To Laugh, or not to Laugh…

4 07 2007

June 26th, 2007

Today I had one of those moments. You know the ones – something weird happens to you, and you don’t quite know how to respond to it, or even whether there is a suitable response.

I’d stopped at a local SPAR mini-market (the ones that you see in all the Lego sets!) and was sitting near the front door, munching on my bread rolls and cheese, and about to crack open the ice-coffee milk I’d bought to wash it down with. As I twisted the cap off the bottle, I noticed a heavy-set lady arriving on a giant tricycle – I couldn’t help but notice, as she parked it about 3 inches from my face. I looked up at her to see if she’d noticed me sitting there, and was met with a fierce glare, one that left no doubt about how many inches she’d decided to give my face. While I tried to decide how I felt about this, I saw that she was toting a couple of walking sticks, and indeed she was very unsteady as she dismounted her trike and hobbled into the SPAR. Figuring she may be afflicted with MS or something similar, I promptly erased any ‘screw you lady’-type thoughts from my mind, and counted myself lucky she hadn’t parked 3 inches inside my face instead.

Peeling back the foil under the cap of the ice-coffee and taking a hit, I couldn’t ignore the total lack of coffee flavour I was getting from my toungue. I shook the bottle and took another swig, to the same result – complete un-coffee. I took a hard look at the bottle, and it dawned on me that this was not, in fact, ice-coffee – it was *creamer* for coffee (hence the ‘15% fat’ bragging on the label, which I thought was kind of high). Containing my disappointment, I took another shot, and decided that it tasted pretty good after all – basically a very rich, creamy milk. I kept drinking.

The lady hobbled back out of the SPAR and put her sticks on the trike. Just as she was about to mount-up, she spied the bottle I was glugging from and froze, wide-eyed. ‘Kaffee sahn… ha ha ha…  Kaffee SAHN… Ha HA!!! KAFFEE SAHN!!! HAAAAAAA!!!’ she chuckled, then howled, then outright *screamed* at me, face as red as a beetroot. My turn to freeze, mouth full of creamy goodness, just watching as she worked herself into a wheezing, coughing state. On her final howl she over-balanced backwards and held the ‘slipped-on-a-banana-peel’ pose for about 5 full seconds before I lept into action. I was behind her in a flash, not wanting to actually push her forwards, but sure to prevent her from going over backwards. She somehow managed to compose herself, slowly pivoted around and gave me the same death-ray glare as before. ‘Kaffee SAHN!’ she declared (which is exacly what it said on the bottle, I must admit), and gave me a withering sneer. I just smiled the smile of the defeated, and said ‘it tastes pretty good, actually’, which she took as a suitable apology. Then she was on her trike and gone, and I still couldn’t decide whether to laugh or shout something nasty at her back wheels. I still don’t…


News Flash

4 07 2007

Hi Y’all,

Just letting those who may care that I’m still alive and pedaling – I’m currently in a ‘net Pizzaria’ in the town of Pochlarn, Austria, on my way to Vienna tomorrow.

Having a whale of a time – in fact a whale would truly love the time I’m having (assuming it could figure out the gear shifter), as it’s been absolutely bucketing with rain lately – I’ve often felt I ought to just ride the bike straight into the Danube river and let the current take me where I’m going – I certainly wouldn’t be any wetter than I am now…

But it is a lovely river, and it’s very flat riding, which is a real blessing with all of this gear I’m hauling. The rain is costing me money though – I don’t have the grits to pitch tent in the pouring rain when a nice warm guesthouse (with a hot shower and a beer in the fridge) is just around the corner. Camping fees come to about 12 -14 Euro per night, including a shower token and a beer, whereas the guesthouses / pensions / hotels have cost me about 40 – 45 Euro per night (including buffet breakfast, where I always make a pig of myself). Time to grow some grits, methinks…

I’ve got quite a few blog updates sitting patiently on my little notebook PC, just waiting for a chance where I can get connected to the ‘net with my own hardware. Net cafes are great, but they don’t help me with uploading my own photos and text. I think I’d better get myself a little USB drive in Vienna.

Well, the Pizzaria is closing up here, so I’d better sign off. Lots of updates coming soon – I hope. Till then, I’ll leave you with the following text-only post…