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Archive for April, 2002

switzerland, der schweitz, suisse, svizzera, svizra!

Saturday, April 27th, 2002

(I don’t even know what language the last of those is in.) So where was I? Oh yea, dropped Jennifer onto an airplane and left Paris for Der Schweitz! The train ride (actually two of them, I had to change at Basel, in Switzerland) was nice—after walking so much in Paris for a week it felt good to sit in a cushioned chair for ten hours. Ok, ten hours was a little too long to sit, but after the first five the scenery was stunning. Switzerland is like someone took a bunch of Ansel Adams photos and made a country out of them. Shear rock faces rising out of pristine lakes, their tops lost in clouds (it was rainy the whole time I was in Switzerland.) I kept trying to take pictures out of the window of the train but it was moving too fast. (Damn train, why does it got to move!)

Somewhere along the way I went from Der Schweitz to Svizzera (left German speaking Switzerland and entered Italian speaking Switzerland) Anyway, I got to Lugano—Thats where C——- lives, and she her mother picked me up from the train station. Let me just say that the view from C——-‘s house back patio is amazing (well, except for that antenna atop the neighbors house—but we’ll ignore that,) her house is halfway up a big mountain and the patio looks down on a lake. At night the lights from all the other houses lining the hills around the lake flicker like so many fireflies.

I guess at this point I have to mention that I met, and made fun of Laura, C——-‘s little sister. She’s cool, poppy and happy. C——-‘s mom, is very nice, very motherly over a guest—but that’s normal… right? Anyway I spent the night and then went into Lugano in the morning with C——-. There is not much to see in Lugano as a visitor, a nice shopping district which kinda reminds me of a more upscale downtown C’ville, a nice museum—it was showing African art, and there was a sculpture exhibit where the streets in downtown where sprinkled with random sculpture by someone.

Anyway Spent one more night and then took a train to Milano where I met up with A—–—on of the American here at City. I will tell that tall next time.

creaping americanism

Saturday, April 27th, 2002

Violence in schools has been a reality in the US for some time, now this, like fast food and consumerism, is spreading out to envelope the wider world… This is the second school shooting in Germany that I know of this year. The New York Times has an article on it from which the following quote comes from:

“I never thought anything like this could ever happen in a place like Erfurt,” he[Thomas Rethfeldt] added in a quiet, shaken voice. “I thought this must be a bad film. I thought this kind of thing only happened in America.”

rant…

Friday, April 26th, 2002

First off: I am tired of substituting mental masturbation for true intellectual intercourse! I seam to be surrounded here in England by a bunch of fucking high schoolers, who could not carry on an intellectual conversation if they had a fucking Encyclopedia Britannica shoved up their asses! There are a few people capable of having a grown up conversation, but they are hard to pin down as they are busy. (I would like to explicitly exclude a few people from the above stereotype: C——-, A—– and Chris.)

Second off: What the fuck is wrong with the French? Oh no wait I know: they’re French! Nuff said. (if you have know idea what I am talking about get your head out of wherever you have it stuck and pay attention to the world.)

Third off: The Middle East: I think at this point with most of the world screaming that America should stop all of this, we (America) should land about half a million marines on the Mediterranian cost of Israel and tell them to kill anything with a gun, a bomb, a bottle of alcohol, a rock or any other thing that could possibly be construed as a weapon till they get to Syria, then turn around and do it again! Then we should write a new fucking constitution for Israel and Palistine!

more latter…

back to paris…

Thursday, April 25th, 2002

Ok, now here is a list of the “tourist” things I did in Paris with my little sister:

  • Notre Dame
  • The Lourve
  • The Pantheon
  • St. Sulpice
  • St. Severin
  • St. Etienne du Mont
  • Arc de Triomphe
  • Tour d’Effel
  • Jardin des Tuileries
  • Musee d’Orsay
  • St. Chapelle
  • Towers of Notre Dame
  • St. Germain des Paris
  • Musee de l’Armee
  • Hotel des Invalides
  • Eglise du Dome (tomb of Napoleon)
  • Musee Auguste Rodin
  • Crypt of Notre Dame
  • Musee National du Moyan age
  • Espace Dali
  • Basilique du Sacre Coeur
  • Moulin Rouge
  • Opera Garnier
  • Chateau de Versailles
  • Let me just say, my feet hurt by the time we had done all this, each night we walked the 3 miles back to our hotel from the latin quarter! It was a very good week, all the sights are worth going to—my favorites where the Musee Auguste Rodin and Musee d’Orsay, mainly because I love Rodin sculptures. I was a little disappointed in the Opera Garnier, as I would have expected to be able to see more of the Opera house, very little of it is open for the tour, but it is beautiful. So I have my top five things you must do when it Paris:

    1. Ask the tour guide in the Towers of Notre Dame where Quasimodo and the talking gargoyles live.
    2. Ask a Parisian where the “tower da fell” is, and if they are going to put it back up.
    3. Tell the people at the Lourve that the Pyramids are ugly and should be taken down.
    4. Tell the tour guide in the Crypts “I see dead people!”
    5. Stand at the top of the steps at Versailles looking out over the gardens and remark (loudly) that “It’s good to be the king!”

    Did I have fun? You bet! The whole week cost a lot, but Jennifer had never been out of the US, I hope she had a good time. What better place to start than Paris? Anyway I saw her to her plane at five AM Monday morning and then I went back to Gare de l’Est to catch a train to Switzerland to see C——- for a few days… I’ll save that story for my next update.

    france (or at least paris)

    Wednesday, April 24th, 2002

    Well, I guess I should type something up on my misadventures in Europe before I lost my wallet. We’ll start with my week in Paris.

    It started on a down note, as anyone who is up to date on their Beggs lore knows—I had no hotel booked when I left here. Oh yea, before that there was the getting to Paris issue. Turns out that the EuroStar does not run Easter weekend. So I had to take a plane from Heathrow. That was not too bad, the view from the plane was quite nice, the sun setting over an endless see of clouds. The clouds looked like some rolling, undulating, overstuffed quilt of fluffy wool. Anyway, got to Charles De Gaulle and then took the bus into Paris, then had to find a hotel.

    I spent a three hours walking around looking for a hotel, walking from one to another asking if they had any free doubles for a week. The worst part of all this was having to carry my back back and camera case. When I checked in at the airport they weighed the backpack—22.7 Kilo’s (about 48 lbs) Finally I did find a room, ground floor, no view, the TV broken, but the room was priced at 160 Euro/night and the guy at the desk gave it to me for 100 Euro/night. I think he liked Americans or something, every night he was like “Yea, what’s up?” and wanted to shake hands like we lived in Compton.

    *****Got to go get drunk now. The Americans are back from Nice will write more later*****

    me no study!

    Tuesday, April 23rd, 2002

    This whole being back in England thing is not working for me… Every time I sit down to study I end up doing nothing for hours on end. I spend two hours reorganizing all directory/file structure of my laptop today! I think my mind is rebelling against doing any real studying because it believes it should be in Spain right now.

    Anyway in all my killing of time I have played around with my website, I put up a bunch of background imaged I have created over the past year for my laptop. Just in case anyone thinks they are cool (and because I wanted to play around with an HTML tag I just discovered; “fieldset”) I made a nice beautiful page for them—here.

    The aforementioned page no longer exists… deal with it.

    I have also been doing some writing, finished one short story, about 2 pages, and halfway through another one. When the second one is finished I will post them both for criticism. Anyway, it’s 1:50 in the morning—I’m gonna get some Z’s. Ciao!

    why I am back in england two weeks early…

    Sunday, April 21st, 2002

    Well, I am back in London, almost two weeks early because of a little mishap in Florence… the standing at an ATM reaching into ones pocket at 1am and finding nothing asking the little camera in the ATM “where the hell is my wallet?” Then remembering taking it out of said pocket while writing post cards (that will now never be mailed!) but not remembering putting it back in aforementioned pocket type of mishap!

    Thats right—after all the warnings about pickpockets in Italy I lost my wallet, but not to some slight of hand artist on a five finger shopping spree. No I just plan left it sitting on a stone staircase at 12am atop a mountain overlooking Florence! So, with only 10 Euro (in other pocket), no credit card, no debit card, no ATM card, no Drivers License, no Student ID, no Dorm ID, no Health Insurance Card and a lot of (in the words of Mr. Spock;) colorful metaphors, I headed back to the scene of the crime walking very quickly (running not an option after losing fight with dead guy in crypt in Venice—but that is another story!) It’s a three mile walk from the ATM next to my hotel.

    Of course when I got there; no wallet! Gee, there’s a shocker! Now I would like to believe that I did pick up the wallet and put it into my pocket, just like I always do, and that somewhere along the path from the mountain to my hotel someone bumped into me and (note: the following is a geeky D&D reference!) made a successful pick pockets roll on a d100—lifting my wallet, complete with life enabling small rectangles of plastic out of my pocket and placing it in their pocket. However, I vividly remember putting my wallet on top of the pile of postcards I was writing, to keep them from blowing away (funny thing: mountain tops are windy!) after taking my wallet out to get some addresses. I do not remember putting the wallet (note the switch to “the” as opposed to “my”) back into pocket when I picked up the post cards to place them back into my backpack and start walking back to my hotel… I was too busy answering a text message on my phone. I also have no memory of anyone “bumping” into me on the walk back. Therefore I am forced to conclude that the wallet was not in fact “stolen” from my person, but that said person suffered a Geritol moment and left the wallet sitting on a stone staircase atop a mountain overlooking Florence.

    The end result of all this is that the next morning I had to phone my friend A—– up and borrow the money for my hotel from him, and enough to buy a EuroStar ticket back under the Channel to England. I then hopped the next train to Milan, from there to Lugano (Switzerland) where I stayed the night at C——-s’ house and at eight am left Lugano to Basel (again in Switzerland), waited two hours and jumped the train to Brussels which was 40 minutes late causing me to miss the last EuroStar by 10 minutes! Stayed in Brussels Nord station all night, (though I did manage to spend a few hours at the Grand Plats—drink some Hoegaarden, eat some Belgium chocolate, some Falafal and a Belgium Waffle before I had to take the last train from Centraal station back to Nord station) and took the first EuroStar out in the morning—7:01 am (strange time! Why 01?)

    Now you would think that my pain would be over at this time, back in London – familiar London. But NO! I get on the Tube and one stop later the train stops and I have to spend the next hour hoping from one train to another to get back to my stop. No this would not have been a problem if it was not for the 25 kilo bag strapped to my back (50 lbs) and the camera case in my hands, combined with the painful knee issue…

    I did finally get back to my dorm. My credit cards have been canceled and reissue orders placed but it will take a week. By the time they get here, there will only be a week till exams and my inter-rail ticket will only have a week left on it! Therefore I will not get to make it to Spain, Portugal or Morocco as I had hoped this spring break! (Insert more colorful metaphors here.) Oh well, C’est La Vie, Right? Now I may actually study for those pesky exams I have to take next month… Maybe.

    Oh, I have many stories to tell about wandering about France, Switzerland and Italy with no plan… but those will have to wait as I am tired and ready for bed…