All of the posts in this blog

Starting with the latest

Why do Brazilians act the way they do? We don’t know either. But over our decades of dealing with them, we have discovered some strategies for turning our favorite Brazilians into (slightly) more respectful, prompt, and reliable people. We’re not going to claim that you can wave your hands over your favorite Brazilians and turn …

0 96

How interesting was Michael Barbaro’s podcast today? Would he deploy his now-trademarked catch-interjection? First, he had to ask a question. “That’s a really interesting question,” responded his guest on queue, followed by measured background from a slightly left-leaning perspective but also acknowledging the truths of the right, as related tangentially to some batshit crazy thing …

0 24

Today we’ll learn to count in Serbian / Bosnian / Croatian. But this South Slavic linguistic shitshow is crazy, so all we’re really going to understand is the number one. If we get really masochistic, we may cover the numbers two, three, maybe even four and more in some other article. This is a grammar …

1 130

What is the essential Brazilian body part that mainly exists to be sniffed and kissed, and that we have no word for in English? How many delightful ways can we talk about quivering, trembling, shimmying and swaying in Portuguese? The answers to these questions and more wisdom can be gleaned from the lyrics of the classic, …

1 187

The horrors of Serbian/Croatian/Bosian hit you one after another: cases, verb aspect, and conjugations… And then at some point, probably later in the process, the bizarre and seemingly random distinctions between više and još will also start to get on your nerves. These words can be translated, variously, as “more”, “even more”, “yet”, “any more”, “still”, etc. …

0 64

Over the years I’ve spent learning and refining my Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian, I’ve tried out plenty of textbooks and learning guides. Most of them were terrible. But a few have risen to the top and are worth recommending. These books aren’t the very first step you should take into the language; your first few minutes of Serbian learning should …

2 1.2k

If you want to joke, flirt, and gripe with the locals in Sicily, you could do so in Italian. But if you manage to do so in Sicilian you’re going to have way more fun. Sicilian is the language of the island of Sicily. Some refer to it as a “dialect” — but, prior to …

0 393

If you want to joke, flirt, and make a proper toast in the south of Italy, you could certainly speak Italian. Or English — or Bosnian, Galician, or Russian, for that matter, as Italians are generally delighted to carry on a conversation without the slightest comprehension. But if you really want a truly local adventure, you must speak at least a little Neapolitan. …

4 3.7k

I see you here in Europe, backpackers, hobbling across the continent strapped to the bottom those crushing mobile billboards for everything that’s wrong with your travel philosophy: backpacks. Yes, those 70-liter-and-up backpacker packs are what you live out of for weeks or months on the road, so it’s natural that you want them to contain everything. The impractical but common wisdom from travel bloggers and review sites is to use a backpack …

0 56

Wherever we roam, we can forrozear. It’s getting ever-easier to find this passionate, silly Brazilian dance in the world’s major cities. Since I wrote our piece on forró’s surging popularity outside Brazil (and its sister on forrozeiras’ sexiest moments on the dance floor), I’ve received many, many updates from readers on the changing and birthing of cities’ forró scenes. Thanks, dears! Continue to update …

28 209

My first sexy time with a German took place in a closet during a house party in Paris. Then, a year later, a Germanic rogering came to pass in the showers of a Romanian hostel, and a little after that I boinked my third German in a park in Berlin. These, by the way, are the only times I’ve ever had sex …

0 690

Pétanque (a.k.a. boules) is the French cousin to lawn bowling or bocce, once removed from horseshoes, twice removed from darts. Depending on your perspective, it’s a game of rigor and strategy, or else of standing around and drinking Ricard (a.k.a. pastis, an anise-flavored spirit) or rosé. So we’re somewhere on the midpoint here between chess and beer …

0 104

“Of course locals should take priority over those traveling through,” says a friend, vis-a-vis city politics. Really? Her assumption is widely shared, even among the most loving, lefty, freedom-and-equality-for-all humanists. So it seems like a good time to question it a bit. Here’s How We Mistreat Nomads I get bored with new claims of victimization; oh how groups …

0 32
Tipsy Pilgrim on using Tinder for travel

Road-Tindering gets you into the coffee shops, pants, and hearts of the locals, sure. But the app can also lead you to truly weird adventures in lovely spots that you’d never have found in hours of searches through forums and travel sites. So it is that this rogue nomad has signed up on Tinder — you know, for research purposes, and not due …

0 76

How can you take a dance style that is unknown in your area and create a thriving community with parties, workshops, and classes?

0 78

Bosnian is uniquely rich among its Slavic brethren in shortened informal expressions. Here’s a quick guide; master these few words and you’ll sound like a local.

38 926

  The world thinks it knows what a French person sounds like: a derisive laugh that somehow pulls phlegm through the nostrils, a sarcastic oh-la-la between pinched puffs of smoke… But what do the French think the French sound like? And what can you say and do to pass as one of them? As part of our Fluent …

0 207

Winter in Serbia means wild nights in smokey kafanas (taverns) or staying cosy at home with delicious, endless sarma (meat rolled into pickled cabbage). Either way, you’re going to want some mulled brandy too. Here’s how the Serbs make it. If you’re confused and you need a primer on this classy beverage, we have other articles that explain what rakija …

0 119

Everyone loves this Brazilian cocktail, and each culture seems to see a need to ruin it in their own way.

0 39

It’s hard to complete a Catalan sentence without merda. Shit is always on the tip of the Catalan tongue, whether used to describe speed, cowardice, disappointment, avarice, explosive mushrooms, etc., etc., literally ad nauseum. In my quest to speak Catalan like a native, I’ve compiled an exhaustive list of shit-based expressions from friends and academic sources. Previously here …

0 143

Samba de gafieira — Brazil’s groovy answer to tango — is a flashy, complicated dance that lends itself to spectacle. There are many videos of performances by outrageously talented professionals online, but this is not one of them. These dancers are talented, but this is not a formal performance with all of the flashy silliness that …

0 104

This is Bebeto‘s “Segura a Nega” performed by Clube do Balanço. It is one of the greatest samba rock songs ever performed, and if you have a less-than-perfect command of spoken Brazilian Portuguese, you may be wondering what the hell the lyrics are about. I offer here my translation; the emphasis here is on accuracy in meaning and achieving a …

0 38

The caipirinha is a religion. We hold as articles of faith how the limes should be chopped, how the ice should be crushed, etc., and these beliefs are handed down from one believer to the next, from reveler to reveler, generation to generation. There are denominations and sub-denominations, lapsed believers and absolutists. What has been missing until now …

2 20

It’s understandable that some of you dear readers want to kiss, date, fuck or even marry the French. I discourage it, though; there are so many less complicated and more fun cultures for romance and humping. But I’ve been frequently asked for advice on the topic, and while I have none of my own, I can pass on the …

1 2k

Taking a step back to look at the weirdness of dating à l’américaine

4 639

NASA and others make travel porn for those feeling constrained by our solar system.

0 83

Brazil tends to get pegged as a land of sluts and hedonists. That’s an understandable assumption, but simply not true.

0 153

Former Os Mutantes singer Rita Lee‘s “Amor e Sexo” is famous enough in Brazil that everyone can sing along, and it’s lovely to see it sung by a crowd — and see how a catchy melody and screwy metaphors can cause a kind of (momentary) mass, chanted acceptance of love- and sex-positivity . I was reminded of the 2003 hit from the “queen …

0 53

I’ve lived in nine countries, and when I first arrived in most of them, I didn’t speak much of the language. Being linguistically and culturally lost has become a habit. I’ve found the best way to advance rapidly in these situations (as well as if I’m attempting to learn before arrival) is to just jump in and start …

2 125

Erasing the final trace of distinction between modern art and trolling, Paul McCarthy has installed a giant green butt plug in Paris’ most fashionable plaza, the Place Vendôme. The work is called “Tree”, but McCarthy knew every well what he was doing:   Un “plug anal” géant installé place Vendôme by lemondefr Predictably, right wing parties are …

0 37

The best adventures in foreign lands usually involve locals who have a couple of generations on me. They didn’t learn to dance from MTV, and they haven’t taken up the lowest-common-denominator drinks wrought on the world’s youth by globalization (Heineken, absolut, mojitos, cosmopolitans). These are the locals with stories to tell, cultural wisdom to share. The lame cell-phone photos above and …

1 35

As part of the our Fluent in 20 Minutes series, this post provides EVERYTHING you need to participate in conversations with Brazilians, whether or not you have any idea what anyone is saying. Why learn (a bit of) Portuguese? Well, there’s good evidence that this language has the best music, and then there are the Brazilians themselves, their dancing, …

4 432

Your buddy is tipsy. Would you rather express this with a gesture referencing an 18th-century alcoholic carpenter’s tzar-given neck tattoo, or just mime tipping a bottle to your lips? Almost invariably, Russian gestures are more interesting and/or emphatic than their international counterparts. We at TP suggest that the following be immediately adopted into everyone’s physical …

0 1.3k

Catalan statehood is in vogue, which leads many to ask: What makes Catalans so different? This blog has previously covered Catalans’ vermut for breakfast, super-hot girls in bad haircuts, screwy sounds, etc., etc., etc. — we’re huge fans. But more than anything, it’s Catalans’ glorification of excrement that proves that they are a truly singular people who deserve their own passports …

6 206

What to do when you find yourself kissing a hot asexual? And how do you explain apparently randy Iowan asexuality to Europeans?

0 56

  Surrounded by Americans? The following key gestures and words will allow you to fake a high level of American English, even and especially when you have no idea what anyone is saying. This is derived from the Tipsy Pilgrim Language Method, which targets language’s true purpose: amusement. Rarely, we believe, does/should language serve a communicative …

3 69

How can you bring together Serbia and Spain in a single cocktail? Can/should espresso be combined with some of the most … challenging brandy on the planet? How can I film myself drinking such a manly thing and still come off rather effete?

0 29

The World’s Sissiest Summer Cocktail of Course Comes from France

0 34

Is it random luck that so many of the world’s great songs are in Portuguese, or does the language itself have something to do with it?

163 1.6k

Over the past decade, forró events have been springing up in major Western cities (e.g. London, Moscow, New York, Barcelona, Paris…) as well as some smaller ones. This is an odd journey for a simple dance from the Brazilian northeast, as usually the world’s folk dances barely leave their town or region, let alone cross …

20 165

The route from masturbatory mapmaking to viral meme to mainstream media coverage

1 41

It’s late at night, you’re a gentleman dung beetle, and you’ve packed together a delicious ball of shit. Now, for safe-keeping, you’d like to roll it far, far away from the other feasting critters at the dung pile. If you can do that, you just might be able to convince a lady dung beetle to fuck …

0 68

One lovely evening a ways back, U. Michigan students were served cocktails, then tested on their ability to learn Thai pronunciation. The tests were performed double-blind, and the cocktails contained varying amounts of alcohol (some, secretely, had none). Finally, science was poised to say how much exactly you should drink before attempting to pronounce new foreign …

1 136

Learn to speak languages with without pesky bullshit like comprehension or communication.

4 208

You can’t speak Portuguese without moving your hands. And, as you might expect from a people with their own style of kissing, Brazilians have a grand repertoire of unique gestures. Among them: “big fat liar”, “this person’s quality stuff”, and “in the hood”.

2 414

Tipsy Pilgrim recently attended the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants — The Independent Winemakers’ Expo in Paris. This cannot be more highly recommended. First, it’s free, or pretty much free. Officially, it will run you €6 (worth it), and that goes down to €3 for students or if you arrive in a group of …

0 36

Independentista and blogger El Fem Fatal speaks Catalan not only to foreigners like me, but also to the inanimate objects in her home. “Li fas plas!” she explained to me, flailing at her lightswitch. “You’ve gotta really slap this fucker!” is how I would translate that. “Plas” is a Catalan onomatopeia for “smack”, and can …

2 43

Believe it or not,[*]. the French go through that same awkward, sexually anxious stage as the rest of us: adolescence. They need strategies, games and excuses to sneak that first kiss. Fortunately, they have oodles; some of the following popular strategies may sound familiar to you, others are uniquely French. 1. “On va pas payer le …

1 78

When electricity runs out and the world descends into chaos, you’ll presumably be soaking whatever coffee beans your slave scrounged up in the runoff from a sewer crater. A properly roasted, ground and pressurized espresso will seem a distant luxury. But not so for Nate Miller, who has perfected off-the-grid, gourmet espresso. Nate is an …

0 16

Eating in Paris should be all about small, charming restaurants; exquisite chocolates; and bohemian bars — not the standard tourist nightmare of snarling waiters, seven-language menus, and bland food.

0 32

TP is visiting Barcelona this week and just discovered the carajillo, Spain’s espresso/alcholic shot mix. Oh, carajillo, where have you been all of my life? As with anything worth putting in your mouth, the carajillo is storied. The word supposedly derives from coraje (“courage”) and the tale goes that Spanish sailors in Cuba drank this …

2 26

Galician is uniquely rich in fixed expressions for that romantic-but-vexing moment when a man sees something he’d like to fuck. Many languages (French and Catalan come to mind) have their own clichéd versions of “do you come here often?” but Galician, in spite of losing its lexical footing a bit as it mixes with Spanish, is balls-out prolific …

94 862

The following table will aid in communication with inanimate French objects. Tipsy Pilgrim also has a guide for communicating with the young and animate French.

0 33

You’ll recall that in Catalonia, the women are hot, the sailors are drunk, and the grandparents get started on their vermut before noon. I assume, darlings, that you have absorbed this blog’s wisdom quite nearly become Catalans. But how, you ask, scratching your mulleted heads, nervously twisting your pantalons cagats, should we get drunk in …

1 390

Dear Tipsy Pilgrim, I am a 32-year-old American woman who has recently taken on a French lover. While his 24 years is quite a blessing in the sack, he’s becoming a bit of a burden to my pocketbook. When we go to dinner or out to a show, he never brings quite enough cash, and …

0 35

If you’ve read my previous posts, you presumably now have a hot Catalan girlfriend and have mastered drinking wine from your porró, the squirty Catalan wine pitcher. The obvious next step is to dance with your Catalan gal while drinking from your porró. Fortunately, drunken Catalan dancing has a storied past; and I found a literally …

0 40

Welcome to Verlan, France’s answer to Cockney rhyming slang or Pig Latin (and an exact parallel to Serbian’s Šatrovački). Verlan became common in the ’80s among poor young folks in Parisian suburbs, and was diffused through hip hop and pop music. Today, anyone of the MTV Europe age or younger employs it to some degree. The …

0 608

Certain impending life changes here at TP HQ threaten to make us a bit less American in the coming years, so we’re delighted to start looking at what we love about the fatherland. The new America posts will highlight the world’s brashest, most flamboyantly ignorant and also most creative culture by looking at how these cowgals …

0 34

The world’s sexiest women are Catalan. They’re gorgeous, laid back, kinda grungy, and infinitely sweet.* So what do you gotta do to bang, smooch, or marry one? Former dictator Francisco Franco has inadvertently given us a leg up, with the collective mindfuck he caused by banning the region’s language. Today’s Catalans get very excited about …

3 344

Berliners tend to get a jump on their after-work drinking; it’s quite common to crack open a beer on the U-bahn train home. Also frequently seen, a little later in the evening: teenagers drinking and vomiting to the swaying of the trains. American and British tourists, meanwhile, go bar-hopping with bottles of taquila in hand, …

0 75

This is just one of the countless gestures integral to communication in Brazil, and never taught in any Portuguese class. The estalo brasileiro, or Brazilian snap, is used to indicate speed; sometimes it’s used to (rather rudely) tell someone to pick up the pace. To snap like a Brazilian, start with your hand pretty much …

1 139

The expression tomar a cerveja na bundinha can be translated as “to drink the beer by its bottom” or, more literally, “to take the beer in the little ass”. It is a challenge for certain young Brazilians to say the expression without giggling; in fact, the drink is probably propagated mainly for the opportunity to ambiguously …

0 32

When hungover, Germans speak of howling cats while Icelanders’ phrase literally means to have the God of Thunder’s hammers in your brain. Iberian languages refer to the undertow; apparently the land’s regurgitation of water to the sea is evocative. Latin Americans show a great linguistic range in their post-bacchanal gloom, using Spanish or native words for …

1 47

You’ve had enough. You’re ready to escape a gathering, but, in many countries, manners dictate going around the table to kiss everyone goodbye. With a certain type of folks and level of chaos and inebriation, these goodbyes can take ages. The Germans have a much less kissy-kissy culture than many of their European counterparts, so …

0 50

Pauistanos (folks from São Paulo city) are known for being all about stress, fine eating and money. Their street carnival takes a bit of a back seat. The Tipsy editorial board, however, loves to rock the backseat. We took a jaunt down to Sampa during its carnaval, and a few locals showed us their moves.  

1 34

Most cultures have slang for reporting the results of a previous night’s rendez-vous. But the French, Chileans and Americans have actually codified their sexual achievements into numbered levels, much to the distaste of the rest of the world. Of course, each country’s numbering system is different. USA Inappropriately, Americans use their most boring sport, baseball, …

1 200

The beijo, or Brazilian kiss, is a full-on facial and salival assault. It is used to express attraction, make nearby exes jealous, and to find out if a complete stranger has something stuck in his teeth. It is very frequently performed; in fact, if you spend a night out dancing or in bars and you …

15 4.7k

Brazilians hardly consider themselves to be a polite people, but they do love to lecture each other on manners anyhow, especially when drinking. The following are the standard rules for correct consumption of Brazilian beer.  1. A man should pour beer for the ladies. I learned the intricacies of this while drinking with several cariocas …

0 37

Lunch happens late in Catalonia, 2pm at the earliest, so you might get a bit thirsty or peckish. Older Catalans, however, will let you in on a wonderful tradition that solves this problem (though it has unfortunately been dying out a bit over the last few decades): fer el vermut, or the hour of the vermouth. …

0 45

Yes. The major Brazilian beers may be offensively devoid of character, and served estupidamente gelada (extremely, “stupidly” chilled) in the hopes you won’t notice, but drinking beer is an important Brazilian social event with lots of fun rules. How should you choose what to drink? Since all of your options are terrible, the only important …

7 86

Easy answer: No. Ff you’re in Brazil, you can’t even drink the stuff imported from proper wine countries like Chile or Argentina; upon crossing the Brazilian border it undergoes a mysterious process wherein it is rendered undrinkable (presumably, customs procedure involves leaving the bottles out to bake for a few years in the sun). Opt …

2 22

Turn to the Kanun, the oral tradition of Albanian law that was codified in the 1500s and whose roots go back possibly to the Bronze Age. First set down in print and published as a handy reference in the early 1900s, it provides guidance on, for example: The etiquette of dinnertime sheep debraining An appropriate …

0 50

None, according to reputable doctors. Reputable Serbian grandparents, however, prescribe rakija for the following conditions: Toothache Heartburn Stomach ache Sore throat Depression Menstrual cramps Anxiety To make a newborn baby boy more of a man (only feed him a few drops) Help babies fall asleep (let them suck on a rakija-soaked finger) Disinfectant Pretty much anything …

0 393

Ah, the Catalans and their toasts. Ready? Lift your glass and bellow the following: Sant Hilari, sant Hilari, fill de puta, qui no se l’acabi! — Saint Hilari, Saint Hilari, oh he’s a son of a whore, he who won’t finish up! There’s no particular reason to call on poor Saint Hilari to make everyone guzzle …

2 24

People living on these lands have been dominated by murderous foreign powers for longer than they’ve even considered themselves Albanian. They’ve also gotten most of their ideas about what makes for good social drinks from these same powers. The result: some very disturbing associations with each drink, as below.  Popular Drinks in  Albania  Associated Atrocity …

0 26

It is common to want to turn every moment in Paris into a Robert Doisneaux tableau.  But location can be everything.  We at Tipsy HQ have sacrificed our honor over the years to determine the best spots for P.D.A. à la parisienne. They are: 1. THE SACRED HEART BASILICA OF MONTMARTRE, 2 AM Yes, the …

1 52

Using a pickup line in your native tongue is a dubious move. But in a foreign language the mispronounced equivalent of “Do you come here often?” can be funny, even endearing. The following are very clichéd classics; say them earnestly, falteringly, and for once your bewildered foreigner status may work in your favor. T’as des …

0 124

A young woman explains Russian dating to Tipsy Pilgrim. Also answered: How important is it to have money or at least a petrol station when trying to impress the ladies?

0 52

So you’d like to come across as a connoisseur of fine rakija, the brandy of the Balkans, nationalism in a bottle. First, we’ll talk about what you’re drinking, then how to be a snob about it. 1. What type of rakija is it? Rakijas are generally named for the Serbian word for the fruit they …

1 345

On fire. Catalan sailors have brought a lot of rum back from Cuba over the last few centuries, and tradition dictates celebrating sailors’ return with a beach party fueled by the cremat, Catalonia’s flaming caffeinated rum cocktail. Folks crowd the beach, sing songs called havaneres (also of Cuban import, though with Catalan lyrics) and dance, waving white handkerchiefs over …

1 21

The fine folk of Normandy have a solution: the trou normand, or Norman break. In the midst of a decadent, endless-course meal (especially during holidays), les normands are known to take a pause with a small glass of the region’s aged apple-juice brandy, calvados. This supposedly helps to reset digestion and enables one to take …

0 22

You are about to get extremely drunk. You cannot refuse a glass of raki. Doing so is considered extremely rude. You must at the very least drink a little bit. But of course, that’s just the beginning.   The group will likely have already selected its krye dolli bash, or the leader of the drinking. …

0 36

Useful for fans of public fornication, and an absolute classic for first-timers escaping from the watchful eyes of their families, the concrete bunkers strewn over the Albanian countryside are infamous outdoor sex spots. The former dictator Enver Hoxha established 750,000 of these indestructible domed love nests in the ’70s and ’80s, far more than could …

0 180

The Comédie Française, the oldest national theater in the world, is an actor-centered company that has produced some of the world’s greatest talent (e.g. Adrienne Lecouvreur, Sarah Bernhardt, Jean-Louis Barrault). It has not, however, always succeeded on its merits alone: Year Action Result 1680 Louis XIV combines the two extant acting companies to create the …

2 18

Start chopping onions. For the fêtards (partiers) who make it until the wee hours, French tradition stipulates that you whip up a soupe à l’oignon (onion soup). Salty and very delicious after a long night of dancing and drinking, this is the quintessential end to a long soirée. For some reason,  foreigners think of this …

0 20

Welcome to the porró, the traditional Catalan wine carafe that gives you all of the pleasure and convenience of drinking from a squirt gun. A porró is a little like a glass watering can; there’s an opening in the top where it is filled, and a long snout that tapers to a small opening — when you tip …

0 47

MENU

Back

Where and who?

Written from the road in various countries by this guy who can be contacted here.

I sometimes remember to insert an affiliate code when I recommend something on Amazon; clicking on my links before you buy something there doesn’t cost you extra, and you’ll have bought me a cheap road caipirinha or rakija. I also employ Skimlinks for some lovely automated monetization of the blog.