Category: Culture

Pimsleur Is The Best Way To Quickly Learn A Language Before Your Next Trip

conor mcgregor candle

The answer I can give without hesitation to the question, “what’s the best way to learn a new language before a trip,” is use Pimsleur. People ask me a lot about language learning, with two important caveats. The first being they’re traveling soon (short time to learn) and they need to be able to communicate with people (not necessarily translate names of random objects).

After booking flights, hotels, planning what to pack, language learning is usually a last that-would-be-nice-touch most never get around to. Pimsleur is the fastest way to learn another language at a conversational level if you’ve got 30 minutes a day and a few weeks to practice.

Quickly Conversational

The majority of language courses are designed to teach you a language with the aim to become fluent – an undertaking that often takes years. You’ll learn a lot of words that won’t be immediately useful which is why most travelers bounce around language tutorials and courses so broadly, you end up with nothing once you arrive at your destination. (English it will have to be then!)

pimsleurPimsleur Spanish Conversational Course – Level 1 Lessons 1-16

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The Pimsleur Language Program works differently. Basically, the 30 minute audio-only courses piece together seemingly random sounds with oddly specific visualizations over 10-20 lessons. At the end you’ll be surprisingly able to hold a conversation in that language.

How Pimsleur Works

Pimsleur is incredibly efficient. For example, you listen to one lesson on your commute. Pimsleur notes two important things: you’ll need to repeat what it tells you to repeat out loud and not do more than one lesson a day. A typical lesson is you saying some random sounds, then imaging e.g. a red bird on top of a house. Pimsleur is designed like Pulp Fiction, it’s all out of order at first, but as you go on the lessons start connecting.

gmc jeep interior

The main drawback of Pimsleur is it won’t help you read or write in another language. Pimsleur is audio only, designed to get you talking with people at soon as possible. Pimsleur gives you the mechanics of a given language making you usefully conversational – and if you want to expand beyond that – a solid structure upon which you can add vocabulary and more advanced grammar.

Target For Travelers

Pimsleur has been used by aid and relief organizations to linguistically prepare their staff and volunteers in a short amount of time. (The company donated their Haitian Creole courses after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, for instance). The United States military has also distributed Pimsleur for troops in Afghanistan.

The efficiency of Pimsleur is what makes it so beneficial for travelers interested in learning usable parts of a language in a short time. I’ve found 2-6 weeks and 30 minutes a day (4-5 days a week) is enough to be able to hold a respectable conversation in a foreign language. All you have to do is listen to the audio file (or CD) and repeat as it instructs.

Somehow Pimsleur hacks your memory to install a new language. I wasn’t paid to write this (I legally have to disclose paid reviews) but I can’t say enough good things about Pimsleur. The lessons you learn are also extremely durable – I recall lessons from nearly 10 years ago. You’ll just have to give yourself the time to finish the lessons. Since Pimsleur courses aren’t structured in a conventional way, the more dots it will connect the longer you continue. And it’s not a long or expensive journey. The first entire lesson of Turkish is a total of 8 hours, costing just $40, for example.

Obviously, the more time you have the more of a language you can learn, using these other tools, adding some colorful curses to your vocabulary as well.

Visit With Klingons Who Are In Stockholm To Promote Tourism To Their Home World

A delegation from the Klingon Empire has arrived in Stockholm, Sweden, for a cultural exchange in order to promote tourism to Qo’noS, their home planet. The “Visit Qo’noS” event is being held at the Turteatern through March 24th and when I found out, I booked booked plane tickets immediately. You can see part of the show in the video above and if you’re in Stockholm, watch until the end of the video for a small gift.

Exchanging Culture With Klingons

There was plenty of blood wine, opera, as well as a demonstration of stereotypes Klingons have about humans and vice versa. From their outside perspective, it seems the Klingons have also picked up on some less-than-stellar cultural integration happening on Earth today.

klingons stockholm turteatern

The Visit Qo’noS show is funny, incredibly performed, and very entertaining. I can’t imagine any Trekkie not enjoying the Klingons but even if you’re only casually aware of Star Trek, the Visit Qo’noS event will be one of the most interesting tourism promotions you’ll ever attend.

klingon tourism stockholm sweden

How To Visit Qo’noS

Visit Qo’noS runs about an hour and fifteen minutes, with several shows per week beginning at 7pm. Turteatern is located right next to the Kärrtorp metro stop on the green line (end station Skarpnäck). You can get tickets for Visit Qo’noS here, check out the Visit Qo’noS tourism site here, and learn how to visit the Klingon Empire with honor (without losing your life). Qapla!

Where You Can Find The Original Starship Enterprise

Star Trek Starship Enterprise Studio Model air and space

For over 40 years, the original USS Enterprise from the first Star Trek series had been sitting under plastic in a basement of the Smithsonian Institute. Paramount Studios donated the model in 1974 to the National Collection in Washington D.C., 5 years after Star Trek was canceled, as a novelty. Out of the public eye it remained until 2016, when the restored Enterprise model was unveiled at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek at an event I attended.

The unveiling of the restored Enterprise, which is the one that was used on the show during filming, kicked off a series of evening and late night events at the Air and Space Museum. You can see all of the upcoming night events here and the Udvar Hazy Center (where there’s a real spaceship) has them occasionally as well.

It’s unlikely Paramount, when they donated the Enterprise, anticipated the success of Star Wars (yes, Wars) in 1977, which spurred the creation of Star Trek: The Motion Picture two years later. Since then there have been 13 movies and with the premier of Star Trek Discovery earlier this week, 6 Trek TV series. Fortunately, but perhaps unsurprisingly, the curators of the National Air and Space Museum are Trekkies who held on to the model Enterprise even when it looked like the show had gone extinct.

In case you were wondering, the starship Enterprise model is made of wood, about 1.8 meters (6 feet) long, weighing around 124 kilograms (275 pounds). The Enterprise model is currently on display at the Air and Space Museum – in my opinion one of the top 3 museums in the world – well worth a visit, Trekkie or not.

Cosplay Pictures And Video From Aniventure Comic Con Bulgaria

This past weekend over 10,000 people by my estimates attended Aniventure Comic Con Bulgaria, in the country’s capital city Sofia, including myself. One the best moments for me was meeting The Awkward Yeti cartoonist, Nick Seluk. His personal story of quitting his job and it’s connection to Heart and Brain, Lars, and his other comics was very inspirational. It’s a video I highly recommend you watch, especially if you’re pondering whether or not to follow a dream in your life.

I’ve been to lots of Star Trek conventions but this was my first dedicated comic convention. In terms of cosplay, Comic Con Bulgaria attendees had more elaborate, high-quality, handmade, work in much larger percentages than you see at a Star Trek convention. Cosplay was a big part of the Aniventure Comic Con and I took as many pictures as I could to share with you.

aniventure comic con bulgaria

comic con bulgaria cosplay

aniventure comic con cosplay

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aniventure cosplay

comic con bulgaria 2017

comic con bulgaria 2017 cosplay

sofia bulgaria cosplay

cosplay bulgaria

cosplay bulgaria sofia

cosplay aniventure comic con 2017

aniventure cosplay

star wars cosplay bulgaria

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comic con sofia

cosplay balkans

cosplay aniventure

star wars cosplay europe

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aniventure comic con 2017

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Since I’m not completely up on anime, I don’t have the descriptions of the costumes above. But, if you recognize any, please let me know in the comments below!

A 15 Year Old Explains How To Get Hamilton Tickets Easily For List Price

This is a guest post by 15 year old writer and #1 Potterhead Brian Selcik, a student at the Metropolitan School of the Arts. Brian has previously been a guest here before, writing how you can plan your very own Harry Potter tour in London. He also works for the Harry Potter Fansite MuggleNet and runs an Etsy shop where you can purchase hand knit goods.

hamilton broadway playbill

Hamilton is a great Broadway show that will live up to your expectations but you have to get your hands on some very elusive tickets first. For most people, finding Hamilton tickets isn’t easy or inexpensive but I was able to get tickets for my family and friends at list price, rather quickly, using a simple trick.

Here’s how I was able to get those most-wanted tickets for Hamilton on Broadway without paying an extra cent and how you can too.

Start Subscribing

I follow Hamilton’s Twitter page where they post a lot of Hamilton related content but also occasionally announce ticket specials. Those specials sell out very quickly so when I was actively looking for Hamilton tickets, I turned on notifications for all of the tweets from the Hamilton Twitter account.

1. To do the same, the first step is to follow @HamiltonMusical on Twitter.

hamilton broadway twitter

2. Now, activate notifications for all the Hamilton tweets so you can react fast when they have a ticket deal. To do so, click on the bell icon (it’s near their profile picture).

twitter notifications bell

3. Don’t forget to select ‘All Tweets‘ under Account Notifications.

twitter account notifications

This past spring I got a notification from Hamilton on my phone saying that a block of tickets would be released in 10 minutes for shows from November to January. I immediately followed the link they posted to their site to confirm what I was seeing – sure enough there were the tickets!

I clicked ‘Book Tickets‘ right away before the ten minutes to find they were already available. It’s important whenever Hamilton release a block of tickets on Twitter to check as soon as they announce it.

I called my travel partner and best friend, and confirmed that we were going to go. We quickly decided on a date and purchased our tickets for the list price ($200 per ticket). This may seem like a lot, but we chose great seats and tickets prices before this were ranging up to $5,000, so we were beyond thrilled.

hamilton play

Other, Less Reliable Options

You can also get email notifications by signing up through HamiltonBroadway.com. There will only be an option to enter your email if there are no tickets available. The email notifications are much slower that Twitter, so chances are you won’t be able to use them to get a ticket deal before they sell out. Liking the Hamilton Facebook page is another option but the least effective one if you are interested in taking advantage of ticket deals.

Hamilton was great, worth every bit the small effort I had to put in to find tickets at normal prices. Seeing Hamilton is a wonderful experience if you are planning a trip to New York City that won’t disappoint! Now you know how to get tickets to the show without having to pay the very high resale prices.

Thank you very much Brian for sharing your Hamilton travel trick with us! You can find Brian working behind the wizarding scenes of MuggleNet on Facebook and help support his next adventure by checking out his Etsy page.

Momo Man At Berlin’s Street Food Fair Will Make You And Your Stomach Very Happy

holy nepal berlin

Beating in the center of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighborhood is a weekly street food festival that brings together artisans cooking up the best non-menu items from all around the world. Reflective of Kreuzberg itself, once the shunned, poor, and mainly foreign part of town, street food is being embraced for many of those now exotic qualities.

Thursday nights from 6pm-10pm within the brick walls of Markthalle Neun (9), chefs from all over the world serve up their favorite street food from back home. And every Thursday night you’ll find a bright-smiled face waiting for you in front of the Holy Everest stall set up near one of the main entrances.

Momo Man

G.B. (Rajesh) Lama wants people to learn about Nepalese cuisine in the best way possible: by tasting it. So often G.B. says, the “Nepalese” food you find at any given restaurant is actually Pakistani. Similar but not the same, G.B. serves vegetarian momos, dal bhat, Himalayan soup, and the desert shi momo. Markthalle 9 is the only place in Berlin, Germany you can find these Nepalese foods, which is why I affectionately call G.B. ‘momo man’.

holy everest momo

What’s In A Momo?

A momo is a type of dumpling that comes in a number of varieties but the ones at Holy Everest are vegan, steamed, and filled with peas, cabbage, spinach, carrots, garlic, (the full ingredient list is posted on the stall) and covered in a seductively spicy red tomato sauce. You add a little chutney on top at your discretion.

Clearly G.B. has a system. He effortlessly moves momos from bottom to the top of a three layered steamer, calmly serving a long line of customers in between. They smile, he smiles.

Street Food Fair Doesn’t Stop There

Thursday nights the street food festival is an eating, drinking, and lounging celebration. Among the vendors you can find Japanese takoyaki being prepared by a young couple from Osaka (where this fried squid ball originated), homemade chocolates, and a wide spread of Turkish meze (appetizers) you’re not likely to find at a restaurant outside of Turkey.

A post shared by Anil Polat (@foxnomad) on

Stalls run out of food fast and the lines are long, so it’s best to arrive early for the full selection of eats. Arrive close to closing time and you can avoid the bulk of the crowds, but you’ll be limited in the foods you can find. (The beer however, never runs out.) Other days of the week, there are more special events. The first weekend of each month there is a breakfast festival for example; Saturdays are the artisan market.

From Nepal To Nepal

G.B. spent 16 years as a trekking guide in the Nepalese Himalayas, moving to Berlin in 2013 with his family. He’s brought his unquestionably positive pride in his nation to Markthalle 9, where you can find him some other week days as well. (Markthalle 9 is open from 12pm-6pm daily, with some vendors holding variable hours.)

markthalle neun

All of the momos at Holy Everest are homemade, as are the other menu items. A serving of momos goes well with Himalaya soup – an aromatic vegetarian vegetable broth. (Each are 5 euros.)

himalaya soup berlin

Currently, G.B. is planning on opening a true Nepalese restaurant in another part of the city over the summer so he can reach, and teach more palates in Berlin. But you shouldn’t miss a Thursday night at Markthalle 9 for a taste of the worlds best street foods, most easily reached via the Gorlitzer Bahnhof metro stop, a 7 minute walk away. Be sure to visit Holy Everest, say hello to G.B., have some momos, and you too are sure to have a smile.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutI'm the blogger and computer security engineer who writes foXnoMad while on a journey to visit every country in the world. I'll show you the tips, tricks, and tech you can use to travel smarter. Read More


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