"So here we are, four American college kids in the cheapest suits imaginable with a very small man from Tajikistan, who is also the sleepiest person in the world, sitting on the seventh row of a Mozart concert in Vienna."
I am on a roll when it comes to blogging, my third in five days.
I am back in London. No more Austria for me, at least for a little while. This past weekend has been one of the best weekends I can remember. We never stopped doing things. I haven't even slept. Over the past two nights I have probably gotten five to six hours of sleep in total. Go. Go. Go.
Saturday morning we decided to get a late start, because we were so tired from walking all through Vienna on Friday. We met at 10:00 and and got some breakfast. In Vienna, it is still legal to smoke in restaurants, so we enjoyed a healthy dose of second hand smoke with our eggs and coffee. We then went to the Hundertwasser's apartments. Hundertwasser is the Picasso of architecture. The building is wacky. No straight lines and crazy colors. There is cafe on the balcony of the apartments, so we got some coffee there. We then decided to go see the Danube, because it is a major river in Europe and I had to memorize it in eighth grade World Cultures. We decided to go through Prater Park on our way to the river. Prater Park is a beautiful natural park with meadows, walking trails, bike trails, woods, and an amusement park. That's right an amusement park, actually it was half amusement park and half carnival. It was a very strange experience to go from walking in the woods to suddenly being in an amusement park. People were everywhere, and like most places in Europe techno music was blaring. They had an American themed bumper cars ride complete with Uncle Sam, eighteen wheelers, Confederate flags, girls in bikinis, and state names. Pretty much everything that is America. Then we saw it--The Boomerang. A roller coaster that went backwards and forwards. Of course we rode it. Actually by most American amusement park standards it was a pretty lame roller coaster, but by Austrian standards it was awesome. From there we went to the Kunsthistorisches Museum, an art and history museum. It was one of the best museums I have ever been to. It had extensive collections of Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Greek and Roman artifacts, but the most impressive was the art. They had works from some of the best ever, including Titian, Veronese, Raphael, Rembrandt, Durer, Rubens, Bruegel, Van Der Weyden, and Van Eyck. Those are just the people I remember from art history class. I am sure that a more informed person would have enjoyed it even more than me. We then headed home to rest up before the Mozart concert.
While at home we met the most interesting person. His name was Farzod, but we called him Oddjob, because he was small and we couldn't really understand what he said when he first introduced himself. He was from Tajikistan, and he didn't speak English very well. Here are some sample conversations between Farzod and myself:
Farzod: What is your name?
M: No, Joe.
M: No JOOOEE
M: Yes, Jim.
F: Oh, ok, I am Farzod.
Me: Oh, cool, you are from Tajikistan. I have never met anyone from Tajikistan. I know it is by Afghanistan and China, but what is it like?
Farzod: It is between Russia and Afghanistan.
M: Oh, ok, but what is it like?
F: No, no, no it is between Russia and Afghanistan.
M: Oh, well, I am from America.
F: Oh, the land of dreams.
All of us: Yeah, I guess you could say that.
Me: Farzod, I am going home to go to sleep. Goodnight.
M: I am going to sleep.
F: NO! I sleep here.
F: Keeps pointing at his bed.
M: Goodbye, Farzod.
F: He gets up and shakes my hand.
I am not making those up. I couldn't they are too good.
When we first met Farzod we thought he was really into partying, but we were wrong. We came to this assumption because every time we saw him he was sleeping. We would wake up in the morning, and he would be sleeping. We would come home in the middle of the day, and he would be sleeping. We would get back at night, and he would be sleeping. The boy could sleep. Our only conclusions was that he was going out and staying out all night long and then sleeping all day. When we finally got up the nerve to ask him why he slept so much he said that he had been working the night shift at the hospital and that he was in Vienna training to be a doctor. We felt dumb. However, he did sleep on average at least fifteen hours a day. He was always asleep. Well after our long discussion with Farzod, we had to get dressed to go to the concert. The attire was dressy so I had bought a 25 pound suit from Primart--their version of JC Penny. The suit actually doesn't look that bad. As we were about to leave Farzod came and asked if he could come too. None of us had the heart to tell him no, but we told him how much it cost and that it might be sold out. He didn't understand any of it. He got dressed in jeans, corduroy blazer, and a tie but because he is so short he had to tuck the back skinny part into his dress shirt, like a kid when he wears his Dad's tie. We took the subways over to the concert and went inside to pick up our tickets and for Farzod to buy a ticket. Tickets cost 25 Euros with a student ID. Farzod could not afford a ticket, so we all pooled our money and bought him a ticket. I think the ticket lady was so impressed by our kindness that she gave us 80 euro tickets, even though we only bought 40 euro tickets. We were on the seventh row. So here we are, four American college kids in the cheapest suits imaginable with a very small man from Tajikistan, who is also the sleepiest person in the world, sitting on the seventh row of a Mozart concert in Vienna. It was like the Beverly Hillbillies at the opera. As soon as the music started Farzod feel asleep--like always. At first the only reason I went was to say that I had seen Mozart in Vienna, but I must admit I actually enjoyed it. After the concert we all went home and went to bed because we had to be up at the crack of dawn to catch a train to Salzburg.
The next morning we were up at 4:00 to catch our 6:55 flight back to England. Both Airports were a breeze and we where back at Regents College by noon. It was an incredible weekend, but I am very tired, so I must go.