black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

             
"The first thing I do is I dress for airports. I dress for security. I dress for the worst-case scenario. Comfortable shoes are important — I like Clarks desert boots because they go off and on very quickly, they’re super comfortable, you can beat the hell out of them, and they’re cheap.
In my carry-on, I’ll have a notebook, yellow legal pads, good headphones. Imodium is important. The necessity for Imodium will probably present itself, and you don’t want to be caught without it. I always carry a scrunchy lightweight down jacket; it can be a pillow if I need to sleep on a floor. And the iPad is essential. I load it up with books to be read, videos, films, games, apps, because I’m assuming there will be downtime. You can’t count on good films on an airplane. 
I check my luggage. I hate the people struggling to cram their luggage in an overhead bin, so I don’t want to be one of those people.
On the plane, I like to read fiction set in the location I’m going to. Fiction is in many ways more useful than a guidebook, because it gives you those little details, a sense of the way a place smells, an emotional sense of the place. So, I’ll bring Graham Greene’s The Quiet American if I’m going to Vietnam. It’s good to feel romantic about a destination before you arrive.” 
"I never, ever try to weasel upgrades. I’m one of those people who feel really embarrassed about wheedling. I never haggle over price. I sort of wander away out of shame when someone does that. I’m socially nonfunctional in those situations. 
I don’t get jet lag as long as I get my sleep. As tempting as it is to get really drunk on the plane, I avoid that. If you take a long flight and get off hungover and dehydrated, it’s a bad way to be. I’ll usually get on the plane, take a sleeping pill, and sleep through the whole flight. Then I’ll land and whatever’s necessary for me to sleep at bedtime in the new time zone, I’ll do that. 
There’s almost never a good reason to eat on a plane. You’ll never feel better after airplane food than before it. I don’t understand people who will accept every single meal on a long flight. I’m convinced it’s about breaking up the boredom. You’re much better off avoiding it. Much better to show up in a new place and be hungry and eat at even a little street stall than arrive gassy and bloated, full, flatulent, hungover. So I just avoid airplane food. It’s in no way helpful. 
For me, one of the great joys of traveling is good plumbing. A really good high-pressure shower, with an unlimited supply of hot water. It’s a major topic of discussion for me and my crew. Best-case scenario: a Japanese toilet. Those high-end Japanese toilets that sprinkle hot water in your ass. We take an almost unholy pleasure in that.”
"I’ve stopped buying souvenirs. The first few years I’d buy trinkets or T-shirts or handcrafts. I rarely do that anymore. My apartment is starting to look like Colonel Mustard’s club. So much of it comes out of the same factory in Taiwan.”
"The other great way to figure out where to eat in a new city is to provoke nerd fury online. Go to a number of foodie websites with discussion boards. Let’s say you’re going to Kuala Lumpur — just post on the Malaysia board that you recently returned and had the best rendang in the universe, and give the name of a place, and all these annoying foodies will bombard you with angry replies about how the place is bullshit, and give you a better place to go.”
Bourdain: How to Travel

"The first thing I do is I dress for airports. I dress for security. I dress for the worst-case scenario. Comfortable shoes are important — I like Clarks desert boots because they go off and on very quickly, they’re super comfortable, you can beat the hell out of them, and they’re cheap.

In my carry-on, I’ll have a notebook, yellow legal pads, good headphones. Imodium is important. The necessity for Imodium will probably present itself, and you don’t want to be caught without it. I always carry a scrunchy lightweight down jacket; it can be a pillow if I need to sleep on a floor. And the iPad is essential. I load it up with books to be read, videos, films, games, apps, because I’m assuming there will be downtime. You can’t count on good films on an airplane. 

I check my luggage. I hate the people struggling to cram their luggage in an overhead bin, so I don’t want to be one of those people.

On the plane, I like to read fiction set in the location I’m going to. Fiction is in many ways more useful than a guidebook, because it gives you those little details, a sense of the way a place smells, an emotional sense of the place. So, I’ll bring Graham Greene’s The Quiet American if I’m going to Vietnam. It’s good to feel romantic about a destination before you arrive.” 

"I never, ever try to weasel upgrades. I’m one of those people who feel really embarrassed about wheedling. I never haggle over price. I sort of wander away out of shame when someone does that. I’m socially nonfunctional in those situations. 

I don’t get jet lag as long as I get my sleep. As tempting as it is to get really drunk on the plane, I avoid that. If you take a long flight and get off hungover and dehydrated, it’s a bad way to be. I’ll usually get on the plane, take a sleeping pill, and sleep through the whole flight. Then I’ll land and whatever’s necessary for me to sleep at bedtime in the new time zone, I’ll do that. 

There’s almost never a good reason to eat on a plane. You’ll never feel better after airplane food than before it. I don’t understand people who will accept every single meal on a long flight. I’m convinced it’s about breaking up the boredom. You’re much better off avoiding it. Much better to show up in a new place and be hungry and eat at even a little street stall than arrive gassy and bloated, full, flatulent, hungover. So I just avoid airplane food. It’s in no way helpful. 

For me, one of the great joys of traveling is good plumbing. A really good high-pressure shower, with an unlimited supply of hot water. It’s a major topic of discussion for me and my crew. Best-case scenario: a Japanese toilet. Those high-end Japanese toilets that sprinkle hot water in your ass. We take an almost unholy pleasure in that.”

"I’ve stopped buying souvenirs. The first few years I’d buy trinkets or T-shirts or handcrafts. I rarely do that anymore. My apartment is starting to look like Colonel Mustard’s club. So much of it comes out of the same factory in Taiwan.”

"The other great way to figure out where to eat in a new city is to provoke nerd fury online. Go to a number of foodie websites with discussion boards. Let’s say you’re going to Kuala Lumpur — just post on the Malaysia board that you recently returned and had the best rendang in the universe, and give the name of a place, and all these annoying foodies will bombard you with angry replies about how the place is bullshit, and give you a better place to go.”

Bourdain: How to Travel

“When I first travelled, I was naive, sloppy, wide-eyed, and nothing happened to me. That’s probably where the dumb luck came in. Then I began to read the guidebooks, the State Department warnings, the endless elucidation of national norms, cultural cues and insults and regional dangers, and I became wary, careful, savvy. I kept my money taped inside my shoe, or strapped to my stomach. I took any kind of precaution, believing that the people of this area did this, and the people of that province did that. But then, finally, I realised no one of any region did anything I have ever expected them to do, much less anything the guidebooks said they would. Instead, they behaved as everyone behaves, which is to say they behave as individuals of damnably infinite possibility. Anyone could do anything, in theory, but most of the time everyone everywhere acts with plain bedrock decency, helping where help is needed, guiding where guidance is necessary. It’s almost weird.”

11 French Travel Tips for Visiting America (via Google Translate)

Our custom is to kiss before, during, and after each social encounter, with 1, 2, 3, or 4 kisses. This is not the custom in the United States. For a friend, we will hug, with a great tapping on the back and a big smile. For colleagues, greet with a good handshake. Americans have a firm handshake, so do not hesitate to grind their knuckles. It is also a sign you have confidence in yourself.

Be prepared for an onslaught of friendliness. You may be approached by a stranger on the street asking you where you got your coat. Passersby greet each other cheerfully in the street. Your neighbor may compliment you on the curve of your muscles, and the cashier at the supermarket may ask you what you are doing with this beautiful weekend (and the three cases of rosé you’ve purchased).” 

A passerby stumbles and sprawls in the street, an old lady can barely control Brutus at the end of a leash, a small tricycle driver loses control of his vehicle. Politeness means, of course, that you come and help all these people. American culture wants you to quit all your activities and rescue the unfortunate. In America, you cannot pretend to not have noticed all these little quirks. You must rush to provide assistance to all who need it.” 

Americans eat and drink anything and at any time of the day: in the street, in a meeting at work, in the car, on the subway, in the elevator, the movies … So, there are drink rests everywhere: cinema seats, baby strollers, shopping carts at the supermarket, in cars, some bike handlebars.”

Rejoicing in the presence of children or pets. This is the correlate of “smile to strangers,” it is mandatory to have a smile or a little “how cute” tilt to your head if you come across a child or pet. Even if they are ugly.” 

Crossing the road as a pedestrian is not always easy, you often have to wait for ages. When the white man is on, you can cross. And then a stressful countdown shows the time remaining for you to cross, sometimes only a few seconds to cross large avenues.”

“‘Inspiring’ became a word I heard every day: everything must be ‘inspiring’ and push transcendence. We go to the movies, there is a choice between the biopic Lincoln, the Avengers or Misérables, each so inspiring in their own way. The books are inspiring, everyday people are inspiring (such as all the people with children and a job at the same time, teachers, etc…). I confess that I have a little trouble with this cult of everyday heroes.”

If you want privacy (in a public restroom), no chance. There are no real walls, only partitions that do not even go to the ground. So you can see the shoes of your colleagues, hear all the noises … And even the doors do not help much. You can see the faces of the occupants through the slits in the doorway.”

Read on: Mental Floss

©2011 Kateoplis