Posts Tagged ‘Beenouing’

42. Facebook

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

It’s been a while since my last post. I’ve been busy, but not too busy to write. It seems I’ve been preoccupied: I bit the bullet and joined Facebook. I know, I know. I’ve long been an outspoken Facebook detractor and have gone as far as calling it gay, self-indulgent (see 4. Nobody Gives a S#%&) and downright unnecessary. Which it is.

Ashamed, I even tried sneaking a Facebook reference into my previous post (see Par. 2), meekly justifying it as a means of staying informed and feeding my journalistic appetite.

There were reasons for feeling defeated:

  • I worried that joining Facebook and shooting my creative load through daily status updates and random witticisms would be detrimental to my blog productivity, and I was right.
  • Facebook is for people who love the sound of their own voice. I knew it would consume me.
  • On the flip side, Facebook is terribly invasive. If curiosity killed the cat, then Facebook is the Cat Auschwitz of the Internet. Again, I knew it would consume me.
  • For the longest time, I argued: “Facebook opened an ethical can of worms, which allows people you intentionally didn’t keep in touch with to get in touch with you. And you can’t ignore their friend request because next time they see you in public, they will know you intentionally didn’t keep in touch with them, for a second time. That’s insulting and before Facebook, it didn’t have to be.” I am weak and I accept everybody now.
  • There are obvious benefits to be being on Facebook, but I’m not going to get into them because this blog is all about tearing shit down. Facebook is successful because of these benefits. Let’s leave it at that.

So, the following are things that truly annoy me, a late adopter, about Facebook:

  • Rampant beenouing.
  • Bad spelling. Examples: “To funny. Its awesome. Definately! Your so right.”
  • People trying to be photographers (see 7. “Into Photography”).
  • People trying to be models. The faux photographers are 50 percent to blame for the emergence of 50 percent of faux models. “Come, let me shoot you and we’ll add the shots to both of our portfolios.”
  • Girls taking photos of themselves blowing kisses. And especially taking such photos in front of the bathroom mirror after finishing their hair and makeup before going out.
  • Commenting on something just to be nice and being subsequently notified about everybody else’s lame comments. I was trying to be nice, but I don’t give two shits about what some stranger has to say about your new haircut.

How is any of this relevant on a blog about backpacking? Because all anybody does on hostel computers or in foreign Internet cafes now, is go on Facebook. Facebook is the world. They’re making a movie about Mark Zuckerberg, for chrissakes. My ninth post has quickly become obsolete.

While on the road last month, I realized that I wasn’t asking anybody for their e-mail address anymore. I was asking new acquaintances what their last names were. Kinda creepy. But not as creepy as I thought it would be. Most people readily told me their last names; some even spelled them out for me, with the knowledge that I was gonna add them on Facebook. There’s an unspoken understanding now, when you ask somebody what their last name is.

The sun is setting on the day when two travelers meet, have a good time and exchange e-mail addresses. Or maybe I just got here in time to catch the last few flickers of light before it disappears behind the horizon.

Either way, I hate it.

36. Sewing on a flag from every country

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

flagpackI tried this, when I went on my first backpacking trip. It lasted all of five flag patches.

Ever try sewing a patch onto a weatherproof cordura nylon backpack, sans thimble? Not awesome. The patch is embroidered onto impenetrable wax. I thought it would be a good way to pass the time waiting for buses or right before bed. It wasn’t.

I wonder if anybody just started tacking them on with Krazy Glue…

Regardless, it was one of those things you look back on and ask yourself, “What the hell was I thinking?” Sorta like when you way overpacked on your first backpacking trip. Or when you did the double pack (big backpack on the back + small daypack on the front = retarded! See 6. Getting Pickpocketed). Or when you used to wear jammer shorts with striped tube socks pulled all the way up. Been there, done that.

With the flags, I learned I don’t need a merit badge per country — a stamp in the passport is satisfying enough and, from what I remember, cub scouts were a waste of time. The guys with the most badges were huge nerds.

One thing is certain: It’s a big beenou, an act of one-upmanship. It says: “Look at all the cool places I’ve been to. Wow, hey? Isn’t my patch collection terrific? This one’s really old (crossing arms in pride, head tilt). That was quite a few countries ago, heh heh. Yeah. I’m a real globetrotter (nodding).”

Even the Canada flag patch was a mistake. Other Canadians could already identify me by the MEC logo on my bag, the way I say “about” (I don’t say “aboot,” but anyway) and my passion for public health care. It was pointless. I soon realized I didn’t want people to interpret all these patches as: ”Hey everybody! Look at me. I’m Canadian. I’m nice!”

I am pretty nice, though. Beenou. As for Americans sewing Canadian flags on their bags, well, that’s their prerogative (see 10. Anti-Americanism). I think.

Some of you would argue that I’m just a quitter. I tend to think of it less like quitting and more like developing good taste.

34. ‘Departures’

Friday, March 5th, 2010

It’s a fantastic show, made by my fellow Canadian backpackers, but I hate it.

The award-winning reality show drives me up the wall with jealousy. Having done the buddy travel thing so many times (beenou), watching Departures on OLN Canada continually brings back me to the same question: WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS?

Well, I don’t have a cinematic genius of a third friend willing to accompany buddy and me on trips to obscure and exciting destinations. Wait a second. I do have such a third friend. What the hell am I doing working a nine to five?!

See what I mean? The show drives me crazy.

departures21

I’d been able to avoid the show as much as possible until two days ago, when I came across a Lindsay Post article  (by Brian Gorman of ZAP2IT): ‘Departures’ a dream come true for three adventurers. Damn you, Gorman, for reminding me of missed travel, TV stardom and wealth opportunities!

I feel like one of the pimps on Dave Chappelle’s sketch “The Player Haters’ Ball,” where each character takes his turn ripping into the other, as well as into celebrities like Rosie O’Donnell and The Osbournes. The pimps pull no punches, regardless of their victims’ good intentions — it’s all for the sake of hating (see 27. One-uppers). Is the hatred driven by jealously? Probably. But my job, as with theirs, is to hate and hate well.

The reality show is successful — it has “a cult following and eight Gemini nominations under its belt, including a best photography win for (cameraman Andre) Dupuis,” Gorman writes — because it’s genuine. The two travelers, Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach, are longtime buddies from Brantford, Ontario (indeed, the hometown of another affable Canadian hero, Wayne Gretzky). Their conversations, tribulations, discoveries and overall enthusiasm are candid, but more importantly, they’re believable.

I understand that saying a reality show is good because it’s genuine may be stating the obvious, but after watching the shit-eater supreme Jake Pavelka compete on The Bachelorette last year for the affections of Canadian Jillian Harris (That’s the third Canadian reference this entry. Call it post-Olympic patriotism, people. I kinda hate the Olympics too, by the way), only to be granted extended C-list fame with his own show entitled The Bachelor: On the Wings of Love (Note: Pavelka is a commercial pilot), let’s just say my faith in reality TV, not to mention in the intelligence of the general public, has taken a nose dive.

I digress. From one honest episode to the next, the Departures duo struggles with common backpacker issues, including money transfer hassles, long-distance relationships and break-ups, scheduling stress and missed flights, travel companion tension, foreign hospitals, constant hangovers and homesickness before the otherworldly backdrops of Antarctica, Ascension Island (in the South Atlantic; I know, I didn’t know it existed either), Libya, Mongolia, the Cook Islands and Iceland. Not your typical backpacking haunts. To call what they do a dream job is like saying Kevin Durant is proving to be an alright NBA player.

“The biggest quest for us is to find real authentic places that, when you walk up to people, they look at you like you’re from another world,” said Lukach, in the article. “We have found those places, but it takes so much to get to those spots. We don’t get off a plane and drive for an hour. We get off a plane and trek in the jungle for three or four days.” BEENOU.

So, to Andre, Scott and Justin, I say: Kudos and keep up the good work, fellas. Keep living the dream. And, I hate you all.

27. One-uppers

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Traveling to a cool place is like going to an awesome concert. The experience is so good that you wish everybody could see and hear what it’s like. This type of feeling gives one a false sense of superiority, the delusion that other people are missing out big time. “You really shoulda been there,” or “OMG, I wish you were there,” or “You would have LOVED it,” are common manifestations of this feeling.

Don’t be fooled. These statements are stone cold, back-handed beenous. The back-handed beenou is a standard backpacker conversational maneuver. The speaker feigns a desire to share, but really it’s a need to gloat, so he tickles his uvula and pukes out a quick beenou for all to behold.

kristen-wiig-as-penelope-snl-kristen-wiig-323108_1024_768But even when somebody hasn’t missed out — when they’ve actually been to that place or seen that concert — it doesn’t compare. This is one-upping. Somebody sneaked out a little horn toot, which led Mr. Big Shot to pull the tugboat foghorn. The exchange takes on a sudden “check, check mate” silence, leaving everybody feeling stunned and staring blankly at the table.

“I absolutely loved Amsterdam,” somebody says.

“Yeah, Amsterdam is pretty amazing,” says Mr. Big Shot. ”I met a Dutch guy when I was backpacking in Indo. His mom was born in Indo when it was still a Dutch colony. Anyway, he was in Indo trying to get in touch with his roots. On a jungle trek we went on, he got bit by a snake and I sucked the venom out; saved his life. Years later, I went to visit him; he lives in Amsterdam. His dad like owns Shell Oil. So we got blazed, ate krokete and drove Maseratis through the streets of Amsterdam all fuckin’ day.”

You see, one-uppers can’t help but shit all over a perfectly good conversation between well meaning travelers. It’s a collegiate thing, sort of like how the goof with the ponytail challenges Matt Damon to an intellectual duel only to get absolutely demolished by Damon, who cites plagiarism and famously proceeds to get Minnie Driver’s number. My boy’s wickid smaht.

The point is: One-uppers will do whatever it takes to make conversation revolve around themselves and their enlightened, shoulda-been-there experience.

The weekend after we ran with the bulls (beenou, see 1. Aussie Guys), my buddies and I went to San Sebastian. The place was awash in backpacker overflow from Pamplona. We ended up partying with some Americans and amid the drunken blur of pub hopping and running into a number of annoying Brit lad parties with matching t-shirts or rugby shirts, I recall getting caught in a heavy downpour.

We retreated to an apartment a few of the Americans had been renting for the past month leading up to the Running of the Bulls. We proceeded to keep drinking and people were playing CDs. Completely dating myself, as this was pre-iPod era. Somebody put on Dave Matthews Band. And an interesting wrinkle in the time-space continuum gave rise to a compound beenou of unseen magnitude: A backpacker bragged about an awesome concert.

“Oh this song reminds me of when we saw Dave in some dive bar in Memphis,” said the backpacker, a fat dude from Georgia. That’s right. He called him “Dave,” like he knew him, not Dave Matthews. “This was way before Crash, before college radio made him huge and lame. He and the band were only doing small shows in tiny little venues. Blahblahblahblah…”

I wish I had more quotes from this guy, but I was drunk and, as a habit I tend to block out one-uppers.

Backpacking in the News

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009
dfmos
Classic DFMO. Note the tribal tattoo.

What a shocking bit of news. You mean to tell me that backpackers are promiscuous? And they drink too much? No way.

Hmm… Perhaps the backpacking, drinking and promiscuity are related. Worth looking into.

A few highlights:

  • Over 430 backpackers in hostels across Sydney answered questions about their boozing and scoring tendencies for an Australian study, which also tested for Chlamydia. Subjects ranged from 18 to 30, with an average age of about 23 and an even distribution of men and women.
  • 3.1 percent of men had Chlamydia; 3.9 percent of women had it.
  • 7.6 percent of men reported a previous case of Chlamydia; 10.1 percent of women previously had it.
  • That pushes the percentage of ever having Chalmydia to 10.7 percent for men and 14 percent for women.
  • 31 percent of men had a new sexual partner en route to Australia; 20 percent of women had one.
  • 60 percent of respondents said they “always” used protection.
  • 33 percent of men are drinking over double the recommended daily intake of alcohol; 28 percent of women are doing so.

Doing a study like this is like polling Jamaicans to see if they smoke weed. Backpackers can regularly be seen having unprotected sex on the shore at Full Moon Parties, for chrissakes. While the investigative process was no doubt entertaining, we already knew the answers. I want to see a study examining the amount of beenouing going on in Sydney hostels. Wait a second, I know the answer to that question too: A lot.

21. Female Backpacker Type A

Sunday, August 16th, 2009

Female Backacker Type A is a proud species. She’s a major overcompensator who goes to great lengths to be cool. She tries to be one of the dudes, and in many cases, she is. So in her defence, at least she knows how to have a good time.

She’s a party animal. She’s crude. She’s promiscuous. She pretends to not give a shit about her appearance or she goes halfway with it. For example, her clothes are tattered but she makes enough of an effort to shave her armpits and wear eye make-up. She used to be hot in high school, but she has since developed a fat ass and cankles, which is why so many guys are on the fence about hooking up with her: Her face is cute, but her body is a train wreck, mostly because she parties too damn much (see 20. Getting “wubes”). She wears baggy cargo shorts, birks, hemp jewelry, wifebeaters and sometimes rocks the dreads. She has tattoos and a few piercings. Cute face, though.

female-backpacker-type-a2If I were to cast her in a movie, I’d choose somebody like Pink or Minnie Driver.

The thing that annoys me the most about Female Backpacker Type A is that she’s a blatant chameleon: She will self-transform to blend into any social situation and be accepted like everybody else. If The Gibbon Experience is perceived as the hip, edgy eco-tourism activity du jour, she is all over it. She’s out there promoting it like it’s the best thing since sliced bread, because  nobody knows about it (you find out later they’re booked solid for the next four months so, in actuality, everybody DOES know about it).

She’s so adventurous. If you want to know how adventurous, just ask her. She’ll cannonball off a cliff with reckless abandon, just like the fellas. She’d love to tell you about it because she’s a prolific feemou. She’s such a one-upper (see Kristen Wiig’s SNL character, Penelope), that regardless of the topic of conversation, she has something to add, relative to her own superior experience. But it’s all a facade. She’s bought into every cliche in the Backpacker’s Bible, not because she believes it, but because she thinks people will like her more if she does. A true chameleon.

I really shouldn’t complain because I’m all for women’s rights and Female Backpacker Type A is in many ways the prototype for the independent woman in 2009**. I think the bicep flexing WWII-era lady with the red polka-dot bandana was that generation’s Female Backpacker Type A. I’ve previously written that backpacking, like comic flatulence, is more of a guy’s thing, which is why hot chicks don’t do it (see 3. Where are the Hot Girls?). Well, Female Backpacker Type A is unafraid to rip a nasty fart. So, maybe I’m wrong and she actually doesn’t care what people think. If that’s the case, then you go girl.

“Some of us are becoming the men we wanted to marry.” - Gloria Steinem

“Man is defined as a human being and a woman as a female — whenever she behaves as a human being she is said to imitate the male.” - Simone de Beauvoir

“Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women’s denigration of themselves.” - Betty Friedan

** My ESP must really be kickin’ in today: NY Times article about Female Soldiers.

19. Coming Home with a Lame Accent

Saturday, August 1st, 2009

I’m happy for you that you had a good time in Australia, but do you really have to ask me “How are you going, mate?” every time you see me now? I respond better to variations of  ”What’s up?” or “How’s it going?” or even ”How are you doing, bro/buddy/friend?”

It’s not “no worries,” it’s no problem. And when you say thank you or you’re welcome, just say it. None of this “cheers” stuff. “Cheers mate,” is even worse.

You’re not Australian. It’s not cute. You sound ridiculous.

You’re not English either, even though you did a semester abroad in Leeds. Quit calling your apartment your “flat,” your roommates “flatmates,” dudes ”blokes,” and trying to use some semblance of Cockney slang. You don’t sound cool like The Streets or the guys on Lock Stock.

It’s cool or awesome, not “brilliant!!” That chick is ugly, not “mingin.” And when you get takeout it’s takeout. Quit calling it “takeaway,” you pretentious prick.

It’s just because  it’s English that people think they can get away with it. You don’t see people coming back from internships in South America or France and carelessly speaking to their friends back home in Spanish or French.  There’s a reason for that. If they did, people would just stare at them blankly like they’re some kind of freak, and rightfully so.

People who drove overseas on the left side of the road for an extended period of time don’t come home and unintentionally veer into oncoming traffic. Please refrain from pulling a linguistic James Bond behind the wheel with me.

You’re from here. Cut the crap. You’re not a charming alien. It’s OK. Tell us the stories, show us the photos, but please leave the accent where you found it. It belongs to actual charming aliens.

You’re not “taking the piss out of” me, you’re making fun of/mocking/fucking with me.

Also, don’t beenou to us whimsically about places we’ve never heard of or stores we’ve never shopped in in foreign countries we’ve never visited. We don’t give a shit (see 4. Nobody Gives a S#%&). All of these things require explanations. Tell me “Boots” is like “Shoppers Drug Mart” or “Walgreens” before you carry on with some banal anecdote, complete with senseless tangents, about a typical day for you in England.

12. Tattoos About the Place

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

angelinaFew things capture the paradox of backpacker pretense better than tattoos. Every year, thousands of young travelers try desperately to be original only to end up behaving like everyone else. Getting a tattoo of a place you’ve visited is sort of like wearing American Apparel. It was cool and unique when nobody was doing it, but soon enough it got played out (see Nice but ubiquitous hoodie).

Ah, tattoos. So youthful and rebellious. Such a ballsy move to paint oneself with permanent artwork. And when backpackers sport a dope tat from their sojourn overseas, well that’s a backhanded beenou my friends. Go ahead, ask them what it means or better yet:  where they got it. Before you know it, you’ll be witnessing the eruption of Mt. St. Beenou.

A few backpacker tattoos to ponder (combinations of the below options may also exist):

  1. Plants and wildlife. Take, for example, a simple dolphin or whale tail. Countless girls have fallen victim to bad ink (see Megan Fox) and a common precursor is a fond and lasting encounter with porpoises off the coast of [Insert tropical dolphin inhabited place here]. Female backpacker Type A suffers terribly from the above Backpacker Tattoo Syndrome (BTS).
  2. Traditional/tribal tattoo styles. Thai bamboo style tattoo. Anything Maori. It looks fucking cool. Surfers rock it so it must be, right? Don’t forget that Mike Tyson has one on his face. If you wanna pull an Angelina, go adopt a kid from Vietnam.
  3. Foreign writing. I’ll be the first to admit that Sanskrit, Arabic and Farsi look awesome. But not if you’re a white boy from Idaho. You end up looking like that dad wearing the “My Sister Went to the Bahamas and All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt” shirt. Speaking of t-shirts, you may be aware of t-shirts from Japan and Taiwan printed in senseless English (e.g. Happy So Much!). The meaning is lost in translation. Yeah well, that “Carpe diem” you got in Chinese characters is just as meaningless (e.g. Grab Time) to the average Chinese person.
  4. Pretend spirituality. Buddhist, Taoist and vegetarian symbols are common offenses.
  5. Carpe diem. Cliches are excellent ways for backpackers to express their originality.
  6. Nationalistic beenous. On the topic of cliches, Canadian backpackers often have tattoos of Canadian flags or maple leaves. These are as cliche as the Canadian flag patches on their backpacks.

#1-2 combo.

#1-2 combo.

11. Sightseeing

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Backpacking and sightseeing are supposed to go hand in hand, but they don’t. Lugging a heavy pack all over a foreign metropolis is great fun. Doing so with an implosive hangover is even better. The Lonely Planet is mostly to blame since it conveniently lists off, under “Sights” of course, the must-see attractions of every place on earth. And because the LP is the infallible gospel of backpackers, failure to cover a respectable majority of listed sights is greeted with clicking tongues, shaking heads (i.e. judgement) and lifelong guilt. “You went to ____, and didn’t see ____?! (tongue clicking).”

sightseeing3

Cue "The Imperial March," from Star Wars.

We’ve all checked off our share of sights, beenou. Seriously, that’s what it feels like: a checklist. Big Ben? Check. Machu Picchu? Check. Taj Mahal? Check. The LP and our adherence to it have reduced an awe-inspiring list of ancient and modern wonders to an everyday grocery list.

If I see one more museum, gallery, cathedral or temple, I might just go insane. I went to the Louvre and actually liked two paintings and one statue. The statue had no head, by the way. That was out of 7,000 works I made a point to see because it was a “once in a lifetime opportunity.” It took the whole day and I only saw a third of the place. I also bought a $20 sandwich for lunch that day. Awesome deal. I went to the Vatican at 8 a.m. to beat the line-up and when I arrived, it was already snaking around two blocks. It, too, took the whole day. Is it even worth it?

Sometimes, the sights are so spectacular they’re worth it. You’re glad you saw them. That photo of you pushing over the Leaning Tower of Pisa with your index finger is indeed a priceless memento. Very funny and wildly original. But most of the time you’re left thinking, “That was IT?”

sightseeing2The crowds often ruin the experience. Massive throngs of Japanese tourists, although cute (the Tilley hats get me every time), are not people I care to hang out around. Their tour guides are inches away from committing suicide. People are jockeying for position to get the best photo and you’re avoiding collisions more than you’re actually enjoying the sights, exhibits or landscapes around you. Even when you say excuse me, they either don’t understand you or can’t hear a thing ‘cuz they’re knee deep into an audio guide. Besides, Asians (especially old ones) have no concept of personal space.

Some backpackers genuinely enjoy sightseeing. They will bypass boozing nearly every night so they can get up at dawn and see EVERYTHING. Most of these backpackers are women. The sightseeing female backpackers make up one of the two types of lady road warriors - more on that later (see 3. Where are the Hot Girls?).

The rest of us are too busy struggling with our packs or nursing hangovers to care about sightseeing. Or we’re male. Men (especially straight men) are lazy and wonderfully apathetic travelers. Which is why we have so much fun and don’t remember much of our trip. Oktoberfest? Check.

8. The Lonely Planet

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Sure, it’s a love-hate relationship. Everybody already knows the merits of the world’s most popular guidebook. It is, after all, the Elvis Presley of the guidebook Hard Rock Cafe. But let’s take a moment to examine its dark side.

lpOften considered “The Backpacker’s Bible,” the Lonely Planet was created in 1972 by travel pioneers Tony and Maureen Wheeler after they beenoued their way all across Asia, telling one and all about how much money they saved on their journey. Over the next 30-odd years, this enterprising British couple turned their diary project into an international beenou machine, marking the course of nearly every person that beenous their face off about their recent trip as you’re idly sitting at his/her dining room table wondering how it all came to this.

A modern day Ferdinand and Isabella, the Wheelers unknowingly commissioned generations of Christopher Columbi to rape and pillage the peaceful savages inhabiting distant and mythical lands. Just kidding - they published guidebooks about Western nations too. Not as much raping and pillaging there though. More like ass-raping prices. Backpackers are incredibly averse to those.

Does it have to be so big? Yeah, yeah, yeah: “The country-specific books are much smaller and packable. Way more informative, too.” Did you not just read that backpackers are broke? Come on man. We bought the South America on a Shoestring edition because a) we are on a shoestring budget and b) it cost $40 while the books for Argentina through to Uruguay came to $6,076.22.

But we refuse to buy the bootlegged copies. We won’t even take them for free. They’re unbearable and so ghetto.

It’s heavy. It weighs 17 pounds. And it’s so thick, it’s more like a dense cube of paper. Did they ever think about transparent Bible paper? You know, the Gideon stuff in those mini-Bibles. But I guess the ol’ LP is handy for self-defense - you can swing it at would-be thieves like a mace ball since you’re already carrying it in a plastic bag with your SIGG (used to be Nalgene) water bottle and Kit Kat bar. “What? It wouldn’t fit in my backpack, OK? (harsh irony) And I need it to figure out where we’re going!”

Despite its shortcomings, I think the Lonely Planet catches undue flak for being inaccurate. I’ve heard many a begrudged traveler go so far as to call it  the “Lonely Liar.” Take it easy. Things change; people go out of biz; prices go up. It’s not THAT bad. Besides, all of those people were holding one as they called it a Liar. Others will bitch for hours about the maps, but I suspect they’re just cartographically inept. I’ve never once encountered an unforgivably errant map, and I’ve seen hundreds (colossal beenou).

Make it downloadable. The BBC bought 75 percent of the company in 2007. Just save us all the trouble, help the environment (a major backpacker plus) and make all of it available on iTunes you greedy (ahem, bloody) imperialist bastards. I can’t even imagine how awesome it would be to navigate through the content on an iPod Touch/iPhone. I really can’t. But you can get the LP Audio Phrasebook App! Yippee.

Ever look at the contributors? They’re huge dorks. I can’t believe I’m taking advice about “Dance Clubs” worth a visit ”if you’re a young twentysomething,” written by some 43-year-old, single ”wanderer at heart” who writes for The Economist and spends “countless hours exploring museums, cathedrals and art galleries.” This person will not help me get laid overseas (This shyster [Thomas Kohnstamm], on the other hand, might). For these hapless scribes, it truly is a lonely planet.