From Kiev to Carolina

(Part One of Five of my Carmen Sandiego series, wherein I compare my travels to that of the fictional villainess)

Well she sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina,
She’s a sticky-fingered filcher from Berlin down to Belize,
She’ll take you for a ride on a slow boat to China,
Tell me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Kiev = yes

Kiev is the capital of Ukraine. It’s more Russian-speaking than Ukrainian-speaking. It’s the place where the Orange Revolution kicked off. And not too long after, it sort of got rescinded.

Highlight: Trying to find where Biden was going to be staying.

Lowlights: Having to leave one of my favorite hosts (Luda, who also got me hooked up with this Kyiv Post article.)

Kiev has a Roni On Location episode, found here and above.

Carolina, surpringly = no

North and South. I haven’t been to either. You hit the Carolinas on a standard NY-Florida roadtrip. But having been born in NY, but not growing up there, I never did such a trip.

Berlin = yes

4 times.  More than I’ve been to a lot of U.S. cities.

1) 2004

Smack dab in the middle of my first big solo trip. I stayed there for a week, one of only two places (the other being Prague) where I hung out for that long in, due to having a crew of people that I was hanging out with (that I met at the hostels therein).

It’s also the site of my first karaoke experience.

2) 2007

Before my first English teaching gig in Italy, I hung out for a bit in Berlin with a girl that I had known briefly from a job in CA. It didn’t go so well.

3) 2009

After Moscow, before heading to Frankfurt to fly to Alaska for my road trip with Tav, I stayed with Julia, a girl that I had previously met in Sarajevo, via CouchSurfing.

4) 2010

Thinking that it was central and accessible (via low-cost airlines and trains) for people all over Europe, I scheduled a party and invited everyone that I knew in Europe.

Highlights 2004-2010: Hanging out with a group of cool folks during my first trip in 2004. Getting worldclass treatment from my good friend/host, Julia.

Lowlights 2004-2010: Inviting everyone I knew in Europe to have only one dedicated Swiss friend (thanks, Pascal) make the trek to my European Shindig. Realizing that no matter how accepting I may be of my gay friends, gay clubs and I do not get along.

More pix of Berlin without me in front of the Berliner Dom (or holding a popsicle with a squinty look) can be found in my Berlin Flickr set.

Belize = no

With my Spring 2011 Latin America trip, I should be hitting this tiny, sub-Mexico (in geography) country.

China = yes

Harbin, China (the city where my grandfather was born)

You know about China. It’s big and it has a huge population.

And when you go around in it, you feel like you’re in a massive Chinatown.

Highlights: Sneaking into the Forbidden City. Sneaking onto the Great Wall.

Lowlights: Some of my worst CouchSurfing experiences (or at least references), back to back.

You can see my excitement at sneaking into the Forbidden City on my sizzle reel.

The series will be continued in Part Two: “Steal their Seoul in South Korea

All pictures can be found at


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