Tuesday, April 13, 2010

JZ's Unsolicited Advice Column: Travel Edition

Hey everybody, John here. As the “Spring-Break” season dawns on us once again, people begin making plans for the annual exodus from where we live to warmer, more booze-soaked locales. Nothing says “goodbye winter” like having a big guy forcibly pour tequila down your gullet while loudly blowing a whistle. However, even the best planned vacation can go astray; especially if you make the wrong moves in a foreign country. In the interest of helping our readers avoid run-ins with the federales, and not become unwitting drug-mules, I offer JZ’s tips for traveling abroad:

Tip #1: Pack smart – When going to another country, one never truly knows what one will encounter. While this provides a certain level of uncertainty, a smart traveler can stack the deck in their favor by bringing helpful items on each of their trips. These items include: granola bars, a water bottle, a flashlight, a hand pumped water filtration system, a passport, a phony passport with a different name, a decent suit for court appearances, a set of brass knuckles*, a fake mustache, bribe money, and a comfortable pair of shoes.
*(Brass Knuckles are outlawed in the United States as a “concealed weapon”. However, they are great for foreign travel…. because they’re so easy to conceal)
Packing the right items can prepare you for several contingencies or, worst-case, provide you with stuff to trade for a trip home.

Tip #2 : Let ‘em know where you’re from – If there’s one thing people abroad are impressed with, it’s the land of cowboys and movie stars. It is because of this international idolization that it’s important you let everyone know that you are American, and therefore subject to preferential treatment. It’s important to educate people on your American-ness when you are cutting in a line or yelling at a cabbie that doesn’t speak English, for example. One caveat to “dropping the A bomb” is, if done in Europe, it must immediately be noted that we saved/ kicked their country’s sorry ass in WWII.

Tip #3: Avoid blood sausage – Picture a sausage. Now take out all the meat. You still have all the spices, maybe tiny bits of minced onion, and some other sausage-y flavors. Now where there was meat, put…scab. That’s right! A big, warm, wet scab!!! Why they eat this in other countries is beyond me. I guess it’s a throw back to the old days when every part of the animal was used to gross out Americans.
Now, I’m a relatively adventurous eater. On the trip where I tried blood sausage I also ate cow thymus (Sweet Breads) and would do it again, ‘cause it tasted good. Not the blood sausage though. It didn’t even taste that bad, it was just bland. However, the texture, coupled with the fact that you are basically eating a clotting mechanism… eugh.

Those three tips should be a good start. And remember, you’re on vacation, live it up! Expand your horizons, do things you wouldn’t normally do. Normally have drab tastes? Wear something flashy. Normally an introvert? Try karaoke. Are you usually a buttoned down, boring decision maker? Rip off a bunch of bikers for their meth money, join an underground yakuza fight club, mix it up!!

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