Well, That Was Unexpected

Real life is stranger than fiction...depending on which authors you read, of course.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Adventuring in lands of water and conspiracy theories

Adventuring gives me so many thoughts that can't be well distilled into other social media format, so, voila, le blog update. Also, I always feel like it makes my mom happy when I write more long form because she has said many times that she wished I would've been a writer...instead of the housing expert and now lawyer I am training to be. Yes, Amy Chua fans, it does appear that I am tiger-momming myself.

My little summer adventure started in London where I have two great friends, and I'm staying a night with each one at each end of my trip. Steve, who doesn't actually go by that name, told me that the day was going to be glorious and we would go to a barbeque with his colleagues. It was a beautiful day...one that was much like every day in Southern California. But in England it spawns this:
A Coachella-esque mass gathering in each of the city parks where people barbeque and drink beer and grill meat to celebrate above 60 degree fahrenheit weather and actually clap at the end of the day. I repeat, they clap for the beautiful day. As a Californian I couldn't decide if this was tragic or a beautiful gratitude we need to regain. Also, as a person who deeply loves cold weather and city life, I was wondering why there isn't some sort of citizen exchange program wherein I trade my US citizenship to a Brit and vice versa. Speaking of which, when you enter the UK there are signs that tell you that you need to apply for asylum ASAP when you get in the country and I was considering saying that this Donald Trump situation has made me realize that the melting pot America I was told to be so proud of is a farce and I fear that my countrymen are massive assholes. And Daniela is still in immigration jail. Anyway, I'm keeping it in mind for the tail-end of the journey. This desire to emigrate was not helped by the freakishly friendly Brits who helped me out each day--from the midriff baring white woman who painstakingly looked up directions for me at a tube stop partly because she was vexed that she didn't know her neighborhood well enough, to the black woman who saw me stuck at the tube stop exit and sacrificed like 3 pounds of her oyster card to help me get out of the station. Stop trying to seduce me, England...it's working. 

Anyway, Steve's coworkers were lovely and we first engaged in a conversation on a topic that we could all relate to: travel. They were actually telling me how much they love vacationing in the US. Yay! They also made sure to say they wouldn't want to live there. sad trombone. When I told them I was going to Slovenia to see castles and to Croatia to see lakes and Roman ruins , they were like, "but America has some of the best natural beauty!" and then they said, "oh right , but since you're from America you like going around to look at old stuff." And I was like, "indeed, despite the fact that there are societies in our country that are very old, the monuments and buildings are from colonial history of the last, young, 250 years."(Luckily no Brit can get self-righteous about oppressing native peoples. That's right, there's enough awful to go around.)

So they ask how long I'm staying (2 weeks) and then are like, "oh yeah, isn't vacation something crazy like 10 days in the U.S.?" sigh, to which i'm like..."if you're lucky enough to be in such a profession." They're like.."in Germany it is 30 days." I weep softly. Then one says, "oh, I heard they don't have any maternity leave, like when people have kids." And I say, "indeed, apparently lawmakers were very proud of themselves for passing a law that we have to get 12 weeks of unpaid vacation for babies and still retain our jobs." They say, "UN-paid?" I say, "yes." They say, "oh my gosh, then why does anyone have children?" and I say, like a knowing resident from some crazy backward land, "It is very difficult, but I have hope that our women will rise up and demand better." That's right, I said "our women will rise up." They nodded. You know, I want to be able to be proud of my country, but when natural beauty is your absolute best quality...you have failed as a human collective. "your humanity is terrible, but hey, at least you've got nice mountains and a canyon." facepalm. 

Anyway, on to Slovenia, which is a quiet treasure. The Irish lady sitting next to me on the plane said that there was some sort of Austrian conspiracy to keep Slovenia under wraps because it is an Austrian vacation favorite. Indeed--you can drink the tap water, the roads are incredible--but p.s. these speed-limitless auotobahn people are NOT messing around!--they have delicious wine, Adriatic coastline and also Julian alps jutting into the sky, and the food is basically a German/Italian/slavic lovefest, which is damn good. then again, disclaimer: I never met a mushroom-heavy cuisine I didn't like. 

Speaking of cuisine, let me give you an insight into being a woman traveling alone (which I, a woman, love doing.) I go to a restaurant tonight where I am reading my book and eating some glorious slovenian sausage, mushroom soup, and sauerkraut--so quiet, so happy, so peaceful. This chef from the kitchen passses by and smiles, and then does so again like 10 times really creepily trying to talk to me. So, he thinks I'm cute. That's nice. I want to be alone. At the end of dinner, my waiter brings me a free grappa on the house. Now I have a dilemma. I really like grappa. But I am slightly concerned that my grappa has been roofied for the sake of creepy chef guy. So I split the difference and decide to drink half of it (which was sooooo good, damn it!) and then basically run toward my hotel, which is like a 7 minute walk away. My logic was : IF this drink is doctored, it shouldn't hit me before I can lock myself in my room and pass out--or I will pass out on a busy street where I am less likely to be violated. And I, while obviously adorable in my round way, am not even conventionally attractive. what do beautiful people do? well, get more promotions and have more positive attributes imputed to them by society in general, but STILL I say this distrust, which you are an idiot not to have, is totally unfair. If I had more energy I would start a campaign hashtagged #freethegrappa or something, but see Daniela above.

Anyway, tomorrow I am heading to the Plitvice lakes in Croatia. I AM SO EXCITED. I think it may have been over ten years ago that my heterolifemate told me a dude at her church had visited some place in Croatia that had like 8 lakes pouring over into each other. That was immediately added to my bucket list back then. AND I AM NOW GOING TO SEE THEM! The Irish gypsy woman next to me on my flight also said that the water in Croatia is the most delicious water in the world. She credits the Romans. I shall report back on the verity of this assertion.

p.s. did you know that you can download customizable portions of google maps into your phone for offline use? Life changing. Also, got major props from the Europeans for renting a car instead of using public transport...just in case you hadn't ever thought of it--especially good option with limited American vacay allotments. and freeeedom.


Anonymous Chris said...

Plitvice is awesome! I hope you're there on a sunny day, makes the various pools look amazing! But if not, the whole park is still amazing even on a cloudy day. Should be interesting to see your take on Croatia after having been in Slovenia, used to be under the same rule, but seemed to have such different feels to them. Are you traveling elsewhere in Croatia? The island of Korcula is great, and if you have the time, making it down to Dubrovnik is another must see.

And yes, are you f'ing kidding me, 3 months unpaid leave is ridiculous for a country that has the highest GDP (by a long shot) in the world.

1:36 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home