Wednesday, June 25, 2003

I am now in Strasbourg, France, trying to get familiar with a new keyboard. How hard is it? Here's the same sentence, typed as if I were using a US-style keyboard:

I q, noz in Strqsbourg Frqnce; trying to get fq,iliqr zith q nez keyboqrd: Hoz bqd is it§ HereĆ¹s the sq,e sentence; typed qs if I zere using q US)style keyboqrd:

So you can see, typing is at a glacial pace, with frequent mistakes. And typing a period involves the SHIFT key. Ah, the French.

Interlaken was great, as I mentioned. The barbeque was a clusterfuck, as I had suspected it would be. No one had bothered to find out how to get to the beach, or where to get food. Then the local self-appointed expert, Willis, decided he knew all (because that's the truth - he knows everything and never hesitates to remind you of that) and led everyone on a wild-goose chase. I bailed, as did all but three others (we began with 15).

Rock climbing was the bomb, baby. We started out at 9ish, held up by yours truly losing his ticket and forcing our guide Stef to get a reprint at the desk. Actually, I lost both the rock climbing and rafting tickets. But Stef was able to take care of things at base camp so I didn't miss out on anything. The scenery where we climbed was awesome, and there is a photo in existence of your truly giving the thumbs up from the top, about 60 feet up. I'll get it posted soon - I hope.

France is beautiful, though the girl at the front desk could use a lesson or six on customer service. We walked into what was supposed to be a trible, only to find it was a too-small double, and a bunk bed. We marched downstairs.

Front Desk Girl (in thick French accent); "Can I help you?"
Us: "Do you have a rollaway bed for the third person?"
FDG: "No."
Us: "Extra mattress?"
FDG: "No."
Us:"Another room, perhaps?"
FDG: "No."

So now I've shuttled between the Hotel ETAP (where that conversation took place), to CIARUS (where I spent the night) to a yet-to-be-named hotel for tonight, back to CIARUS tomorrow and the rest of the ten days we have here, except for..............well, you get the point.

We'll see how French people are, on the whole.

Monday, June 23, 2003


Put on my blue suede shoes, and I boarded the plane
Touched down in the land of the delta blues, in the middle of the pouring rain

Marc Cohn, Walking in Memphis

Ok, I'm on a clock here (no free Internet access), so I'll be brief, and flesh it out later.

Interlaken? Wonderful. Switzerland? Mere words cannot tell you how beautiful and clean this country is. It is definitely #1 on the 'return to' list.

So what have I done here? Well, let's see.

Yesterday morning began with rock climbing. I'm afraid of heights, so it was a true accomplishment for me to climb up 60 feet, turn around and wave. Then, in the afternoon (because I haven't done enough for one day), we went whitewater rafting. Today, I merely went to a restaurant for lunch. Just because the restaurant was at the top of the Harder Kulm, 2,500 feet above Interlaken is a minor detail. We were quite proud that we annihlated the recommended time - 2 hours, 20 minutes - by 35 full minutes. Old, fat, out of shape me made it up pretty quickly.

Tonight's a barbeque. Then tomorrow we're off to Strasbourg. Oh, and the hostel? Very nice. It's called Balmers (look it up). Lots of pretty 22 year old girls, and dorky 22 year old guys. That aside, it's like everything else here - very clean. But much cheaper than a hotel.

Heard Marc Cohn's Walking in Memphis today. Haven't heard it in a while, but it made me think of being back in the US. I've been to Memphis, and liked it, so hearing the song was like a nostalgia trip.

Ok, that's it for now. I'll flesh it out later.....