) it’s an inexpensive three-hour train ride from Budapest. Ah, Europe. I love that train travel is normal here. I’m still getting the hang of it, but it’s such a civilized form of transportation.

I booked a hotel, packed an overnight bag, and walked to the train station around 9am on Saturday. I spent the train ride listening to podcasts and making a checklist of all the things I might like to see in Vienna. By 1pm I had dropped my bag at the hotel, and set myself loose in Vienna to see how much of the checklist I could accomplish!

Continue reading “Tourism at Easter Bunny Speed”

Welcome to Budapest!

07 March, 2018: I landed at 2am, on a magenta plane from Morocco.

I don’t even remember passport control, so it must have been easy, and then I stopped at the ATM to withdraw local currency.

The exchange rate is confusing — my primary reference point is that 5,000 Hungarian forints equals approx $20 USD, so for anything less than that, I don’t worry about it too much. At the ATM at 2:30am, I had this in the back of my mind, but I saw that the largest amount I could withdraw, in forints, was 250. “Oh no,” I thought fuzzily, “that’s not nearly enough, I’ll have to do multiple transactions!”

Continue reading “Welcome to Budapest!”

Morocco was about making friends

I had an amazing time in Morocco, and I would love to go back someday. I learned a lot, I went surfing and swimming, I got to experience an entirely different culture, and I confirmed for myself that I can live and work pretty much anywhere.

The best thing about Morocco, though, was spending five weeks in a coworking/coliving environment at SunDesk, and making a whole bunch of really amazing new friends. We kept each other company, ate breakfast together every day, brought each other coffee and tea and water, reminded one another to eat and to stop working and to relax, helped each other with projects, went on adventures together, had long philosophical discussions, took group naps in the afternoon, and generally had a lovely time.

Not all of them made it into my pictures (most of which I won’t post here because I failed to ask permission), but I wanted to take a minute to remember them as I move to a new country.

Continue reading “Morocco was about making friends”

Hot Water Methodology

I’m confused, y’all. Why do we have hot water heaters in the US?

I didn’t think anything of it until I started traveling more frequently several years back, but over the course of multiple years and multiple countries, it has come to my attention that there are other options, and they seem a whole lot better. Let’s look at some pros and cons:

Continue reading “Hot Water Methodology”

The Cool Ranch saga continues

I first wrote about this over here, but to recap: I’ve realized that ranch dressing is not a thing that exists outside the US. Sure, fine (tragic for pizza-eating in other countries, but ok). But then you have Cool Ranch Doritos, which *do* exist in other countries… except they have to give them different names because no one knows wtf “Ranch” is supposed to mean.

Continue reading “The Cool Ranch saga continues”