Cafe des Deux Moulins | Montmartre, Paris


Let me take you back to 2001. I just graduated from high school and was in my first year of college. I spent four years bumbling through high school, hating everything and everyone, most of all myself. I really didn't know who I was. No one liked the same things I did and deep down I knew I was different than my parents, my family and my friends. So I spent a lot of that first year feeling alone and misunderstood. That all changed in November when I watched the French film Amélie. I know it's weird to say that a film changed your life, but in a way it did. I've always loved movies and stories, but no other movie affected me in such a way.  

Everything about the movie resonated and helped me realize that it was okay to be different. She was so quirky and interesting and there was a quality to the movie that a lot of films lack. One of my favorite lines from the film is, "Les temps sont durs pour les rêveurs," or "Times are hard for dreamers." It's crazy how this is still so relevant. I could go on and on about it, but I think that would have to be a story for another time. If you've never seen the movie, I highly recommend it. So that brings me to our recent trip to France and how Amélie ties in...

Amélie is set in Montmartre in the 18th arrondissement of Paris. When we knew we were going to be in Paris for two days, I purposefully planned to spend a day exploring the same streets and haunts as Amélie. The first place that we stopped at was the very same place she worked, Cafe des Deux Moulins. I will admit the place is a bit of a tourist trap and overrun with tourists gaping and gawking outside. It took me forever to get a chance to get a photo in front and there were still heaps of people hanging around. Nevertheless, Cafe des Deux Moulins still retains it's charm. There are locals that frequent the place and can be seen having a cafe and reading the newspaper. Markus and I decided to have breakfast instead of stopping in and taking photos. We ordered the, Petit déjeuner (12€) that came with coffee, orange juice, viennoiserie, butter bread with jam and three eggs. It wasn't a fancy outstanding meal, but it definitely was a small price to pay to spend an hour or so in such an iconic place. 

Godzilla & Toho Studios | Tokyo, Japan

If there was one thing on this earth that Markus loves as much as me, it would be Godzilla. This kid is a fan of all things kaiju. I think it stems from his childhood and watching anything involving the Japanese monsters. I'm not joking. When he found out that Toho Studios was breaking Godzilla's ten year hibernation, he was ecstatic. All he talks about is this new Godzilla movie, it's quite funny. He owns almost every Godzilla movie and is constantly searching for the ones he's missing. The other night I walked into the bedroom and he was watching Gamera, the other famous Japanese kaiju. He even loves Ultraman, which has heaps and heaps of giant monsters. Personally, I think this obsession is adorable and unique. When we decided to travel to Japan, it was really his decision. The UK was my dream trip and Japan was his. In order to really make this an unforgettable trip, we had to trek to Toho Studios, the home of Godzilla.

Unfortunatley, Toho Studios does not offer tours. It totally stinks, but real diehard fans, still visit the exterior entrance.  Markus did all the research and figured out a way to get there. There isn't a direct way there and you have to walk through various suburban neighborhoods. To be honest, I really didn't want to go. It was out of the way and difficult to get there, but for Markus I relented. When we finally got to the exit after an hour, we walked for a bit and got lost a few times. I remember walking through this random gate and we finally found it. Toho is pretty brilliant, because the outside has a mini Godzilla and a huge wall homage to the Seven Samurai. It's enough to please any fan and Markus was more than pleased. I looked over at him as soon as the studio was in sight and he was more than happy. It's like he was a kid again. I've never seen him like that and it made all the trouble worth it.

Jurassic Park Car | Nashville, Tennesse

When Markus and I were in Nashville with my cousin Joy, something exciting and a bit strange happened. After we spent the day in the city, we drove back to our hotel. Along the way, I spied a Jurassic Park car at a stoplight. Since Markus is a huge dinosaur fanatic, I tried my best to get a photo from the other side of the street. Joy decided that a photo in the car wasn't enough and she decided to follow the car.  Total stalkers I know! We tailed the car all the way to a nearby shopping mall and asked the driver to pull over.

The driver was really nice and said that people follow him all the time. He actually made his car like that as a way to advertise his film project, Jurassic Park: Origins. They're basically trying to raise money for a film that will tell the back story of Jurassic Park. It's mainly focusing on the creation of the dinosaurs, scientific challenges and the moral and ethical struggles. It's a pretty cool project, so you guys should definitley check it out! I never thought we would come across something like this in Nashville. This is why road trips are the best!

Creepy Cinema 2013: Cult Camp

October has finally arrived, and in the Cruz household that means one thing, Creepy Cinema! Last year, Markus and I began this tradition because I couldn't watch scary movies at all. He would always ask me to watch them with him, but I always refused. I felt bad for him, so finally I gave in and said that he could have the entire month of October...and thus Creepy Cinema was born. However I 'd like to think that after last year's Creepy Cinema I've graduated to a higher level of courage. I have Markus to thank for all of this. He's seen almost every scary movie out there, and he's been a great guide.

This year, we decided on a theme, Cult Camp. We're basically watching 31 movies that are considered cult horror classics. A movie is deemed a cult classic when it has a a huge fan base but failed in the box office. From this list of 31 films, I've only seen two. There is such a wide variety this year and I'm really excited to get started. There's bound to be something that I'll love!

Source: Skeleton Couple/Vintage Feedsacks

Angkor Thom, Cambodia | 2 of 3

Since Angkor Thom is such a popular temple, we spent a lot of time there. We wanted to make sure that we saw every hidden room and tucked away corner. We found a few secluded spots and we were able to take as many photos as we wanted! I even climbed a few of the ruins for a more dynamic look. I guess I'll do anything to get the perfect photo!