Travel is much more rewarding if it involves something more than getting sloppy drunk on a beach. Even small experiences, like learning to make Mexican mole, dance samba, or string together a few words to tell a joke in a marginalized language, can make a vacation into an enriching, memorable experience.
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Using a pickup line in your native tongue is a dubious move. But in a foreign language the mispronounced equivalent of “Do you come here often?” can be funny, even endearing. The following are very clichéd classics; say them earnestly, falteringly, and for once your bewildered foreigner status may work in your favor. T’as des …
When hungover, Germans speak of howling cats while Icelanders’ phrase literally means to have the God of Thunder’s hammers in your brain. Iberian languages refer to the undertow; apparently the land’s regurgitation of water to the sea is evocative. Latin Americans show a great linguistic range in their post-bacchanal gloom, using Spanish or native words for …
The Brazilian finger snap is just one of the countless gestures integral to communication in Brazil, and never taught in any Portuguese class. The estalo brasileiro, or Brazilian snap, is used to indicate speed; sometimes it’s used to (rather rudely) tell someone to pick up the pace. On a drunken night on a break from …
The world’s sexiest women are Catalan. They’re gorgeous, laid back, kinda grungy, and infinitely sweet.* So what do you gotta do to bang, smooch, or marry one? Former dictator Francisco Franco has inadvertently given us a leg up, with the collective mindfuck he caused by banning the region’s language. Today’s Catalans get very excited about …
Welcome to Verlan, France’s answer to Cockney rhyming slang or Pig Latin (and an exact parallel to Serbian’s Šatrovački). Verlan became common in the ’80s among poor young folks in Parisian suburbs, and was diffused through hip hop and pop music. Today, anyone of the MTV Europe age or younger employs it to some degree. The …
The following table will aid in communication with inanimate French objects. I have also made guides for the lesser experiences of communicating with the young and animate French, the sexually alluring French, and more.
Galician is uniquely rich in fixed expressions for that romantic-but-vexing moment when a man sees something he’d like to fuck. Many languages (French and Catalan come to mind) have their own clichéd versions of “do you come here often?” but Galician, in spite of losing its lexical footing a bit as it mixes with Spanish, is balls-out prolific …
Independentista and blogger El Fem Fatal (update: her site is no longer live, how tragic!) speaks Catalan not only to foreigners like me, but also to the inanimate objects in her home. “Li fas plas!” she explained to me, flailing at her lightswitch. “You’ve gotta really slap this fucker!” is how I would translate that. …
You can’t speak Portuguese without moving your hands. And, as you might expect from a people with their own style of kissing, Brazilians have a grand repertoire of unique gestures. Among them: “big fat liar”, “this person’s quality stuff”, and “in the hood”.
One lovely evening a ways back, U. Michigan students were served cocktails, then tested on their ability to learn Thai pronunciation. The tests were performed double-blind, and the cocktails contained varying amounts of alcohol (some, secretely, had none). Finally, science was poised to say how much exactly you should drink before attempting to pronounce new foreign …
We're devoted to spending our travel dollars and most importantly time where it counts. We'd rather carry a few things that work well, rather than a large suitcase full of "just-in-case" accessories. We want to hit just a few destinations and really enjoy them, and travel low-carbon wherever possible, rather than take whirlwind tours. And we want to help others who hope to do the same, and really dig into the delights that minimalist travel can provide.
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