August 30, 2011

HELL, WITH COOL HISTORICAL SITES:

From 8-28-2011

So, The Wife finally convinced us to go to Europe and, after a few days in Dublin Airport, thanks to Irene, we've made it back.

If nothing else, the trip confirmed every prejudice we've ever had about Europe and Europeans. It's not really possible to wrap your head around just how self-absorbed, inconsiderate and downright rude they are. Eventually, you kind of get used to people pushing and shoving, driving like maniacs, smoking incessantly, and the rest. Perhaps one example of the way in which their lives are coarse will suffice to illustrate the differences between us: Europeans don't tip service workers. In fact, service fees have to be added to bills to get them to give servers anything. And, on the cruise we were on, people were allowed to go and get the service fee refunded. Bad enough that you are not expected to show your gratitude for services performed, what is the inevitable result? Many of the servers don't give a hoot about the quality of the service they provide you. There is essentially an adversarial relationship between the customer and the staff providing services. The exception to the rule is, not surprisingly, that non-European staff tends to be much more solicitous, whether for cultural reasons or because they are so economically/politically vulnerable. The other unsurprising exception is that the Irish--Anglospheric rather than European--were uniformly courteous and helpful. [It's not a bad place to get stuck.]

On the other hand, the sites are terrific. We saw the Gaudi buildings in Barcelona, the seaside villas of Santa Marghareta/Portofino, the ruins of Rome and the art of the Vatican, and the remnants of Carthage. [Palermo was such a complete dump that no historical features could redeem it.] If you could just dismantle it all and reassemble it in Orlando it would be awesome.


Posted by at August 30, 2011 6:32 AM
  

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