Now’s The Time To See The Indiana Jones Exhibit Because The Kids Are Back In School

Indiana JonesIt’s back to school for the kids this week, which means we can reclaim our country. It’s safe for adults without kids (a.k.a. happy people) to venture outside to enjoy the beach, parks and the museums.

20150808_135422So head on down to Washington, D.C. and the National Geographic Museum for the Indiana Jones and the Adventure of Archaeology. If you go in the next two weeks, you can even avoid the terror that are school day trips.

The Indiana Jones Exhibit follows in the footsteps of other traveling films exhibits like Star Wars, Pixar, Avengers and the current Hunger Games exhibit in New York. Under the guise of education, these exhibits showcases props and behind the scenes footage with real world historical context. Obviously at the end, you can buy some branded merchandising crap.

20150808_143935Raiders of the Lost Ark is my favorite movie of all time, so I was game for this visit. You get a tablet and headphones where you punch in the numbers next to display to hear background on the prop, some behind-the-scenes trivia and scenes from the movie.

Between the movies you have displays and artifacts from real-life archaeologists from the late 19th Century and early 20th century. Unfortunately, they did not run from huge stone balls, witness hearts being ripped our of people’s rib cages, escape nuclear blasts in refrigerators or get autographs from Adolf Hitler. You’ll also see footage from current National Geographic expeditions into digs around the world.

What I enjoyed the most was the background on the real Ark of the Covenant, the Holy Grail and the Sankara Stones. No one actually knows where the Ark is, it could have been in destroyed in Jerusalem during the Siege of 587 or the Babylonians could have taken it away and put it on eBay.

Unfortunately, you have to suffer through  Shia LaBeouf and Indiana Jones and The Kingdom the Crystal Skull.  Shia LaBeouf himself is not actually in the exhibit with a bag over his head.

The exhibit is on now until January 3rd. It was previously in Montreal, Sana Ana, CA, Ft. Worth, TX and Valencia, Spain.

In Osaka, There’s a Museum Exhibit That’s Full of Shit

toilet

 

I think it was Pink Floyd who sang, “All in all, we’re just another poop in the toilet.”

No visit to Japan is complete without experiencing the wonderful, crazy weirdness of their society. If you find yourself in Osaka, Toilet!? – Human Waste & Earth’s Future at Miraikan: The National Museum of Emerging Science & Innovation  should be factored into your itinerary.

First off, Toilet!? should be the name of the worst hipster experimental band from Brooklyn. Second, this is so awesome that this proves that there’s no boundaries in the Japanese imagination.

The description:

This exhibition focuses on the “toilet”, a topic not usually talked about openly. Studying from such topics as like the problem of feces and the environment, this exhibition will try to discover what the environment-friendly toilet is and what the ideal toilet is.

I saw the exhibit in a bit on Jimmy Kimmel Live, where the host talked about his new hi-tech toilet. Indeed, the toilets in Japan talk to you, you can adjust the water temperature and spray radius of the bidet feature, have heated seats and the lid will open on command like it’s praising you like a god. At my hotel, I spent 15 minutes sitting on the toilet playing with all the buttons.

As you can see in this video, children wear poop hats and slide down a over-sized toilet. Yup, you’re kids can get shit-faced in the exhibit.

They get to learn all about their bowels and what happens to their waste once they leave their body. This is what we need to teach our children during potty training.

I just hope they don’t make the museum smell of poop.

The One Thing To Do In Munich — Drink a Beer at 10am

munich-beerThe person who invented “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” obviously factored beer into the equation. Then there’s the person at the office who sneaks a drink mid-afternoon and proclaims, “Oh, it’s five o’clock somewhere,” and proceeds to laugh at his or her own joke.

Beer is the cornerstone of Bavarian culture and history dating back to the 900s. It’s such an essential part of their economic livelihood that the breweries follow Reinheitsgebot, a law that dates back to the 1400s. Essentially, the “German Beer Purity Law” is a guideline to what makes German beer — water, barley and hops.

The law was updated in 1993 to include yeast, wheat and cane sugar while maintaining the alcohol content  between 4.7% and 5.4%. That explains downing one of those big boot beers is an attainable challenge. You’ll just be going to the bathroom for 24-hours straight afterwards.

Obviously, Oktoberfest is the biggest celebration in the world that has been bastardized. I like to be the one who points out that Oktoberfest is celebrated mostly in September (Sept 19-Oct. 4). The response I get is the, “Yeah, but still…”

In Munich, you are never far from a beer hall or garden. You step off the plane and there’s a brewery right after baggage claim. The place to go for that 10am beer is the Viktualienmarkt, the year long outdoor food market, in the city center. You put in your 50p for the beer glass deposit. Fill up on a rotation of beers from Augustiner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, Hofbräu, Paulaner and Spaten.

Drinking a beer at 10am on a crisp Autumn day outside is no big deal in Munich. You can’t replicate the experience anywhere else. It’s just as soothing, comforting, relaxing and sociable as a cup on coffee. If you do that here in America, it’s the making on a intervention. In Germany, it’s a good way to start the day … but not everyday mind you.

It’s when you have that second, third or fourth stein, then you have a problem — as with coffee. You will see the occasional stereotypical drunkard at the beer halls, and the locals call them “tourists.”

Enough With the Live Tweeting on Airplanes

live_tweets_12

Today’s viral story of nonsense that will be forgotten about by tomorrow revolved around a couple breaking-up on a delayed flight out of Raleigh. Meanwhile, passenger Kelly Keegs decided to pass the time and live tweet the whole exchange.

Okay, I get it. Preppie white couple drama unfolding in front of everyone. People point, role their eyes and chuckle. Did this really needed to be broadcast? Who’s benefit is this for? I hope this doesn’t happen to you some day, Keegs. Not everything that’s funny, amusing or OMG incredible needs to be broadcast. I hope the couple contacts you and chews you out.

Remember Melissa Stetten? She’s the writer/model who live tweeted a guy hitting on her during a cross country red eye flight. The guy was a married actor and devout Christian.

Again, I get it. Hot chick gets hit on by douchebag.  Douchebags are funny. He’s embarrassed when the story goes viral. We move on.

I had a fidgety, portly guy who was juggling a MacBook, iPhone and iPad next to me order six Diet Cokes on a flight to San Francisco. Never did it occur to me that I needed to tell the whole world at that time and take pictures to make fun of him.

Point being, why are people doing this? I’m hoping it’s not some sort of narcissistic idea to validate your witty Twitter existence.

If it’s to pass the time because you can’t sit still during a delay or can’t tell a guy to STFU, then I have some suggestions:

  • read a book
  • listen to some music
  • write to a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
  • study up on what to do at your destination if you’re on vacation. The magazine in front of you is pretty handy.

The best thing on these activities — you could do these things in 1990, before smartphones. Still effective today.

In London, Forget Sunday Brunch, Get Donuts

crosstown-donuts

Brunch is an American invention. We love combining two great things or ideas and making it into one idea with a cutsy name:

  • Breakfast + Lunch = Brunch
  • Croissant + Donut = Cronut
  • Lion + Tiger = Liger
  • Labrador + Poodle = Labradoodle
  • Quesadilla + Burrito = Quesarito
  • Tomato + Tobacco = Tomacco

It pained me seeing advertising for Sunday Brunch in London and reading lists of the best brunch spots in Time Out magazine. You guys have the greatest Sunday meal in dining history, the Sunday Roast. Then, the traditional full British breakfast. It’s got beans. It’s amazing!

That’s why you need to seek out Crosstown Donuts in London. You see that picture of those lovely doughies — Raspberry Jam, Rocky Road, Green Tea Matcha, Tongan Vanilla Bean Glaze, Belgian Chocolate Truffle, Peanut Butter & Berry, Sea Salt Caramel & Banana Cream, Creme Brûlée . You need to be eating that, NOW. Yes, I ate every one of those flavors.  I was there so many times that I filled a buy 6, get the 7th free card at the shop in Soho. It was near my yoga studio, so everybody wins.

You can sit for two hours in a crowded restaurant with 20 families with screaming kids or you can head to Regent’s Park with a bag of Crosstown Donuts.

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You Don’t Need This: Souvenir T-shirts

i_heart_beijing_tshirtThe t-shirts that are found at gift shops and souvenir stores around the world are one of the dumbest things you can buy. It ranks on the lower end of the t-shirt spectrum in terms of coolness. It’s right between the free t-shirt you got when you signed up for a credit card in college and the free t-shirt you received for running a benefit 5K race.

Think of how many t-shirts you own. Like me, I’m sure you have basic color t-shirts, band/concert, sports teams, designer artwork, etc. Now take that amount and half it. You still have too many t-shirts.

The souvenir t-shirt can be used as a statement of where you traveled. “Oh, you went to Senor Frog’s! So did I. Let’s be friends or have sex,” said no one ever. Those Senor Frog’s shirts, and the million other tropical/beach tourist destinations, are pretty much the ugliest things you put on your torso.

The other intention can be as a memento of your journey because the Facebook and Instagram updates and 10,000 photo uploads are not enough to help you remember.

If these are your intentions of buying them, then it’s time to reconsider why you travel. Is it to show off to others and make them jealous? Travel is about you, not what other people think of you. You can put that on a t-shirt.

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The Turkey Tourist Visa Is Necessary, But Really Just a Money Grab

turkish-tourist-visa

The Turkish Visa application clip art is Grown-up Dora the Explorer and Hipster Ariel — “I left the ocean, it was too current.”

I’m vaguely planning out my next journey and looked up the handy online guides to what countries need a tourist visa. It reminded me of the absolute mind and cluster fuck the China visa was in 2011. The other time I needed a visa was to go to Turkey. Let me recount this simple story:

— You go online to evisa.gov.tr. You fill out the form, pay $20, download, print and take it with you to Passport Control. Since November 2014, you can no longer purchase a visa at the airport, so adjust accordingly.

— Did all that, arrived in Istanbul from Athens, got to the passport control agent, agent never asked for my visa, stamped my passport, I was on my way.

Well, then. I’m so glad I provided my credit card information to the Turkish government and spent $20 for nothing.

I chalk my experience up to the phenomenon as “Whoever You Get”. Example, when you go through TSA, you’re either going to get the dick agent who’s making it hard for everyone or the guy who just wants to go home. Another example, when I was 16, I tried to get into a rated-R movie. One ticket guy wouldn’t sell me a ticket since I was underage. Went to another line, no problems.

This frustrating phenomenon happens in all aspects of life. It’s the inconsistent guidelines that creates unnecessary bureaucracy. The randomness is a gamble, “Do I spend the $20 or save $20 and hope I get the agent who doesn’t care?”

This begs the question, why do we need a visa to get into Turkey in the first place? What did they do to Americans and vice versa? You don’t a need a visa to get into neighboring Greece or Bulgaria.

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