Next Episode of Watt's World is
In Watt's World follow journalist Nick Watt as he explores the world to answer burning questions such as: Are the French really rude? Do cowboys still exist? Is Albania that weird? Using his quick wit, he'll offer a point of view that is both surprising and entertaining.
Nick Watt embraces the strange land of Albania while searching for a George W. Bush statue, downing 160-proof plum liquor, and meeting up with a "sworn virgin" and a hip-hop prime minister before pretending to be an American on a late-night TV show.
Nick heads to Italy to see if cheap villas, good wine and naps are better than rent-free California RVs. He tries not to ruffle feathers with his caffeine intake and hops aboard the "Cosmic Train" to find the White Rabbit in Slab City.
Nick gets spiritual while searching for the city of Telos, looks for spaceships in a campfire, and enjoys a schvitz with Native Americans. Will UFOs, lost civilizations and New Age swag make Nick fall under the spell of California's Mount Shasta?
Steering clear of the gondolas and tourist traps, Nick explores an abandoned island, befriends an aristocrat with a playboy boat, and winds up spending time in jail. Can Nick go off the beaten path in Venice, Italy?
Nick Watt desperately wants to find out if "the perfect Caribbean island" actually exists. So he heads to Dominica, where white sand beaches and flocks of tourists are replaced with lush forests and a lake that is so hot it boils. There's no resorts, but will this natural wonder make you forget about the bikini beaches and cocktails served in coconuts? Nick hits the ground running-or hiking-on an all day hike to the Boiling Lake with Peter Green. Along the way, Peter and Nick break for lunch and boil eggs in the volcanic vents. Then, Peter paints Nick's face with ashy mud. Peter claims is a natural cleanser and disinfectant. Not completely sold on the benefits of mud on his face, Nick takes a quick dip in a small river to wash off. Nick, Peter and crew finally reach the Boiling Lake, a crater of a still active volcano. As night falls, Nick and Peter still have 3 hours of hiking left. It's not Nick's favorite part of the hike. Still sore from the previous day's hike, Nick meets a local legend, Bobby Frederick. Once a public servant, always a Rastafarian, Bobby shares his culture with Nick by taking him to Zion Valley, home of the Rasta community. Along the way Nick and Bobby make a pit stop for bush rum, which Nick describes as "bitter and boozy." Just a few miles up the road in Zion Valley, Bobby introduces Nick to his friends Plough James and Moses James. Plough and Moses live outdoors, grow their own food (including a bit of illegal pot), and worship God. Nick shares a few laughs with Moses and envies his natural living. Up at the northern tip of the island Nick is introduced to the native people, the original residents of the Caribbean. The Kalinago people have survived over 500 years of conquest. Once spread over millions of square miles of the Caribbean Sea, they have been reduced to just 6 square miles of reservation. Claudius Sanford, a member and representative of the tribe, explains to Nick that the nickname "Carib" is actually a derogatory term-translated literally it means "eaters of human flesh." Taking this lesson in etymology a step further, Nick realizes that "Caribbean" means "cannibal" and now feels weird about even using the word. Dominica has been saved from the hordes that have homogenized so much of the Caribbean, and Nick likes it. It might not be perfect, but it's the only real Caribbean island left.
Nick Watt doesn't quite understand Portland, Oregon. In the last decade the population has risen over 50%, much of which is accounted for by young people-musicians, artists, and the otherwise alternative-but Nick wants to know why they come to Portland and not another city. Is there some great draw that he's just too old and un-hip to understand or is it something deeper than that? Nick arrives in Portland unsure that he'll fit in-he's clean shaven, doesn't have any piercings, and despite having worn a necklace for a brief time in his youth, dresses like a Midwestern accountant-but that's not going to stop him from trying. His first stop is the Alberta Rose Theatre, where members of the Wanderlust Circus are practicing their musical and acrobatic acts. He meets the director Noah Milkens, who tells Nick how he ended up in Portland. In any other city "avant garde circus performer" might not be a viable career choice, but Noah found kindred spirits in both his fellow circus geeks and an audience that would appreciate their art. Noah is aware of the "Portlandia" stereotype that exists in the rest of the country, but tells Nick that it doesn't concern him at all-one thing that sets Portland apart is that you can be as weird as you want as long as you are yourself. After begrudgingly participating in one acrobatic trick with the Wanderlust Circus, Nick meets Thomas Lauderdale, the eccentric lead singer of the indie band "Pink Martini." Thomas gives Nick the grand tour of his loft and helps him understand the creative culture in Portland. They decide to hit the town in Thomas' car, a vintage Nash Metropolitan, but first they need to get it started. After a push from behind and a near miss with a trolley-car they're on their way. Sort of. The Metropolitan stalls again, so Nick and Thomas decide to abandon their wheels and walk the rest of the way to Darcelle XV, one of the oldest drag clubs in America. Nick meets Darcelle-real name: Walter Cole- as he's getting ready for the night's performance. The octogenarian drag queen tells Nick about his former life as a blue-collar family man and how the city itself helped him be true to himself. The next morning Nick has an appointment with Samantha Hess, perhaps the only "professional cuddler" in the world. He arrives early to find her door unlocked with signs leading him to her bedroom- nothing sexual, Samantha just isn't home yet. Samantha finally arrives and Nick observes as she cuddles up to her latest client Gretchen, an emergency room nurse who seeks Sam's help to relieve stress. Nick decides he has to try it for himself. Sam explains to Nick that Portland inspired her business; the city shows the same unconditional love and acceptance to its citizens as she does to her clients. As Nick drives around the city he notices something, Portland is very white. It's actually the whitest city in America, 75% white. Something else he notices, it's home to abnormally high number of strip-clubs. Nick drives out to a quiet residential neighborhood to meet Liv Olthus-AKA "Viva Las Vegas"-an author and musician who also happens to be a stripper. Nick goes with Liv to Mary's Club, a gentleman's club owned and operated by women. Thomas Lauderdale joins Nick in the front row and invites him to a sing-along cocktail party at his loft later that night. Nick Watt doesn't sing-it's his idea of hell-but the last few days have rubbed off on him and he gets into the spirit of the party. He meets the former Mayor and a number of other famous personalities in the Portland social scene, and he finally starts to understand the Rose City's credo: "Keep Portland Weird." It's not about being weird for the sake of it; it's about being brave enough to be who you really are and accepting others who do the same.
Nick Watt dislikes the French, but he still travels to France to answer an age old question: "Are the French really that rude?" France is home to beautiful people, beautiful countryside, great food, great wine, and a proud history of culture and art. Maybe it's this sophistication that makes them arrogant. Yet, for some reason the French have a reputation for having a bad attitude abroad. After landing in Paris, Nick is surprised to discover that none of the locals are acting rude or arrogant, save a cab driver or two. He visits St. Petersburg, a "hip" neighborhood on the outskirts of Paris, and joins a few young guys for a game of pétanque, a beloved French lawn game similar to bocce or lawn bowling. The boys tell Nick that it's not the French who are rude, but rather Parisians giving the whole country a bad name. Turns out their from Normandy. Determined to test their theory, Nick decides to venture outside of the capital city. However, before he can leave the city of lights, Nick has an appointment with a little known law enforcement team. Known as "urine savage"-"wild urine" in English¬-public urination has become such a problem in Paris that volunteers from the police force patrol the streets, handing out fines to pee-pee perpetrators. After only a few minutes on patrol, Nick's theory that the "rude French" stereotype may be a byproduct of sophistication is quickly proven wrong. The next morning Nick meets up with Ben Barnier, a French journalist and a former colleague from Nick's days in London. Together they catch the Train à Grande Vitesse¬-"very fast train" in English-and head down south to the port city of Marseille. There they meet surprisingly non-rude French action film actors André Ferrer and Chris Tomneer, who help Nick understand what gives Marseille a more laid back atmosphere than Paris. Later that day, Nick and Ben meet Franky Zapatta, a former professional jet-ski pilot turned inventor, who generously lets the boys test drive his latest creations: water-powered jet-boots and a jet-board. It's the perfect opportunity for Ben to show off his French rude miserable self. He doesn't. Noting the friendliness of Marseille, Nick and Ben decide to drive to Cannes by way of Provence in what Nick refers to as "possibly the worst car ever built"-the Citroën 2CV, France's answer to the VW Beetle. Once in Cannes, home to the famed Cannes International Film Festival, Nick and Ben ask to check out the most expensive suite in Europe at the Hotel Martinez. Original Picassos in the bathroom, baby elephants on demand-the staff at Hotel Martinez pride themselves on catering to every whim of their guests. The hotel staff oblige, not rude at all. Nick and Ben hit the boardwalk to buy hats and observe the glamourous locals. Along the way they happen upon a statue of Henry Brougham-a Scottish Lord who moved to Cannes and invited his wealthy European friends to visit, thus founding the modern tourism industry. Still determined to have at least on encounter with a rude Frenchman, Nick tries to get bad service at a restaurant but has no luck. In a last ditch effort to find some evidence to support his theory of the "rude French," Nick returns to Paris and asks busy commuters for directions. Asking only the most annoying questions he can think of-"where am I?" and "where is the Eifel Tower?"¬-Nick is surprised to find that the commuters not only stop, but help him navigate the complicated Paris Metro. Rude French? Maybe not.
Nick Watt travels 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle through Alaska to find out just how remote you can be and still be in the USA. With a climate so unkind that the U.S. government pays Alaskan residents a share of the state's oil profits, Nick wonders: is it all about the oil or is there something else that draws people from around the world to lay down roots in the last frontier? How remote is too remote, and could he live there? Nick starts his journey in Anchorage with his sights set on Point Barrow, the most northerly point in the United States. Before gearing up for the long road ahead, Nick stops by Gwenie's-a former brothel turned restaurant. There he shares a beer with a gang of old timers who reminisce about the early days when oil was first discovered and offer Nick some advice on how to stay warm up north (bear fur coat). Ignoring their advice, early the next morning Nick sets course for Mt. McKinley. Only a few miles out of Anchorage, Nick finds himself in the "real" Alaska-no office buildings or bars, just beautiful snowcapped mountains and breathtaking forests. Partway up the mountain, Nick runs into a group of young adults, all transplants from the lower 48 states, and tries to understand why they've chosen to live in Alaska. Their answer is simple: it's the view. Further up the road, Nick makes a pit-stop in Nenana, home to the "Nenana Ice Classic," a statewide lottery in which residents try to predict the exact minute that the ice on a nearby river will finally thaw. Nick unwisely ventures out onto the ice before placing a bet of his own. The next morning, Nick gears up to take on the Dalton Highway-a treacherous 425 mile road built for and by the oil industry and the only way to reach his next stop, Prudhoe Bay, by car. Only a few miles in, however, the slow pace challenges Nick's patience and he decides to turn back and head to the nearest airport. Upon landing in Prudhoe Bay, a town built with the sole purpose of supporting the nearby oil fields, Nick is surprised to discover that no one actually lives there full time. Most of the population only stay for three to six weeks at a time before taking time off for somewhere a little warmer. Nick visits with the only shop keeper in town, gets a pep talk from the post master-one of the only women in town-and enjoys dinner with a group of tired oil workers at the end of a long day. Nick then travels further north to Barrow. Unlike Prudhoe Bay, there aren't any roads connecting Barrow to the rest of the state. It's completely isolated, just about as remote as you can get. But he discovers something unexpected: a vibrant community made up of Inupiat natives, transplants from the lower 48 states, and immigrants from far flung corners of the globe. After mingling with the locals it's time for Nick's final destination: Point Barrow, the most northerly point in the United States. To get there Nick enlists the help of Gabe, a young Inupiat hunter, and together they begin the last leg of the journey by way of snow machine. Along the way they stop in Piqniq, a small Inupiat camp, to snack on Inupiat delicacies. With a tummy full of whale meat and seal oil, Nick finally reaches Point Barrow and the Arctic Ocean. It's so remote even the natives have left, leaving only a few whale bones behind. Nick thinks back on all he's learned along this epic journey and determines that there's no such thing as too remote for Alaskans, well, except for Point Barrow. For them, helping one another against the odds and being a part of something bigger than themselves is the real draw of the cold, icy north. Personally, he couldn't do it.
Honestly, are the leather chaps really necessary? Busting bandits in Osage, avoiding a contact high in Denver, and hanging ten in Oahu, Nick is on a quest to find out if everything he thought he knew about America is wrong.
Has Nick made a terrible mistake? He sets out to prove his new hometown isn't all fake smiles and bad traffic by reinventing himself as a masked wrestler, foraging for fine dining, and joining a gang of renegade street artists.
Mathis Alvarez(Nick Watt)
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