June 21

Vienna sans decent internet


Just a quick post to update our situation. We’re in Vienna right now where we have absolutely wretched internet service. It comes and goes, but mainly goes. In order to blog I have to write the blog on Word, then quickly copy it to the blogging software, then very quickly go through all the manipulations one has to do to make a blog a blog, then minimize the blogging software, pull up IE, log on, then quickly pull up the blog software page and post. If you are reading this blog, the entire process worked. At this stage, it’s just a guess as to whether it will or not, but that’s how I finally figured out how to send and receive my emails. So, I’ll try it here, too.
We got here via Cesky Krumlov, a gorgeous little medieval Czech village that truly hasn’t changed much in several hundred years. It looks exactly like the villages we’ve all seen in illustrated fairly tale books.
Despite it’s beauty, however, it harbors some incredibly rude service people. Virtually everywhere we went we were greeted with sullenness on the part of waiters, shopkeepers, bartenders, etc. I guess they could have all been having bad hair days, but whatever the reason, they did not particularly act like they were glad to see us.
We had the worst meal along with the worst service in the entire trip at a place right on the Vltava River called “The Mill.” Should you ever have occasion to visit Cesky Krumlov, avoid it like death. It took over two hours to get delivered a sub-mediocre meal by a surly waitress. When we finally got the bill, there stamped on it in large black letters in English were the words “Service Not Included. Thanks.” In most European countries the service is included in the price, and it’s customary—if the service is good—to leave a few coins. One doesn’t tip 15% in Europe like in the US. No one expects it, and if you do tip like that it makes it hard on the regular native people who dine there because the wait staff begins to feel ill used it they don’t get these large tips. As you might imagine we didn’t leave much of a tip (actually, the French lady with us didn’t leave the tip—she was infuriated. We had paid for the last meal when we ate with the French family, so they were paying for this one. I was totally out of the loop) and the waitress screamed like a stuck pig. That was the best part of the meal. The only thing that troubles me is that I’m sure she thought she got stiffed by a bunch of tightwad Americans, not because her service was laughably dreadful.
MD had a good concert that evening, and afterward we all had dinner. MD had cooked up a deal whereby the people in the chorale group sang Happy Birthday to me, which was strange. I’ve never had Happy Birthday sung to me by 85 or so people who are trained vocalists who put in all the harmonies and other stuff that trained vocalists do. At any rate it was a birthday to remember, especially now that I’m at that point where I’d rather forget them.
We left for Vienna the next morning. The hotel at Cesky Krumlov did have a phone, but nothing approximating an internet connection, and I wasn’t about to try to blog on dial up. We got to Vienna last night only to discover that the internet status in this hotel leaves a lot to be desired. I’ve had to go through all the above to post this. There is no way I can cruise the medical literature to post my thoughts on any new papers. Let’s hope things are better in Budapest tomorrow.

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