My name is Roberto Serrini and I live in Astoria, Queens (NYC) which I love. I’m a travel writer and filmmaker and I’ve been fortunate to travel the world all my life, so, I’ve collected some interesting things along the way. I decided one day just to set up a camera and document them all and thought I would share it. Will also make a nice memory when I’m old and look back at all the silly things I had. Hope you enjoy and would love to see what you all hold near and dear.
Anthropedermic Bibliopegy. Yeah. It has an actual term when you bind a book in human flesh, because, well, it’s that common I guess? What is a leather bound book? Cowpedermic Bibliopegy? That sounds stupid.
In anycase there is one hidden, sorta, inside a very unique library in Boston called the Athenæum. It is actually the oldest library in the United States and an absolute delight to visit with unique exhibits, beautiful art, and sprawling hallways. It’s also got some of the best doors we’ve ever seen.
In the Mary Baker Eddy Library in Boston, Massachusetts is the Mapparium: a three-story stained glass globe, flipped inside-out so the left-right orientation is correct. A 30-foot-long glass bridge runs straight through the globe. Standing in the center of those 608 stained glass panels, you can see the inside-out world in perfect scale. And It. Is. Weird!
Its an epic place to visit, and whats wild is not only the visuals, but the sound inside this glass sphere… it’s impossible to truly explain but its unlike anything we’ve ever heard. Go!
Thanks Atlas Obscura @atlasobscura for tipping us off about this one!
Address: 200 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115
JOIN THE CLAST!
Im not sure WTF this is supposed to be … the Warren Anatomical Museum in the Harvard Library (where the smhat kids are) is perhaps the weirdest if not the most disgusting museum I’ve ever scene… super fascinating with all the gross stuff you love to see (like popping giant pimples) … to0 weird to explain, here is a video.
What can I say about the Museum of Jurassic Technology. Nothing actually. I can’t say anything because frankly I wouldn’t even know where to begin to describe this eclectic, weird and wonderful cathedral of curiosities that graces and otherwise bland strip of Venice Blvd in Culver City.
What I can say is that this museum is a place like no other, and regardless of what you expect to find, you will be pleasantly surprised. Expect to spend a decent amount of time wandering the halls and discovering the exhibits, and definitely keep your exploring pants on as you head to the roof where a very refined surprise awaits you …
The less you know the better in this rare case. Just go my friends and be bold.
I’ve seen a few unique bars in my life … there is Harley’s Hard Rock in Yellowknife, the northern most strip club bar in the world. There is the Caverna Antica in Ischia which is in an old Roman wine grotto that you have to spelunker to. The one that might be the most mind blowing is simply atop the I’m Hotel in Manila, where a thousand jellyfish wait to drink with you.
I didn’t know that Jellyfish could be such a rewarding drinking buddy. Their, wandering, devil may come lax attitude makes sipping a cold Singapore Sling while watching their slow mo dance a lot like sharing a cold beer with the Dude. It’s pretty chill.
Turn around and you are afforded perhaps the best view of Manila that the city has to offer. 360 panorama’s that come alive as the sun sets and the city becomes electric.
Theres lots of great sitting areas, a cool lit wall, and even a pretty decent menu to get your nosh on. Down below the insane Makati streets are teeming with traffic, prostitutes, and hawker stalls, but up here, closer to heaven, it’s just you, your cold drink, and the Jellyfish ballet.
If you are from New York, and you go to China, you will quickly find out that the delicious, hang over cure food you have been lovingly adoring all your life is anything but Chinese food. It can come as a stark revelation as you pine for your ol’ friend Kung Pow, but here in Thailand you get, for the most part, what you know and love as Thai food.
You think we have a food truck culture in NYC?
Lunch. Rice would be my new best friend for a while.
It may be that the ingredients are basic, and usually the same, but the Thai food here is just like home if not just a hellova lot better. The lemongrass is fresh, the basil full of kick, and the rice itself has flavor, not just boiled tap water taste. No matter where I was or who was cooking the food was to die for.
That’s not to say that I didn’t crave some variety. One day, rained out, we were pretty much prisoners of our little living complex. So like any good American I decided to throw money at the problem, and proceeded to buy every snack the little bodega had downstairs. Bored, in my little room, I decided to do a little video snack review. The following is the genius that was yielded. It’s easily my best work to date:
Don’t get me wrong, I loved these snacks. The stranger the better. One of the highlights for me traveling is snack culture. Snacks are a special type of food; they are a common agreement between the people of that country that have been standardized and widely distributed. While you might argue about a common dish, or a sports team, snacks, for the most part, are something that everyone can agree on across a geographic and sociological region. You can learn a lot from a people’s snack, like for instance that “Mexican” is a flavor and not just a people. It’s also extremely tasty.
Thailand snacks are wonderful. They have many “SunChip” variety crisps, and love to flavor things with shrimp which blows my mind. They also have orange mint Oreos which seems like a mouth sin, and some of the spiciest damn chips you can eat. All of which, including the orange mint mindfuck Oreos, go great with Leo beer.
And when I thought I had tasted the finest that Thailand could possibly offer, that my friends is when I was introduced to Mukata:
Mukata is originally Mongolian. Mongolian soldiers would cook in their bronze shields ever evening on the desert plains. They would basically pool together everyone’s food, whatever was available, and share a meal. It’s shaped sort of like a giant lemon juicer; a ringed ridge holds broth while in the middle you place your meats on a vented mountain of metal. underneath you put coals to heat your meal. The idea here is that you start with a broth; chicken, vegetable, buffalo stock, even just lemongrass water. Then as you cook your meats Korean BBQ style and all the drippings runs off into the broth. As you eat and as the dinner gets longer, the broth becomes even more delicious. It’s nothing less then epic.
Like they did thousands of years ago our little tribe of crew members pooled together our bits of food and drink, and in lue of a desert tundra we sat in the parking lot laughing and eating and drinking. Everyone brought what they have; tonight we had a bit of shark, buffalo, and mantis shrimp. A strange combination that makes a surprisingly delicious broth. It’s nothing, just community, and that’s enough to fill belly and soul.
Finally, what is a meal without a local digestif; ya dong.
Yep, it tastes like it sounds, pretty much like gangsta dick, or at least what I imagine gangsta dick taste likes. It’s basically your common grain alcohol (rice moonshine) that has been “flavored” with “aromatic herbs” (should read “turned a color by putting weeds in it”). It’s not Fernet Branca but I will say it does pack a punch and offer you a pretty lovely head.
Ya dong is sold wherever parking lots are found, usually by dudes you wouldn’t trust watching your dog while you popped into the OTB. Don’t be fooled by the Hong Thong label; this is street whiskey, they just use whatever bottle they can get their hands on, this one being Hong Thong. The cost is so laughably low that it’s not really worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning is what they call their varieties of ya dong. Like “Jameson’s” is a Whiskey, our type of ya dong is called “Krang Puying” or in English, “Moaning Mistress”. Other names of popular ya dong include:
• horse busts stable
• manly man
• murmuring lady
• old man rapes elephant (personal favorite; it has a nice nutty aftertaste.)
• male elephant power
• rama goes to war (also a great ska band from the 90’s?)
Travel for me, besides meeting people, is all about their food and drink. Really the food and drink make up the people and vice versa. This is why I always like to travel ala carte, and never like to split the bill.
P.S. Cultural Curiosity: In Finland when done with your meal you put your fork and knife at 5 PM on the plate. In the US you put them at 7:20 PM. In Thailand you put them at Noon. Funny how every country has a different time to denote being finished eating.