May 16, 2005

Alien Nation

My face is absolutely fried. How can I spend 3 days under the Tuscan sun and not get burned and then fry in 5-6 hours while walking around Vienna is beyond me. I'm still a little disconcerted with riding in taxi's that have the Mercedes emblem on the hood. Traveling down the road at 180 KMH is a little weird too - the math puts us going over 100 MPH. The windows are down and I can barely hear the wind. Gotta love German engineering.

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My first view of the Netherlands is a small lake with a flock of tiny white sails on it. Each crisp triangle is uniform to the others in appearance, but going it's own direction. I can almost feel the gentle breeze that gives fuel to their travels. Within minutes, I'm on the ground and walking through the Amsterdam airport. My mood is easily conveyed through my bright smile and the spring in my step. Off to the hotel...

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OK, the gray day turned into a cold rain. I'm soo glad I bought a coat from that con artist. tee hee I should send her a thank you note. lol I took one trek about a half mile from the hotel. Strangely, I sat down for a beer, still sampling those for your future visit, I'm not sure, but I think they are safe for your consumption - I'll keep trying them for you though. :-) It became too cold to sit outside and watch the cuties riding by on their bikes (do people walk here?). I finish the beer just to get up and move. I can see at least 7 outdoor seating areas for bars and food places. I'm the only idiot sitting outside under the awnings (a couple of people had been, but in the course of the time it took to drink one beer, they all abandoned their posts and sought refuge from the elements). Back to the 'strangely' part of the story. Out of the corner of my eye, I spy a piercing studio. Now, I'm not really the kind of person that gets holes punched in them at whim. (I usually give it great contemplation and do a lot of research first.) But, the urge to go see if they are open is overwhelming. Shocker. I'm in Europe traveling, the last thing I need to do is get a new piercing somewhere and have it get infected. That said, the collection of jewelry at this place is nothing short of stupendous... I think they have an even bigger collection of flesh insertable metal, wood, bone and ceramic (even glass) objects than than the studio I go to in Atlanta. With great difficulty, I forced myself to leave the shop. Images of a tiny laberet stud hidden in my goatee, an eyebrow piercing, a tongue piercing (not really), or a nose piercing fill my mind. I actually have thought about getting a tiny piercing done on the bridge of my nose... Where my glasses would hide it most of the time. Or even the septum (then I could hide it at work.)

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If the weather improves, I'm planning on renting a bike and touring on that instead of walking. I realized tonight that my calves are tightening up like a (never mind). Anyway, I think I'm going to start doing a half hour of stretching before I go to bed just to get things moving in my legs again. I'm dying not being on my bike. Seems like this happens every May though. I have some trip that keeps me off my bike for 10-14 days. At least I'm getting lots of walking in though.

That brings me to food again. I had the 'original' club sandwich for a very late lunch. 3 pieces of toasted bread (quite thin), chicken, bacon (sure it was bacon), and a fried egg. Who ever heard of such a combination? Sure, you are thinking - hey, dumbass, why did you order it then? TO try something different. This whole trip is about refreshing my mind and bringing a new approach when I get home. If I eat the things I normally eat, drink the things I normally drink, I might well have just stayed home. Break the mold of your life. Even if it's with one little detail. I promise you'll find a new way to look at something if you just make one tiny change. Try honey on your toast instead of Jam, eat peanut butter off a spoon, be decadent and put the raw sugar in your coffee... whatever... just try something new. Part your hair on the other side of your head, take the chance on the cutie you met last week and ask them out.

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In 1992 I got on a plane in South Dakota and flew to St. Louis. I had a 5 or 6 hour layover. It was a Tuesday in September. I don't recall which one, but I know it was a Tuesday because the Scorpions had released a new album called Pure Instinct that day. I tried to get my record store to sell it to me the night before, but they wouldn't do it. I even showed them my plane ticket... "Dude, I'm flying to Korea in the morning. Please..." 'NO.' Asshole. So, I'm sitting in St. Louis airport and decided to see if I can talk a shuttle driver into taking me to a nearby mall. After talking to some of the people that work around the airport, I find a guy who knows a guy who will do it. For a fee. lol, Hey, cheaper than a taxi. So I go buy the CD. I listened to that thing all the way to LA, then to Japan, then to Korea. The first track on that CD is called Alien Nation. I thought it incredibly ironic that I was going to be an alien in another country. I'd never even been to Canada, and here I was flying to Korea. (I think the total flight time was like 32 hours.) I arrived there and got onto a bus filled with other people getting there for the first time. As we drove through town, I cracked quite loudly... "Hey, how am I going to know which one is the chinese restaurant?" Everyone was rolling. We had no idea what the strange symbols on all the buildings meant, they sure weren't chinese.

It's funny, I'm in my fourth city and I'm looking at the same letters that comprise my own language, and I have no idea what they say. Amsterdam is a little different though. Most of the signs here for shops are in english. I dressed in my most european clothes today and still everyone speaks english to me. Oh, well, at least I'm not at home wondering what's on TV. I've also read a couple of interesting books (I'm going to have to look for a bookstore tomorrow though, I'm soon going to be out of reading material.)

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