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Pennsylvania's Most Interesting Blog

18 August 2005

Back in the Borough...

...up very early thinking I am still tired and should get a tad more sleep! But I haven't written in English for a while and it's my creative blog vehicle of expression so whoooo hoooo here I go!

Image hosted by Photobucket.comBy the way, above: high atop the Alps over Innsbruck; notice video cam in hand for always-ready data ops. Always collecting data, always collecting data, always...

OK: Got in from Praha and London yesterday, if you hadn't heard about the British Airways big-azz strike last weekend/earlier this week, you missed the party! Apparently BA sacked some caterers (American, I heard--just blame them...) so food service was down and all a-Heathrow had been a full 'o cranky passengers from zillions of delayed flights, etc. Glad I was (a) not there in the thick of it and (b) not the boss of BA who ultimately has to account for this giant travel snafu. If anyone can remain cool in a potentially stressful sitch, though, I'm convinced it's the people who work at BA. Considering what they had to deal with, they were super polite and calming. My flights were on time. The only repercussions I noted of events earlier in the week were that we were issued food vouchers instead of getting hot food on flights, which turned out to be not bad at all. in fact, I think I probably ending up eating more, which is good since I'd been in a routine of eating quite mightily while on this two-week trip. My stomach was not too confused.

I got some sandwhiches at the Praha airport. Fortunately I had time to do this after going through Europe's Slowest Passport Control Ever (and yes, this was to get OUT). I think pre-1993, cold-war international mystery and no smiling allowed would've been faster, or at least I would've been more tolerant of the slow-ocity, and I've come to expect that the 'non EU passport holder line' is often slower because of visa checks, etc. but this was just SILLY slow. I think they only had one guy working and he had to have 5 coffee breaks. Or something like that. This EU situation is super interesting. Another blog for another day.

Back to my food search: I walked in to this airport bar where they had sandwhiches and such to go, ordering to try and spend my Kc 360 of voucher-ness. Realizing that duh, I couldn't get change for them, I told the gal, ok not up to 360? OK, could you please add some more stuff to make it so? I have to think that it helps to speak Slovak in these situations, at least to humor this poor lady who seemed overwhelmed with tourists with vouchers going 'feed me''. Heck, if anything, maybe she was like, ok so this chick is trying to speak Slovak yet we're in a country where we speak Czech. What the hay? By the by, the act of grabbing snack items to fulfill a monetary sum reminded me slightly of one particular train ride with Miss Ginaopolis a few years ago where we had NO French francs (yes, life before the euro, and hence the 'Famous Un Franc S'il Vous Plait Caper of 1994' remains a legend in itself, a mystery for the ages) whilst on the TGV from Spain to Paris and in order to use the Mastercard had to charge this horrbily high minimum, so were like, ok I'll take 7 of those, and 12 of those and how about 87 of these, from the bey-otch dining car lady.

OK, so Praha senvicky, uh sandwhiches, and then I got a five pound voucher after getting my seat assignment in London. Then, because I'm so resourceful, ended up getting ANOTHER 30 pounds in food vouchers from a kind BA lady at Terminal 4. So a total of THIRTY FIVE QUID, ladies and gents, that is more than plenty for a girl to fill up on. I have to mention that the vouchers were in 5 pound denominations. Because I was so rich and power hungry with all that I had received, I gave one to a teenage kid who was eating solo, who only had one 5 pound voucher, looking pretty apprehensive, counting scraps of change in his pocket, looking at each menu item carefully, as to figure out how to get an order in for the right amount. Cause let's face it, you can't get crap (or, as I like to call it now as I learned from a hometown buddy in Praha just a few days ago "C-RAP", as in: "that is total c-rap, man" On a sidenote, you can also employ this mitigation of potential swear words with 'c-rud' and, my all time fave for grownups and/or kids who are kind of allowed to swear: "I have to go to C. L. ('see-ell') ASS now...")

Anywhoo, so I told the waiter, please give this voucher to the kid, like here, now you have 10 pounds, get a decent meal. I didn't want to give it to the kid directly because I'm not sure if I am ready to be the older woman traveller who hands out food vouchers to very young men anonymously...

OK, so way too much to write about my two weeks in Austria, etc. I came back with THREE pairs of new, top of the line nordic walking poles, so if you think I am not going to be the one to hit this "Marktluecke" you are just silly. I was inspired by my 7 AM jaunts in the Tyrolean village of Oberperfuss (which, yes, is not far from Unterperfuss and, in the greater context, not far from Innsbruck). Tyrolia is just so masively different than any part of Austria I'd experienced, it was quite the mind boggle. I was actually really glad to get back to the comfort and familiarity (and much better Gastronomie) of Burgenland.

So over the past two weeks, I zipped and zapped between Burgenland, a road trip to Tyrolia, also including a long day in Suedtirol/Alto Aldige (or, as we say, um, Northern Italy! Got my Italo-fix in, that was a super duper surprise treat), Burgenland, Bratislava, Wien and a few days in Praha. I had the camcorder with me so there's just hours of devistatingly riveting footage, I'm sure.

And it was not hot! No swimming weather! Glad I had my one pair of sporty spice shoes with me, or as I now loving refer to them, my "Mulitkuntionsschuhe" or the "Mu-Fu-Schu" (in dialect my 'Mu-Fu-Schuach'). So glad I schlepped all the sandals and going out nicer shoes. That was smart.

That part of the world is all so familiar that it's just not that big a deal. This does not mean it is any less exciting, by any means. But I'm noticing a combo of me getting older and having lost count some time ago after my 25th+ transatlantic flight, and also of Europe, like everywhere, not being that same place it was even five years ago. Funny that I'm suggesting that Europe is a place one can define simply, it must be the light jet lag, which, on a side note, I think is something we inflate to the point of annoyance so that we can talk about the 'time' when we arrive from's the world's easiest topic. OK, so anywhoo, hopefully you get the idea. Fazit: I'm so very glad I went!

I do have to say it's damn fine to get excited about getting back to work now knowing that I spent some time off doing pretty much exactly what I wanted to do. You mean there are people out there in the world who don't do this? Suckas! Your comments go below: