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Frankfurt Moods · So, I got in­to the ho­tel room and found that blog­ging grumpi­ly at my trav­el and bl­o­go­sphere prob­lems didn’t cheer me up. Lau­ren and Si­mon each sent me the num­ber of some­one I know around here, but I was just too pissed at the world to pick up the phone. So I picked up the new cam­era in­stead and went walk­ing ...
Frankfurt Weather · It’s bad. Bad enough that I missed my con­nec­tion from Gene­va to Van­cou­ver, and since ev­ery­body else did too, I’m stuck till to­mor­row. I’m in a ho­tel in a vast emp­ty park in a sub­urb some­where, and it’s chilly out­side with a howl­ing wind. This is not im­prov­ing my mood.
Unpleasant Surprises · I am gen­er­al­ly pes­simistic be­fore each trip, ex­pect­ing the worst; even so, some parts turn out worse than you ex­pec­t. Item: The Hil­ton in Prague is in­sane­ly, crim­i­nal­ly, stupid­ly over­priced for what it is. Among their many sins were the $4 lo­cal phone calls and the gold-plated In­ter­net ser­vice, up and down like a yo-yo. Nev­er again. Item: Taxi drivers in Prague are gen­er­al­ly crooks it seem­s; take the train. Item: The food in Prague is wild­ly vari­able, I had the worst schnitzel I’ve ev­er en­coun­tered, at least you can wash it down with good beer. Item: Either we had bad luck or Slove­ni­an red wine is Not Ready For Prime time; not just bad, but hero­ical­ly bad. The peo­ple are nice and the beer is good so I’m sure they’ll do bet­ter. [Up­date: An­drew Brown writes to say there are ex­cel­lent red wines from Western Slove­ni­a.] Item: It makes me ner­vous when you’re check­ing out and you pull out your cred­it card and the ho­tel of­fers you a big dis­count for cash. Item: The Ho­tel Sil­vester, near Ljubl­jana air­port, is de­cent enough and cheap but you might want to avoid Fri­day night­s; there was a wed­ding or birth­day or some­thing in the bar un­der­neath my room; the med­ley of Slove­ni­an folk-songs and Deep Pur­ple hits went on till 2AM. Then they all stomped in uni­son for a while—like, minutes—before they broke up and had loud beery con­ver­sa­tions in the hall­way out­side my room. Mys­ti­fied, I was go­ing to go down­stairs to in­ves­ti­gate the stomp­ing but then maybe it was a se­cret Slove­ni­an fer­til­i­ty rite and for­eign­ers who see it Must Be Killed. Item: WiFi in Frank­furt air­port is ex­clu­sive­ly by T-Mobil which should be OK be­cause I have an ac­count but they de­mand to know who your home provider is and then want $0.18/minute roam­ing, no that’s not a mis­print; are they mad? Item: Frank­furt air­port is less tol­er­a­ble ev­ery time I go there. Its sav­ing grace is de­cent­ly id­iosyn­crat­ic stores; but I gath­er they’re about to fix that by fill­ing it up with The Body Shop, Star­buck­s, and friend­s, so it’ll be ex­act­ly like ev­ery­where else, shopping-wise. It is full of smoke, ev­ery­where, al­ways. Earth to Ger­many: Per­va­sive pub­lic smoke is no longer con­sid­ered ac­cept­able among civ­i­lized peo­ple. There is noth­ing good to eat af­ter you go through se­cu­ri­ty. The wash­rooms are smoky, grub­by and sized for midget­s. I will take ex­treme mea­sures to avoid go­ing back. But that prob­a­bly won’t do any good.
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