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Category: Travel Journal

Asking Demonstrators Why They Attended The Million MAGA March

The Million MAGA “Make America Great Again” March didn’t draw a million people to Washington D.C. but it did bring with it thousands who show the divide in the United States. Compared to the widespread party D.C. turned into after the election was called for Joe Biden, MAGA marchers were a demonstration of the ideological contrast in the nation.

I walked through the crowds, asking why people were attending the MAGA March – you can hear their replies in the video above. Since I published that video the reactions have been as divisive as the march itself. Some were upset that I didn’t counter the claims or add an opposing opinion.

I may go more in depth into the controversy on an upcoming foXoMad Podcast episode but these are pro-Trump supporters in their own words. They speak for themselves but depending on who’s listening it’s either disturbing or encouraging; a division which ultimately surprised me. It’s worth noting the demonstrators were more diverse than I expected, defiant, and as the evening wore on some turned to violence.

Some of you may have rather I not have made this video. Despite what many in the crowd think, on January 20th Donald Trump will no longer be president yet the march is a reminder that 72 million voted for him. A significant percentage of whom believe were it not for an election conspiracy Trump would have won a second term.

Here’s The Party Washington DC Turned Into After Election Called For Biden

One week ago on election night around the White House the initial energy waned as the night wore on and no clear result in sight. A few days later on Saturday late morning, Pennsylvania’s vote count made Joe Biden president-elect and not long after Washington D.C. erupted into a massive party.

There were groups of people on every block dancing to music, random cheers of joy, air horns, and what was the most jubilant I’ve seen a city… for any reason. I was there and you should watch the video here to catch a glimpse of the atmosphere.

It’s been a busy week filming and for those of you who want a bit more behind the scenes of what it was like interviewing, editing through the night, and things that didn’t make it on film – check out the latest episode of the foXnoMad Podcast.

What It Was Like On Election Night 2020 In Washington D.C.

A few hours before the polls closed on the east coast of the United States on November 3rd hundreds of people gathered in front of the White House. The combination of a Black Lives Matter demonstration plus the U.S. election turned the atmosphere from party to protest, with people there for all the reasons in between.

I spoke with a few of them throughout the night to hear what brought them to Black Live Matter Plaza in front of the White House’s security fences. You can watch their stories in the video here.

What It’s Like Visiting A Gun Show In America

There are over 60 gun shows in the United States over a given weekend and I attended one that takes place right outside of Washington D.C. The Nation’s Gun Show is a large expo where people can purchase firearms but there’s a lot more than just weapons which keeps bringing people back.

You can see my experience in the video above or read on.

Pandemic Interest

Gun sales have surged since the coronavirus pandemic and every state can regulate gun shows based on their individual mandates. In Virginia, where The Nation’s Gun Show takes place, masks were mandatory indoors and most in line outside were wearing them. Signs reminding people to social distance were conspicuous as were those saying “Enter At Your Own Risk” due to Covid-19.

the nation's gun show

The large halls inside the Dulles Expo Center gave people plenty of space when walking around – the show was busy but not crowded – but most of the congregating was around the gun vendor tables. In particular, around the semi-automatic gun vendor tables.

Looking Around

None of the guns were loaded – vendors or otherwise; there were signs stating not to bring loaded firearms inside – but a few visitors wearing bulletproof vests with rifles strapped to their backs. A bit unnerving at first if you’re not used to being around so many guns but after a short while that feeling wears off. Vendors (notably younger ones) taking apart guns for assembly demonstrations, answering questions about ranges, use, gun quarks… all of what you might expect at a gun show.

the nation's gun show

Surrounding that though were booths explaining the gun laws in various states, as well the regulations for Washington D.C. Cards were handed out in line explaining the gun laws in Virginia, where you can carry a gun, open-carry, concealed, what those terms mean.

Gun Culture

Looking back at you around the gun show are soldiers from the paintings of Civil War battles, America’s Founding Fathers with quotes about freedom and liberty underneath their portraits. As you move around the show floor with the crackle of tasers being demonstrated in the background, vendors come up and ask if you’re registered to vote.

The Republican banners around the voter registration booths, not to mention plentiful Donald Trump banners around, make it obvious who most of the vendors are supporting in any given election. After registering to vote, you can vote for whoever you want in an election, but the idea is to get as many people voting as possible. At The Nation’s Gun Show though, the biggest barrier to voting in the U.S. – registration – is made easy and extremely likely to mean a vote for a Republican candidate.

Revisiting The Show

The Nation’s Gun Show is a large 3 day event but it’s not all gun sales keeping it from recurring once a month on average. There’s a lot more than weapons on a sale here, it’s a community not too unlike other forms of fandom. Guns might get you through the door the first time but everything surrounding them back over and over again.

Turkish Vegan Recipe: How To Cook Mercimek Koftesi (Lentil Balls)

There are a lot of traditional Turkish dishes that are vegetarian or vegan in their original form. A popular local dish I‘ve mentioned before is mercimek (mer-ji-mek) koftesi (kouf-te-si), which are spicy lentil balls with onions and a few other ingredients. Last time I had my mom join a live chat here on the site to show you tips on preparing lentil balls.

For this recipe, I figured it even better to make a video with my mom showing you how to make mercimek koftesi so you can cook them for yourself, friends, or family any time you like. You can see the entire process in the video here.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Adjust as needed, just make sure to keep the ratios in proportion.

  • 4 cups red lentils
  • 2 cups thin bulgur rice
  • 8 cups water
  • 3 onions
  • 3 bundles spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons mint
  • 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons red pepper paste (spicy)

Total Cooking Time

With preparation, about 3 hours.

Any Questions?

Overall these lentil balls are a good side dish you can make to go along with any meal. They’re completely vegan in their original recipe so if you’re traveling in Turkey, it’s a good best if you come across mercimek koftesi there will be no animal products in it.

Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below and if you’d like to see more recipes on YouTube!

What To Do In London After Your First Trip

monty's seven dials market

London can feel at times like a dignified, obese man and all the people in it red blood cells getting by just enough to avoid causing a heart attack. You can meet him for a moment and see his proud hat, notice the odor, and after a trip or two think you’ve seen enough not to see more again.

This is where I found myself, somewhere in the third or fourth time I visited London, England. Knowing this year I’d be going again, for the (probably 8 or 9th time) since you voted it Best City in 2019, I though it was time to sit you down with London.

Let’s Talk

Yes, you can see Westminster and the visually jarring London Eye. Go to a pub, have a pint, visit the Tower of London – truly one of the easiest cities to have a first date with. Like with many massive cities (Istanbul, New York I’m looking at you), it’s natural to think that’s all there is to do. All that remains is just rat racing.

hyde park london england

The fringes though are where it gets interesting because those are where you’ll find the borderlands between locals, immigrants, and tourists hoping to get off some beaten path they saw on Instagram. London is not the most approachable place to get to know, it has to warm up to you and you to it.

Over Lunch?

Break bread with the city at a place in Seven Dials Market. Hipster haven full of whatever your particular preference, allergy, or indulgence might be. Take for example Monty’s, where you can find salted beef, pastrami, smoked salmon, and other classic deli fare. They call it “Jewish soul food” recently opened at Seven Dials after the closure of its flagship store.

Walk around the side streets shows on the map in my video above to try various other street foods from around the world nearby. You can learn a lot about a city from what it likes to snack on.

Head To The Hanging

A long, slightly isolating walk to Captain Kidd, a pub baring the name of the Scottish pirate who was hung nearby in 1701. Some nights you could probably write an entire evening television lineup based on the expressions of the patrons. Plenty of sarcasm for your comedy, drama politely loud enough to be overhead, and the occasional glassy eyes reflecting light between depressed and delighted.

Slightly bumping back to the nearest tube stop later in the evening, remember as you tip tap down the damp stairs that someone probably much drunker than you photographed Sir Winston Churchill’s ghost down below.

I for one, don’t quite see it but stare close enough, long enough, and you can vaguely begin to make out a shape. A lot like this city, London; hard to make out if you stick to the center but on occasion can become ever so tangible if you head to the fringes wherever you happen to find them.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More

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