14 September 2009

By the numbers (part III)

Days on the road: 25
Days left: 15
Cities visited: 6
Current city: Vienna (Wien)
Cities left: 4
Trains taken (not counting subways, trams, and other local transit): 11
Maximum number of trains in one day: 5
Trains we should have taken that day, if the info desk woman in Munich hadn't given us completely erroneous information: 1
Countries Lee visited semi-illegally on that day: 1 (the detoured route took us through Austria, which wasn't included on his Eurail pass)
Comment by Lee as we slipped into Switzerland without event: "This is just like 'The Sound of Music'--I have evaded the authorities and fled Austria!"
Travel days used up on my Eurail pass: 5
Travel days left: 3
Didgeridoo-playing street performers seen: 3
City with best street performers overall: Copenhagen (no contest)
City with worst: Amsterdam
Pastries consumed: lost count. Probably 50-ish.
Panang curries consumed: 3
Way that Panang curry at dive-y restaurant in depressed neighborhood in outer Zurich was probably prepared: from a can
Price of said curry: 19.50 CHF (Swiss francs)
Price of presumably-authentic fondue in fancy restaurant in hip neighborhood in central Zurich: 22.00 CHF
Current exchange rate of CHF to dollars: about 1.05 CHF to $1.00 (that is, nearly even)
Price of a Big Mac value meal in Zurich (not that I had one): 11.40 CHF
Price of a single Whopper in Zurich (ditto): 7.00 CHF
Price of a really good rotisserie chicken lunch, with rustic roll, in the very heart of Zurich: 9.50 CHF
Price of a 20 oz. bottle of Coke at same restaurant: 5.00 CHF
As you will have surmised, amount that Swiss pricing is consistent or seems to conform to any logic: apparently none
Price of a room at the Sternon Oerlikon in Zurich, circa 1963: $3, including breakfast
Price of a room in 2009: 145 CHF, not including breakfast (apparently)
Adjectives Arthur uses to describe said hotel: rustic, quiet, old-fashioned
Adjectives I'd use: loud, ugly, clearly geared toward business travelers with expense accounts and a high tolerance for the greatest interior design hits of 1986
Highest price of a watch seen displayed in a Zurich shop window: 94,700 CHF
Weirdest item seen on a menu: foal
Europe's most popular food, and the most readily-available in every city I've visited: doner kebab
Favorite kebab-stand name: Kebabistan (in Copenhagen)
Second-favorite: Ali Kebab . . . or maybe it was Ali Kebaba (Zurich)
Favorite typo on English sign in restaurant: "menĂ¼'s" (the rare misplaced-umlaut AND apostrophe double whammy!)
Historic Munich beer halls/gardens patronized: 4
Drinks consumed, aside from beer, that I had not had before: 4 (Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Sazerac, Havana Club rum)
Status of my mother's eyebrows after reading those last two items: arched in alarm
Number of said drinks that were consumed mostly because of the intrigue of imbibing something that is probably illegal in my homeland: 1 (Havana Club, presumably from Cuba; Lee, a bartender, had not heard of it.)
Minimum number of one-line in-jokes that Lee and I established, and which are Very Funny if you know the full context and back history: 4
List of said in-jokes: "the contessa"; "African click language"; "narrative!"; "yeah, we're famous."
Minimum number of instant crushes developed on women on bikes: 138
Number of said women who have spotted me, swooned, and nearly plowed into a canal/windmill/castle/Rodin statue, only to be saved by yours truly at the last minute: ... zero
Number of said women who have even made eye contact: zero
Eccentric pink-fluffy-bathrobe-wearing women approached by in Zurich park, with request for a kiss: 1
Headwear of said woman: plush flower pot hat
Minimum number of cats we were guessing she owned when we first spotted her: 20
Our reaction as she approached us: "It's about a 20-foot drop down this cliff. We can probably make it with minimal injury."
Level of our relief when we discovered that she was basically normal, that the outfit and kiss request were part of a bachelorette party hazing ritual, and that she did not reek of cat urine: palpable
Kisses granted: 4 (2 per cheek from each of us)
Comment to her friends for picking outfit that was just weird enough to be humiliating but plausible (and therefore more embarassing than, say, a tutu): Well done.
Swiss celebrities I can name: Roger Federer (the tennis player)
His native language, to the best of my knowledge: French
Language I assumed they spoke in Zurich, based in this information and Arthur's lack of comments to the contrary: French
Language they actually speak: German with random French and English touches, just to confuse you

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