and… were back. I made the executive decision to take a 9th semester and study abroad in Copenhagen again!! False. For realsies, I just graduated college (Claremont McKenna College of Economics) and am adventuring around the world with some of my best friends before we all become real people and start out jobs in a few months. I figure it is still travel blogging, so it still counts. I am also exactly 10 times too lazy to create a new blog.. Thus myclichetraveblog is risen. Praise thee. Unfortunately the quality of my posts is likely to fall dramatically due to my lack of computer. I am currently operating on an iphone with a portable keyboard. Apologies in advance for the lack of photos, length, and punctuation that will end up in ma upcoming writings.
So where the hellz are we at this exact second?
Currently sitting in Oslo, Norway(yes it is raining #classic) on a five hour layover before we head out to Barcelona. and yes those of you who follow JesusCristo (me) on snapchat, we did fly directly from Oakland to Oslo…. Go Figure. I am with Tim Storer and Garrett Wells, but will be meeting up with more of the crew as our adventures continue.
1. Currently headed to Barcelona to stay on Her Majesty, The Golden Wings II, a spendid nautical vessel. Skipped by the one and only, “Captain,” aka my Grandfather, aka Grumps, aka Irwin Sheldon (both my gpa are Irwin Sheldon, crazy), aka Irv. The captain is a salty eyed, grizzled old master of the high seas, and we come bearing Costco coffee, so we should be welcomed. Neither Tim nor Garrett has been to Europe before, so showing them the ropes should be awesome.
2. While still in Barca, our second adventure (after general tourism) is Primavera Sound! This is one of the biggest music festivals in the world and is a 15 min walk down the beach (rough.. I know) from the port. This thing is massive, sporting 12 nearly full stages over 3.5 days. Being Spain, the lesser known acts come on at 6 PM, with the festival going until 6 AM each night… Unreal. We are stoked for; The Strokes, Chet Faker, The Black keys, Sylvan Esso, Benjamin Booker, and like 30 others. Yes. Yes. Yes.
3. Amsterdam for three days! Never went while I was abroad so should be fantastical.
4. Copehagen for five days!!! Wooooooo, meeting up with Nick and the four of us are staying with everyone’s favorite Danish family for four days of food, tourism and Scandinavian perfection. Unlike when I was there, it won’t get dark until late at night, so we have maximum happy times. If you are new hear, see every single other post to learn about these guys..
5. East Asia Time! I will break out a full trip plan later, but we have over a month of total adventuring. Bangkok, Pai, Chiang Mai, Penang, Phuket, Hanoi and a bunch of other places on the list. Everything looks amazing, and frankly, this is the main reason I am blogging. Too much sensory input. Will give the full update as we get closer.
6. Melbourne, Australia to see Chantal!! Can’t wait. More to come.
Starting to get horrid hand cramps from this little keyboard so I think that’s it for this post. Stay tuned… Or don’t. I will write the same schtuff either way. Next time from Spain!
“Im excited for so many things but im too tired to express any of it right now” – timbo (Storer)
“Kyle asked me to come up with a quote for this blog thing but i don’t want to give him one” – garrett (<— soft;)
Alright guys, this is it. Flight at 7 AM in the morning. The last post from Denmark.
What I am going to miss:
Walking down Strøget sipping Varm Chokolade or Gløgg, eating some deliriously delightful (and overpriced) hot sugar coated burnt almonds, and marveling at how crowded it is no matter how miserable the weather.
Walking off the main streets and finding cool and weird places in random alleyways. I have never known a city even close to how well I know København, and I am already nostalgic for this place.
My host family. This is sad. I made them a sweet photo album (which I have not given them yet so don’t tell them or I will hunt you down) that has a ton of blank spaces for when they visit America, and for whenever I am back in Denmark. They have been the reason this trip has been so amazing, and I am forever appreciative. Going to be a hard goodbye.
Hygge. If you don’t know what this is, read the blog from the start. This is hard to put into words, but the vibe is just incredible.
My friends here. Being here is weird, you become good friends with a bunch of people you will most likely never see again. Then some who you know you will see again, because a gut feeling tells you that it is written (or maybe just Facebook haha).
Danish people. Funny, gorgeous, food loving, and descendants of Vikings, what’s not to love?
Biking and Trains. Not having to ever drive is awesome. Getting stuck in biking traffic is hilarious.
Europe being my playground. I have explored waterfalls in underground caves in Portugal, toured my man Shakespeare’s theater in London, visited a crazy Tea house in Budapest, snuck in tents at Oktoberfest, hiked the Eiffel Tower with a bottle of wine and my econ class, eaten mussels in Brussels, seen my favorite concert ever in Sweden, just completely owned Copenhagen, and done a gazillion other incredible things.
Writing. As you can tell by my nearly 50 blog posts, I have taken my blogging duties quite seriously, and will miss this blog and all of you wonderful people who brought us over 5000 views! Thanks so much for all of your emails and comments, it made it worth writing. I have never had any confidence in my ability to write anything, but Denmark has changed that.
Thanks to everyone who made this journey one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Vi ses Danmark. Until we meet again.
@Kyle David Weiss
Studying in Copenhagen:
By the Numbers
47: Number of pastries I Have eaten thus far. Denmark wins, but Portugal comes in a close second place in the baked goods game.
9:Number of countries I will have visited in my time Abroad
- Denmark, France, Belgium, Great Britain, Hungary, Germany, Sweden, Portugal and Holland(tentative depending on funds).
70/30: Girl to Guy Gender Ratio on our program.
1.83 M (6 ft): Average height of Danish Guys.. Sad face. They have nearly two inches on us USA.. Step it up!
500,000: Number of Danes who bike to work on an average day in the Greater Copenhagen Area. According to Wikipedia (ya I know….) this is more than the amount of Americans who bike to work in our whole country. Other cities becoming more Bicycle friendly is actually called Copenhagenization. I will write a whole blog about how the bikes relate to fashion and all that before I leave!
7: Average hours of sunlight in December in this town. It gets dark like right when lunch ends. Super big struggle for California boy.
26: Minutes my S-Tog train takes to get from Virum where I reside to the middle of the city.
$5.37: Price of a Big Mac in Denmark. $2.00 more than the US average but over $4.00 less than our way-too-wealthy neighbors in Norway.
170 M: Highest hill in Denmark. There are no mountains, hence the bikes.
12,500 BC: When Denmark was first inhabited.
60.2%: Top personal income tax rate in Denmark. This kicked in at over 55k per year. Whereas in California the top tax bracket is at over 400k per year.
6: Weeks of vacation guaranteed by law for full time Danish employees. Combine this with a 37.5 hour work week, and up to 120 days of paid sick time, and you understand why Danes are so darn happy all the time despite the previous stat.
1583: The year Dyrehavsbakken, the oldest operating theme park in the world opened. Tivoli Gardens, the second oldest park and the oldest in a city opened in 1843. If you know me, you know how happy this makes me.
$19.50: How much I would have to pay to see whatever horror movie this poster is for in Copenhagen.
Kidding! It is actually a super creepy brand new portrait of the Royal Family. Have fun not sleeping tonight!
30: Minutes to Malmö, Sweden by train. I will be there Wednesday night for Sigur Ros!
9: Hours of class I have on Tuesdays. Aka I need to quit blogging and hit the books!
Peace Out Girl Scouts
From being given roasted chestnuts upon arrival, to exploring Lisbon’s castles and old winding streets, I very well could have written a Pulitzer worthy account of our stay in Lisbon so far. However, yesterday’s day trip to Sintra was a total game changer, and I needed to share with the world.
Sintra is a town about 30 minutes from Lisbon by train, and is basically Narnia without the witches and annoying children. The area basically consists of a hilly town filled with castles, old aristocratic estates, palaces, and incredible hiking. Some of the coolest exploring a person could ever do.
We started by hiking straight up the mountain (you can take a bus if you suck) to the old Moorish Castle.
This is some of the most gorgeous adventuring I have ever done. Hiking along the castle walls actually just feels like you are hiking the great wall. You can see for miles all around, and you have an incredible view of Pena Palace. No big deal or anything, but Pena Palace is the major inspiration for the castle in Cinderella. We didn’t actually go up to the palace, but rest assured it is incredible.
After eating more snacks and heading down the mountain, we went to the Quinta da Regaleira, or the Palace of Monteiro the Millionaire. This place has a sweet romantic style palace, a chapel, and several other cool buildings. However, the real attraction is the grounds around these buildings. The estate is huge and is the most beautiful park ever. Old turrets, lakes, and twisting paths wind through the giant property. Better yet, the whole park is connected by a series of dark, creepy, underground tunnels and caves that wind through the park.
There is a whole cool history behind these caves involving Dante’s Ascension, but just exploring is good enough. One of the passages (seen below) ends at a beautiful grotto with an awesome gothic bridge and waterfall at the entrance. The only way out is to cross the water on little stepping-stones in the lake. I am all about the words normally, but in this case it is better for you all to just see.
We could have explored for another few days, but alas, time is limited!
Also cool, the town is small and artsy and has cool shops and hotels. Future honeymoon, consider yourself booked. We also had one Euro cherry liquor shots out of chocolate cups. Delicious.
Danny, David, (friends from DIS) and I have an awesome and surprisingly cheap place in the craziest part of Lisbon looking over the water. Life is good. This town is amazing, and has an awesome vibe. They also have a bridge that is known as The Golden Gate’s sister bridge. Bay whatup. Yesterday I went on a tour of the local castle that included a submarine lookout device invented by Cha boi Leonardo Da Vinci, and allows you to see a giant projection of the whole city. Its like having a huge video camera that you can move around and zoom in and out from the castle. While the tour was in Spanish, it was cooler than Ice Cube.
Quotes from the squad:
“Lisbon is like an eagle, majestic in flight, but calm and serine when not. It is beautiful and powerful at the same time. “ Danny
“If this exotic location was to be compared to an automobile, an inanimate object, it would be similar to a VW beetle and dissimilar to a Rolls Royce. The VW is considered to be culturally significant, iconic, overlooked, and cozy to be in once crossing the threshold. The Rolls Royce, despite being comfortable, is overly luxurious and is sought after by men across all professions. The Rolls is expensive, exclusive, and popular, all of which Lisbon is not. “ David
So this is London.
The obsession of the one called Kira Weiss.
I only have had a few days here, but it has been really cool. Went to an Entrepreneurship conference thing on Saturday, and basically spent all day exploring yesterday. The girl who I stayed with is a friend of a friend and this is what I found upon arrival. The British kids we met might not have been nice, but those Americans are so delightful.
So I left my buddies (#couchsurfing) and went full on Indiana Jones mode yesterday. It was incredible.
11:00 AM- Buckingham Palace! Yesterday happened to be Poppy Day(basically British Veterans/Memorial Day), and so apparently I just missed the Royal Family leaving their house by like 35 minutes. British people really go bananas about these guys though, people were just there all day watching the house.
12:00 AM – Westminster Abbey. Pretty cool to see, though nothing mind blowing.
12:30 – Big Ben and some park in the area. Both relatively cool.
1:00 – Got lost in some random streets by the Thames. Talked with some nice Scottish people.. Declined an offer to come to Edinburgh for the night. Also saw the most British street corner in the history of earth.
2:00- Saw this awesome dragon….. Walked from one end of the city to the other.
2:30 – Stumbled upon a free WW2 Navy exhibit on board the HMS Wellington. Summary of the tour: War is Scary. War on a boat is pee-yourself-terrifying.
3:00 Walked across Bridge and ate caramel roasted peanuts and drank water. Bliss
3:20 Looked around the GIANT Tate Modern Art Museum. Felt slightly overwhelmed after 40 minutes covered about 2% of the place and decided to leave.
4:00 Life highlight. Best part of the day, deserved its own post though… Find out what, here: https://weissworld.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/nerding-out-part-two-the-globe-theatre/ Do it.
5:50 Walked back across to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Also known to us educated Americans, as the place where William and Kate tied the knot! Dat baby doh.
6:00 Got really cold and headed back. Saw Ender’s Game. It was alright. As you all should know from feverishly stalking me on the web, Ender’s Game is my favorite book, so it is a real bummer, but still worth seeing. Should have been about three movies instead of one. Incredible visuals though. The simulator looks incredible.
Now I must get ready for my week in Portugal!! Woo. Later London. It’s Been Real. Mind The Gap. God Save Baby George.
ssieW divaD elyK
P.S. Read the other post.
P.S.S You really shouldn’t know my favorite books unless you are within two blood relatives of me. No Stalking.
So another box was checked on them, Kyle Weiss Checklist of Life Accomplishments yesterday. My yesterday’s journeys can be thoroughly creeped on, here: https://weissworld.wordpress.com/2013/11/11/mind-the-gap/
But the best part warranted its own web page.
On a whim I decided to skip the Churchill Museum and locate the Globe Theatre! Ended up doing a full tour and staying for like two hours. I certify myself as a Shakespeare nerd given that I have taken two lit classes based on the dude, and that I wrote one of my college admissions essays comparing Will to Marshall Mathers (Eminem or Slim Shady or That White Rapper Who Cusses a lot). So yes, I was pumped for this.
Built in 1599, the original theatre burned down in 1613. The theater used cannons to make sound effects, and to the surprise of everyone, the thatch roof and wood theater caught fire during one such cannon sequence. The theater was quickly rebuilt with William Shakespeare as one of the primary owners.
The Globe is located across the Thames from what, at the time, was considered all of Elizabethan London. While you could be decapitated just for wearing the wrong color clothing in the city, pretty much anything goes across the water. Brothels, bear baiting, and profanity laced plays, were the norm.
People paid one pence (one cent) to stand in the open area in front of the stage. Big Will coined the word groundlings for these people. It often caught so hot and crowded that groundlings skin stuck together and they would have to be ripped apart after a show. Casual fact: The groundlings had buckets that were used by men and women during the middle of the show. So smart.
The current theater was rebuilt and completed recently after one of our fellow Muricans basically spent his whole life trying to make it happen. Some of the details like the actually exterior are built in perfect replica. The same construction techniques and materials from back in Shakey’s days were used in the rebuilding.
I got to try on Elizabethan clothing, and have a jolly time exploring the theatre.
You can actually still go see shows and only pay 5 Pounds for a standing seat. Next time I am in Europe they better have shows running.
That is all for now. Lisbon time.
Now, I present a collection of Shakespeare’s insults for your enjoyment:
Shakespeare Insult 1 – The Two Gentlemen of Verona
Thou subtle, perjur’d, false, disloyal man!
Shakespeare Insult 2 – As You Like It
Thou art like a toad; ugly and venemous.
Shakespeare Insult 3 – The Tempest
Thine forward voice, now, is to speak well of thine friend; thine backward voice is to utter foul speeches and to detract.
Shakespeare Insult 4 – Measure For Measure
Thou art a flesh-monger, a fool and a coward.
Shakespeare Insult 5 – All’s Well That Ends Well
A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.
Shakespeare Insult 6 – Cymbeline
Thy tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile.
Shakespeare Insult 7 – Henry IV Part 2
You scullion! You rampallian! You fustilarian! I’ll tickle your catastrophe!
Shakespeare Insult 8 – All’s Well That Ends Well
Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.
Shakespeare Insult 9 – The Winter’s Tale
My wife’s a hobby horse!
Shakespeare Insult 10 – Troilus and Cressida
Thou art as loathsome as a toad.
Shakespeare Insult 11 – Macbeth
Go, prick thy face, and over-red thy fear, Thou lily-liver’d boy.
Shakespeare Insult 12 – Henry IV Part 1
Thou clay-brained guts, thou knotty-pated fool, thou whoreson obscene greasy tallow-catch!
Shakespeare Insult 13 – Henry IV Part 1
That trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swollen parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manningtree ox with pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey Iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years?
Shakespeare Insult 14 – Henry IV Part 1
You starvelling, you eel-skin, you dried neat’s-tongue, you bull’s-pizzle, you stock-fish–O for breath to utter what is like thee!-you tailor’s-yard, you sheath, you bow-case, you vile standing tuck!
Shakespeare Insult 15 – Henry IV Part 1
Peace, ye fat guts!
Shakespeare Insult 16 – Henry V
There’s no more faith in thee than in a stewed prune.
Shakespeare Insult 17 – Richard III
Thou poisonous bunch-back’d toad!
Shakespeare Insult 18 – Richard III
Thou art unfit for any place but hell.
Shakespeare Insult 19 – Hamlet
Thou are pigeon-liver’d and lack gall.
Shakespeare Insult 20 – All’s Well That Ends Well
Your virginity breeds mites, much like a cheese.
Shakespeare Insult 21 – Henry V
Thine face is not worth sunburning.
Shakespeare Insult 22 – As You Like It
Your brain is as dry as the remainder biscuit after voyage.
Shakespeare Insult 23 – Henry IV Part 1
You are as a candle, the better burnt out.
Shakespeare Insult 24 – Hamlet
If thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool; for wise men know well enough what monsters you make of them.
Shakespeare Insult 25 – Measure For Measure
Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.
Shakespeare Insult 26 – All’s Well That Ends Well
A most notable coward, an infinite and endless liar, an hourly promise breaker, the owner of no one good quality.
Shakespeare Insult 27 – All’s Well That Ends Well
Methink’st thou art a general offence and every man should beat thee.
Shakespeare Insult 28 – The Taming Of The Shrew
Come, come, you froward and unable worms!
Shakespeare Insult 29 – Macbeth
Thou cream faced loon
Shakespeare Insult 30 – Henry IV Part 1
Thou art as fat as butter
By all standard measures I should be fast asleep. 6 AM wake up, casual exhaustion, and a lack of desserts in the fridge usually knock a man out pretty quickly. However, I am absolutely amped up right now, and I decided that the blogosphere needed to know why.
First, the Cliché Travel Blog has gone worldwide baby!!! The last few days have seen hits from Viet Nam, Finland, Canada, Senegal, Italy, and a bunch ‘o’ other places. Very cool. This is a big step in my not-at-all-secret effort to rule over you all in blissful worldwide hegemony. Seriously though, thanks to everyone who is actually reading the words that my computer spits out on the reg.
Second, I made host grandma happy today. I managed to tell min Farmor (far= father, mor=mother) that I was sorry I was traveling and could not attend her 85th birthday party. Also, that her apple cake was delicious. ALL IN DANISH!! Self high-five. She only speaks Danish, so being able to have a semi-conversation was super gratifying. She told me I was basically a Viking now. I’m still blushing.
Third, I am officially back on the grind. Ten lbs of almost pure pastry later, my foot is back in running condition. Perfect timing because we had our first indoor soccer game tonight! My host dad runs an indoor soccer session every Monday at a gym nearby, and he invited me to join. Indoor soccer is basically my crack, so this was the absolute best. I forgot how much I loved the game. My host brothers and I lost, and I was super pissed off. I miss that feeling. Moral of the story, being in a host family is cool. Do it kids.
Fourth, there appears to be some sort of hurricane going on. Trees all knocked down. Kyle knocked down off his bike. Trains cancelled. Danes actually wearing helmets. Buildings losing roofs. Class cancelled! Now, I know this is not exactly cause for celebration, and to all the homies stuck in school for the night, I apologize. However, it is different, and weirdly cozy (my host sister loves this weather), and having a class cancelled is delightful. Too everyone in the city tonight, be careful por favor.
Finally and by far most importantly, I am seeing Chvrches tomorrow night! Chvrches is the band I am currently obsessing over. I love their music, and am planning on marrying Lauren Mayberry, their lead singer. This show has been sold out for over a month, and people have been offering bills on bills for my tickets for weeks. Chvrches are sort of a synthy pop band that sounds like a combination of disco fever, a horror movie, and the blissful feeling you get when you pop bubble wrap.
Check them out, but put on your best headphones. Of course, I will be writing a full review in the coming days.
Ever before releasing their first album a month ago, Chvrches are the fastest rising, and most blog-adored act in music. No idea how I will survive my non-cancelled classes tomorrow.
Ok now I should actually sleep…..
Goodnight World (I can say that now)
Hi Loyal Followers,
Against everything I believe in, I decided to temporarily hand over the reins of power to the Global Econ Class B squad in order to learn what they thought about our group tryst to France and Belgium.
These are their thoughts :
“It was cool to have a balance between incredible cultural attractions and informative academic visits related to my major.” Vincent Whalen
“E is for eating mussels in Brussels
C is for casual Parisian booze cruise
O is for One Julie. One group. One love.
N is for no man left behind (see subway for exceptions)” C.W. Sloan
“The only things more valuable then the lessons I learned about the Global Economy, were the lasting friendships I will never forget.” Conor Henrie
“Global Econ B Is quite possibly the greatest group of human beings ever assembled. The maturity of these young men and women is mind-blowing. Sometimes I felt like I was the student and they were the leaders. I can’t wait to invite them all to hang out with me in the US. “ Julie Doub
“Helped me realize that the tax on capital gains directly affects investment decisions, the mobility and flow of risk capital… the ease or difficulty experienced by new ventures in obtaining capital, and thereby the strength and potential for growth in the economy.” Alex Sterenberg
“The law of diminishing marginal utility does not apply to Belgian Waffles, or French Women.” Michael McQuillan
“What did I learn this week? I learned that like the European Union isn’t the only union I live in; the Global Economics Friendship Union, with its headquarters in Copenhagen, was established this week :)” Max Buretz
“What Brussel’s lacked in Wifi, they made up for in Absinthe and Waffles.” Daniel Kong
“Q: How many DIS econ students does it take to change a light bulb?
A: None, the market will take care of it.” Michael Libby
“The theme of this week was sharing. Sharing knowledge. Sharing laughs. Sharing breads, and sharing beds.” Michael Berestecky
“It was ok…” Anthony Prousis
“Just like the integrated economies of Europe converge, on this trip, so did our friendships.” Riley Dickson
“I loved the study tour. I made so many friends… I think” Sophie Dietz
“I feel like I now understand how the world works. The visits that DIS set up were amazing.” Lady From Tour
“The friends I have made on this trip are the friends that will be there for you, no matter how tight or sticky a situation may become.” Reid Klarsfeld
“The euro may be weakening, but the memories I have of sharing giggles over fancy French dinners will last forever.” Greg Lawrence
“From navigating the Paris metro system to weaving in and out of traffic in Brussels on our bikes, this group knows how to keep it together. Mostly.” Molly McGlone
Miles Anderson: Voted most likely to win class brawl.
“Mom, I met some really nice Jewish girls.” Noah Newberger
“I’m Very Intelligent.” Scott Onigman
“After being awake for six days of wonderful exploration, It is time to sleep.” Yuxin Gong
“I had a great time but I know that even though we all say were going to hang out all the time, we probably won’t. Ya sure, well all have a cover photo together on FB, but realistically nothing more. I already miss having friends :(” Colby Reed
“Wonderful hotels, great roommates, constant DIScounts, fun and engaging speakers, cool cultural visits, great food, and a great dude to chick ratio made this the best trip I have ever been on.” Mason Vogt
Let me know if you have any questions about our wonderful trip. I would love to DIScuss it with you.
(class people let me know if I need to change your wisdoms)
On the train to Brussels’ right now! Bout to eat unhealthy amounts of waffles and chocolate. We have done a ton of touristy schtuff, eaten some delicious food, and had some cool (and some mehh) academic visits. Two have stuck out in my mind as worth blogging about.
Yesterday we went to the World Bank and learned about their MASSIVE efforts to eliminate poverty through different types of loans to projects all over the world. This was super exciting to me thanks to having worked in the non-profit sector since age 13.
About Me For Context Purposes:
My brother and I started a small non-profit called FUNDaFIELD when I was 13, and I have ran the org for almost five years. FUNDaFIELD.org builds soccer fields at schools in third world countries and has two fields in South Africa, two in Kenya, six in Uganda, and upcoming projects in Haiti and Swaziland. We build at schools to increase enrollment and attendance at said schools, and we focus on fragile states (post conflict/post trauma) in order to maximize the therapeutic aspects of sport. Kids raise all the money, and we take those same kids over to our projects to hold HUGE tournaments with thousands of people. New uniforms, music and dancing, and a goat or bull for the winning teams, make the tournaments a great way to open up the community’s new field. Thanks to the hard work of all of the team members involved, FUNDaFIELD has garnered a ton of exposure and built up an awesome network of volunteers, donors, partners, sponsors, celebrity supporters, and in-country contacts. I could talk about this for hours, but check out FUNDaFIELD.org or just Google us to read more.
I say all this to stress the fact that I have thought, and read, a LOT about eliminating poverty and changing the developing world. Needless to say, fourteen trips to Africa/Haiti, thousands of hours of fundraisers, and constant interactions with non-profits of all sizes, has given me a lot to think about. I will say that I believe the best hope we have for eliminating poverty is through industrialization and foreign direct investment.
That said, after the business world, multinational organizations with huge amounts of, capital, and political pull have the only real capacity for making changes to the developing world. Unfortunately, I was completely disappointed by the (in my opinion) backwards and unrealistic methods the WB still uses. Many of their loans end up going to corrupt or inept third world leaders who end up squandering the funds, or implementing half-decent projects, which make them, look good so they get re-elected every few years. While they do have high accountability standards, I did not put much stock in those standards being enforced, given the fact that many of the countries they loan to are completely reliant on kick-backs and entrenched corruption to get anything done. It was no surprise that despite billions of World Bank dollars going to Sub-Saharan Africa every year, this region has basically flat-lined in making real progress towards the elimination of extreme poverty. I could go on and on about how the WB encourages cycles of dependency and fiscal irresponsibility, but they are a very hard working group of people who are trying to make a difference. I respect the squad, I just disagree with the methods being used.
On the other side, our visit to the OECD, or Organization for the Economic Co-Operation and Development was one of the coolest visits I have ever done. They talked about a variety of their projects including one of their recent anti-corruption projects. They talked about how they used economic motivators to show how ratifying their new would end up saving billions of dollars for the government, and help eliminate corruption. OECD demands complete transparency and will not allow countries to ratify without this openness. Countries are under tremendous pressure to ratify, so they are almost forced to clean up their systems. Very Cool. I could completely see myself working here.
OECD also has created an online index for figuring out which countries are the best given your specific set of preferences called the Better Life Index IE if you are super into health and political freedom, they will rank countries based on those criteria. As Americans this is fun because we have a strange conception of happiness and success, and it is cool to see how other countries differ in their perceptions of these things.
Play with it here:
It has been a few days sans interwebs so I extended this baby…
Other trip highlights:
1. One of my fav documentaries ever:
We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists Saw this at a film festival here. Basically there are the badass hacker kids who have waged war online against the church of scientology (corrupt, immoral, fake “religion” that has a culture of physical and mental abuse, child labor, scamming members, and censorship of critics, journalists, and people who try and leave, but I digress), religious bigots, dictators worldwide, and a bunch of other people. The film talks about the issue of the lawlessness of hacking, demonstrated when the collective took down Sony, Paypal, Visa, and MasterCard after these groups refused to give money to Wikileaks, despite giving to Nazi groups and others. This ending up harming innocents, and landed many members in jail. Really cool film whether you agree with um or not!
2. The shop of one of the best chocolate makers on earth. Free samples rocked my world. A whole different way of eating chocolates that involves letting it melt on your tongue and filter through your mouth. Game Changer….
3. EU High Commission: Bosses Running The World. Future One World Gov… Which I happen to support completely. Sorry USA. United States of Earth is the future.
4. Delirium. The bar with the most beers on earth. Over 2500. Pretty Cool.
5. Went to see a Lobbyist today. Fun to put on my philosophy major hat for this guy. Definitely some moral gray areas, but looked like fun.
6. Bike tour. Weird, and fun City. Will put up some photos later for yall. We had a conspiracy theorist tour guide who ranted about how much he hated the the government. Awesome tour though. This is essentially the center of the EU and becomes more and more powerful every year. It is a combo of awesome old European city, and futuristic space age society.
7. Karl Marx’s favorite bar. Ironically is now a Michelin recommended place full of super wealthy politicians and fancy French Wine. Ole Karl would be devastated.
8. Waffles… So many waffles.
Shoutout to one Mr. Reed. Your granddaughter speaks highly of you!
It’s time for long study tour! We are sitting in our hotel room after an awesome day in Paris. After extensive review (less than a day), the judges (me) have determined that this place absolutely lives up to the hype. Slightly overwhelmed by how many things are here, but in a good way. Like the first time I went to Chuck E Cheese. Also, this is by far the best picture I will ever take and I am fine with that:
We had lunch then headed straight to Notre-Dame. Way cooler than the college.
We did a walking tour with a hilarious guy who explained a bunch of the symbolism all around the city to us. Starting with Notre Dame. Ok so this is the middle entrance:
How To Get To Heaven According to the Front of the Notre-Dame:
- See Jesus top middle center
- Rise of out of your graves on judgment day. This happens right over the doors.
- Head to middle row to have your sins weighed by angel and the devil.
- Little devil also cheats and pulls down your sins.
- Head left to ascend to heaven.
- Otherwise be chained up by the devil and head right only to have yourself dropped headfirst (far right) in a steaming cauldron of pain. Be sure to notice that kings and priests are also being dipped in said cauldrons to show that anyone could go to hell. This is comforting to the common folk who are completely terrified at this point.
You could go on and on and explain every little detail of this tiny part of the church, but alas I am lazy and breakfast is soon. Since back in the day people were illiterate, church architecture is how they learned their religion. Agree or disagree with the whole religion deal, pretty cool how much detail is involved. It makes sense how religious these societies were, 850 years ago when it was built, the church was far bigger and more imposing than anything else in the area. I wouldn’t mess with um..
These gargoyles share a Latin root with the word gargle, they basically mean water, and they are a drainage system for the church. They are ugly because they are meant to show how the evil spirits are leaving the church. You might notice the one humanoid! The fourth one on the right is actually a church construction manager who was put there by his workers because they hated him so much. Prank 2.0
We also saw where the original human meat pies were served for over 6 months before being caught. Also the inspiration for Sweeney Todd.
The first shopping mall for rich people, on earth. Some of the original storefronts remain which is crazy to think about. Previously wealthy people had everything custom made at their cribs. Built by Henry IV in 1605. Place Des Vosges.
Will Update Soon with pics from all over Paris. Last few days have been a ride.
Kyle David Weiss
Climber of the Eiffel Tower and Fan of Paris
No fancy pictures (edit.. now one) or long-winded explanations this time. Just an update. So I hurt my foot last week in Budapest. This was a bummer because it basically immobilized me during my time in Berlin. Good news was I was staying with Grandpa and Margit at their place, so I got to chill and catch up.
My grandpa took me to dinner at an amazing Armenian place called The Big Window, which he has been going to for forty years. Grandpa and the owner were quick to insult each other in a friendly banter that had clearly developed over many long nights in the place. The Big Window is a favorite among the “elite” in Berlin, and you will rarely be sat without a reservation. Ivan the owner just asks you if you want something, and you say yes or no. There is only one menu in the place and Margit and Grandpa had never seen it until Thursday. One of the best meals I have ever had. Think Mecca for people that eat meat. Ribs, veal and some of the appetizers were mind-blowing. Definitely want to go back next time I am in Berlin.
I also accidently got a skinhead haircut. I look a little scary. German language barrier problems.
Now on the school grind. Two papers and three projects that I need to start grinding out. School here is easier than Claremont, but living with a family, exploring, and all the other good things make getting the surprisingly large workload done, quite challenging. European integration is a cool topic, and I am starting to feel less nervous about writing a thesis senior year. Goodness I am getting old.
Paris and Brussels in 2 weeks with my econ class! That trip is going to be incredible. Of course the cliché Eiffel Tower picture will be here for your viewing pleasure.
Miss y’all and love all the snapchats/emails/messages. See You Soon.
Travel week one update time. So, we spent Friday through Sunday at Oktoberfest in Munich. It was as absurd, crazy, and fun as all the rumors and rampant facebook pics would suggest. The Western Europe Claremont study abroad people all met up and had a traditional Bavarian meal Friday night. That was cool. It was also way more expensive than I thought humanly possible, but so worth it. Oktoberfest is GIANT and also a full theme park. One of those things you just have to go to at some point.
Good news is that I am now visiting my future roommate Nick Weiss(cousins), in the wonderful and strange city of Budapest. It feels like a mix between Paris and The Soviet Bloc, like 20 years ago. We have been to some really cool places.
1. The Chain Bridge which connects Buda To Pest. We went hiking in Buda today, but Nick’s math program, along with most of the action, is in Pest.
2. Small Restaurant for a traditional Hungarian meal of Goulash, Chicken Dumplings and a Chocolate Hungarian Crepe.
3. My new favorite place. This teahouse is built like a treehouse with a bunch of little nests on the different levels. You take your shoes off and climb up into one of the areas, lay on pillows, and drink one of over 60 different types of tea. Good music, food, and the fact that it is completely hidden and unlabeled, make this place awesome.
4. Ruin Pubs. They have a bunch of these, but basically, some war or other knocked these buildings out of commission. They were turned into weird and awesome bars with graffiti, and strange knick-knacks everywhere. Concerts too!
5. Views, Views, Views. Awesome Castle and Parliament buildings. Really cool hiking.
6. Might go caving under the castle today. Or, might go shopping because I can get things here for 1/10 København prices.
7. Berlin Tonight! Hating reading everything about the shutdown in the US. Fix it people!
Happy October Everyone!