Thursday, July 07, 2005


It's our last night in Prague, and I was going to post something today with my usual flip attitude, talk about Prague being on the Vltava River and urging the people of the Czech Republic to buy a vowel or two (I hear the Dutch and the Scandinavians have some extras that they're not using); talk about our upcoming hop, skip and jump across western Europe and flight home, but the events this morning in London just sort of put things into a bit of a different perspective, and I don't think being flip and facetious is what's called for right now.

We came into King's Cross Station when we took the train down from Edinburgh back in early June (that seems like months ago now), so I was familiar with the area when we saw the footage on CNN this morning. I can't imagine what a scary and horrific event that must have been, and for there to have then been so many more subsequent explosions is just mind-boggling. The last headline I read said that at least 40 people have been killed, and 350 or more injured. My deepest sympathies go out to them, their families and their friends. Knowing that Mrs. G and I will be in London in just one week to board our flight back home is much less reassuring tonight than it was just a day or so ago. I have no doubt that our overnight stay there will be far less casual and relaxed than it would have been otherwise.

Before I saw the news this morning, I had written and sent out a new batch of postcards, virtually all of which were full of wisecracks and humor and jollity. Tonight I'm not feeling it so much. The vacation continues, one week to go here in Europe, but suddenly the perspective has changed. Tomorrow we take the train to Berlin, and I hope it's an uneventful ride.

This will very likely be my last post from Europe. I expect that the next time I post anything, it will be from the relative safety of California.

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Just a quick update, as Mrs. Generik is sitting here with me in the little mom 'n' pop shop and internet stop here in Prague, getting bored out of her mind waiting for me to check my email and stuff. We are in Prague now, our first full day here, and already I've been overcome with emotion at the sheer beauty of this city. With all due respect to Paris, that city is now Number Two on my list of The World's Most Beautiful Cities. Prague has to be Number One. We have spent the past few hours just wandering around on what might be called the Wow Tour (or maybe even the OMFG Tour), as that's what we keep saying as we round nearly every corner. This place is what heaven, if it exists, should look like.

Have had tons of fun since the last report, meeting up with our good friend Scott (known to some of you as amycamus) and his girlfriend Julie both in Paris (where she lives) and later in Venice, where we all spent some time swimming in the Adriatic Sea and getting sunburned. When we initially made plans to visit Venice, I had booked a hotel in Mestre, not realizing where that was in relation to Venice proper. Scott told me to cancel that reservation and make a new one, which I did, but I more or less overcorrected. We ended up staying on the Lido, which is a spit of land nearly as far from St. Mark's Square as Mestre is, the only difference being that Mestre is an ugly industrial town, while the Lido is a beautiful resort area. Thanks to my mistake, we had beach access, including reserved spots with umbrellas, beach chairs and towels. It was the perfect down day, especially after suffering through the heat wave that had hit Europe for the previous two weeks. Floating in the salt water was the first time we had been cool in many days.

That night we got cooled off again, this time quite unexpectedly. We visitied a restaurant recommended to us by Scott and Julie (who had just taken off on an overnight train back to Paris), Ai Gondolieri, and came out after the meal to discover that it was raining. Not just sprinkling or drizzling, either, but torrential, biblical rain, howling along the Grand Canal and soaking us to the skin in a matter of minutes. In addition, there was lightning like I've never seen before -- it was as if Zeus and Thor and every other major and minor god were having abattle of the bands. It was like a bank of strobe lights with the St. Vitus Dance on acid. It was non-stop, flashes of light illuminating the clouds, and every so often, bolts of two or thre or six spidering across the sky. We took the vaporetto back to the hotel, and by the time we got there, the rain had pretty much blown itself out, but the lightning show continued for hours. We slept, fitfully, with the windows and shutters wide open. At 3 AM, I woke up to see a crescent moon and the planet Mars just above the building directly across from our window.

One quick note about the beach: there were tons of topless women there. Most of them were very large and over 60. There was one blond German woman right next to us, however, who decided after her one short dip in the water that she had to change bathing suits, and for about five or ten minutes she had me completely believing in the myth of Aryan supremacy. Mrs. Generik complained later that I got a better show from the German woman than she did from her husband, who she said was "disappointing." Sorry, doll.

The other comment I wanted to make was that yesterday after we got into the apartment, we were unpacking and had the TV on to CNN. The Sandra Day O'Connor resignation was announced, apparently just as it happened, and all I could think of is that we are now well and truly fucked. I don't think I want to come back to the US at all, ever again.

More in the fullness of time, probably from Prague again before we go. I've got lots more to tell, just not enough time right now.
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