Bohemian Pubs and American Politics

Last night in Budapest, my friend and I decided to try our chances at a little place called Szimpla Kert. Considered something called a “ruined pub”, Szimpla is part of a network of bars and clubs that specialize in Budapest’s bohemian culture. These establishments are located in abandoned buildings and courtyards throughout the city. They are decorated with a mixture of eccentric art and graffiti.For those of you familiar with Boulder, Colorado, this place would have fit in perfectly on Pearl Street. They serve a large variety of drinks and everyone over the age of 18 is welcome. Tip: It might be a good idea to bring an official form of identification if you plan to visit. Unlike many other establishments in Europe, they check ID for anyone that looks like they might be under 18.

Perhaps my favorite parts of the bars are the variety of people that they draw in and how relaxed everyone seems to be. People from all the world gather, hoping to mingle with interesting people. Compared with other Bars and Clubs that I have been to in Europe, people who come to Szimpla simply want to relax and take a moment to enjoy a chill night out. At the beginning of the night my friend and I were pleased to walk in and hear one of our favorite songs “All Night” playing. Szimpla mostly plays a mix of electro-swing. For anyone unfamiliar with this genre, check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_C7UgR_sIW0  by Parov Stelar. Although a little quirky, the lyrics and beat are sure to stick with you.

Before we knew it, we had met two students from the United Kingdom and a pair or friends from Canada taking a gap year. Talking to people in environments like this is low key one of my favorite things. Everyone is in a similar situation and everyone clearly has a passion for travel. This combination has always proven itself to make for great conversation. To hear everyone’s backstory and plans for the future of their journey is inspirational. We talked with the two guys from Canada for about an hour. We traded our best travel stories and shred tips about cities. But things really got interesting when they decided to bring up the upcoming American election. To hear an outsider’s perspective on the “circus” that people call the American Election system was humorous. For a while we debated on Hillary’s strengths while my Canadian friend referred to her as the “Attractive Boss Bitch” (he might have been a little intoxicated… to be fair) I found it relieving that everyone else in the world is horrified that we would let Donald Trump get this far in the election and they pass on their sympathies if he wins. One guy even told me that he hopes to visit the states before Donald Trump “takes over” and ruins the country.

szimpla.jpg

Szimpla during daylight hours. They serve cocktails all day, but they don’t get busy until 11 pm.

 

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A day in the life of a ski bum

Today, I hit the Colorado slopes and decided to learn how to snowboard. After all the bruises and possible concussion, I guess you could say it was an awesome day.

Since it was my first time on the slopes I decided to take lessons. When we formed our groups I quickly discovered I would be spending the rest of the day with seven other people. All of them ( including the instructor) happened to be men in their  twenties.

The teacher of the class was easily the coolest stoner I have ever met. For  reasons he will be left unnamed ( mostly because I think I saw him take weed from his friend at the end of the lesson, but still…) .He was a really talkative guy. Fortunately, it wasn’t the annoying type of endless chatter, but rather the kind which made the group comfortable and  allowed everyone to kinda be themselves. His easy going attitude made the class feel like a judgment free zone. Which, let me tell you, was a huge relief considering the amount of times I managed to face-plant strait into the unforgiving snow. Even when I nearly fell of the chairlift, still no judgment. Thanks to him, I was gliding down the mountain like a pro by the end of the lesson.

It turns out he recently attended the college which I have my eye set on for next year, with the exact same major. I mean, he did manage to drop out…. but still. It was pretty cool to hear a real student perspective.

Still, just because my group did not judge doesn’t mean that others held to the same standard…. On my second run off the ski lift, I fell. Randomly some little 6 year old kid skied up to me  and said in the sassiest tone possible “Hurts Doesn’t it..?”  before skiing off like a little freaking pro.  There I sat in the snow laughing my butt off! Who did that kid think he was? I did not know kids were capable of packing that much sass into three words.  I learn something new every day.

I look forward to heading up to the mountains again and hitting the slopes  soon. After years of wanting to start snowboarding I finally took the fist step. If I’d known it was this easy all along, I would have gone ages ago.

People are weird.

People are entertaining, plain and simple. Out of my many hobbies and projects people watching is simply one of my favorite.  There is rarely something more interesting then sitting in a public place and surveying all that goes on around you.

While waiting for my  ride today, I decided to go and grab a drink at a nearby Starbucks. Sitting in my little corner clutching my hot Creme Brulee Mocha, I glanced around to lock sight on a (honestly quite attractive… but probably gay) teenager.

His hipster glasses, which  framed his sharp jawline, sat crooked  on his face. His black hair looked slick with gel.  The look on his face told onlookers that he was completely enthralled in his book. To my amusement he was reading Alice in Wonderland. It was the exact same Barnes and Nobles- classic literature edition which I have sitting next to me on my desk at this very moment. Tell me, what strait man reads Alice in Wonderland in publicon purpose? He was pretty fruity if you ask me, not that there is anything wrong with that of course! Unfortunately, just not my type.

Across the room, a group of overly giggly teenage girls worked collectively on a psychology project. Their matching infinity scarves, UGG Boots, and serious use of the word “yolo” helped me to place them in early high school.

At the table next to me, sat the most adorable old couple I have ever seen. They were holding hands as they looked out the window at the busy street.  I overheard them reminisce back to their honeymoon in Florida. I guessed it may have been their wedding anniversary. As the  couple got up to leave, the elderly man leaned over to his wife whispering a few phrases. Although most of it was too quiet for me to hear, I managed to catch him say to her “… and you are just as beautiful as the day we married.” There, at that moment…in that specific Starbucks, my heart melted into a little puddle of mushy cuteness overload. Although I am usually able to keep quiet as I eavesdrop, a little bit of the “AWWW” that echoed around my head must have escaped my lips.  The couple turned in my direction and shot me an extremely sassy look that said, ” Yeah. We are the cutest old couple you’ve ever seen, huh?” It was literally a scene from your favorite romantic comedy.

I may not know where my future will take me, but at the end of the day (after the youthful side of me has had its fun) I aspire to have a relationship like that couple. Although you might think people watching is purely about others, you might be surprised how much deep shit you dig up about yourself in the end.

The Real Twilight Zone

Last summer, my family and I were traveling and decided to stop in a small town  for the night. Tired, we drove into the parking lot of a well-known hotel chain hoping they had a room available. They did. At first it seemed  like a quiet little town with pleasant locals.  Almost too pleasant. The town was  remote so the service on our cellphones was limited.

Before settling in for the night, we decided to stop by a local grill for some dinner. This is when things began to get weird. Opening the door, laughter and the sound of happy conversation echoed through the restaurant.  But the moment we asked to be seated the entire restaurant froze, going dead silent as the waiter escorted us to our seats. Every eye in the room followed us with a dead stare as we proceeded to sit down.

Until that moment, I did not think it was possible to consume food that fast. Although the silence started to fade as new locals entered the restaurant, the atmosphere was still eerie. The locals had an unusual accent which I couldn’t quite place.  My parents and I exchanged awkward glances as we quickly paid and exited the restaurant. Clearly, this town wasn’t used to outsiders.

On our way back to the hotel we attempted to get gas from the ONLY gas station in town….. Turns out, they ran out of gas. Even until present, this still strikes me as odd.

The next morning we woke up at nearly half past four AM to discover yet another set of surprises.  The power had gone out. At first we thought it may have been an issue with our room or even just floor. But no,after a quick trip to the front desk we discovered the entire town had suddenly gone off grid.  As we looked out the window of our room and onto the barren landscape of the American southwest. Things like spotlights, billboards, and streetlights that  would normally be lit were completely dark. The light from the moon and stars reflected dimly on the pavement. Tired, and honestly still road weary, we returned to bed until daylight.

Upon waking, we packed up and left as soon as we could. On the road in the town, there was not a car nor person to be seen. It was almost as if the population of the town had disappeared. The only sound which could be heard outside was the howl of the  dusty wind. Not an animal or insect stirred. I had never felt so removed from society. It was almost as if my family and I were transported to another planet. Shivers ran through my body as an irrational part of me feared we may never find our way out of that town. Something about it was wrong. So very wrong. It is a hard feeling to describe. Possibly it was a combination of the extraneous circumstances and bad timing. Either way, it was time to leave

Even to this day, a part of me wonders if this town really exists. Although my family was present for this little adventure, t it has somehow been cleverly avoided in conversation as an unexplained phenomenon.

“You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. Your next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

This is how it all started.

Last night, as my friends and I counted down to the new year, they asked me about my New Years resolutions. When confronted with this question I froze up as I realized not a thought about this subject had crossed my mind… well, since last New Years Eve.  Quickly I managed to blurt out that I intended to become more organized and get my life in order. Although both of these goals are likely to sink like the Titanic, they seemed to be logical ideas.

As the night continued, this question clung in the back of my mind. Somehow after several glasses of… I’m honestly not sure what, a conversation of blogging began. Before, I had contributed blogs to nerds who sat in the dark, hiding from daylight and social interaction. Still, there is an erotic type of draw and temptation when it comes to releasing pure, and unfiltered thoughts of my (admittedly) average life.

So, here is my real New Years resolution. My new resolution is to regularly update this blog and fill it with purely entertaining content. I hope this will not only be education journey for me but an entertaining one for you as well. Thank you to my awesome friend (you know who you are) who gave me a kick start to this whole idea. I might be just a little bit of a  copy-cat. But after all, aren’t we all?