When The Government Collapses, Drive South

by bicyclemark

I figured in honor of the pathetic Dutch government finally admitting they can’t hold it together, I would take a little visit to Paris. I’m sure it sounds flashy, Berlin last week, Paris this week; but please note: each journey costed under 60 euros round trip. That is the wonder of using the automobiles and sharing the cost among passengers. This particular journey I made use of, for the second time in the last year, hitchhikers.org. Great site and interesting people participating in the simple act of offerring a ride in exchange for a small fee… i.e. money for petrol.

Speaking of 4 wheeled vehicles that I normally avoid. You often hear about how the US has too many cars or too many big cars. Yet I think one point that deserves more attention, is Europe’s car addiction. Take the Netherlands; Im sure everyone things of bicycles.. but in fact.. highways full of traffic is also quite characteristic of the country. Today, en route through Belgium, near Antwerp and Brussels, huge traffic jams. And of course, on the outskirts of Paris.. I could have gotten out and walked here faster. Although all these countries have excellent rail systems, and even a decent bus option for collective international transport.. people still insist on the car. Even down in my dear Portugal… there are cars everywhere. People don’t even have money to buy them, but the wonders of credit will help to bring every man, woman, and of-driving-age child, a little hatchback with which to sit in traffic somewhere.

Maybe this isn’t news to the world, but I find there is an exaggeration of the US situation versus that of Europe. Both are in big trouble in terms of future prospects for going anywhere by car, not to mention the air quality.

But let me be a carefree tourist for a moment and ignore the harsh realities of the world. I’m here at B and E’s place, my dearest expat friends since waaay back. And if I ever get to sleep, I shall meet up with Madge in the morning and together, me and the sweaty Lesbian will get on a train and go visit Madame L at her secret undisclosed hideout way out where google maps can’t see.

Ij Summer Evening PhotoEssay

by bicyclemark

It’s the busiest weekend of the year for me. Which means, while I’d very much like to dig into the issue of Europe’s shameful collaboration with the CIA secret torture flights and prisons, and I’d like to talk about my worldcup fantasy team and why its interesting, all of that will have to wait until the weekend winds down. Til then… here’s a photoessay of one of the events I organized for this weekend… a cruise on the Ij.


bm124 The Other Big Election in Europe: Hungary

by bicyclemark

Atop any list of underreported nations in Europe, Hungary has handled huge changes over the past 15 years. Henrik of the Hungarian Accent blog joins me to discuss Hungary: from the end of the communist regime, to joining the European Union, to the cold hard truth of what lies ahead for the Hungarian people.

AudioCommunique #124 (mp3)


K’Naan – In the beginning
Clap Your Hands Say YEah – Over and Over
Pink – Dear Mr. President

podcast made possible by you the listener and also Springheeljack.net

Travelin South Is Good for the Sole

by bicyclemark

On the Amsterdam to Brussels snail-rail train this morning, I couldn’t avoid hearing an American couple across the isle. Nice little couple, in their 50’s, presumably travelling around Europe for the first time. They talked during the whole ride, it was exhausting. I put the volume up on the K’Naan album and luckily a hip-hop artist who grew up in Mogadishu can overpower the never ending child-like observations of Mr and Mrs Jones. Or Smith. or whatever.

Photo Hosted at Buzznet.comBut I did listen to alot of their observations, and some of it was interesting. They kept talking about what “was smart about european design” and what they should have in their homestate cause it would help with whatever problem they have back in Plansboro or boringsville Pennsyltucky. No offense to the Pennsyltukians, I’m sure you could teach the world a thing or to about something. Maybe.

So they did actually provide inspiration. Instead of just sleeping the whole ride down through the Netherlands, I looked out over the fields and the cities and I thought about the history of this place. How much things have probably changed yet if I look outside, the year could just as easily be 1955, if you cancel out the train that Im on, the mp3 player in my ears, and the whole wheat bagel I just ate. (who could find a bagel in 1950’s europe?)

I’m not a person with any religion, but I do love having 2 days off for easter. It’s always a weekend that reminds me of my familia; the A-Ren, and all the fun of being with them for holidays. But hey, here in the low countries, I have an equally great tradition from the past 4 years, of spending these days with my cousins in Brussels. Photos and vlog will be up soon, when I’m done eating pie for breakfast and lunch.

And since the photos aren’t uploaded yet, todays is of a dear friend who’s moving back to her island in the atlantic for the next 6 months.