Big Euro Adventure

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Subj: U.S. Embassy & TGIF

Date: 7/30/2003 6:41:12 AM Pacific Daylight Time

Hey All —

I’m headed for Budapest cruising down the Danube in a Hydrofoil — aka big speedboat. Snagged a seat in the back — quite comfy.

Final observation as I’m leaving:  Walking to and from my Bratislava hotel I gotta pass the U.S. Embassy — a place surrounded by concrete barriers, machine gun carrying Slovak military and bomb sniffing dogs.

BUT what is the real bomb??  Any coincidence TGIF Friday's is less than 50 yards away? I took a look at Friday's and was promptly struck by the sign proclaiming it "An Old Fashioned Bar". Good thing they told me. I might have wanted to patronize one of those 18th century eating and drinking establishments on the other side of the plaza. Looking at those STUPID red & white vertical striped shirts on young Slovak kids — makes soooooo much sense! Yeah really... Apparently it didn't to anyone else either 'cause most of the employees were hangin' out front watching the people action on the opposite end of the plaza. It certainly wasn't in Fridays.



The only action near Friday's was all this diggin' — actually, it was more like excavation. How nice — they're excavating these ancient stonewalls which were exposed once they dug down 30 feet.

Then I watched this charging bulldozer knock the whole thing over. What?? This ain't excavation — it's a demolition. Turns out we, us, the United States of America is paying to dig up part of the plaza along with the adjoining street to create another entrance into the hotel parking facility. WHY? Because the old entrance GOES PAST THE U.S. EMBASSY CREATING A SECURITY RISK!!!!

And sittin' in that embassy is our esteemed U.S. ambassador. I learn this is one sharp diplomat — NOT!!!  Nothing I can repeat however — Lesile Nielson anybody?? A real winner, whose grand idea is to promote U.S. biz in B'slava.  And, what better biz to promote than that great American classic — TGIF FRIDAYS!  And if we gotta bulldoze few ancient walls to so do, what the hell. No wonder our folks need the army for protection. Someone might wanna drive by and wish us some ill-will.

However, there are some things we get right.  The Radisson Group comes in and totally restores this hotel, which also sits on the plaza.

After decades of commie neglect it was all but a teardown.

Now it’s just magnificent.  At night, when it’s all lit up, “The Carlton” is the showpiece on the plaza. And, then… you have TGIF.   What else can I say?

Anyway… so I packed it up, left most of my stuff with the hotel due to my returning in a week. 

Booked the Hydrofoil.

Off to Budapest for a looksee,




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