On Language. Being here is humbling and humorous. I botch all the names, people laugh and my coarse literal translations get me in trouble. The literal translations I see
I am sure this is how the neighbors refer to the family next door, it is “THEM” said with raised eyebrows.
I have figured out that “Die” means “The” and is not a death exhortation against cameras, Laundromats, subways and massage parlors.
So, this beautiful cemetary would properly be called "Die cemetery" right? What else are we supposed to do there? Remember the old joke - Do you know how many dead people are in that cemetery? . . . wait for it . . .
All of them.
Understatement seems appropriate and I did eat a falafel wrap here and their advertising was not false.
I got very excited over the chance to eat ostrich meat and thought MacDonalds here very progressive:
As I routed my trip I made sure to avoid both of these places:
It is humbling too as I can appreciate how illiterate folks can get by but only with a struggle. It requires be observant, cautious and sometimes making goofy mistakes. Easy to order that big steak for cheap only to discover the fine print that it was 3 euros per 100 grams. As a motorcyclist I also worry just a little bit about highly specialized road instruction signs. Instincts baby, instincts! While walking the streets I have been watching and mentally practicing riding behavior.
I recall the traveling through a tiny town in Mexico and puzzling out loud to my travel companion " What the hell is an ante-tope warning?” thinking it to be some sort of hooved mammal typo. About that time we hit the roof of the cab as we bashed a speed dip designed to channel flash flood water away from houses. That simple non-translation would have been ugly on a bike and I actually do speak rough Spanish.
Finding a bike in Vienna was not particularly easy. BMW Wein will rent me a BMW F800 with panniers for $160 euros ($210 US or Canadian) per day. A few of the contributors to the Advrider motorcycle site with names like Seppo and Catweasel (you would trust they eh?) suggested I check with and Gebrachtbikes (http:/www:gebrachtbikes.at/motorradverleih.php) in Vienna and even volunteered to translate for me.
A quick subway trip to the end of the red line U1 had me chatting with the owner and reserving a V-Strom 650 for a week at 65 Euros per day, about half of the BMW going rate. Fine by me. I have a plenty nice BMW R12 GS at home so riding a little stranger bike – about as much “strange” as an old married man is up for these days - will be a nice change of pace. Of the 40 bikes at the store there were 8 rentals, mostly naked bikes, but since it is April and until yesterday, was frosting at night, I opted for the only bike with a small windshield, hence the Wee-Strom. Oh yes, they throw in comprehensive coverage too.
Thomas, a young guy who may be the owner’s son (?) was really helpful with setting up the paperwork, insurance, cleaning the bike (didn’t need it as it is brand new) going over the oddball electronics with me, warning me about the new and greasy tires (more on that later!) and wishing me well. Very nice, very professional. I am impressed thus far.
More on the bike and riding later but this thread is getting long in the tooth without a bike shot so here is my rental unit with 1 km on the odometer: Parked outside the hostel I rented (they don’t call them “youth” hostels anymore since so many of the users have sort of grown up.
Die Bike - I don't like the ring of that.
The stock V-Strom 650 is sort of the everyman’s bike; the Chevy Impala of compromise road-oriented bikes; the peanut butter and jelly of lunch sacks; the . . . you get the idea. They have tuned in a nice v-twin rumble that sounds like an anemic Ducati too
OK, I moved over to the Hostel. Not like my early hostel experiences in New Orleans where the air stayed blue with dagga smoke, a 24-hour debauch rolled on at the fringes of Mid-town. The place was called “The Swamp” was only $6 per night, had a rope and scrap lumber deck that over-arched a mucky pond that CONTAINED A PET ALLIGATOR. It had a certain bed bug ambiance. It was well located though for good, Bohemian living with cheap eats and entertainment close by such as the Rock & Bowl – a joint where you could have a few beers, dance, hear great music, and bowl a few rounds in the same location. Cultural multi-tasking. I saw Boozoo Chavez and the Zydeco Cha Chas there some years ago.
Hurricane Katrina would have floated the alligator out and did a lot of damage there., possibly improved that neighborhood.
My move to the Hostel came at just the right time. Of course the doe-eyed Greek beauty that checked me in looked at my coat and tie, grey beard and sort of wondered why I was looking for cheap lodging. I bought a little street cred though when I asked for a locker in which to stash my motorcycle gear in back at it so things don't disappear on me.