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tv   Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown  CNN  September 15, 2013 5:00pm-6:01pm PDT

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>> we've been given a great life. it's unfortunately that charlie has this syndrome, but thank god we've got something now that's working. she's doing so great today. all right. did you maggots load the chickens? what do you need to know? i am an aficionado of eroticism. a necklace of cans around our necks. i certainly cherish those golden moments. i wish i could hear the exploding capillaries. i'm feeling every minute, every hour, every month and year of my age. no, maybe we should figure out how to cook dinner unless you don't want to eat any dinner,
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because we are really not going to eat any dinner tonight. i can't say that i'm evolving or maturing or doing anything differently. you know. what was the question? ♪ ♪ i would like to spend some time at a beach. the beaches here are beautiful. i would have liked to have eaten
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more widely because i know the food is delicious. i would have liked to have seen more of some of the places we went to. i would like a pony, a magical pony. possibly a unicorn even. i describe "parts unknown" as a series of essays, standalone essays that generally try to focus on the subject of food and where it comes from. but not always. you know, food is the entryway. i'm a guy who spent 30 years cooking food professionally. that's where i come from. that's how i'm always going to look at the world. but food isn't everything. and something comes up, i'm happy to get up from the meal and wander off elsewhere. myanmar. after 50 years of nightmare, something unexpected is happening here and it's pretty
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incredible. not too long ago, even filming here officially as an open western film crew would have been unthinkable. in twech, a japanese journalist was shot point-blank and killed filming a street demonstration. be seen with anybody talking to a camera and there would likely be a knock on your door in the middle of the night. yet so far, confronted with our cameras, a few smiles and mostly indifference at worst. shocking considering how recently the government has started to relax its grip. >> so you heard -- >> what? we lost a dining car here. >> we lost a dining car. so we just have to hope for the best. >> the night express.
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600 kilometers of what will turn out to be kidney softening travel by rail. but myanmar's ancient capital, i've been told, is a must-see. >> the true old english experience. the engine is a french engine from the '70s. >> we've been told it's a somewhat uncomfortable ten-hour trip. so really the question on this end of the journey is come back on the train or fly in coffin. they are not, shall we say, unheard of. >> that is the choice. >> so that may be the signal to depart. >> all aboard. >> we're moving. here we go. >> here we go.
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>> we have reached cruising speed. >> really? this is cruising speed? >> you literally outrun this train. >> you can jog ahead, have a nice meal in some recommended restaurant. >> we can catch up with it. >> a good digestive walk. here we go. this is stop number one of 75. >> heading north, the scenery opens up, the space between things gets wider, more pastural, and more beautiful. looking around at my fellow
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passengers, it can be hard to distinguish between the 135-plus ethnic groups that make up the burmese population. the very name burma refers actually to only one of these groups. but they all seem to have in common, however, is tonica, a sunblock made from tree bark that masks many of their faces. it's ubiquitous here. at first jarring to see, it quickly becomes something you get used to and take for granted. the gravitational pull broken, and with darkness falling, the train picks up speed. at times, terrifyingly so.
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>> this thing is going to derail at some point. they have lost how many wheels yesterday on this one train. so truly, it's about being in the right car. >> derailments, or rail slips, as they are referred to here, a somewhat more benign sounding occurrence than say rolling off the tracks into a rice patty, are not uncommon. one can't help wondering what the engineer and conductor are thinking as the train speeds heedlessly on faster and faster. >> i wonder if anyone has flown right out of their seat into the window. you don't want to be, like,
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holding a lap dog. >> or a baby or anything. >> try pissing in the bathroom and finding yourself launched straight up into the ceiling, bringing you to the rude conclusion of what already an omni-directional experience. >> smooth now. very relaxing. i'm amazed how friendly and open people are with this. it's very easy for me to sit here and say whatever i want about the government, right? me can go home. our lives will go on. we don't pay the price. everybody who helped us could very well pay that price.
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it should be pointed out that a lot of people did not. a lot of people were very nice to us, but said look, i've already been in jail. i really don't want to go back. it's a very really concern. what happens to the people we leave behind? they've tasted freedom. well, you know, you can put the tooth paste back in the tube. there's no doubt about that. but for the moment, at least, things seem to be moving in the right direction. a country closed off to most for so long, sleeping, a 50-year nightmare for many of its citizens finally, maybe waking up. to what? time will tell. my approach to what i do is in no way changed. you are who you are. i'm marginally more hopeful about the world. i'm marginally more optimistic. i actually kind of believe after
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all these years of travel that -- i don't know, my estimation of the basic goodness of, you know, the human animal is maybe a little better than it was. this was the hardest decision i've ever had to make. jim, i adore the pool at your hotel. anna, your hotels have wondrous waffle bars. ryan, your hotels' robes are fabulous. i have twelve of them. twelve? shhhh, i'm worth it& what i'm trying to say is, it's so hard to pick just one of you, so i'm choosing all of you with a loyalty program that requires no loyalty. plus members can win a free night every day only at is that true? says here that cheerios has whole grain oats
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it's oh, i'm deliberately looking dreamy. travel tip number one, travel is not always easy. i don't know what this is, but it's good. what i would do to a bucket of fried chicken right now, it would be unholy. unholy, i tell you. it would be an awful thing to see. i want to get some popcorn. martini time. i would describe myself as a lucky cook who gets to tell stories. and i'm certainly not a journalist. i'm not a chef anymore. i'd like to flatter myself by saying i'm an essaye esessayist
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a story teller. i see stuff, i talk about that, i talk about how it made me feel at the time. if you can do that honestly, that's about the best you can hope for, i think. without, like, talking about yourself in the third person. stereotyping coming. look, how do i put this? good korean kids grow up to be doctors, lawyers, or engineers, goes the story. there are expectations. but what if you have a bad korean. what if you are korean-american and you just didn't give a -- what if you looked around, asked yourself, who am i, where am i supposed to be, where do i fit in society, and were unsatisfied with the answers you were getting? what if you were an insanely talented artist and a small start-up company called facebook asked you to do murals and paid you in stock and you became ridiculously wealthy and you still didn't give a --.
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well, you might be david cho. >> hi, i'm david cho. >> i'm going to paint you today, is that cool? just sit right there. sorry. don't usually paint this early in the morning. i'm going to go more expressionistic, if you don't mind. >> i want to know, you said young people are looking to follow your road to success. your advice is whatever you do, don't date a career girl. >> i try to be open-minded about things, right? well, i'm racist. for me, i've given this a shot and i end up in this situation where i feel like i'm dating my mom. >> so what characteristics were in common? >> overbearing, unreasonable,
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unrealistic about life, demanding. i mean, i could go on and on. but also the men, too. if you're a woman, i would never recommend dating a korean guy. for the very few women throughout that are into asian guys, if you are going to go that route, definitely go chinese. yeah. come check it out. >> whoa! awesome. wow. >> what do you think? >> dude. i'm honored. i've never had my portrait done before. >> this is going to be worth some money on e-bay for sure. >> now i'm definitely ready for sizzler. nice. >> standing tall and prominent amongst the many asian and
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central american restaurants in the community, one place holds an unexpectedly cherished position in the collective memories of many second generation korean-americans. >> i am personally unfamiliar with the sizzler brand. i know it by name, but never have i managed to actually cross its doors. >> after you. >> thank you. wow. >> how you doing today? >> good, yourself? >> i'm doing fantastic. i've got my sizzler outfit on. here's the thing. you can get a steak and add the salad bar with it and get the best bang for your buck. or you can just get the salad bar. >> i've got to have the steak. >> i am going to go traditional and just get the salad bar. >> seat anywhere you like. >> now you're getting all korean on me.
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>> super embarrassed right now because we're in korean town and i'm taking do you sizzler. for a lot of koreans, this is the best food in korea town. we never ate out ever. and if we did, it was mcdonald's. and if it was a birthday and a special celebration and you wanted to go a little bit more special, then it was sizzler. >> this is a judgment-free zone, where there are no mistakes. a world to explore combinations without shame or guilt. free of criticism from snarkologists, because there are no snarkologists at sizzler. >> making a nice nacho salad and stuff for pasta, spaghetti. you get a hard taco shell and put meatballs in it. you make a meatball taco. there's nowhere else in the world where you can have this. you put three meatballs in the
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taco. some guacamole. and then you put all this nacho cheese. all this other stuff. >> i know what i'm going. i'm going for the full south of the border experience here. >> all right. there you go. >> i'm not kidding around. now we're talking, my friend. >> it's a little bit nicer than i remember. >> there it is. >> that's the best bread that you can get. you tell me if you like that. >> wait a minute, are you saying that it's complimentary? >> once we found that out, we would order stacks of it. so it was our favorite part of sizzler. we were like, we need to figure out how to manufacture this at home. >> do you think they're happy to see you when you come in? i love this dish, man. when i go back, i might have to have a meatball taco. >> we abused the system a little bit, but not completely abused it. there would be guilt associated with we never eat out, but now
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we're going out to eat, so you better eat. you got to put down at least three plates. so what did you think of the bread? >> it's delicious. >> yeah. >> i totally get it. >> everything's really good. >> for you sizzler a happy place, still. >> lots of memories. it's satisfying. i need more of this cheese bread. >> this shouldn't be work. i'm a big believer at failing gloriously in the cause of trying to do something interesting. i have the best job in the world. i'm trying to stay interested and engaged. you know, the minute i have nothing to say about a place, it's going to be pretty boring for you. and certainly boring for me. and i guess at the end of the day, i'm just looking to make television that doesn't suck. weekdays are for rising to the challenge.
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what do you need to know? i'd love to be able to give you advice. i'm really the last person in the world who should. what do i know? not a hell of a lot. i've been here a week. you don't know what you're talking about. i don't know what i'm talking about. best to leave it alone. i'm a guy who likes being wrong. i don't mind feeling like an idiot about a place, like showing up and thinking i know something about a place and then being shown a very sort of painful and humiliating way that i, in fact, know nothing. that's interesting to me. i am pretty vain, but i'm not that vain that i might terribly
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looking ignorant. it's kind of fun. if anything, the best case scenario for me, the really exciting ones are the place where is i know absolutely nothing, where the learning curve is so steep that every day, in every way, every minute of wandering around a place like tokyo, for instance, confronted with the absolute certain knowledge that you will never learn even anything close to everything there is to know. for me that's exciting. i like being in a place where i don't speak the language, i have no idea what the menus say, i don't understand the customs. as long as the food is delicious and people care about what's going on, different is good. this is tripoli. after 42 years of nightmare. how to build a whole society
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overnight and make it work in one of the most contentious and difficult areas of the world is what people are trying to figure out. outside tripoli's center, there's this. one-time access of all-power and all evil. a huge complex of sinister offices, barracks, residents, on top of secret tunnels and underground facilities. gadhafi's enormous compound. and on august 23rd, 2011, it
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fell to the rebels. gadhafi and his family having fled. this is what's left of gadhafi's palace. when's the last time you were here? >> last time, the revolution. the people always have their guns. after then, something expensive here. >> while talking, we didn't notice several pickup trucks of local militia has closed in on
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us. >> what's happening? >> this is their turf, their area of operation, or somehow under their control. whatever the case, they're the group in charge here. an argument ensues between our guys and their guys.
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>> another morning in tripoli, and life goes on. vendors are out. people go about their daily routine. >> this is our traditional breakfast. you can get them with cheese. you have them with honey and sugar. >> what do you have with yours? >> i like mine cooked, to be honest. >> what's the name of this neighborhood? the first neighborhood to rise up. >> yes, this is the first place to rise up. >> why do you think this neighborhood? >> it's an impoverished neighborhood. they made them feel like they are not from this country.
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we go for it. >> dip it right in the egg. >> dip it in the egg. >> delicious. so where were you when it all started? >> i was in london. actually, manchester at the time. >> why? >> by time it started, i was in libya. >> we went to see his house. >> i was one of the guys who entered from the southern gates, the loading gates. >> he is in the security business, a thriving industry here, as you could probably imagine. a lot of things happen in a lot of different parts of the country sort of simultaneously. quite amazing that these come together very fast. >> how did it happen? easy. twitter. >> twitter? it was really like that? >> yes. we sent so much information to nato via twitter. we get a phone call from tripoli or benghazi or whatever. we get the coordinates via google earth. we verify that is the location that needs to be hit. then it's gone. >> really? how does that feel knowing you can call in a tomahawk missile
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over there? >> it's out of the movies. >> did anyone think it was possible in their lifetime they were going to see the end of this? most people are telling me they never dreamed. >> i don't know if you can call it dreams, hopes, wishes. it was just something in the sky. something i look at every night. but when i hit that point, any dream will come true. >> what's the situation now? >> it's fluid. it can swing any direction. >> well, look. what happened in benghazi a few months ago, what does this mean to the country? >> i think there is a dark, mysterious hand that doesn't like this country to prosper. they see a system, an organization as a big enemy to them. these are slowly getting diminished. it's a matter of time before we can get rid of them. >> how hard do you think that is going to be? >> not hard at all.
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we got rid of gadhafi. nothing else is hard. >> i like your attitude. >> this is supposed to be the biggest, fanciest, new hotel development in town. like a lot of newer structures, they pretty much stopped when they started to pull down the government. there are a lot of cranes building nothing at the moment. a lot is sort of frozen as everybody figures out what happens next, let's wait and see. one of many moments of unexpected weirdness in libya. medina, the frozen wait and see hotel. meanwhile, right over there, there are -- they're playing rod stewart "do you think i'm sexy" to an amusement park full of kids. makes no sense at all.
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now where's the snooze button?
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shaq 1, pain 0. [ male announcer ] icy hot advanced patch with 50% more medicine. pain over. i had a colonoscopy just before coming here. it was far more enjoyable. i often found myself thinking longingly of that comfy table, gentle probing of trained rubber
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gloves, the slow drip of synthetics into my bloodstream. good times. so far, we shot a bunch of really interesting places. the challenge is simply this. it's always how do we make a show that looks completely different than the show we made last week? it's nice if you really liked last week's show, but i'm not going to do that one again. i would rather make a show next week that you really hate as long as it's different and it was interesting for us. it's about moving forward. it's about doing things differently. i feel like elton john at home. oh yeah. it's when the other ones start to come in, that's when it gets really good.
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when you get three of those going, you know you're not in new jersey. in tangier, i lived in one room in the native quarter. i had not taken a bath in a year nor changed my clothes or removed them except to stick a needle every hour in the fibrous, gray wooden flesh of terminal addiction. i never cleaned or dusted the room. empty boxes and garbage piled up to the ceiling. life and water long since turned off for nonpayment. i did absolutely nothing. i can look at the end of my shoe for eight hours. i was only roused to action when the hourglass of junk ran out. the words of william seward
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boroughs, one of my heroes. he came to tangier shortly after shooting his wife to death in a drunken accident in mexico city. he was a heroin addict, a homosexual, and an inspiration. he was not a hipster. there was nothing beetnik about him. he was a somewhat stuffy, well-dressed st. louis son of a good family. he was also, to my mind, the greatest writer of the whole damn bunch. on the road, you can have it. his classic "naked lunch" was written here. a nonlinear, dark, dry-hue michael jordan, searingly critical, satirical, and profane masterpiece. boroughs was apparently high for much of the process. on heroin or a locally available prescription. and of course, the daily staple of many in these parts, hasheef,
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keefe, and majoun. how was it made? this was what i wanted to know. they were kind enough to demonstrate. keefe is first chopped into gran yuls and slowly melted into butter and chocolate over low heat to release the goodies within. the binder element is slow cooking in the pan, combination spices are blended with ka shoe -- cash shoes, walnuts and dry fruit. this will be the frame work to suspend the thc-laden goodness in the next step. the butter chocolate is added along with plenty of honey to bind together all the ingredients. then mix.
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last, you roll the entirety of the mixture into a bowl and either refrigerate or dig right in. you could pretty much spend, like, you know, five years of your life sitting around eating varmint, looking out in that direction going whoa, dude. i think a lot of people have spent five years pretty much doing that. oh, whoa, dude. i hate the words stretch creatively. i'm not going to suddenly, you know, join a road company of king leer, or, you know, learn to play drums. but as long as i'm telling stories, i would like to tell a different story every week. and i ask myself will it be interesting to me. that's very selfish process. will it be fun? if i don't have any expectations of it being fun, will it be interesting?
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who will it be interesting to? i think most importantly, will it be interesting to me? because if it's not interesting to me, i don't see why it would be interesting to anyone else.
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i'd say i feel clamps, but that could be the diarrhea. i don't understand this purging
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thing. the juice cleanses, right? just travel with this for a while. i'm feeling pretty good, but my crew clean as a whistle. you could pour mineral water through them and it would come out crystal clear. that's no fault of the fine cuisine here, by the way. i'm convinced it was the shiny ham at the hotel buffet. you'll warn them, you warn them, do they listen? i guess i'm at the point in my life where i can get off a plane -- i think it's true of all of white house make the show. you get off the plane in a place you've never been, you walk out of the airport, you inhale, and i don't know what it is, it's like a smell, like this place smells like someplace we're going to be making interesting television. this is going to be interesting and fun. other places sneak up on you, like over the course of a week or however many days i'm on location, gradually confound my expectations. i come out thinking something very different -- or very
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contrary to my assumptions when i arrived in a place. that's a really good feeling. wow, nice. have to wait this one out a little bit. crashes are pretty common place. not so long ago, a plane with nearly 100 people onboard went down on the same route we're taking today. >> most plane s crash in congo crash because of the weather, right? >> yeah, most of the time. >> not us. don't worry. the weather clears up -- sort of. so we decide to give it a go. our destination, what conrad referred to in heart of darkness as the inner station. here surrounded by dense jungle lies our rendezvous with the congo river. in heart of darkness, conrad writes about the greed of the
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belgian colonizers. they grab what they could get for the sake of what was to be got. it was just robbery with violence. aggravated murder on a great scale. and after 75 years, the congolese had had enough. when they nominated their first democratically elected leader, the cia working through the belgians had him killed. we helped to install this miserable bastard in his place. he stole billions of dollars from his people and pretty much became the template for despotism in africa. needless to say, this situation deteriorated over the next 30-odd years, and by the time he was done, the congo was mired in a series of civil wars, the government was no longer paying its bills, and the trains basically stopped running.
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this is kissagani station. there's one short run left. service, once a week when operational, which isn't often, i'm guessing. abandoned by the belgians, shot up and stripped by rebels in the '90s, the station, the engines, the ancient passenger cars and the tracks themselves have slowly receded into the jungle. with hardly any resources, the
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railway administrator and a staff of clerks, conductors, mechanics and engineers show up at work and do what they can in an attempt to keep things in working order. the railway employees, i'm told, do not get paid, yet they continue to show up at work. it is said of the building of the country's once vast rail network, one congolese died for every single tie.
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like many we meet, they are all these years later, and in spite of everything that's happened, ready. and waiting for the situation to improve. i wanted a mission, and for my sins, they gave you one? i've wanted to come to the congo for as long as i've been telling stories and making television. i've been a student of its history. it's a place that has always
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fascinated me, in sort of an awful and mesmerizing way. and i knew it was going to be a frustration. a dangerous place when you're at the mercy of many, many, many unpredictable things. i wanted to come here. and i did.
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♪ unh ♪ ♪ hey! ♪ ♪ let's go! ♪ [ male announcer ] you can choose to blend in. ♪ ♪ yeah! yeah! yeah! or you can choose to blend out.
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i think you can definitely look forward to ever-more challenging locations. interspersed with some really comfortable plumbing. by the way, that japanese toilet, i think just in case anyone at cnn is listening, you know those japanese toilets with all the bells and whistles that play music and squirt warm water at you? i think that would be a really nice sort of end of season two gift. hint hint. would love one of those.
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>> this is your first time? >> i usually try to avoid clean, social countries without massive social problems? if you're not already the poster boy for the entire country, you should be. >> this is a lifestyle. you have to be a person that combines so many different skills. you have to know more of the land. >> you were saddled with the weight of best restaurant in the world. >> i know, this looks totally bogus. it's fantastic. >> you have to work 20 hours a day in order to achieve this. >> let's go. >> it's so much less about whoo! it's about bang. >> and these elements. >> what places have you been that you can compare? >> no place. that's whole different world. >> beautiful!
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>> i don't understand anything other than that was awesome. what the hell happened here? it is post-apocalyptic. >> most of this happened within
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five years. >> within the last five years? >> yeah. >> wow. if i were from detroit, would i be eating this with my hands or with a fork? >> probably with your hands. >> that's delicious. >> the building completely empty. >> empty. unbelievable. >> the white one is being rehabbed. there's money coming in. the one next to it on the right is completely empty. this is 140 square miles. so you're going to get tall grass. >> it is one of the most beautiful cities in america. it speaks of those industrial dreams of an endlessly glorious future. the people who built these structures, they were thinking big. >> they were. >> they were looking at a new rome. and they built it, actually. it's awesome here. i started doing this late in life. i'm just too old and too mean,
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too old, too mean, and too dumb to change. so i can't say that i'm evolving or maturing or doing anything differently. same dick i was 13 years ago. it's easily the most contentious piece of real estate in the world. and there's no hope, none, of ever talking about it without dissi i pissing somebody, if not everybody off. maybe that's why it's taken me so long to come here, a place where even the names of ordinary things are ferociously disputed. where does falafel come from? who makes the best hummus? is it a fence or a wall? by the end of this hour, i'll be seen by many as a tro


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