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This is the end!

July 13 continued

I hobbled around Vienna and my ankle felt a bit better by putting pressure on it. I took a rest every hour or so and sat in parks named after musicians and Sigmund Freud. In the Freud park I saw this drunk doorman throw four bottles of beer to the ground. Upon hearing the breaking a small, sleeping group of bums ran to the other side of the park and a shirtless Austrian man began shouting at the doorman. And I saw a parade of Hare Krishna guys singing. It reminded me of Airplane slightly.

Eventually I got hungry and went to a grocery store to buy bananas, bread and disgusting bear-shaped potato chips that taste and are as thin as Munchos. I didn't know that when you buy bananas in Vienna you first weigh them on a machine and print out the price tag then attach it to the bag of bananas. The woman rang up the purchases and then looked at the banana bag and stared at me. And kept staring. Then rolled her eyes, but then stared again. More. Finally I said, "'Tschuldingung?" She then got up and went to the machine with the bananas and printed off the appropriate tag and rang it up, all while smirking with this, "Ha, you're stupid but I don't hate you" look that reminded me of when I accidentally gave the train controller my receipt instead of the ticket while going to that lake.

I eventually found a hostel at 8:30 and went to bed tired/sweaty/early.

Thoughts:
· I wish I brought a compass!
· I feel like this is an expensive trip just to sit around in parks, but my god does it feel great.
· Time has dragged. It's been hard remembering things before the trip with normal clarity. I think I just have really bad short term memory. I've always suspected it but this is definitely proving it. I feel like a goldfish. A happy one.

July 14 Bastille Day! (but no one cared!)

I put on my unwashed France jersey and met Hannah, who was sound asleep in the hostel when I came in the night before. I saw a koala with an Australian flag and asked if she was from Australia. She told me she was from Scotland but she sounded Canadian. She said it's probably from the Americanization of Britain. We decided to walk around Vienna together, as getting to speak English with someone would be nice. I kind of got us lost, but we saw all the buildings and talked about all the usual religion, politics, sex, America stuff.

We then saw a nice photo exhibit at the Museum Moderner Kunst. I liked it a lot. Particularly the basement level with exhibits featuring lots of genitalia and blood. Now, I don't know anything about art. So I'll keep this in simple terms that are only based on my opinions. I like photography/film/video art more than traditional paintings, etc. I think it's because I'm a simpleton who doesn't appreciate all art, but it's just my opinion.

After getting drinks with Anna and meeting charming 4 year-old Timo who kept playing with our hair and shouting about the rain, Hannah and I went out with the guys from Mexico City in our room. When we came back these 15 year-oldish Austrian boys were drinking, talking on the phone and shouting at us. When we made them go to bed they kept making fart noises and speaking random English swear words.

Thoughts:
· Vienna is a pretty city but I don't like it nearly as much as Munich or Prague.
· I think the Brits are right in their pronouncing of [al yu MIN i um]

July 15

After seeing Hannah off at the train station I walked around the city again, doing basically nothing. I didn't feel like going into museums. I stumbled onto a huge street market and bought some great postcards of people from the early 1900s.

I also, finally, conceded to the fact that you are never cool as a tourist. I look like the most ridiculous I've ever been. My face is tanned and greasy, my hair is long and ugly, my feet are covered in mosquito bites making me look like a leper, I'm carrying a massive backpack, I'm sweating, I can't speak the language. I should just give in. Giving in made me feel better about being shy on this trip.

In my head I've been comparing this to my former approach to video games in the past: If you play it on the hardest setting, then you can do the easy levels without a problem. When I get back to America (for 2 months) I'll feel more at ease. It's also worth noting that I always got frustrated when I tried this with video games and returned to easy mode, then got bored and stopped playing.

Aside from walking I bought pesto snacks, a Sudoku book in German (like it matters) and saw some people playing the shell game. I saw a guy lose 50 euros and another woman win 100. I was following the ball so easily and thought, "Jesus, they're idiots. I can make a killing here." But then remembered that that's the point: it's a short con. The guy kept asking if I wanted to play but I walked away.

I bought one more falafel, got on my train for Munich and spilled it all over myself- looking like a fat, American tourist who's so hungry he can't put the food in his mouth fast enough. I also smelled bad.

When I got to Munich I tried staying at the hostel I was at before but they were booked. They directed me to one quite a ways away. I showered and went out to go to the HofbrÀuhaus. I got on the tram with a family from Mexico City and we realized we were going to the same place. Unfortunately, I took them to the completely wrong side of town. After apologizing and trying to help them get to where they needed, we parted and I finally made it.

I walked in, thinking I'd get a drink and pretzel but felt really weird being alone in there on a Saturday night. My timing was way off. I walked around some and watched 5 minutes of a surfer movie being played at the Munich Film Festival but then returned to the hostel, thinking I could meet people there and drink. Nope. I went to bed.

Thoughts:
· They have a total boner for Mozart here! Understandably so, but geez. All these guys are walking around dressed as him trying to get you to go on a tour and everything.
· In Austria Aldi is "Hofer"
· I keep seeing "Handy". I think it means Mobile Phone. I have an exciting picture for you all when I get back.
· I forgot to write down who he looked like, but I saw this terrifying man who looked like (as far as I wrote) "An Austro-Asian _____". I think it was Matthew Perry.
· Holy shit do they love Che here. I see Che shirts everywhere. In Prague there was an Irish pub called O'Che's.
· I've seen vanity license plates that play with the City code used in the beginning of the plate. I saw W ILLY 221, for example. It's like people who use the M from their U of M plates for a phrase.

July 16

My toothbrush won't charge still! I've been brushing at half the time it runs and chewing gum to try to stay clean. Meh. I'm now killing time before my flight to Amsterdam and then home. I may try to find some stupid beer stein souvenir or something. Then I spend the night in Amsterdam. Hopefully the Anne Frank house is open.

Comments

This year is the 250th anniversary of Mozart, hence a season of special shit in Austria, devoted to attracting people who are willing to spend money celebrating this rather un-noteworthy occasion.

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