ketchup

to catch up, some scenes from the european trip.. including stuff from way back.. sometimes when i couldnt get to the internet, i put stuff down on the laptop, so i wont forget. now i have internet in my hotel room, so i am quickly taking advantage to post it. who knows when i’ll have another chance.

i know, its kinda long, but its too late, lazy and tired to do something about it. here we go. ciao!

Saturday, September 09, 2006, 22:34

Before leaving Romania, in Ungheni, next to the airport, we saw a big motorcyclists gang gathering.. maybe around 50.. did some one-wheel show-offs, talked a bit and took off.. all of them.. was very cool.. all kinds of bikes, from scooters to big harleys.. my dad asked whazzup, they told him one of their friends died the day before, they were going to his family, to the funeral.. it impressed me..

Long walk today.. budapest is charming as always.. my parents are very tired, sleeping right now.. walked from 12 pm to 8 pm.. almost non-stop, just a break for lunch on a great terrace next to the medieval citadel.. went to the top (as usual) of the citadel dome, great panorama.. parliament on the danube with the bridges.. amazing. Went literally through a wine festival, and took advantage a bit ;).. then a walk along the danube to margit island bridge, parliament, and further to a famous square + castle..

While walking on this last boulevard we saw motorcycle gangs passing by.. smaller troops, but many.. many.. and when arriving at a central square.. there they were.. all of them.. HUNDREDS.. they had some sort of a meeting/gathering, police was there.. hundreds of all kinds of bikes, all shiny and prepped up.. so cool.. would this be a sign for me to get a bike? Or NOT to get one?… J
Am going to bed now. parents are sleeping.. very tiring day, but very nice.. relaxing.. nice weather.. lots of thanks to authorities above.. hoping for the same “treatment” in rome, tomorrow J.

Pictures of Budapest are here
Good night..

Sunday, September 10, 2006, 23:21

Its hot in Rome.. back in the very small hostel room.. small but nice, must be very recently refurbished. Clean, new, again, spaced used very well, typical. We got a 4 beds room, bathroom next door.. very clean and shiny.. quiet too, although the area isnt the brightest, close to the railway station.. quite shady. But hey, very convenient. Vacanzaroma on hostelworld.com, if interested..
Did a long walk today, again.. my parents are sleeping, very tired. Went out of the railway station, very closeby the first ruins.. monumental, roman.. but it was written something the like of a basilica, a church.. saw people going inside, said why not.. and inside, the HUGEST church you’ve seen.. GRANDIOUS.. in those roman ruins, which used to be the baths (terme) of the roman emperor Diocletian! Wow.. the church was pojected by michelangelo himself.. very nice surprise, I didn’t know of it.. then we walked to piazza 4 fontane, 4 fountains square, then to the triton square, with the famous fountain.. sat down there on a terrace on the street, wanted a pizza.. it was an american bar, they didn’t have pizza J. So we went on.. sat down at a trattoria.. no pizza! Ok.. next.. no pizza! hicks quewz me? is this Italy?.. They told us though right next door there is one.. and there it was, a “classic” family pizzeria, small, narrow, crowded, but very cozy.. and an EXCELLENT pizza.. thin crust, and I mean THIN, light, not greasy at all.. yummy. Fontana di trevi was two minutes away.. what an atmosphere! Young people gather here at night, just hanging around.. oh, you forget about everything there.. well.. almost everything..
My India experience came in handy when negotiating for a small tripod with a young man from bangladesh ;), so I could take better night pictures.. my big tripod is still in the boxes on their way (I hope!) from Atlanta to Sighisoara..
From Fontana di Trevi we headed back.. my dad was very tired.. a long way.. back to our shady neighborhood, where I found a desi laundromat and internet point.. I wont be able to post this, will just say hello.. this is written on my laptop, in our tiny room.. where I will go to bed soon.. after a liberating shower.. good night..

Rome pictures here

Sunday, September 24, 2006, 21:25

Havent been writing in a while.. although we got to the hotel quite early every night, it was tiring, since we usually left pretty early in the morning (like 8-9…10 🙂 and walked all day..

Venice was wonderful.. just like 9 years ago, it rained the first day.. but then it got progressively better, and the last day was sunny.. poetry.. I climed with my sister in the campanila, the bell tower.. landscape is breathtaking.. then we took a vaporetto, a “bus-boat”, no. 4, on the canale grande.. we took a tour and a half, coz we got down at the station.. there are few things in the world comparable to a boat journey on the canale grande in venice, on a sunny day..
Then we went to the venice ghetto, and then walked all the way down to a small pizzeria we found in an online guide.. the last pizza.. went to the hotel, the host looks somewhat like ozzy osbourne today, shorter hair, no visible tatoos, but the same kinda lost look.. so we took our luggage and left quickly.. at the railway station, the last ice cream, in a square nearby, on a bench, watching shops close.. arrivederci, italia.. night train to switzerland.. was nice, the 4 of us got a compartment for ourselves.. we got breakfast… in switzerland! Fortunately, they didn’t come to control at the border, I was a little nervous because my folks didn’t have return tickets.. but it went smooth, they didn’t even wake us up.. in zurich we went, for the first time, to a 3* hotel.. because they don’t have budget accomodation!! ANYWHERE! One single hostel, 30$ a bed, that’s it! 100 CHF a single room is CHEAP!! First shock.. everything is expensive here, especially staying at a hotel and eating out.. even eating in, for that matter.. I havent found a home yet, my search is intensifying.. I’m starting work soon, budget is empty.. I took the risk of spending all my money on travel, in the US and here.. now I’m facing the consequences, in an expensive country.. I don’t regret anything, just hope to be alright soon with an apartment, the rest will fall into place.. wish me luck..
My folks left the day before yesterday.. I’m sad and lonely now.. I miss them.. its not so much fun anymore to be alone.. went to the city center today, they had an environmental day.. no cars in the center.. promoting “green” lifestyle, I found out there is a club of people who do NOT have cars.. they advertise how good you can live without a ar.. an not that they cannot afford it here… public transport is good, I lived without any problem without a car in summer.. in a place like atlanta it would seem hilarious.. but here distances are smaller…
Today I saw an invention that can be only swiss… a small bicycle.. I mean small, like a 10 year old kid size fit, but designed for adults.. it costs from 1000 to 3000 francs.. I couldn’t withhold from asking why the hell it costs so much, such a small bike.. they said well, small bike, big technology.. from shimano deore and up.. and.. size matters, in the sense that you can take it as hand luggage on a train without paying extra, like for normal bikes.. it folds.. you can even take it as hand luggage on a plane.. or its handy if you have a boat, you can take it with you easily, and when you reach your destination, unfold it and pedal away.. she was very serious explaining it.. so that last argument convinced me.. not to buy it. just ye
t.
I was drawn to the electric bicycle stand though.. wondered what that was.. electro-bikes, supposed to be trendy.. maybe that’s why they cost 1000 francs and above.. I thought that you just sit on it and it goes ahead.. no.. the trick is, as alanbek would say, you still have to pedal, but you can do it with almost no effort even on relatively high inclination upwards.. because the small electric engine picks up the effort depending on the surface, you just have to do the motion of pedaling.. wickeeeed…
I tried it, it seems to work.. used my georgia driving license as an ID, it worked.. it didn’t work when I wanted to rent a normal bicycle.. you can rent them for free, just need a 20 CHF deposit, which you get back, and an ID.. didn’t have my passport, so I said SKIP and here I am “home”.. tomorrow at 8, another house visit, then picking up a rental car (its good to drive, after all) and pick up the packages I sent from the states to the office.. thanks selin for the idea.. otherwise I would have been in deep sheet, coz the packages in romania arrived after I left.. speaking of selin, I had a lahmacun yesterday, from a local turkish fast food.. yummy :).
Good night now. I’ll check internet quickly.. around 1 CHF per 4 minutes, here at the hotel.. insane.. who knows when I’ll get internet on my laptop to post this..
later…

Venice pictures
Florence pictures

Monday, September 25, 2006, 21:00

I’m staying another two days here, and then moving to another hotel.. and then to the pre-consulting training, out of town, in the italian part of switzerland.. and by the time I’m back I hope I’ll have a home.. in the meantime I went to carrefour today, to look around, actually to buy a device for carrying heavy stuff, like a platform on wheels, very useful, I hope.. oh, and I went by car.. yep.. its indeed useful to be able to drive.. interestingly, I didn’t do it in the states, where everybody does, but am doing it here, where the trend is to give up cars.. at least in switzerland.. “green lifestyle” n stuff.. anyway.. I picked up a nice new ford fiesta from sixt (get used to european cars.. size matters here. Small size.), coz I had to carry stuff today, packages, and thought for that price (71 francs for 24 hours.. get used to swiss prices too.. if cars are small, prices are big..) I could have rented maybe 1 cab, for 2 trips, that’s it, while with this car I could do whatever I needed for as long as I needed. So I suddenly needed to go to carrefour. Why? Because I could :). On the way back I visited another apartment.. was nice.. but will be ready only in november.. too late.. anyway.. I didn’t spend much more than 15 minutes at the apartment.. I had parked in the parking lot belonging to several buildings, parking spots were numbered, but many empty, so I parked having one emtpy spot at each side, to leave room.. when I got back, a car was parked right behind mine, not more than 10 cm away (get used to cm.. I never got the inch feet yard thing anyway).. stupid me had left very little room in front, till the wall.. shit.. I laughed first, then I cursed.. it looked like a joke, but it wasn’t.. the guy had plenty of room to park.. but number 3 was obviously HIS parking spot.. so he wanted to make a point.. only.. he was not in the car.. there were lots of buildings around.. how the hell can I know whos car it is?? what did he want me to do? search every apartment? Get yelled at by every single family in every block of flats? Or maybe he was thinking to come out later, to have an argument or fight.. or was planning to have me leave the car there for the night and walk home, wherever that was.. I wasn’t happy with either of these alternatives.. so I looked.. hmm.. 10 cm in the back, maybe 15 in front.. divide by 2.5 and you get the inches.. so.. since I am an unexperienced driver, I said, in approximate translation from my native language.. “f*ck, let’s give it a shot”. I was quite nervous, if I would scratch the idiot’s car, or mine for that matter, I was in deep shit.. but whatta hell, made the challenge even more interesting and exciting if I was able to do it.. the high risks gave me enough motivation to be VERY careful, and that needs a lot of motivation.. so I started.. back and forth, back and forth.. by the way, it was dark in the parking lot, and raining.. I couldn’t see well, especially in the back.. and his damn car was black.. no one to guide me.. since it was raining, I didn’t feel like getting off and checking every time how much room is left.. so I didn’t.. was just extra careful.. maybe took a few moves more.. LUCKILY, the two parking spots at my sides were still empty.. it didn’t even take as long as I expected, and I was perpendicular.. still, I needed a few more maneuvres to be able to get out, coz I was VERY close to his car.. it took me one or two attempts to figure out how the mechanics of using space with a car work, at some point it looked quite unlikely, I closed my eyes and… no, I’m kidding, I kept eyes open and sooner than expected I was out, taking a few deeeep breaths. In the meantime, one of the parking space holders next to me had arrived, right when I was perpendicular, but he was a gentleman and let me crawl out.. well, not that he had much of a choice… but he just went and parked somewhere else, no comment.. I wanted to leave the guy a sarcastic note on his car, but gave up.. what if he had taken my number and would file some complaint if I piss him off.. you never know with these people.. don’t need trouble right at the beginning.. but speaking of numbers.. I turned around to take his number.. and saw a big map of .. Turkey drawn on his back screen… ahaa.. bahadur.. after 500 years… and we escaped again :DD.. I must admit I’m quite satisfied with the result, especially if the guy wanted some conflict.. I picture him, coming out later, maybe with some friend or family, to show what he did, how cool he was, and look for me sitting there in the rain.. and his friend to tell him “are you halucinating, dude, don’t you see there’s no car in front of yours?! Where did it go? Must have flown away, coz there’s no room to turn! You should seek a psychiatrist…or if it’s a joke, its dumb” ;D
I hope nevertheless this is the end of the incident, and I wont hear of the guy again.. by the way, speaking of turks, right before I had eaten an excellent doner kebab; there are a lot of turks in oerlikon, which is wonderful, because their cuisine is much tastier and much more affordable than the local one..
Speaking of more affordable.. got the “first day at work” haircut today.. 52 francs, after a 20% discount, coz it was my first at their place.. I remembered famous sam’s or what was their name, and supercuts.. 13 bucks.. anyway.. enjoy the States, folks.. save big, and come to europe.. at least for vacation.. it is indeed more expensive.. but very beautiful, charming, and definitely worth a visit..

I’m afraid this will be pretty much by and large the end of long writing.. as almost complete silence across my working buddies across the ocean suggests, there wont be much time left for chitchat in the next period.. hope to hear from you guys, at least major events and visits to switzerland.. will come back with contact details once I have found an apartment.. in the meantime, gruezi mitenand! (means greetings/hi all in swiss german 🙂

Finally, Zurich pictures.

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