Mar 26, 2012

Hanging out: Smoking, drinking and 'Stream of consciousness YouTubing' around Europe

Through networking, Couchsurfing and the general goodwill you get as a traveler you often find yourselves in homes with new friends. They're usually young minded and open, former travelers and students. I've had the pleasure of experiencing this in each Country I visited around Europe.

Much like we're all used to, friends gather over drinks often times smoking. Sometimes there's an instrument at play and recently for this generation a Laptop. As the outsider in these interactions its a pleasure to get a snapshot of another culture and social group even for just a night. One thing I've found universal across cultures has been 'Stream of consciousness YouTubing', its the ultimate window for getting up to speed with a groups' frame of reference and Cultural history.

Lev Grossman writes for Time Magazine:
The Beast With A Billion Eyes
There's never been an object like YouTube in human history. It gets 4,000,000,000 page views a day... Human civilization now generates massive quantities of video footage simply as a by-product of its daily functioning... Before YouTube there was no central catchment for all that video; now it drains into a single reservoir, where we as a species can pan through it and wallow in it endlessly.
Here is an incomplete catalogue of how Youtube has helped in the "getting to know you" stage with new friends around Europe:
1. I was staying with Germans from the SpoHo in Köln, the most prestigious Sports University in Germany. We spent an evening watching Surf Videos curated by an avid skater.
2. I stayed with Brazilian Erasmus students for the month in Porto. Though we had a resident Guitarist who could kickstart the party, we sometimes looked to YouTube for Karaoke
3. I hung with charming girls in Kaunas, Lithuania. They were daring travelers and videographers. During a get together the girls screened Videos of their recent hitchhiking expedition to Spain.
4. I hung with saavy Turkish students in their Istanbul Attic. They educated me on the history of Anatolian rock and acquainted me with the music of Grace Jones.

5. I was couchsurfing in Ventspils, Latvia along with two other guests. At a house gathering the Latvians played some humorous shorts educating us on the playful stereotypes heaped on the neighbouring Estonians. Much to the chagrin of our fellow Estonian guest.

6. Was couchsurfing in Tilburg, Holland on the eve of their annual Gay event Roze Maandag. My lesbian host and her good friend were fans of theatre, they curated videos of Comedian Eddie Izzard and the 2010 Oscars hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.

7. I slept and exhibited at an art Gallery in Hamburg. My gracious host curated videos highlighting the anarchic genius of mainstream rockers Rammstein and off-kilter performance artist Jonathan Meese.

- Limerence: Snowboarding, Skating, Surfing, Christmas and Love
- Balancing Basketball and Travel in Lithuania - Part II

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