We present the next in, a crowd favorite, our video series ‘What It’s Like’ (Raw, un-cut, unscripted videos showing you what it’s like). This video comes from my adventures on the streets of Varanasi, India, the holiest Hindu city in the world, a pilgrimage destination that houses one of the most eclectic collections of people in the world…including real snake charmers and poisonous cobras.
The Cow’s 3-year journey around the world continues, and he’s finally had a chance to gather some of the best photos from his journey into a short little video (below). 3-years, 5 continents, 35 countries, a million friends. Udderly fantastic. Enjoy.
If I were to say the word ‘Tibet’ to you, it would likely conjure, in your mind, images of temples, monks and mountains. It’s unlikely it would make you think of dance clubs. To assist you in such future visualization exercises, we bring you the next in the ongoing series of ‘What It’s Like’ videos, this one from Lhasa, Tibet. Breaking with normal form, in which I usually do not add much commentary to these videos, this one requires a bit of a setup.
After seven days of touring monasteries and temples, praying with monks and crisscrossing the Himalayan foot hills, we decided to try to get a glimpse of the contemporary life of young Tibetans and found ourselves chasing an invitation to one of Lhasa’s most popular dance clubs.
We arrived fashionably late and after the formalities at the door, we entered a cavernous room full of hundreds of rowdy, young Tibetans, mostly between the ages of 18 and 30—all crammed in circular booths drinking what else but cans of cheap, full strength American Budweiser Beer (Tibet is the country outside of America, where I’ve seen (and drank) the most of America’s favorite King of Beers).
We found a table on the upper floor, one of the last left in the place, despite it being only 8pm. Over the next six hours we’d be entertained with all types of amusement, including traditional Tibetan dances, karaoke, stage plays, pantomimes, drummers and singers (some of Tibet’s most famous), among other things. Every four or five acts, a Tibetan pop hit would explode from the speakers and the crowd would rise from there beer can covered tables to cram the stage for an all-out MTV Grind-style dance party, returning to their seats every single time after just one song. More amusing acts would follow, then once again a club-wide, single song dance party would ensue. I was actually quite impressed, as I realized a few hours into the evening, that they had not played a single American pop song, an experience you’d never have in Beijing, Bangkok, Buenos Aries, Pretoria, Paris or Perth. All the entertainment at this thumping Tibetan dance club was, surprisingly, Tibetan.
The menagerie of spectacle, the heavily pulsating lights, the cheesy re-creation of the Potallah Palace (the home of the exiled Dali Lama) on the stage backdrop under the clouds of cigarette smoke, left my head in a drunken state of confusion akin to a hallucinogenic trip on acid, on crack—or maybe it was just the Budweiser.
As our host would explain to us, the entertainment lineup would be the same night after night, the same songs, plays, performers and dances. Despite the fact that the audience could lip sync to all the songs, knew all the punch lines of the plays (and still laughed) and had done the same dances a hundred times over, it was all because everyone—all 400 people in that club—were in fact just waiting for one performance, and then its likely most people would leave for the night.
The promoters of the club were smart and put this one performer on stage about 3am. The anticipation of arrival grew as the hours passed on and the beer cans emptied. I knew we couldn’t leave until I figured out what had all these young Tibetans so damn excited, to come each night to put themselves through a show they’d seen a hundred times before and to drink beer that was about a half step up in flavor from the other ubiquitous Tibetan drink: butter tea. This performer, I figured, would have to be a show stopper.
I’m not going to tell you what happened at 3am, you’ll just have to watch the video and see who arrived for yourself.
Click here or the video player above to see the video.
The next in a series of raw, mostly unedited videos called “What It’s Like.” This one from the jungles just outside Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. (Can’t see the video below? Go directly to Facebook the video hosting site by clicking here.)
(Hong Kong, China) See the previous post “Where I come from, I am The King of Karaoke,” before watching this video. Shot in Neway Karaoke in Mong Kong, Hong Kong, China, the group includes my 59-year old American parents (the stars), my brother, myself and my friends from China, Hong Kong, Cameron and the US. You have to watch it twice, because it’s funny for two reasons.
First, watch it to see just how good I am at karaoke (as a matter of fact, I’m not shy to say, that the first time I saw this video I mistakenly, thought The Beatles WERE actually there.)
Second, and more importantly, pay attention to the karaoke music video at the end of the film. Karaoke music videos in Asia are hilarious. They either can’t afford or choose not to buy the rights to the actual music video or there is no music video, so they substitute extremely low-budget videos set to famous pop songs, and the videos often don’t have anything to do with the song or make any sense for that matter. I find the “music video” for La Bamba absolutely hilarious.
Click on the image below to see the video on link directly to it by clicking here.
[Introducing a new feature on NoBoundaries I'm calling "What It's Like," each installment will bring to you a different first person experience that I've encountered while on the road. I'm going to provide very little commentary, and just give you a chance to experience it for yourself. Please leave comments.]
This is a short video of the famous intersection in the Shibuya Ward of Tokyo that is reportedly the world’s busiest. WOW! That’s a lot of people…and it looks like that at every crossing. Shibuya is the fashion center of Tokyo, it has a great energy about it and, in my opinion, is best experienced at night. (It reminds me of Time Square in New York City.) This intersection is featured in the Sofia Coppola film Lost in Translation.
(This video was taken by my brother Adam, check out the website of his time in Japan.)
Being new to the world of long-term traveling, the world of blogging, and the world of blogging while long-term traveling, I am still experimenting with the technology and the processes and the forms of how to exactly share this experience with you. I haven’t quite pinned down the best way to capture and share motion just yet, and have not even settled that I’m going to travel with a full-fledge video camera. (Remember everything I buy, I’ve got to carry all the way around the world, so every pound counts, not to mention the cost). So, since I am stationary in Hong Kong for a while, I’m playing around with a few ideas on video (or at least multimedia).
Today I’ve posted a set of photos called Hong Kong: Places, and its meant to help you see what Hong Kong feels like.
As you’ll see Hong Kong truly is a collision of East and West, of modern skyscrapers mixed with open air food markets and peppered with traditional Chinese temples and shrines. Hong Kong isn’t all hustle and bustle, big city either, its got long beautiful beaches, massive forest reserves, and quite little harbors. In the coming weeks I’m going to experiment with some other formats (still photos over live sound, video from a little hand-held Canon point-and-shoot digital still camera, and probably some full-out video too.) Let me know what you think or if you have any ideas, and enjoy the first photos of Hong Kong. Tomorrow, I’ll post all the photos from the sideshow in a still photo gallery so you can look at them a bit slower and I’ll include captions! All the photos can be seen in the photo gallery called Hong Kong: Places.
Thanks to John over at audihertz and radiozoom for the plug on your site, yes, you’ve spurred me into action buddy. John is a long time blogger, and one of the first podcasters (he was podcasting before podcasting was cool, possibly before it was a word?). You really should check out his site, if you want to see how this blogging and podcasting stuff is supposed to be done. John and I go way back, our most notorious collaboration was with Christopher Linn, when we produced the short-running radio show The Frequency Brunch on KRUI 89.7 FM in Iowa City. The show featured all sorts of madness, with a ton of guests including They Might Be Giants, John Freyer (a guy who sold his entire life on eBay), and a college student who bought a car with $40,000 cash in $2 bills, among others. ($2 Larry, please take a bow).