July 2004 Archives

Back to Brno

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Two weeks after checking out Brno, Czech Republic, with my dad, I drove there again yesterday with Thorsten and Cat. We left around 10:30 and got there around 12:40. Brno is a pretty cool city (it's the second-largest city in the Czech Republic). Granted it's one huge construction site, but it's got a lot of nice places. There's the hill with the cathedral and the hill with the castle. We checked out the hill with the castle, which has a large park around it. The view was great, as was the weather. We went to some random non-touristy restaurant at the bottom of the hill. The only beer they served was the local Starobrno, but somewhere around ten different kinds of it! Check out the prices: The regular beers cost 50 cents for half-a-liter, and the "expensive" beers cost 80 cents for the same amount. Our meal, which consisted of a soup and then a big plate of meat and potatoes cost Ǩ2. As a reminder for my US-based readers, Ǩ1 currently equals $1.20.


We drove to a big supermarket (Interspar) and bought lots of stuff for really low prices. I love how a lot of stores are open horribly late, even on Sundays. For the US-based readers this isn't a big deal, but in most of Europe stores aren't open on Sundays, period.


We then randomly drove around, in what seemed like for awhile, circles. Eventually I followed some random tram tracks and we ended up in this neighborhood with a big park. We sat there for awhile and Thorsten even fell asleep.


We drove back downtown and went to some hidden local place, after which we went to a more touristy place for dinner. Then we headed back out on the highway towards Vienna. Suddenly we saw a KFC sign and we changed our plans. Unfortunately we missed the exit and we had to travel another five minutes down the highway until we found an exit where we could get to the other side of the highway via this small village. We found the KFC, which is located in the Futurama mall (all stores were open as well, despite it being 8 p.m on a Sunday), and ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, the "Party Menu" for the equivalent of Ǩ8.50 (around $10.20) which has an insane amount of chicken and fries. The guy behind the counter was insanely shocked and glanced at the warmer tray thing and kept saying "uh-oh," but finally told we could get it if we waited fourteen minutes.


We ate a bit on the ride back and then had the rest at Cat's apartment. It was a really fun trip. Oh, and the sign you will see the most in the Czech Republic is "nonstop!" It's everywhere! "Nonstop Gas," "Nonstop Tobacco," and my favorite: "Nonstop Alcohol!" Unlike the US they don't try to cover it up by calling it "liquor store," "spirit shoppe," or something. Just plain "Nonstop Alcohol!"


On a much sadder note, I found out that one of my grandmothers died on Saturday. I'm going to be in Germany from Thursday afternoon to Saturday afternoon to attend the funeral.

Waking for Mauer

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Last night was a pretty good night. I was horribly tired though since I had been up since 5:45 that morning. In fact, I was so tired that I fell asleep on the nightline ride back. The driver woke me up at the terminus, Maurer-Lange-Gasse, five stops beyond where I would have gotten off. But this wasn't a big deal because all I had to do is wait for the driver to turn the bus and ride back.


Basically I was at Lukas for a few hours and then at Merry Monk.

It looks like my "daily weblog" has turned into a weekly weblog at best, but the days have been mostly routine with nothing special going on. I work my English tutor job from seven to noon every weekday, come home, usually sleep, eat, and then go out. Most nights have been nothing to write home about, with a few exceptions.


Some of the more notable nights out were last Wednesday and Thursday nights. Wednesday I hung out with Ardi, Kerstin, and Stani, and it was a pretty fun night. Thursday I hung out with Kenneth's posse and it was a fun and very long night.


Friday I went to go see Spiderman 2 with a bunch of friends. Most people complained about it saying the ending wasn't believable. Yeah... Like a man flying through the air and shooting webs is believable in the first place!


Then I've taken part in two road trips so far. The first was with my dad to Brno, and the second was to Graz with Kerstin, Stani, and Thorsten. My dad and I just basically walked around Brno a bit. It's a pretty nice city. I might go there with Thorsten and other(s) this weekend again.


This past Saturday Kerstin, Stani, Thorsten, and I drove to Graz (well, I drove, they rode!) The weather sucked during a great part of our visit, but it was acceptable during lunch, so we ate outside. I had my first wiener schnitzel in months or even years, and it was great. Then we checked out a fake island in the Mur river which was opened last year when Graz was the Cultural Capital of Europe. It started pouring so we went into the Kunsthaus, which was also built for last year. It is an insane whale-formed dark blue building. The entrance fee was only Ǩ2.50 for students, which I qualified for although the woman gave me a little remark about my SU ID, saying "these damn American ID cards never have a birth date or a validity date on them." The Kunsthaus had two main exhibits: The first one we checked out was all videoish and we killed a lot of time watching movies and such. The second was one of those modern interior decorating things. For that cheap entrance fee, the exhibit was definitely worth it.


In other news I sort of noticed yesterday that if I didn't change my diet soon, I would end up like that guy in the movie Supersize Me, where the director eats nothing but McDonalds three times a day for thirty days. Despite the healthy breakfast I'd been getting every weekday morning at the kids I tutor's house I had been eating nothing but fast food. Lunch would almost always be a McDonalds value meal, dinner sometimes was at Burger King or Subway (granted it's "healthy" fast food, but one of the two times I had a meatball sub, which is just as unhealthy). When I didn't go out for dinner I would heat up a freezer pizza for dinner.


Thank God I have a fast metabolism, or I would weigh 300 pounds by now. However, thinking of that movie and that the real dangers are things such as liver fat and cholesterol, I decided yesterday to do something about it. It is literally possible to be addicted to fast food. Heh, my worst day must have been last Saturday, the day of the Graz trip where the first thing I ate was an Egg McMuffin on the way to pick my friends up. They decided they were hungry too, so we went to McDonalds and I had one of those apple pie things. Lunch was "healthy" at a real restaurant, although wiener schnitzel is breaded boneless pork chop, so its healthiness is questionable. Then I had ice cream before we drove back, upon which I ate a meatball sub from Subway (about the only unhealthy sub they have). As if that wasn't bad enough, Oliver and I drove to McDonalds at 2 a.m., where I had a supersized McTasty value meal. Daily fat total: About 250 grams!


So yesterday afternoon I decided to change things. I went to the supermarket across the street and bought tons of fruits and vegetables. And, instead of freezer pizza, I bought some healthier frozen stuff to cook up in a pan. Hopefully my life expectancy is going up again!