you like raspberry syrup in your beer?
A short European odyssey by matthew and erica
Driving south, through Sarasota, we are on our way to Miami
and a plane to Vienna. We need to stop at a bank and buy some
travelers checks. we finally spot a bank of the correct brand,
and I leave Erica reading in the parking lot and go in. there
is a man who looks like he’s going to be parked in front
of a teller for the next 30 minutes, he has paperwork all
over the counter, and the other teller is pinned down by a
woman with what might be a fairly shrill Bulgarian accent,
haranguing her and the rest of us with her tale of being ripped
off by the bank because they won’t buy euros for more
than they sell them… she had a 500 euro note in her
hand and the teller is on hold for the latest exchange rate,
because the woman insists the rate has gone up in the last
couple hours.. After listening to this for a couple minutes,
I speak up and ask how much the bank is paying for 500 euros.
“580 dollars” she says. I gave her 585 and figured
I had a pretty good deal, as it would have cost me about 620
to buy it in Europe. This, and buying the travelers checks,
consumed enough time for Erica to think I had been kidnapped
by robbers on leaving the bank. dropping by bob’s boatyard
on the way out to check on the trimaran launch, we see the
crane coming out the drive as we are going in. already done,
and going home. Which loosens a little tension in my body-
nobody dropped the boat, nobody got squashed… one last
stop before Miami at Richards to pick up some organic maple
syrup on the special request of O’Neal, ensconced in
Poland these last three years.
Well since my father has forced me to sit at the computer
and write about our trip to Europe I guess I’ll have
to start off where he left off….here we go.By our 9th
hour on the plane and having missed a night of sleep I wasn’t
in the best mood but I still tried not to complain. We proceeded
to take a city airport train and then a taxi until we finally
arrived at where Edward was staying. In the quick fifteen
steps from the taxi cab to the apartment my father proceeded
to loose his wallet complete with 1000$ worth of (unsigned)
travelers checks and the 500 euro note that he bought off
the woman at the bank. *sigh* But we didn’t realize
this until later. With the help of Martin and Marcus we made
our way in the drizzling rain to the flat we were staying
at. The building was awesome and old so of course……..no
elevator and we were on the top floor. But somehow we managed
to get out luggage up four flights of winding stairs. The
flat had new paint, flooring, plumbing, and consisted of mainly
a futon and tons of sound equipment and records.
weather was perfect. The mornings were cool, the nights were
cooler, and the afternoons were warm and sunny. We did plenty
of walking, sightseeing, and sleeping in. A perfect vacation.
Across the street in the other apartment building there lived
about 5 transvestites. nice eh? The danced, dressed up and
went out on the town. We got to watch it all happen. Pink
wigs strapless sparkley dresses the whole nine yards. I went
out on my own a few times. shopping mostly. I can’t
say that the prices were much cheaper in Wien but the clothes
were. Markus and Edward set us up with some shows to see.
The theatres there are truly beautiful. With gold angels and
huge chandeliers everywhere. There was just so much to look
at. We also saw the Pied Piper of Hamelin in German. Apparently
it was very political or whatever. But we didn’t’
catch half of it. Any of it actually. But it was still amusing
and the music was good. Among our many sightseeing adventures
we visited St. Stephens’s church. That is at least 500
years old. It’s amazing inside. Everything is so intricate.
Even the pulpit was amazing. It was carved out of basically
a large rock. And coming out of it are the heads of five saints.
It’s so amazing to think that someone carved such an
intricate piece out of a giant rock and a chizzle. While in
St. Stephens we saw the catacombs. I’ve never seen so
many bones crammed into one space before. At one part there
was this hole in the ground with a ladder coming out of it.
When they had a giant plague about 300 years or so ago and
so many people were dying, they though it a good plan to just
dump all of the dead bodies down into the hole. So now you
can see just thousands of bones that had just been dumped
into this deep deep hole. Kinda creepy. One thing that I definitely
noticed when I got to Germany was how well everyone was dressed.
Leather everywhere. And we’re talking like full on leather
pants, jackets, shirts, shoes, the whole nine yards.
in Wien is so old except the people. The exact opposite of
Sarasota and the change in atmosphere was definitely what
the doctor ordered. So we headed over to Markus’s new
apartment, which we would be occupying for the next two weeks
or so. It is a fourth floor walkup (with high ceilings) -
94 steps up from the street. Brand new floors, brand new plumbing,
and fresh paint. Not much else aside from one futon and a
wall of sound engineer’s equipment. Including lots of
records and cds. Which we tried to pick listenable music out
of with limited success. We did find a remix that we loved
so much we played it incessantly while we were there. Markus,
who gets the kind and generous award for 2004, ran out to
Ikea and brought back a multicolored collection of sheets,
and some pillows full of wheat bran. We slept late. Cool mornings,
almost cold nights, it was a drawn out spring in Austria.
Edward, to his dismay, was working nearly 24/7, not having
had a day off in two months, and not looking like he was going
to get any either, till the festival ended. Ah, the Wien festwochen.
An eclectic selection of music, theater, art, etc, etc. we
had the back door in for the festival.
first show was Sappho and the north aftrican love orchestra,
or something like that, at the Ronacher Theater where Edward
ran the sound. We arrived at the Ronacher early, and took
a seat at a restaurant across the street. In our broken German
we ordered a beer and then waited patiently for a chance to
order food. But that was not to be. They had stopped serving-
so down the street for a gyro and back just in time to find
Edward looking at his watch standing outside the stage door.
In we went, and found our seats in an empty box for ten with
a “techical staff only” sign on the door. Then
on a tour of the theater. one of the tech guys asked if we
had seen the angel yet? Edward hadn’t either so up three
flights of stairs and overlooking the lobby he pointed up
in the general direction of some life-sized cherubs on the
wall holding a dedication plaque. “do you see it?”
we looked closer. “the angel on the right.” aha!
this angel was equipped with an at least life size erect penis,
not something you are used to seeing on angels. “My
friend Manny was working on the renovation of the theater
two or three years ago, and that is his work”. ahhhh.