While traveling in Europe you will notice a lot of differences compared to the western world, such as food, green technology, beer, festivals, and languages. Some are better and some are not worse, exactly… “behind the curve” is the term that comes to mind. Now, I’m not saying Europe is behind us in any way, in fact they are very much ahead of us in many realms and we can learn from each other to make our continents better places. In this blog post, I want to touch on the funny and interesting ones in no particular order:
1. Razor scooters
We all remember these from the late 90’s and early 2000’s…the flimsy aluminum manual-powered scooters that look as if you fell down on one it would crumple like a tin can. Well, in Europe not only are the kids riding around on these, grown ass people are too! You literally can’t walk in a city for more than 500m before stumbling across somebody riding one of these death traps. I’m not bashing people who ride them, just simply pointing out a poorly designed mode of transportation. Ride a bike. It’s easier, safer, you can travel farther and if you hit a pebble you won’t flip over the bars, the wheels aren’t made of plastic and the frame isn’t tin.
2. Mullets, rat tails and other weird haircuts
Spain, Portugal, Germany, and many other countries must be stuck in the metal hair days of the 80’s because I shit you not one out of 15 people have one of these ridiculous hairstyles. In the sixth century, Byzantine scholar Procopius wrote that some factions of young males wore their hair long at the back and cut it short over the forehead. This non-Roman style was termed the ‘Hunnic’ look. That style died shortly thereafter when all of a sudden in the 70’s Paul McCartney, Rod Stewart, David Bowie and other rock stars revived it. I have nothing bad to say about any one of the aforementioned musical geniuses but damn it man, why? Why did you think that would be a good look? Was it for function? Did it protect your neck from sunburn? I’m not sure where the term “business in the front and party in the back” got started, but I can tell you these men were most likely the reason so I’m personally holding them accountable. In the 1980’s these hairstyles thrived worldwide and became accepted as a style (among other weird things), then later died sometime in the late 90’s. Joe dirt, a comical movie released in 2001 and bands such as Tegan and Sara brought it back from the dead again in 2010, resurrecting it for a second time. Australians like to wear this style and find it a good look for them. If it floats your boat, then keep sailing Captain “But it ain’t me, babe, No, no, no, it ain’t me babe!” – Bob Dylan.
3. Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurant
Don’t re-read the title…I said Chi-Chi’s, that crappy Mexican restaurant that was very popular in the 1990’s. And no, I’m not talking about Taco-Bell here. That’s a whole different animal and is nowhere to be found in Europe or any other country that I’ve visited to date due to the poor quality of the meat they serve (if that’s what you want to call it). (Side note: I love eating Taco bell, I just don’t like the second round of it on the porcelain throne). When I was In Belgium and Luxembourg Chi-Chi’s were everywhere to my surprise. I thought they went bankrupt a long time ago. I once participated in a coloring contest at Chi-Chi’s….yeah, laugh it up as did my brother and mother but when I won, I was the one laughing! My prize for said contest was fried ice cream and by the time we got around to redeeming it, our local Chi-Chi’s had shut down, rendering my prize useless. Had I know they were thriving in Northern Europe I would have saved it only to rub it in my family’s face some 20 years later. So next time you’re in Brussels and have the urge for some non-authentic, crappy Mexican food, know that Chi-Chi’s is your answer.
As a kid, I rode around on rollerblades all over the hills of western Pennsylvania, though I always had a hard time trying to stop and even once hit a parked car and flipped right over the hood. To put that in perspective, it was literally the only car parked on the whole street in the entire neighborhood but I hit it square on. I even played roller hockey as a kid with other kids from the neighborhood on a regular basis and at some point (high school) I grew out of that fad and wanted a car as most adolescences do. Here in Europe on any given day in a park, square or boardwalk you will see lots of people, not just kids but adults too, rollerblading their way right around to their next mullet haircut appointment. I’m not even sure where one would buy a pair of rollerblades these days. I’m assuming you’d need to scour Ebay underneath the collectibles section or visit a Play it Again Sports store (do those even still exist?).