17 March, 2006


For some reason, I'm hungry all the time. I'm wondering if it's due to the time zone; Austria is 6 hours ahead of the Eastern US, so that could be the cause. I still wake up early in the morning, but that isn't nearly bad as the constant hunger.

I haven't mentioned a few curiosities of life in Austria. One was the shower curtain — or rather, the lack of one. I would take a shower in a tub so shallow that it was clearly meant for showering, and not for bathing. Yet there was neither curtain nor door. A glass wall covered half of the opening, but that left the other half from which water would splash out. Why the Julius Raabheim chooses not to use a curtain is beyond me; after every shower, water covered the floor, the walls, and even the carpet in the entranceway, unless I closed the bathroom door.

Foreign keyboards are different, too. Imagine having the z and y keys interchanged. I was often analzying instead of analyzing. At one point a French professor let me borrow his laptop; imagine trying to type with the q and a keys switched. It's not so bqd reqlly, once you get used to it. :-)

The television received a number of channels in different languages. I didn't waste any time trying to learn German, and I didn't waste long trying to decipher the French on TV5. I did spend some time watching Italy's RAI Uno; there's a neat game show called L'eredita. I was surprised at how many answers I knew. (The host is much better than I would have guessed from the photo on that webpage.) Watching the news (il Telegiornale) was rather depressing, however; there is something surreal about watching a reporter whose lips are obviously the victim of an aggressive plastic surgeon discuss in the northern Italian accent politicians' polemics following anti-global protestor' riots at a center-left rally in Milan. I also had the opportunity to watch the San Remo music festival, but it always prompted me to click the power button on the remote, and one of the musicians who used to visit San Remo yearly said that she has more or less the same reaction. I had the opportunity to watch Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien on CNBC Europe, but I didn't catch much more than one night's headlines.

On Wednesday, most of the participants visited a very nice restaurant in Linz. I've forgotten the name, but the restaurant was along the lines of 400-500 years old. The inside looked every inch to be an old tavern; the only thing that was missing was the roaring fire in the hearth at the center of the room. The meal was a buffet served by two women; you went to the bar, told them what you wanted (or pointed at it) and they handed it to you. The food was reasonably good; there were several meat dishes to choose from, lots of vegetables, sauerkraut of course, and several desserts.

This is not the reason I'm famished, though. Mostly I ate simple sandwiches, fruits, and vegetables. It's a good thing the math dept. is about to go to lunch — on the other hand, if they weren't, I'd probably be heading home right about now to eat my wife's delicious food.



Elliot said...

Is "L'eredita" related to the word "erudite?"

jack perry said...

No; it's rather related to the word for "inheritance". "Erudite" would be "erudito" (I think; have to check that).

Alessandra said...

Actually studies show that when the human brain has to process a constant large quantities of humongus words such as those constantly used in the German language, there is a gigantic burn up of energy due to the outrageous number of synapses needed. It then causes the victims to be continuously famished as a result of this caloric imbalance. ;-)

Doctors in the past have recommended sauerkraut, saussages, and beer as a homeopathic remedy for this devastating hunger condition.