Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Terrorism or avalanches

Next week I am heading to Austria for a couple of days of skiing. Honestly, the whole process of finding a place to ski has been a bit stressful. I know this sounds like whining, but it really is more complicated than skiing in Pennsylvania or Michigan. Stay at a hotel, pension, gasthof or hostel? Take the ski bus to the chairlift or ski to the mountain? What is the Austrian equivalent of a green circle or blue square trail? Rent skis in town or at the mountain? What the heck is half-board?

Just when I thought all of my questions were answered and plans were set, I see that Kitzbuehel will have a category 4 avalanche warning tomorrow. Holy crud, I hadn't even thought about avalanches! As I have recently discovered, the avalanche warning system is like the Homeland Security terrorism warning system-- five levels with coordinating colors indicating the seriousness of the current risk. Apparently the warning was at 2 last week and 3 this morning. It was at 4 this afternoon and will be 4 tomorrow, but is expected to be at 3 on Friday. 2 and 3 I can handle; heck the terrorism warning has never been at the second lowest level. But I think level 4 is not good!

Kitzbuehel is supposedly a great apres ski town, so I am sure if people aren't skiing next week people will find other activities to keep them busy. I will be keeping my fingers crossed that the warning returns to level 2, so I can ski and apres ski;-)

Monday, March 06, 2006

Vhat? Unpimp your Auto?

A friend from DC saw these commercials on MTV this weekend. Funny, horrifying, both? You be the judge.

Horror 1

Laugh 2

Oh brother 3

(I would like the suggest that this might be the result of showing 8-Mile on German television;-))

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Istanbul was Constantinople...

First of all, it is still snowing! Here are some pictures...

But on another topic, I am thinking about studying Turkish. Turkish is currently a language that the State Department wants foreign service officers to speak. So if you can speak it at even a basic/intermediate level, then you get lots of bonus points... enough points that I would finally get "the call" to join the foreign service. There are other languages that get you bonus points too but speaking any of them would require learning a new alphabet, which I am not opposed to doing, but which would take extra time. Somehow I also feel like speaking Turkish is, well, German. There are lots of Turkish people in Berlin. Maybe I would get an extra falafel in my sandwich if I spoke Turkish to my local Doener Kebab guy;-)

Feeling a bit happy and smug about this decision, I had been singing along to The Might Be Giants all weekend. My visions of having a cool posting in Istanbul and being close to Europe were crushed a bit today when Jennie informed me that Turkish is also spoken in Iraq (well I knew that), Iran and Azerbaijan. But Azerbaijan could be cool too, right!? Isn't Baku on the top of your vacation list?

First things first, find a class.

I'll keep you posted...