Big Euro Adventure

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Subj: Bloody Noses, Economics and Carry On

Date: August 10, 2003

This is the end…

I’m not happy about it however it’s gotta end sometime — besides I oughta be getting back from whence I came — Los Angeles.   Besides, it’s time for Carmen and Daniel to return home, Jim’s kids — which is the reason I’m here is to escort them back to mom.

Never traveled with kids before… Daniel had a minor meltdown at dinner last nite so I’m hoping he’s worked it outta his system — we’ll see.  Traveling isn’t new to them so I’m expecting smooth sailing.

One caveat — just before dinner, Daniel is bouncin’ on the bed. 

He smacks his nose reminding Jim to tip me off Daniel is prone to nose bleeds.  Nose bleeds?  And whatever I do, don’t listen to the flight attends insisting putting ice on it.  Great — I can see me arguing with flight attendants — their combined years of first aid training vs what a 9 year old is saying while spurting blood all over the place. 

There’s a reason everyone in my family is in medicine — except Moi…  Apparently Daniel’s problem — ice don’t help.  Whatever… I’ll be fine…  

I am gonna miss this place.  It’s been a total of 19 days however it feels more like two months.  Can’t help but think how I adjusted to all the traveling.  First it was all the stress about coming — going to distant lands, what to bring, what will I loose, what will get stolen.  In the end it all worked out. 

Clearly — I brought too much stuff.  Why o why did I ever think I’d need a suit??  Dress shoes??  It’s amazing — how few times I changed shirts.  I can recall me ol’ backpack days hitchhiking around Canada circa 1974. 

Then it was one pair of jeans, sandals, shorts, several colored T-shirts (blue & brown) light jacket and a sleeping bag.   Whatever u took you carried it on your back.  Now it’s suitcases on wheels, and nice hotels.  Well — I am older now…

Added a piece of soft luggage to the mix for my cloths so my sturdy suitcase can haul all my purchases.  Never ever have I bought so much stuff?  Got a bunch of beer mugs and pilsner glasses — seems everywhere I went, if they had a neat beer glass, I’d ask to buy it. 

The Budweiser glass was of most interest due to it being the original Bud from Budvar, Czech Republic not St. Louie, Missouri.  Places were always happy to sell me one. 

Except the “Joey Buttafuccio” looking bartender at the place serving beers at the bus stop.  He refuses my money.  When I hand gestured how I’d like to keep the empty glass in exchange for money — he shakes his head.  Takes my dirty glass and gives me a clean one. Then pushes the money back towards me.  I felt cheap however everywhere else I asked — they wanted money so what was I to think?  I left it on the bar and hauled outta there thinking maybe I insulted him.   

Went to the Slovak National Gallery — a building looking more like an upside down 4-tiered wedding cake than a museum.  Afterwards hit up the gift shop getting a poster for an exhibit by Lajos Kossak.

Got these totally cool candle-holders from a local gallery showing Juila Kunovska’s work. 

She designed the holders with these fun blue Plexiglas discs. They’ll look great on my dining room table.

Finally, my original art print from the Budapest gallery.    Glad it’s in bubble wrap since I’ve been dragging it all over two counties.  However it’s been so long, not sure I can remember what it looks like.  There’re some neat colors and a pool…  Hope it’ll survive and I can get it framed for my dining room wall.  AND, hope I’ll still like it.

So, “What have you learned, Dorothy?”   Well…  not sure — will have to think about it…  Met this econ student from Michigan State decades ago.  We were staying at a youth hostel in Quebec.  I asked “why econ — seems boring?”   As he put it, “It all boils down to economics…” Me being an art major, the line resonated.  I’ve always remembered it. He’s right…  whatever — whenever, it always comes down to economics.  Hasn’t changed, either.  Same deal then as now. No different here as elsewhere — economics.

The cultural divide thing exists everywhere — that whole US/Hispanic/undocumented worker/illegal alien debate…  Didn’t think it’d be the same in euro country — it is.  The issues are the same — only the ethnicities are different.  Ie: Russian’s living in Hungary can’t get a visa to visit Austria. Why?  Economics…  Doubt that pot will ever boil dry.  

Other impressions: the number of churches. Big churches, little churches, corner churches. And the number of wars, of which all were big — churches and wars…  gotta wonder if there’s some connection??  

There are people living in Slovakia who have seen their country ruled from three different capital cities.  Now it’s finally in Bratislava — it’s their country and they seem to be doing just fine with it.

Not so sure there’s “no place like home…” as this is rather nice here.  It feels very homey. I like the people — like seeing the people — like being around the people. 

Love walking thru town stopping wherever.  Friendly people — not necessary chatty friendly but pleasant.  

It’s been ten years of their newly found independence and perhaps Slovaks are going thru their own “coming of age”.  They may be a bit shy with tourists.   Still, service is always proper with a slant toward the formal.

However, as anywhere the patrons can get a little rowdy. There was this one Irish bar in town — actually, the only Irish bar in town.  It had a shrine to the ultimate in American rowdiness, Harley-Davidson.

I get the sense this place has seen some pretty wild times.

So they’ve posted a few helpful reminders on proper bar etiquette. 

Anyway… we’re all packed and good to go.  It’s a 50 minute drive to the Vienna airport with time for lunch before the flight. 

Get rid of all that money you’ll having no use for tomorrow.  Always a weird feeling... spending money 'cause it will be worthless tomorrow.

Then it’s a round of hugs and off we go.  I got the kids.  With the trip on the home stretch, can’t let the guard down — keep counting bags, don’t damage my Budapest print and keep eyes on Daniel & Carmen. 

We make our way thru the terminal and board the flight.  I pride my self on being able to relate to kids so hopefully there’ll be no fighting, screaming or yelling. Just in case,  I come up with my own creative way of keeping them quiet.

We take off then switch planes in England.  Here we are in a strange country and all of a sudden there are people talking like you.  It’s the first sign of returning — hearing your own language.  Anyway we get on. Next time we get off — it’ll be Los Angeles. 

The kids were terrific — no trouble whatsoever all.  A whole bunch of hours later we land in LA LA land.  The kids were excited to see mom.  No bloody nose, thank god…. Everything was fine.

Kids were happy, mom was happy and I was happy.  Especially happy for one thing… thankful my art purchases went carry on…

‘Cause the airlines lost my luggage…  again.

~ Fini ~


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