In between personal, familial and financial failures, Mark Twain took time to see the world and insult the peoples, locales, and histories of the places he visited. It is in this tradition of being annoyingly unsatisfied and too smart for our own good that we present "Not So Innocent Abroad:" a deplorable, ethnocentric, at times hilarious, and always historically unreliable dump on every place we have ever visited.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

God creates man, man destroys god, man creates blog......

One day while driving in their respective cars and talking on their respective cell phones two historians had a vision. That vision was to convince the Travel Channel that shows like Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" fed into the ego maniacal mania of lone traveling pretentious dicks. Wouldn't it be far more interesting to feed into the ego maniacal mania of two pretentious dicks who would then spend most of the show ridiculing each other. Well after several unsuccessful phone calls, a letter writing campaign, a cease and desist order and finally a mob of pitchfork wielding peasants, we decided it might be better to strike it out on our own. But with no money, no camera, no distribution deals, and even less of a desire to accumulate any of those things we decided like all rightfully marginalized people starved for attention to start a blog. Welcome to Alex and Dan's "Not So Innocent Abroad."

Between two historians who travel often and gawk even more, we have, between us, been to a significant portion of the globe (except of course for those lousy hard to reach places like South Asia, East Asia, Russia, Sub-Saharan Africa, Central or South America, and Australia—but we will, well maybe not Indonesia) and are rarely impressed. Well, that’s not exactly true; a lot of thing are and have been amazing, inspiring and life altering. Even then, miring through the mundane, the bizarre, and lousy can be just as fun.

Of course, the third world kind of, for lack of a better word, sucks. So if you are waiting for tales from there it might take a while. Don’t get us wrong, we think you should visit it, point and laugh, but we are not in a hurry. It’s a good experience for everyone to realize that the world is not all fun and games, nice smells and sunny vistas. Take the pyramids for example. Mark Twain was able to climb to the top of the pyramids back when the British quasi-owned the place—now, you’re lucky if you get to smell camel shit as you stare from afar. Thank you, Mr. Nasser! But unlike that insufferable prig, Anthony Bourdain, you should still see the pyramids when you’re in Egypt. I mean, they’re the fucking pyramids!

But of course even North America is full of bizarre locales and even weirder people—as what follows will show conclusively, so to each his own. And we plan to tell you all about it from our somewhat jaded, self serving, arrogant and—one might even say on occasion cynical—perspectives.

It is of course in the spirit of seeking knowledge, adventure, strange tale and life that we travel. As historians, we bask in the past and all its glories and blunders, its triumphs and tragedies. We do not laugh because we like to make light of serious things, but let’s face it, when you are surrounded by Egyptian customs guards wielding M-16s who think you’re stealing Egyptian antiquities, you have to laugh after you change your underwear. We hope our foibles and observations might inspire you to travel, perhaps even to the places we ridicule and describe, and learn more because some of them are of great interest and at times great beauty. Of course most of them are quite awful. Don’t you dare go to them and say it’s our fault, we warned you!!

As for the name of this blog, well, we hope you understand that without explanation. We’re not writing for the insular or the elitist or the sensitive, but for the curious, the imaginative, and adventurous. We also hope that if you are moved to comment, that you’re not some academic (like us) with an axe to grind and your head up your ass. If so, do not be surprised if we either ignore you, or mercilessly ridicule you and then delete your replies so that it looks like you have no answer, even though we know you did, but we enjoy when it looks like you’re an idiot. Hey, it’s our blog, and now you’ve been warned!

As for how the blog works, Dan will post every Monday and Alex will post every Thursday (Who is writing this?!) about some new or old travel of note. Whenever possible we will throw up a pictures, a story, a history, an anecdote, a video. We will try to put as many of our most recent adventures up as soon as possible, but some of our classic stories of international and local intrigue are too interesting and hilarious to hide from the adoring public (that's you).

So, without further ado, thus commences our blog. Enjoy!

Dan and Alex at Ditka's in Chicago. But who took the picture?!

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