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global trendwatch: september 2006

while on my trip around the world, it's been impossible not to notice certain trends that are local (for example, the russian love of camoflague clothing), and some that are transcend local boundaries. what i'm listing below are the pan-european trends i've noticed on this trip.

starbucks and mccafe

starbucks is... everywhere. pretty much the exact same experience as at any starbucks at home, at the same (or higher) prices. directly on their heels appears to be McCafe, which is suprisingly popular, although i have yet to see many of these in the US yet.

and with the rise of starbucks comes the rise of....

t-mobile hotspots

incredible global footprint, incredible opportunity. and they waste it with sky-high prices and no free ad-supported option. which, of course, is just begging to have google come along and verrrrry slowly eat their lunch.

capri pants

i was surprised to see several guys wearing these, but since i've now run across these several times, i have to assume it's part of some larger trend in guy's clothing that i've been oblivious to (as usual). it seems that as shorts have gotten longer and longer, they've now started crossing the line into capri pants. go figure.

short socks

for some rason, short/ankle casual socks are very popular with guys lately. maybe it's just a europe thing, or maybe it's like this in the USA now as well. all i know is that shorter socks means less bulk in my backpack, so i'm all for it.

miniature stuffed animals on keychains

girl backpackers are rocking these more than ever. i guess it's a stuffed-animal replacement thing. i've been seeing these everywhere on the backpacker circuit, and don't recall seeing nearly as many of them when i last went backpacking several years ago.

most annoying trend award: blasting music on your cellphone

steve jobs was a smart man when he approved the iPod design because he didn't include any speakers in it. unforunately, once cellphones started playing mp3s, that was all over. So now any jerk with a nokia cellphone can start blasting out his favorite (usually bad) music on his phone wherever he is. it's like a tinny boombox with no bass, which is probably the worst possibly way to share your music with other people. bring back the ghetto blasters of the 80's!

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